Color me "meh"

So, I just learned via Ta-Nehisi that Obama has invited Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Warren, famous author of the Purpose Driven Life books, is supposedly getting the nod largely because of his HIV-AIDS work. I had incorrectly associated him with the so-called "prosperity gospel," which teaches that God wants His children to prosper and that following Biblical teaching will yield material rewards. (It appears that he is a critic, which I respect.) I am not thrilled with some of his social stances, but apparently neither are some of the crazies.

All in all, not my first choice. But, as far as gestures of reconciliation are concerned, I appreciate the bridge-building. And Joe Lowery, the man delivering the benediction, appears to be cut from truly progressive cloth, so I don't think I need to go DEFCON-1 over this one. Plus, it's not like Obama called Warren an "agent of intolerance" and then showed up in a cap and gown at his university or anything.

An interesting side note -- the man in charge of the inauguration is Emmett Beliveau, son of local Democratic pooh-bah Severin Beliveau. The Better Half and I are passing acquaintences with the latter, which (sadly) is not likely to score us platform seats for the big day.

Update: I agree with Ambinder's typically intelligent take.

Update #2: Obama's comments here.


  1. My favorite example of the prosperity gospel movement? Charismatic churches in Canada and England, claiming God has turned their dental fillings to gold.

    I wish I were kidding about this. Simon Jenkins (of Ship of Fools fame) pointed out in the 90's that: "Many will be thinking, why is God concerning himself with people's fillings, while there is such serious trauma in the world as Kosovo. They are bound to ask, hasn't God got anything better to do?"

  2. I'm with you, Dan, on the "meh" reaction.

  3. I agree with you about Obama's choice, and I agree with Obama's comments regarding his choice. (I have never read *The Purpose-Driven Life*, btw.) The first inauguration I remember watching was JFK's, as a fifth-grader, and I can't remember who delivered the invocation.