I haven’t written anything to this point regarding Obama’s tapping of Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration ceremony mainly because I think it’s a distraction from other important issues.  However, a Wall Street Journal editorial is going to make me end my silence, because it highlights the right’s misunderstanding of the issue.

An excerpt from the editorial:

The most thoughtful and interesting debate of the two-year-long presidential campaign occurred last August at Saddleback Church between John McCain and Barack Obama, moderated by Saddleback pastor Rick Warren. So it is notable that President-elect Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his Inauguration next month has brought forth hyperpartisan invective from the Democratic left. It has spent the past week conveying to the world its disappointment and disgust with the choice of Pastor Warren because he opposes gay marriage and abortion.


The person in this drama for whom the leftwing Democratic habit of moralized intolerance could be a problem is Barack Obama. The left loaded up heavily in its support of candidate Obama, first against the Clinton machine — always thought to be too willing to compromise with the center — and then in the general campaign. These elements in the Democratic Party know what they want Barack Obama to deliver on judges, the environment, global warming and lifestyle rights litigation.

Mr. Obama’s choice of Rick Warren for the Inaugural’s invocation suggests that he is intent on using the momentum of his remarkable victory to build a governing coalition for the long haul. The silver lining for Republicans may be that the left won’t let him do that.

We can see that the WSJ Editorial Board believes the story to be in the reaction of the left, expressing a growing sense of surprise that the left would be so obstructive because Warren simply had the “wrong” views on gay marriage and abortion.

Let’s toss abortion to the side for a minute.  From what I’ve read, the reason why Warren is so anathema to the left is his statement comparing the gay community to incest and polygamy, yet he’s also said that he’s not homophobic and that he supports full equal rights for everyone.  The comparison is homophobic in and of itself, and his view that gay marriage is wrong and his support of Prop 8 in California eviscerates his statement in support of equal rights.

Many people hear about Rick Warren’s work on behalf of HIV prevention and assume that he’s a tolerant guy.  But HIV isn’t a “gay” disease.  It affects many other cross-sections of society.  And the values Warren espouses when he does this work surely can’t be that different from those that would allow gay people to commit to each other.

I am one person who has learned from all of this.  I did think Warren was a sign of hope, as I was fooled by his focus on poverty and HIV.  But I see there’s still work to be done.

I think Obama messed up by choosing Warren.  I also think the Wall Street Journal doesn’t understand that the left is reacting because Warren’s not only “wrong” on the issue, but homophobic.  The left does not want to see this attached to an historic moment like Obama’s inauguration.