John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Purpose Driven Inauguration

Posted on December 24, 2008



            Rick Warren inclusion in Barack Obama’s inauguration has caused panic on both the left and right.  Gay and Lesbian groups have gone apoplectic over the thought that the Megachurch evangelist and best-selling author would dare to give a prayer at the Obama inaugural.  Evangelical conservatives are calling Warren a traitor (as they look for ways to lure his flock away from him).


            Gays and Lesbians apparently believe that Obama is their President, not just the President.  They are shocked, shocked, that when the President-elect said that he was against gay marriage, he meant it.


            Rick Warren seems to be a nice guy, although I always get him mixed up, in my mind, with Dr. Phil.  Or for that matter, Joel Osteen.  They all seem to preach that ersatz predestination, if-you-believe-in-me-you-too-can-be-rich kind of old time Protestant religion.  Not to make fun of it, but something about those megachurches makes me a tad bit nervous.  But Warren seems like a nice guy, so I am sure he won’t use all of that power that he has gained by setting himself  to be the next Billy Graham for anything but good stuff.


            I guess Graham’s son Franklin was a little too conservative for Team Obama to swallow.  And it seems that Warren may be too conservative for part of the Obama base, although I still have the sneaking suspicion that all of this hullabaloo makes his team very happy.  Can you say Sista Souljah?


            As a Catholic, I am a little skeptical of any religion that prohibits both drinking and dancing.   Never invite just one Southern Baptist to go fishing with you, because alone, he will drink all of your beer.  Or so the joke goes.


            But Southern Baptists have had a pretty good run at Inaugural ceremonies.  They have dominated pretty much every inauguration since George H.W. Bush was sworn in.  Bush had two Southern Baptists, Clinton had two, and Bush the 2nd had one a piece.


            In the meantime, Catholics have been shut out, which is pretty unusual in our country’s history.  From 1932 until 1984, a Catholic has made either the benediction or invocation for every President’s inauguration.  Both Eisenhower and Reagan didn’t include a Catholic in their first inaugural, but made up for that oversight with a Catholic in the second.


            Barack Obama did pretty well with Catholic voters (better than many of the pundits anticipated) but it doesn’t look like he will go with a Catholic presence at his inaugural.  I think that is a mistake, as he has a much better chance in keeping Catholic voters than in getting evangelical voters.  But of course, the Catholic Church has been pretty strong in condemning the aggressively pro-abortion record of BHO.


            Rick Warren was trained as a Southern Baptist, with a little Peter Drucker thrown in for his business inspiration.  (Warren credits Drucker as one of his role models).  It is that organizational flair that has made Warren a wealthy man (so wealthy, he can afford to reverse tithe, which means he gives 90 percent of his salary to his church and keeps ten percent for himself).


            Warren gained notoriety (among hard-core evangelical conservatives) as a moderate because he believes that part of the church’s mission is to help the poor.  I thought that was pretty much all of a church’s mission, but what do I know?  I am but a rather flawed Catholic.


            That Warren is against gay marriage should be no surprise.  Every major Presidential candidate – both Republicans and Democrats – were against gay marriage.  Just about every place where the Gay lobby has tried to win a vote to legalize gay marriage (excluding court rooms), they have lost.  If you can’t win in California on this issue, you can’t win anywhere.


            The Gay lobby should give up on marriage and push for national recognition of civil unions.  Most people can stomach civil unions and are generally pretty tolerant.  But Gay Marriage just goes too far (according to the exit polls).  Maybe Warren can push for that kind of compromise in his inaugural benediction to a true mega-church (the Obama inaugural, which may attract close to 4 million).    

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