Why Obama Picked Rick Warren

Is the homosexual community the new Rodney Dangerfield of politics or is there no way to make the vocal part of this group happy? President Clinton kicked off his presidency with a gay dustup over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Now President-Elect Obama has created his own furor among gay activists over his choice to give the invocation at his inauguration.  

Rick Warren has been chosen to give the invocation on January 20th. Warren is the pastor of Saddleback Church and the author of “The Purpose Driven Life.”  Since his book is one of the best-selling books of all time, continuing to sell thousands of copies weekly, you would think that this would be a good choice.  Billy Graham was the “President’s Pastor” for decades and since his declining health kept him from giving the invocation in the last two inaugurals, we’ve been trying a few folks out.

Obama and Warren have a short history. Warren invited the Illinois senator and new presidential candidate to his church for a worldwide event about AIDS in Africa.  Warren took a great deal of heat for that invitation because Obama is pro-abortion but Warren stood up for the choice of Obama.  It was by all accounts a successful event because fighting AIDS is not about left or right.

Two years later, Warren hosted a presidential forum at his church and questioned Barack Obama and John McCain for 90 minutes each.  It was the most unexpected event for the two candidates and it showed Obama in the worst light.  He’s not good on his feet and when pressed on when life begins, Obama gave the famous answer, “I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.” (Obama’s statements that he doesn’t support same-sex marriage is a little better, but not much).

Obama likes the intellectual and Biblical back and forth with Rick Warren and respects what he has achieved.  Warren’s ministry is well thought of.  He spends much time and money doing charitable works around the world.  At Obama’s former church, Trinity United Church of Christ, he had to battle with the combative nature of his pastor and the good works the church does in the community.  But if Trinity does strong outreach in the Chicago community, then the world stage Obama lives on needs a church that is worthy of reaching around the world and bringing people in.  Saddleback represents what Obama needs in a church image. It’s convenient Obama is without a church at the moment, so Rick Warren is “his man.”

In comes the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) lobbyto say they’re outraged at Obama’s choice of Warren because Saddleback Church and Rick Warren were outspoken in supporting Proposition 8 in California — a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as one man and one woman and would bans gay marriage.  That is too much to bear for these activists.  Rick Warren is a man of the Bible who supports the first covenant that God gave to his people, marriage between a man and a woman. A position that most Americans support and is a definition of marriage that is 5000 years old.

Rick Warren supported Prop 8 and the people of California overwhelmingly agreed with him.  The difference between Warren and the LGBT lobby is that when Rick and folks like him lose, they go back to the drawing board and come up with another strategy.  When the activists in the homosexual community lose, they want to destroy their opponents and their property.  Rick Warren looks better today because his response to those critical of Obama’s choice was not to belittle his opponents on Prop 8.

This is not just about Rick Warren.  Barack Obama has been as clear as mud in his support of homosexual issues.  He doesn’t support same-sex marriage but he criticized the people of California when their ballot initiative protecting marriage passed.  He’s on both sides of this issue. The incoming vice president, Joe Biden, also opposes same-sex marriage.  So a lobby that voted 70% for President Elect Barack Obama doesn’t have his support on one of their core issues. Democrats will take their votes but this administration is not going to carry their political water.

Which leaves a very key question: if the Obama administration isn’t willing to push the gay lobby’s agenda, what will the gays do about it and what can they do?  They may want to push “gay rights” legislation through Congress and in the states.  But they appear to have so little clout, they won’t be able to accomplish their goals in any but a few states.

And those states who see the success of Prop 8 in California — coupled with the lack of clout the gays have in Washington –zol may follow California’s example.  Rick Warren’s prayer on January 20 may reverberate across the nation in a way that Barack Obama never anticipated.