Two pastors will offer prayers at Barack Obama’s inauguration next month. How curious that the one sparking controversy is the one whose views more closely align with the Bible.
When civil rights pioneer the Rev. Joseph Lowery was invited to deliver the benediction, no one observed that his positions on the two biggest moral debates of our day, abortion and gay rights, are in actual conflict with mainstream Christianity.
But when pastor and author Rick Warren was tapped for the invocation, waves of shock rolled across the landscape of the Obama voter base.
Ardent advocates for abortion rights and gay marriage equality were particularly indignant, issuing reactions from crushing disappointment to bitter hostility.
What lit the fire? His pesky Scriptural beliefs.
To his credit, Mr. Obama is choosing a stage no less lofty than his own inauguration to show evidence of his stated respect for differing views. Sadly, many who helped put him there want no part of such a gracious gesture.
They are mortified that moments before the new president takes the oath of office, a man will take the stage who disagrees with them about protecting both the unborn and the definition of marriage.
For his part, the new president’s differences with Mr. Warren are sharper on abortion than on gay marriage, where Mr. Obama has said he believes marriage is between a man and a woman but that he supports legal equality for homosexual unions.
But the Obama abortion record is borderline radical. From his squishy tap-dance on partial-birth abortion (clinging to the ill-defined “health” of the mother as a constant green light to such infanticide), to his 100 percent NARAL approval rating, there is no mystery why Mr. Warren’s August question to Mr. Obama at the Saddleback Church Presidential Forum was a pro-choicer’s worst nightmare: “At what point does a baby get human rights?”
Mr. Obama’s famous evasion, that the answer is “above his pay grade,” is the typical non-reply that prevents revealing the chilling degree of carnage his side is willing to tolerate.
Mr. Warren was tough but fair to both candidates that night, remaining eligible for one of the highest honors any clergyman could receive. Mr. Obama’s gracious overture – and Mr. Warren’s gracious acceptance – provides uplifting contrast to the venom of the unhinged left, whose self-awarded badge of tolerance is tainted mightily by the rank bigotry directed at those who disagree.
Witness the slander from gay rights extremists, currently tormenting anyone they can find who supported California’s Proposition 8, which bolstered the state’s definition of marriage as male/female (with plenty of help from Obama voters, by the way).
Mr. Warren’s support of that definition of marriage comes without any whiff of homophobia, yet he is a prime villain to the portion of the Obama base unable to grasp that not every fervent wish is a civil right.
His view also comes from a source that is occasional Kryptonite to the Left: Scripture.
All Americans – even the clergy – may believe whatever they wish. Mr. Warren will not deliver a sermon on Inauguration Day. He will not speak a word to cause discomfort to those who disagree with him on these emotional issues. But his mere presence deflates those hoping for a day to dance on the grave of conservative Christianity.
They did not expect the occasion to contain a reminder that, whatever the source of their beliefs on gay marriage and abortion, it is not the Bible.
The rabid objectors to the Warren invocation should take a cue from their candidate and his guest, who properly believe that it is never inappropriate for those with opposing views to pray together.
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