Obama tried to calm the waters with noises about opposing viewpoints and suchlike, but Steve Benen doesn't find that argument persuasive:
In an interesting twist, plenty of conservatives are mad, not at Obama for inviting Warren, but at Warren for accepting the invitation.
David Brody, a correspondent for TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, reported today that he's been "flooded with emails and most of them absolutely rip Pastor Warren for doing this."
Brody doesn't seem to share their concerns -- he asks, "Why can't a pro-life pastor pray for a pro-choice candidate?" -- but he republished a variety of the angry emails.[snip]
"I have had about all I can stand of Rick Warren's double standards. WHOSE side is he really on anyway? I'm beginning to think all he cares about are his questionable political connections. When I saw your article announcing his participation in "that one's" so called inauguration ceremony it absolutely sickened me. It isn't enough Obama is so full of himself that he "thinks" he's God. - Apparently now Rick Warren believes he is too. This is a complete mockery of all things sacred."
We can now expect the inevitable onslaught of reports indicating that "extremists on both sides" have expressed concerns about Warren's role at the inauguration.
Steve also points out the great many pitfalls inherent in such a move. I'd just like to add that, while Obama tried to bookend Warren with a more liberal pastor, but that doesn't change the fact that's it's a supremely bad idea in the first fucking place.
Consider it this way: imagine the Obama White House were to host an inter-faith dialog on the great moral issues of the day. President Obama and his team want a lively discussion with a variety of competing ideas, and invite a wide variety of pastors, including Warren, to participate. There may be some who would say this is wrong -- that Warren's conservative believes should necessarily disqualify him from being invited to the White House. If, under those circumstances, Obama responded by saying, "There are going to be a wide range of viewpoints that are presented -- and that how it should be, because that's what America's about," I would agree without hesitation.
But that's not what we're talking about here. There's only going to be one invocation at Obama's inauguration, and it will be delivered be a conservative who strongly disagrees with Obama on gay rights, reproductive rights, foreign policy, and modern science. I'm a huge fan of diversity of thought, and if Obama and Warren want to have a spirited dialog, I'd no doubt find it fascinating. But this is obviously different.
And Obama supporters aren't being shy about expressing their displeasure:
Way to alienate your base, there, Barack. Of course, you may not have realized just how anti-gay Warren is - he did, after all, serve teh gays some water and donuts once.
At the Huffington Post, Peter Daou noticed that Obama supporters are expressing their anger at the Change.gov website.
So I dropped in at Change.gov. It's getting ugly.
Here's a recent post from somebody named Jacinto Hernandez:
I am writing to ask that you return the campaign donations made by myself, Jacinto Hernandez, and my husband, Charles Callahan, to your campaign. Chet and I were passionate supporters-- Chet volunteered for weeks at a local phone bank. We attended numerous rallies and fundraisers-- including one with your wife, Michelle (see attached picture) That fund raiser was ostensibly held to court support with the gay community. At that fundraiser, Michelle held my my baby and promised to "not forget us." Yet you have. We worked tirelessly for your campaign-- replacing our yard sign when it was vandalized. So why would you betray the gay community- that stood by you-- and ask Rick Warren to lead your inauguration, when his anti gay rhetoric is dangerous to our family. He also was a huge proponent of proposition 8, that has endangered our family and has eliminated the civil rights of thousands of Californians.
Please remove us from your mailing lists and never ask us for your support again, unless you stand with us and reject homophobia once and for all.
I'm not as outraged as some - I see this as a spectacular advertisement for the necessity of keeping religion out of politics, and keeping church and state separate, which is all to the good. But I'm definitely miffed. Warren was a despicable choice. Here's hoping that he discovers a previously unrealized scheduling conflict, or, ahem, decides to spend more time with his family very, very soon.
Update: I ran across this on Daily Kos, and it very nearly cracked me up. The diarist emailed his deeply conservative auntie, and this delightful little exchange ensued:
What do you think of people who are mad that Obama asked Warren to speak?
Interestingly, she didn't understand that I was asking what she thought about progressives' anger:
I'm sure there will be plenty of people at my church who are mad, and I will bring this up at Bible Study on Friday and let you know what they say (and I am sure it won't be good). Like I said, people were mad when Warren had Obama speak at his church. But this just shows me we are wrong to be that way. How can we solve anything if we can't listen to each other?
My favorite line was her last:
Anyway, it's just a prayer. It's not like he's agreeing with everything Obama says. We'll get over it.