Warren to pray at Obama inauguration
Rick Warren the pastor of Saddeback megachurch and best-selling author has been invited to pray at the inauguration of Barak Obama as the next President of the United States.
In this context, Warren is stepping into the role previously taken by the evangelist Billy Graham who is now very elderly.
There has been strong criticism of Obama's choice from the liberal establishment because of Warren's publicly stated views on abortion and homosexuality. And there has also been speculation as to whether or not Warren will pray explicitly "in Jesus' name".
Meanwhile there continues to be much speculation about Obama's beliefs and religious affiliations.
Three years ago when asked about his Christian commitment he replied to a Chicago newspaper:
"My faith is complicated by the fact that I didn't grow up in a particular religious tradition. And so what that means is when you come at it as an adult, your brain mediates a lot, and you ask a lot of questions.
"There are aspects of Christian tradition that I'm comfortable with and aspects that I'm not. There are passages of the Bible that make perfect sense to me and others that I go, 'Ya know, I'm not sure about that,'" he said, shrugging and stammering slightly.
Obama is expected to be the first president since Franklin D Roosevelt to be without the counsel of the Rev Billy Graham, the man affectionately known as the “World’s Preacher” and “America’s Pastor” for more than 60 years.
In comments made late last year, Graham’s youngest son, Franklin Graham, informed the media that his father’s “time and day for that (pastoring to presidents) is over.
"But he would certainly like to meet [Obama] and pray with him," the younger Graham added.
Though never partisan in his preaching, Billy Graham is a registered Democrat, according to Associated Press and an article in Christianity Today.
The American Constitution separates politics and religion and in recent years, but not just recent years, the campaign to eradicate the Christian heritage from American public and political life has been intensifying. Ironically the wording of the Constitution was designed by the early American fathers to protect religion from state interference, but the respective clauses are now being used the other way around to expunge religion (principally Christianity) from public affairs.
Since December when it was announced Warren would give the invocation, media reports have highlighted the outrage and frustration of gay rights supporters over the decision.
Critics of Warren pointed out that he had supported the California measure Proposition 8 that defined marriage as between one man and one woman and essentially overturned the state’s short-lived gay marriage ruling by the California Supreme Court.
Gay rights supporters held protests at Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif. after Proposition 8 won the majority of votes. They again staged a demonstration this past Sunday in a last attempt to stop Warren from giving the inaugural prayer.
Read on in Christianity Today....