Obama defends choice of Rev. Warren at inauguration: ‘We can disagree without being disagreeable.’

Yesterday, news broke that Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church would be given the honor of delivering the invocation at President-elect Obama’s inauguration. Warren has a record of deeply anti-progressive views, including likening gay marriage to polygamy and incest. Members of the progressive community, including PFAW and Human Rights Campaign, swiftly criticized the announcement. Today in his press conference, Obama attempted to defend Warren:

OBAMA: [I]t’s 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 entirely contrary to his when it came to gay and lesbian rights, when it came to issues like abortion. […]

[W]hat we have to do is be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans.

Watch it:

Obama also pointed to the fact that he has invited Rev. Joseph Lowery, who has “deeply contrasting views to Rick Warren,” to deliver the benediction at the end of the inauguration.


Pam’s House Blend has Obama’s Inaugural Committee’s talking points on Warren here.

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