President-elect Barack Obama has angered many of his supporters this week by selecting the evangelical pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church to speak at his inauguration.
While Warren, the leader of twenty thousand member church in Orange County, California is highly praised for his work with AIDS in Africa, social justice and the environment, he holds opinions contrary to the president-elect on some social issues. Warren has equated gay marriage with incest and abortion with the Holocaust.
Analysts Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a think tank, and Harry Knox, director of the religion and faith program at the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, discuss the decision and its implications for the inauguration.
"Well, we were profoundly disappointed in the president-elect's pick because he chose someone who is a divisive person, who has attacked our community and attacked our families." -Harry Knox, Human Rights Campaign
"I think one of the interesting things we're going to see in the next few days is actually Rick Warren is going to have critics from his right for identifying and, in fact, in agreeing to do this, to give the invocation." - Michael Cromartie, Ethics and Public Policy Center
"Well, we have been trying to reach out as a community to Rick Warren for a long, long time and got so frustrated that many people have now protested in front of his church." --Harry Knox, Human Rights Campaign
"You know, Ray, Harry is trying to make Rick Warren out to be this sort of right-wing bigot. And it just -- it won't wash. It won't work. The man's got an amazingly good reputation in numerous communities around this country and around the world, as a person who opens his own wallet. He gives away 90 percent of his own income." - Michael Cromartie, Ethics and Public Policy Center
1. When is the inauguration?
2. What is the importance of the inauguration?
1. Why do you think the president-elect chose Rick Warren? Do you think it was a good choice? Why or why not?
2. Who would you like to see speak at inauguration? Why?
3. President-elect Obama stated that he knows "we're not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere when we -- where we can disagree without being disagreeable." Are there opinions that you do not have to tolerate?