The controversy over the selection of the clergyman for the inauguration of the future U.S. President Barack Obama continues to draw circles. Evangelical pastor Rick Warren is to deliver the sermon at the ceremony. Warren is highly controversial due to homophobic remarks.
The first openly gay member of the U.S. Congress, Democrat Barney Frank of Massachussetts, criticized Obama for inviting the Warren. Frank told the Washington Post newspaper it was "wrong to give Warren this high honor". Warren, best-selling author and leader of Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch in Southern California, is a proponent of anti-poverty and environmental causes. Before the presidential election, he also vehemently advocated a ban on so-called gay marriage in the state of California. Obama's decision in favor of Warren therefore provoked fierce criticism from civil rights activists and homosexual organizations last week. The clergyman recently stated in an interview that he personally has nothing against homosexuals. Hardly any other church has done as much for AIDS patients as Saddleback Church. Nevertheless, he is against "gay marriage" because a "redefinition of marriage" is "tantamount to legitimizing incest, child abuse and polygamy". Rep. Frank told The Washington Post he finds it deeply unfair and hurtful to "equate homosexual couples with incest". Obama had defended Warren's election by saying that America must "come together" even if there are differing opinions on social ies. Such a dialogue was "part of what my election campaign was about".