FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2008
Integrity joins with those expressing profound disappointment at President-elect Barack Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the upcoming inauguration. Mr. Obama’s effort to begin his administration by representing differences of opinion in the selection of a pastor whose theological perspectives are different than his own is commendable. The choice of Rick Warren is not.
“Rick Warren has become a recognizable pop culture religious voice but he is not qualified to be ‘America’s pastor,’” said Integrity President Susan Russell. “Warren is a not only a vocal opponent of LGBT equality who does not believe in evolution, he has compared abortion to the Holocaust and backed the assassination of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His views are far outside the religious mainstream and his credentials are steeped in an “Old Time Religion” of narrow exclusionism that ill prepares us for the challenges of the 21st century.”
“This unfortunate choice is particularly painful to LGBT Americans who have experienced first-hand the destructive impact of pastors like Warren who preach “family values” while practicing discrimination against gay and lesbian families. But it should also be a cause for concern to any American concerned that the exclusionism represented by Rick Warren is antithetical to the President-elect’s core values of inclusion, tolerance and the celebration of difference.”
“We have found so much to be hopeful about in these days of anticipation of the beginning of a new era of “Yes We Can” including significant gay and lesbian appointments in the new administration. Regrettably, the selection of Rick Warren is a significant step back after many steps forward on that journey toward becoming a nation where “liberty and justice for all” is not just a pledge but a practice.”
(The Reverend) Susan Russell, President