I will give you my reasons why I’m baffled by the reactions by liberal Democrats because President Elect Obama has invited Rick Warren to give the invocation.
First, because Inauguration Day is not a day for triumphalism, domination and a “See, we’re the winners and you’re the losers and we’re now set to take over.” Instead, Inauguration Day is a day for all Americans, Democrats and Republicans and social conservatives and social liberals to attend to the American duty of praying for a new President, saluting our new President, and dropping our differences for a day to celebrate the Great American Experiment in liberal democracy.
Second, because it has been the custom of American Presidents to invite to the podium — for the invocation — a spiritual leader. For years, both Democrats and Republicans, Presidents invited Billy Graham. Rick Warren is such a person.
Third, because Barack Obama has said from the very beginning that he would cross boundary line thinking, that he would surround himself with good and intelligent people, and that he would work for a kinder, more unified America. Inviting Rick Warren, someone with whom Obama disagrees on one issue after another, is such a move. It is the audacity of his hope that we can build a more unified country that respects diversity.
(When Rick Warren invited Barack Obama to his church a couple years back to address AIDS, I don’t recall hearing liberal Democrats fussing and steaming that Obama went there.)
And I’ll give you a fourth, and I’ll make it a challenge to the liberal Democrats who are offended that Obama invited Rick Warren. It comes from Anne Rice, a famed vampire novelist recently turned Christian, who said these words:
I am a baby Christian when it comes to loving. I am just learning. So far were my daily thoughts from loving people that I have a lifelong vocation now before me in learning how to find Christ in every single person whom I meet. Again and again, I fail because of temper and pride. I fail because it is so easy to judge someone else rather than love that person. And I fail because I cannot execute the simplest operations — answering an angry e-mail, for instance — in pure love (from Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, p. 225.)
I’ll say this one more way: liberal Democrats who are deeply disappointed that Rick Warren will stand at the podium and pray for our President and our country and our world can remember one word of Jesus: “love your enemies.”