Feminist and LGBT activists expressed outrage following Wednesday’s announcement that Reverend Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor of California’s Saddleback Church, will deliver the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony on January 20th.
In a letter to Obama, Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese wrote, “by inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table.” Warren strongly supported Proposition 8, writing in an e-mail to his parishioners, “there is no need to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population. This is not a political issue, it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about.” He also compared homosexuality to pedophilia, incest, and polygamy in an interview with Beliefnet.
Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, expressed feminist concern saying “America is coming together for the historic Inauguration. Providing a visible ceremonial leadership role to a man who has chosen to use religion to divide rather than unite people is deeply troubling and disappointed.” Warren, a prominent opponent of reproductive rights, has referred to legal abortion as a holocaust.” He has taken the extreme position that efforts to reduce abortion rates are merely “a charade.”