Alice C. Linsley
Liberals hate that Obama has invited Rick Warren to offer the Inaugural Prayer. They were hoping he might invite the gay Episcopal Bishop from New Hampshire.
Conservatives think Warren is sending the wrong message in accepting the invitation, appearing to endorse Obama's social policies. They would prefer that Warren decline the invitation, sending a message to the American public.
A tempest in a teapot. Much ado about nothing.
That's what Obama's invitation to Warren means to Christians in the catholic Tradition. Warren is just another Protestant preacher and Protestants long ago crossed the line when it comes to accommodation to the culture.
Warren’s purpose-driven life is so American. His presentation of the Incarnation (The Purpose of Christmas) is the typical watered-down Protestant view that Jesus’ birthday should be celebrated by recognizing and receiving the Gift and by attempting to be an agent of peace on earth for God. There is no meat here. No spiritual substance such as the early Church Fathers offer in their understanding of the Incarnation, writings that pre-existed the observance of Christmas by about 200 years.
In accepting Obama’s invitation, Warren doubtless believes that he is following his advice to “cooperate wherever possible, looking for common ground” (The Purpose of Christmas, p. 113).
This is not the message Joseph received from the angel in Bethlehem. The angel in his dream didn't proclaim 'peace on earth' while Herrod's soldiers were marching there to slaughter the innocents. If Warren believes that his acceptance of Obama's invitation is an act of peace and reconciliation, he mistakes the moment in which we live. Herrod's soldiers are on the march.
To Obama, Rick Warren was a perfect compromise, Protestant and progressive. And to be honest, Obama didn't have many options here. Gene Robinson would have isolated conservatives further and a Catholic Bishop could not have accepted the invitation without serious censure from Rome. The Roman Catholic hierarchs are ratcheting up their opposition to Obama's abortion and gay rights plans.
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