Rick Warren to Speak at MLK Memorial Day Before Inauguration

December 23, 2008 at 5:36 am 1 comment

rick-warren.31.jpgJust one day before giving the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration, a local pastor will be the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Commemorative Service, officials at Saddleback Church said.

Rick Warren – pastor of the 22,000-member Saddleback Church – made national headlines in recent days when proponents of gay marriage criticized the selection of Warren to give the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.
The service is scheduled for Jan. 19 at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and is included in the official program of the 10-day King Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, which begins on Jan. 10.
The Reverend Mark Whitlock, senior pastor at Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine, said 
Obama’s invitation opened the door for positive communication between the conservative movement and the civil rights movement. 
“I think this is nothing but a wonderful statement about the progress that makes up our lives,” said Whitlock. “Rick Warren – someone many would consider in the southern Baptist tradition – has embraced diversity. We can come together in the common love of Christ in contrast to our social opinion.” 
Phil Munsey, pastor of Life Church in Mission Viejo with a congregation of 2,200 of which 22 percent is African American, is not surprised with Warren’s selection.
“I think it’s unique given the backdrop of demographics of Orange County being so low for the African American community,” said Munsey. “To have an Orange County minister participating is an honor. Rick Warren’s influence in the nation is intriguing. Even though it appears he’s offended the liberals in his statement, Christians have to hold on to their belief system without being offensive. The controversy is countered by Warren’s offer to participate in the MLK event. It shows the seeds Rick Warren has sewn towards reconciliation to bring people together. It’s hard to do that in a divided nation.”
Last Thursday Warren praised Obama for his courage to take flack from supporters and invite the evangelical minister to deliver the open prayer at next month’s inaugural.
“I commend President-elect Barack 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,” Warren said in a statement issued by the church Thursday afternoon.
Then Warren gave a similar rationale for his selection as Obama did earlier in the day – that Americans need to put the politics of the past aside and come together.
“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,” Warren’s statement continued.”
At that time gay activists and many rank-and-file Democrats were aghast at Obama’s choice for this high-profile assignment, a moment that will likely be watched by a record number of Americans and people around the world. But supporters of Warren and members of the church he leads defended the pastor and his message.
Warren has been highly visible during the past campaign and in his association with presidents. Warren hosted Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain at Saddleback during the campaign for a discussion of social issues. And Warren was recently in Washington, D.C., presenting President George W. Bush with a medal for his work to combat global HIV/AIDS.
Source: OCRegister
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Entry filed under: African-American, Christian, National. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. REV. DAVIS  |  December 23, 2008 at 10:33 am

    I SEE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH PRESENT ELECT OBAMA INVITING REV. RICK WARREN TO THE INAUGURATION, IT’S TIME FOR US TO PUT ASIDE OUR DIFFERENCES AND COME TOGETHER. OUR GOD IS A GOD OF LOVE.

    Reply

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