After choosing an evangelical pastor to deliver the invocation at his swearing-in, President-elect Barack Obama has chosen two progressive Protestant leaders – a woman and an openly gay bishop – to bookend his inaugural ceremonies.
"It reflects his commitment to pluralism," said Shaun Casey, an ethics professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington who advised Obama during the presidential campaign. "My advice is for folks to look at the full range of people invited (to deliver prayers) – the sum is larger than its parts."
Obama's pick of California megachurch pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20 was heavily criticized by liberals, especially gay groups. Warren advocated for the passage of Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in California.
Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson was among the most vocal critics, saying that Obama's decision to invite Warren "was like a slap in the face."
Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal ...1