In a speech given at the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s annual convention in Long Beach, California, Pastor Rick Warren defended his invitation to deliver the invocation at the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.
The invitation has provoked outrage from members of the gay community and some liberal groups because of Rick Warren’s support of Proposition 8, California’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Members of these groups consider Warren’s opposition to gay marriage to be, as the AP puts it, “tantamount to endorsing bigotry.”
But in his speech before the Muslim Public Affairs Council on Saturday, the 54-year-old pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, declared his love for Muslims, Republicans, Democrats, and “gays and straights.” Rather eloquently, Warren pointed out that “you don’t have to walk hand in hand to walk side by side.”
It would seem that President-elect Barack Obama is in full agreement with these sentiments. The president-elect has assembled a cabinet composed of people with diverse viewpoints and political ideologies. This approach reflects Barack Obama’s admiration for the administration of President Abraham Lincoln, whose cabinet selections also included a diversity of opinions.
President-elect Barack Obama’s belief in tolerance and inclusiveness is also reflected in the fact that, in addition to inviting Warren to deliver the invocation, he has also asked Joseph Lowery, a methodist minister who supports same-sex marriage, to deliver the benediction.
In addressing the controversy on Thursday, President-elect Obama said, “During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented. And that’s how it should be, because that’s what America’s about. That’s part of the magic of this country … we are diverse and noisy and opinionated.”
Ain’t that the truth?
Pastor Warren is certainly entitled to his opinions regarding same-sex marriage. If you would like some insight into why Rick Warren is against gay marriage, consider the following dialogue he had with NBC’s Ann Curry:
Ann Curry: If science finds that this is biological, indisputably, not something that can be explained in any other way except that people are born to be gay, would you change your position?
Rick Warren: No. And the reason why–
Ann Curry: Why?
Rick Warren: I’d be happy to tell you why. The reason why is because it doesn’t matter to me. If it’s biological, we’ll be glad to know. We all have biological predispositions. Some people struggle with anger. And other people say, “I don’t struggle with anger, but I sure struggle with fear.” Some people say, “Oh, I don’t struggle with this. I struggle with being shy.”
Ann Curry: You’re saying if it’s part of your biology, it’s your job to struggle against it if, in fact, it’s the wrong–
Rick Warren: Well, here what I’m saying. I’ve had many gay friends tell me, “Well, Rick, why shouldn’t I have multiple sexual partners? It’s the natural thing to do.” Well, just because it seems natural doesn’t mean it’s best for you or society. I’m naturally inclined to have sex with every beautiful woman I see. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. And why should I reign in my natural impulses and you say, “Well, because I have natural impulses towards the same sex, I shouldn’t have to reign them in.” Well, I disagree. I think that’s part of maturity. I think it’s part of delayed gratification. I think it’s part of character.
Ain’t that the truth? I too want to have sex with every beautiful woman I see. Please don’t hate me for that.
Christina Hoag, Pastor Warren Defends Invite to Inauguration, The Associated Press, December 21, 2008
Rick Warren: Pastor in the Political Spotlight, msnbc.com