(Source: CQ Transcriptswire, December 18, 2008)
QUESTION: I’m wondering what went into your decision to choose him for this prominent role as you embark on your own presidency, at a time when you’re dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” to send some important signals.
OBAMA: Well, let me start by talking about my own views. I think that it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on, and I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency.
What I’ve also said is that 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 that were 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 part of what my campaign’s been all about: That 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 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 on a whole host of issues, is also speaking.
During the course of the entire inaugural festivities, there are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented. And that’s how it should be, because that’s what America is about. That’s part of the magic of this country is that we are diverse and noisy and opinionated.
OBAMA: And so, you know, that’s the spirit in which, you know, we have put together what I think will be a terrific inauguration. And that’s, hopefully, going to be a spirit that carries over into my administration.
(Source: rickwarrennews.com, December 18, 2008)
“I commend President-elect Obama for his courage to willingly take enormous heat from his base by inviting someone like me, with whom he doesn’t agree on every issue, to offer the Invocation at his historic Inaugural ceremony.
Hopefully individuals passionately expressing opinions from the left and the right will recognize that both of us have shown a commitment to model civility in America.
The Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders. I am honored by this opportunity to pray God’s blessing on the office of the President and its current and future inhabitant, asking the Lord to provide wisdom to America’s leaders during this critical time in our nation’s history.”