Jump directly to the content

Warren Affirms Obama's 'Desire to be President of Every Citizen'

Updated: 1/18/09

Rick Warren complimented Barack Obama's invitations to himself and other clergy to pray at inaugural events as a sign of the president-elect's commitment to govern on behalf of all Americans.

The invitation to openly gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson to pray at the inaugural kick off event on Sunday has again stirred great controversy.

"President-elect Obama has again demonstrated his genuine commitment to bringing all Americans of goodwill together in search of common ground," Warren said in a statement provided to Christianity Today. "I applaud his desire to be the president of every citizen."

Warren and Obama have continually been taking heat from members of the gay community since it was announced that the California megachurch pastor would give the invocation at the swearing-in ceremony next Tuesday. Robinson was one of the earliest critics, saying "it was like a slap in the face."

"I'm all for Rick Warren being at the table," Bishop Robinson told The New York Times, "but we're not talking about a discussion, we're talking about putting someone up front and center at what will be the most watched inauguration in history, and asking his blessing on the nation. And the God that he's praying to is not the God that I know."

There is speculation over whether Warren will pray in Jesus' name or not. Robinson told the Concord Monitor that he doesn't yet know what he'll say, but he knows he won't use a Bible.

"While that is a holy and sacred text to me, it is not for many Americans," Robinson said. "I will be careful not to be especially Christian in my prayer. This is a prayer for the whole nation."

* * *

Warren's statement quoted above initially appeared to focus on Obama's invitation to Gene Robinson. The statement, e-mailed by a media relations firm, bore the headline: "Statement by Dr. Rick Warren on the Invitation for Bishop V. Gene Robinson to Give the Inaugural Opening Ceremony Invocation (which Warren Gave Four Years Ago)."

Based on that headline, this post was originally titled "Warren Applauds Obama's Invitation to Gay Bishop." The Washington Post ("Rick Warren Reaches Out to Gene Robinson") also interpreted the statement as a response to the Robinson invitation. Numerous bloggers followed suit.

Sunday, January 18, a follow-up statement from Larry Ross of A. Larry Ross Communications, a firm that frequently represents Rick Warren, clarified the intent of Warren's original statement: "In his recent statement, Dr. Warren was not applauding the person invited, but rather affirming the principle of President-elect Obama's commitment to serve as a President of all citizens and hold an inclusive inaugural."

Related Topics:Politics
Posted:January 13, 2009 at 3:04PM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
Christian College Will Auction Rare Bibles To Preserve Others
Some debate whether Gordon College's Vining Collection should stay together.
Prominent Advocate for Persecuted Christians Resigns After Sex Assault Conviction
Barnabas Aid defends its work as 'much bigger than one man' after jury rules Patrick Sookhdeo groped employee and intimidated witnesses.
One-Third of Audience for Christian Books, Radio, TV, and Movies Is Unchurched
LifeWay/NRB study examines whether Christian media is used for discipleship or evangelism.
ISIS Kidnaps 100 Christians in Syria: Prisoner Swap, or Libya-Style Propaganda?
(UPDATED) Christian leader: In light of 'barbaric record with the captured, the destiny of these families is a major concern to us.'
Christianity Today
Warren Affirms Obama's 'Desire to be President of Every Citizen'