This morning, President-Elect Barack Obama defended his decision to have Rick Warren deliver the invocation at the inauguration (video here):
It is important for America to come together even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues.
And I would note that a couple of years ago I was invited to Rick Warren’s church to speak, despite his awareness that I held views entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion.
Nevertheless, I had an opportunity to speak, and that dialogue, I think, is a part of what my campaign’s been all about, that we’re not going to agree on every single issue. What we have to do is create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans. So Rick Warren has been invited to speak, Dr. Joseph Lowery—who has deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren about a whole host of issues—is also speaking.
During the course of the entire inaugural festivities there are gonna be a wide range of view points that are presented and that’s how it should be because that’s what America is about. Part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated and so that’s the spirit in which we have put together what I think will be a terrific inauguration.
Here’s what bugs me about O’s “logic”: He cites an admirable political goal—diversity—as the reason to prioritize someone who totally rejects that goal.
Including Warren isn’t tantamount to holding a world peace conference that includes adversaries like America and Iran (that’d be cool), it’s the equivalent of inviting the aliens from Independence Day , who are committed to destroying earth, to the same conference. They don’t believe in the overarching goal at hand, just like Warren doesn’t believe in the overarching goal of diversity.
Obama’s allowed to tap Warren to kowtow politically, but saying he’s doing it to support diversity doesn’t make much sense.
Meanwhile, Obama’s comparison between Warren inviting Obama to speak at Warren’s private Saddleback Church in California to Obama inviting Warren to speak at the inauguration of the next American President is insane.