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Rick Warren to deliver Obama invocation - gay community furious

By Jimmy Orr / December 18, 2008

Richard Vogel/AP/File

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Hey, remember that guy who put John McCain in the "cone of silence" only for it to be revealed that McCain was never in a "cone of silence" -- he was merely in his limo eating a ham sandwich?

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Yeah, Rick Warren, the pastor of the Saddleback Church in Orange County. He was the one who hosted the first quasi-debate between Barack Obama and John McCain back in August (about two weeks before Sarah Palin went on her I-won-the-lottery-like-shopping-spree).

He's also the guy who wrote "The Purpose Driven Life," which has sold a bazillion copies since its release in 2002.

No likey

He seems like a nice enough guy, right?

Nope. There's a lot of Barack Obama supporters out there that don't necessarily like the man. In fact, Obama's announcement yesterday that Warren will deliver the invocation at his inaugural address has made many of these supporters livid.

He's the "absolute worst" pick, according to The Nation magazine's Sarah Posner, who said that his selection is a "slap in the face".

"Warren vocally opposes gay marriage, does not believe in evolution, has compared abortion to the Holocaust and backed the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," she writes.

Divider, not a uniter

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said Obama's selection represents a "genuine blow" to the gay community.

"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," Solmonese writes.

"In this case, we 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," he adds.

Let me count the ways

People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert says Warren hardly deserves "this position of honor".

"It is a grave disappointment to learn that pastor Rick Warren will give the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama," she said in a statement before outlining her main concerns with the selection.

"He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia," she begins. "He has repeated the Religious Right's big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion."

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