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Obama's inauguration pastor, Rick Warren, draws 2 Calif. volleys

December 18, 2008 |  5:34 pm

Dueling public statements were released moments ago almost simultaneously on the growing controversy over President-elect Barack Obama's invitation to a conservative California pastor to give the invocation at his inauguration Jan. 20.

Just a few hours ago, The Ticket chronicled Obama's firm stand behind his invitation to Dr. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. Who'd have expected a few weeks ago that the liberal left would be attacking and threatening the Democratic president-elect while a conservative pastor of an Orange County mega-church would be praising him for courage.

Now, a few minutes ago the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center issued a statement under the name of chief of staff Darrel Cummings calling on the president-elect to disinvite Warren, who supported Prop. 8 on the Nov. 4 ballot, which passed and bans same-sex marriage.

Cummings' statement said:

"If President-elect Obama does not disinvite Rick Warren, then he is defining what inclusion in America will mean under his administration.  It will mean that the practice of bigotry is acceptable, and that as president — in the name of 'inclusion' — he will provide a place and platform for that bigotry to be expressed and grow. 

"Apparently we are welcome into the big tent of hope, but if we choose to enter, we should do so knowing we are in hostile, yet 'balanced' territory.”

At almost the same time, Warren issued a brief statement too. It said:

"I commend President-elect Obama for his courage to willingly take enormous heat from his base by inviting someone like me, with whom he doesn’t agree on every issue, to offer the Invocation at his historic Inaugural ceremony.

"Hopefully individuals passionately expressing opinions from the left and the right will recognize that both of us have shown a commitment to model civility in America.

"The Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders. I am honored by this opportunity to pray God’s blessing on the office of the President and its current and future inhabitant, asking the Lord to provide wisdom to America’s leaders during this critical time in our nation’s history."

More to come, it would seem.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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