Barack Obama | Inauguration | News | Rick Warren

Obama Defends Rick Warren's Inauguration Invitation


At a press conference this morning, Barack Obama defended his invitation to anti-gay pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration.

Said Obama, via TPM:

"Well, let me start by talking about my own views. I think it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something I have been consistent on and something I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency...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...And I would note that a couple of years ago I was invited to Rick Warren's church to speak, despite his awareness that I held views entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion....Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak, and that dialogue, I think, is a part of what my campaign's been all about, that we're never going to agree on every single issue. What we have to do is create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans. So Rick Warren has been invited to speak, Dr. Joseph Lowery -- who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren about a whole host of issues -- is also speaking."

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Nothing new there, but how dare this asshole claim to be our fierce advocate when he has never once in his entire career taken a significant political risk for gays or done anything to advance our rights? He has announced that he will not lead on our issues and that he will not make repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell a priority. He opposes gay marriage. He did nothing to fight Proposition 8 and has not responded to the outrage felt by the gay community in its wake. We have seen no major gay appointments. What on earth does he think a lukewarm advocate looks like?

    Yes, you're our friend, but we need to understand if you don't talk to us at school, when the popular kids are around.

    Barack Obama knows that we feel exactly the same way African Americans would feel if he chose a member of the KKK to speak at his inauguration.

    He just doesn't care.

    At all.

    And that makes his claim that he is a "fierce advocate" disgusting.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Dec 18, 2008 12:50:37 PM

  2. Why oh why must he be so damned... REASONABLE all the time???

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 18, 2008 12:51:56 PM

  3. "...a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans..."?? I don't think I'd call a politician who denounces marriage equality a fierce advocate for our community. I hope he proves me wrong once he is in office.

    Posted by: peterparker | Dec 18, 2008 12:54:07 PM

  4. This is bullshit.

    The real question is does he get a "pass" from the GLBT community on this.

    So disappointing. Again, if this was someone who spoke with racist or religious bigotry Rick Warren would not be on that stage. Slap in the face Obama. Absolutely disgusted by this and I was a HUGE Obama supporter.

    You have thrown us under the bus.

    Posted by: Rob | Dec 18, 2008 1:01:59 PM

  5. I just received an email from "Joe Biden" requesting more money. I considered it a very appropriate time to unsubscribe from the email list. I encourage all of you who receive these emails to do the same; when you unsubscribe, you are asked to tell them why you are unsubscribing. I would bet they pay more attention to a visibly shrinking donor base than your run-of-the-mill complaint email.

    Posted by: ccasey | Dec 18, 2008 1:03:06 PM

  6. Maybe David Duke is free to sing the national anthem.

    Sorry ... change is reaching out to those you disagree with, not giving them one of the most prominent roles in the inauguration.

    He'll pander to the LGBT community just enough to keep the dems happy, but not enough to make any real change.

    Needless to say, the Obama bumper sticker is now off the car.

    Posted by: Garrett in SF | Dec 18, 2008 1:03:55 PM

  7. Sure their both speaking, but one is giving a blessing the other a sermon, big difference. He says to come together and be inclusive but than slaps californians in the face by inviting the enemy to speak to the united states.

    This just makes me glad I live in Canada

    Posted by: Stuart | Dec 18, 2008 1:04:35 PM

  8. BIGOTS OF A FEATHER, FLOCK TOGETHER. (Strange it's only anti-gay views that need to be included. Where are the invitations to the KKK?)

    I wonder if the folks over at jointheimpact have started thinking about a protest of the innaugeration?

    Posted by: Wayne | Dec 18, 2008 1:05:58 PM

  9. "fierce" MY GAY ASS!!!!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 18, 2008 1:07:14 PM

  10. So it's still ok to slap (metaphorically speaking?) gay people. You heard from the top.

    Posted by: Toutwest | Dec 18, 2008 1:08:04 PM

  11. Why is there a preacher at all? Isn't this a state-sponsored inaugural event?


    Posted by: MikeinSanJose | Dec 18, 2008 1:09:54 PM

  12. While I respect the President-Elect's desire for a reasoned public discourse, what he fails to understand or address here is that Warren's words go beyond discourse. Warren's words have actually damaged real families and real people. This is not an academic discussion -- this is a fight for civil rights. Rhetoric is a fine tool for exercising people's minds, but meanwhile, real people are suffering because of Warren's ideas. (Which, by the way, are sometimes factually inaccurate and just plain wrong)

    No less than the New York Times this morning has stated that having Warren deliver this invocation is tantamount to elevating "...Mr. Warren to succeed Billy Graham as the nation’s pre-eminent minister..."

    I am astounded that Mr. Obama doesn't get this... or maybe he does and just doesn't care.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Dec 18, 2008 1:11:07 PM

  13. "We're not going to agree on every single issue."???!!!!?!

    I wasn't aware respect was a debatable issue.

    Posted by: David | Dec 18, 2008 1:13:33 PM

  14. This is NOT about differing on "issues" fucking President Elect Moron!

    This is about OUR LIVES! Often LITERALLY!

    Warren equated gay marriages with incest and pedophilia. His wrapping homohatred in pages from the Bible is contributing to antigay discrimination, murders, and suicides.

    Asking us to accept Obama elevating him to a GIGANTIC starring role in his "big tent" is like asking women to accept being at the same party with their invited rapists!

    I call upon EVERY LGBT organization to drop ANY plans they had for inaugural celebratory events. I call upon the LGBT band to refuse to march in the inaugural parade. I call upon every LGBT person in America to send a message to him in every way they can that his ennobling intolerance and elevating a member of the board of directors of the Antigay Industry WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.

    FUCK THIS talking out of both sides of his mouth!!!!!


    Posted by: Leland Frances | Dec 18, 2008 1:13:48 PM

  15. Oh, stop with the "under the bus" metaphor. It's tired and it's inaccurate.

    If we ever want the people we currently see as 'phobes or enemies to begin to understand who we are and what we're about, then we'd better be ready to listen to them telling us who they are, and what they are about.

    I was peeved at Obama's choice too, but sitting on the sidelines and pouting isn't going to get us shit. So maybe we need to work with the opposition to get things done.

    Lord knows the isolationist approach doesn't work.


    Though I didn't want to, upon considering things, I can see that this really is a REASONABLE approach. Maybe not the one I'd have chosen, but I believe there is a purpose behind Obama's choice. I've gotten the impression throughout his campaign that he considers things carefully.

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Dec 18, 2008 1:15:48 PM

  16. "...change is reaching out to those you disagree with, not giving them one of the most prominent roles in the inauguration." I totally agree with GARRETT IN SF.

    Surely there are other more qualified, less divisive choices.

    I wonder if anyone's ever been booed at an inauguration?

    Posted by: ChrisDC | Dec 18, 2008 1:16:05 PM

  17. I just unsubscribed from the Obama donation emails as well - perhaps Rick Warren and his clan want to give up some of that tax exempt money his "church" is taking in. I agree, why is religion such an important part of a national event - it has no place in the public square.

    Maybe Rick and Company want to host a "prayer breakfast" for their moral foot soldiers

    Posted by: Keith Boston | Dec 18, 2008 1:20:00 PM

  18. Well, he's not stupid. He's proven that in debate and outmaneuvering his political opponents.

    He is however either extremely clueless of the message this sends to the LGBT community or he's doing it to throw a bone to the evangelical conservatives.

    Either way, there are thousands of other people of the cloth he could have chosen who don't have quite as divisive a history or tone in their religious dogma than this Tartuffian popinjay that he chose.

    Should there be discourse.. sure. Should there be opposing vies... sure.

    And when Mr. Obama practices what he says by inviting, oh say, a Grand Dragon of the KKK to speak at his inauguration, then we'll know he means it.

    Until then, no pass from me unless major LGBT rights legislation is drafted, approved, passed, AND signed in the next 4 years.

    Posted by: Darren | Dec 18, 2008 1:21:22 PM

  19. There are some Black Americans who are disappointed in the political direction of the in-coming Obama Administration--too centrist/too pro-status quo. Also, Rick Warren's conservative politics are like those of the KKK to many Black Americans; but most of us are not ready to foreshadow four years of betrayal by the new President because Warren's a right-wing Christian fundamentalist.

    And compared to any other Democrat you could have gotten into the White House, Barack Obama has been a "fierce advocate" of gay peoples' civil rights. McCain & Palin didn't even want to mention our existence.

    Why don't y'all wait until he's been in office before you gather together your impeachment forces? (a few of you would prefer to use a lynch mob).

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Dec 18, 2008 1:21:38 PM

  20. @Jeffery

    What more do you need from Rick Warren to tell us? He's already stated in several interviews that can be found on YouTube that he likens homosexuality to pedophilia and incest. I think that alone speaks volumes.

    The reason for the outrage is because we know exactly what Rick Warren is about. People are not pouting here they are expressing their outrage and sadness and from that hopefully there will be action. "Pouting or sitting on the sidelines" would not be voicing any opinion at all and accepting this as is.

    And also "working with the opposition to get things done" worked so beautifully in the past. That old school thought is precisely why organizations like HRC, EQCA, GLAAD, and a host of others have seen a significant drop in donations.

    Posted by: rob | Dec 18, 2008 1:28:09 PM

  21. Difference of opinions my ass, this is a person actively trying to strip of our rights, dignity and perpetuating a culture of homophobia that costs us our livelihoods, safety and even our lives, you might as well allow a KKK member to speak at the inauguration as well.

    I am absolutely disgusted by this move by Obama, I was afraid he was going to show his true colors after getting our votes and he's doing it now before he is even in office. This speech just made things a hundred times worse.

    Posted by: John M | Dec 18, 2008 1:49:39 PM

  22. what a fumbling, bullshit answer.
    he got our votes and now he can go on ignoring us like every other politician.

    Posted by: emmanuel | Dec 18, 2008 1:53:36 PM

  23. Wow, Obama is really losing me, which I didn't think possible. I'm outraged by this move. I recall President Clinton being known for having (poet) Maya Angelou at his inauguration -- Obama wants to be known for (pastor) Rick Warren? It's sick.

    Posted by: Roma | Dec 18, 2008 1:53:46 PM

  24. Stop whining people. Nobody cares he has appointed openly gay people to his cabinet and transition teams...... just that he let somebody whos a social conservative speak at his inauguration...forget hes a champion of other social issues.

    Posted by: Dylan | Dec 18, 2008 1:56:07 PM

  25. Ack, I can't reach my Kool-Aid from under the bus.

    Posted by: crispy | Dec 18, 2008 1:56:51 PM

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