Kudos to President-elect Obama for choosing Rick Warren, noted pastor of Saddleback Church, and Rev. Joseph Lowery, civil rights activist, to pray at his inauguration.
These choices, representing two strong leaders who represent different factions of Christianity, demonstrate Obama's commitment to bringing together opposing forces for the greater good. When questioned about the picks, he said, "we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans."
The "Amen" you hear is coming from this Republican.
Unfortunately, the Gay Rights extremists are shouting their criticisms of Obama for picking Warren, who is a supporter of California's Proposition 8, banning gay marriage. Warren is no homophobic, having spent untold time and resources on fighting the spread of AIDs around the world, an issue which, of course, has a huge impact on the gay community. But he still has strong beliefs in how marriage is to be defined and he is not backing down.
Obama, reiterating his commitment to "agreeing without being disagreeable," has stood by his choice. Obama remembers that Warren invited him to speak at his church a couple of years ago at a conference on AIDS. Warren was at that time strongly critized by his parisioners and other conservative followers but refused to budge, reminding his critics that Obama had done much in the AIDS battle and deserved to be heard. Obama and Warren forged a friendship which has lasted.
Now Obama is taking the heat for extending the invitation to Warren.
In his wildly popular book, The Purpose Driven Life, Warren's first admonition to readers is: "It's Not About You." Those words are simple yet profound, words that would be well taken to heart by those so quick to criticize.