So, Barack Obama has invited Rick Warren, the Purpose Driven Life author and pastor of mega-church Saddleback Church in southern California, to deliver the invocation at his inaugural address. “What is so strange about that?” you ask. Well, Obama was not exactly the most popular choice among evangelical Christians in the last Presidential election. Rick Warren is perhaps the most well-known of the younger evangelical movement. Many consider him the face of modern evangelicalism.
Obama is and has been an avid supporter of same-sex marriage. Rick Warren was an outspoken and strong supporter of Proposition 8, which blocked same-sex marriage in California this past election. Gay rights activists, who were overwhelmingly supportive of Barack Obama’s candidacy for President, are outraged over Obama’s choice of Warren to deliver his invocation. Rick Warren and Evangelical Christianity are the enemy in the minds of those who support same-sex marriage. How could Barack Obama make such a choice? Is he trying to win over the hearts and minds of Christians?
Of course, Christians are wondering the same thing about Rick Warren. How could he ever accept such an invitation from someone who seems to oppose many of the values so dear to Christianity? Is Rick Warren a liberal?
In the end, it is all very interesting to me since it does not seem to please anyone. I am curious what some of you think about this. Do you like Obama’s choice? Should Rick Warren, as the face of Evangelical Christianity, participate?
I’m praying Rick Warren is strong and prays specifically in Jesus’ name.
Obama has already been the beneficiary of many prayers of the Christians in America. I think this invitation from Obama is an answer to those prayers.
God directs the hearts of Kings (And Presidents);
Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
I think a lot of the unhappiness from both “sides” is because people are taking an either/or approach to politics and evangelicalism. I’d be willing to wager that there are evangelicals out there who voted “no” on Prop. 8, just like there are evangelicals out there who are democrats, and evangelicals who voted for Obama. So it’s not like there’s a wall separating evangelicals from democrats, or evangelicals from gay-marriage supporters. I bet there’s at least a little cross-over.
Also, Obama calls himself a Christian. I know a lot of evangelicals don’t believe that he could possibly be a true Christian AND be a democrat, but he might be telling the truth. He could also just be “courting the evangelical vote”. I don’t know which is the case, but I personally don’t feel qualified to make a judgment call as far as Obama’s salvation is concerned. But I do think we should at least consider the possibility that he and Rick Warren believe some of the same things about God’s grace and salvation through faith, and that could be the reason Obama asked Warren to participate.