Since the majority of the Hawaii Senate Democratic Caucus has gone brain-dead on the subject of religious invocations before Senate sessions, here is a taste of reality from their lord and master, the world’s highest-ranking Manoa liberal, Barack Obama:
Obama Defends Rick Warren's Inaugural Invocation Plans
Sarah Pulliam Bailey Christianity Today, December 18, 2008
Barack Obama defended his choice of California megapastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at next month's Inauguration, responding to severe outcry from gay rights advocates and liberals.
"I am a fierce advocate of equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to continue to be consistent on in my presidency," Obama said at a news conference this morning. "What I've also said is that it is important for American to come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues."
Gay rights advocates angrily denounced Obama's choice of Warren, who is an opponent of abortion rights and same-sex marriage.
"Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans," the president of Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solomonese, wrote to Obama yesterday. "[W]e feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination."
To my knowledge, these groups didn't make a fuss when Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, who also opposes abortion and same-sex marriage, prayed with Obama on Election Day and prayed at the Democratic National Convention. However, these groups are still stinging from California's decision to ban gay marriage, which Warren vocally supported.
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WaPo: Obama Defends Invocation by Conservative Pastor
By Jacqueline L. Salmon, Debbi Wilgoren and Peter Slevin
President-elect Barack Obama this morning defended his choice of evangelical megapastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at next month's swearing-in, saying that although he differs with the conservative pastor on social issues, he wants to have diverse voices at the ceremony.
"I am a fierce advocate of equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on, and I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency," Obama said at a morning news conference to announce several financial appointments. "What I've also said is that it is important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues."
Gay rights advocates and progressives denounced the decision to associate with Warren, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights, same-sex marriage and stem cell research, immediately after inaugural organizers announced the lineup for the ceremony yesterday.
The Human Rights Campaign sent a blistering letter to Obama (D) in which it called the choice of Warren "a genuine blow" to gay Americans, who supported Obama overwhelmingly in his race against Republican nominee John McCain.
The letter noted Warren's vocal support of California's Proposition 8, a ballot measure banning gay marriage in the state that was approved by California voters last month. "By inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table," the letter said.
Obama emphasized today that although Warren will offer the opening prayer at the inaugural ceremony, the closing benediction will be given by Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a civil rights icon who founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
As Obama put it, Lowery, 87, has "deeply contrasting views to Warren on a whole host of issues."
"During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented," Obama said. "And that's how it should be, because that's what America is about. Part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated."