Obama and Rick Warren to reunite on Jan. 20

The evangelical pastor whose Saddleback Civil Forum came off like an ambush will give the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration.

Topics: War Room,

When Barack Obama and John McCain had a “joint appearance” (code for a debate where the candidates don’t appear on stage together) at the Rev. Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in August, the verdict afterwards was that Warren had ambushed Obama. The appearance, where Warren got both men talking about their faith and their values, could have been a good chance for Obama to try to introduce himself to the suburban Christians Warren ministers to — mostly people who, unlike more traditional evangelicals, don’t spend all their time obsessing over gay marriage and abortion. Obama was clearly comfortable with Warren, but his fumbling answer about when life begins — he said the theological and scientific arguments about that issue were “above my pay grade” — became immediately infamous among conservatives. Just afterwards, Warren told BeliefNet that for a Christian who opposes abortion rights, voting for Obama would be like a Jew voting for a Holocaust denier. Many of Obama’s own supporters were left wondering what Obama was doing hanging out with Warren in the first place.

Now he’ll have to hang out with him once again. CBN’s David Brody reports that Warren will give the invocation at Obama’s inauguration next month. (The Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights hero, will give a benediction.)

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, run by the House and Senate, announced the program for the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday. (It also includes a musical performance by Aretha Franklin; here’s hoping she doesn’t reprise the 2005 inaugural performance of John Ashcroft’s “Let the Eagle Soar”).



Still, it will be interesting to see how Obama supporters react to seeing Warren — who was, apparently, hoping the other guy won — prominently featured on Jan. 20. From a governing standpoint, playing nice with Warren probably makes more sense than campaigning at his church’s forum did from a political angle. But after the stunt he pulled in August, what might Warren turn around and say afterwards this time?

UPDATE: This post initially reported that the JCIC picked the participants for the program. Actually, Obama provided the JCIC with his choices, including Warren, and Congress handled only the logistical pieces.

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>