April 17, 2014

Text/Transcript: Barack Obama and Rick Warren Statements on Inaugural

Barack Obama:

(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.

Rick Warren:

(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.”

Let’s Chill Out on Rick Warren …

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I voted for Barack Obama and made the reasons clear why I would vote for him over the course of the summer and fall.  Is Pastor Rick Warren someone I would walk across the street to meet or speak to?  No.  But, if I did meet him I would be polite and maybe even thank him for the good things he does for people.

Would I go to his church if I spent a Sunday morning in Lake Forest, California.  Probably not – we’re both Christians but I ascribe to a different theology than Warren.

Consider some other questions.  Have we spent about the last 30 years in this country watching faith being used as a very worldly, human political tool?  Has faith been turned into something especially divisive by being used as a wedge in the political affairs of people?  Has this not perverted what faith is about?

Didn’t Barack Obama wage an inspirational campaign based on change and rooted in civility?  Didn’t he also pledge to be president of all Americans?

OK, enough navel gazing.  After eight years of half or more of America being ignored by the Bush-Cheney White House, I think it’s a great gesture to have a fundamentalist preacher give the invocation at the inauguration.  Warren is not one of the idiots who use their pulpit as a blunt instrument and pronounce whacky things like Hurricane Katrina was a punishment from God.  He comes from a certain perspective biblically yet does not seem to have totally lost sight of the messages of love and forgiveness in the Bible.  There are millions of people who follow Warren through his books and media involvements.  I’m glad that for the faith portion of the inauguration, those people will feel represented.  I also believe that as a pastor, Warren will recognize to whom he speaks on that day and the message will not be fundamentalist dogma, but a prayerful, uplifting message.

I’ve gotten eight years older during the Bush Administration, and perhaps a bit wiser.  I don’t like it when the right wingers shout me or my fellows down, judge my entirety as a human being based on a particular political view I may carry or judge my faith based on their dogma.  I can handle Rick Warren on Inauguration Day if it’s one more step toward civil discourse.  Rick Warren is fine with me to say a blessing for America and President-elect Obama if it takes us closer to reconciling our faith with our politics.

Full Transcript: Saddleback Presidential Forum, Sen. Barack Obama, John McCain; Moderated by Rick Warren

Saddleback Presidential Candidates Forum

Aired August 16, 2008 – 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(Transcript from CNN, Anchor John King’s opening cut)

PASTOR RICK WARREN, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: Welcome to the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency. I guess you got my invitation. We’re here in Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Tonight, we’re going to use the interview format with these two candidates. We believe in the separation of church and state, but we do not believe in the separation of faith and politics, because faith is just a world view, and everybody has some kind of world view. It’s important to know what they are. [Read more...]

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