E.J. Dionne Jr.
Washington Post Writers Group
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
By inviting Pastor Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation, President-elect Barack Obama has alienated some of his friends on the left. By accepting, Warren has enraged some of his allies on the right.
Obama and Warren have helped each other in the past, and both know exactly what they're doing.
If you're on the left, how you view Obama's move depends upon who you think Warren is, where you think he's going, and what you think Obama is up to.
Liberals who see Warren as a garden-variety conservative evangelical defined primarily by his opposition to same-sex marriage accuse Obama of selling them out. Gays and lesbians enraged by Warren's strong opposition to gay marriage in last month's California referendum charge Obama with pandering to white evangelicals and fear the president-elect has gone out of his way to offend them in order to curry favor with straight conservatives.
But a more benign view on parts of the religious left casts Warren as the evangelical best positioned to lead moderately conservative white Protestants toward a greater engagement with the issues of poverty and social justice, and away from a relentless focus on abortion and same-sex marriage.
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