As you probably know by now, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddelback Church in California, has been asked by President-Elect, Barack Obama to give the convocation (opening prayer) at his presidential inaugeration.
I have mixed feelings about this. I thought about what I would do were I in Warren’s shoes (not that that is ever likely to happen!). It would be a tough call. On the one hand I strongly believe in praying for our nation’s leaders–in fact submission to and prayer for public officials is commanded in Scripture (Romans 13; 1 Peter 4). Also praying in front of a worldwide audience is a chance of a lifetime to share the gospel (at least in some form). You have to remember that the inaugeration of the president of the United States is worldwide news, if there is anything that the world as a whole keeps tabs on, it is American politics!
On the other hand, Barack Obama stands for some things that I am strongly against. The number one issue being the right to life of the unborn. Obama is one of the most radically pro-choice politicians our nation has ever seen. This was the primary issue I had with Obama–I believe that abortion is murder. Reports have confirmed that Obama would immediately, upon taking office, sign legislation that would make abortions easier to obtain and potentially even government-funded. Secondly, Obama has essentially said that he would not oppose efforts to legalize gay marriage–even though he claims that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman. He opposed Proposition 8 (the ban on gay marriage in California).
It was Warren’s support of proposition 8 that caused him to take a great deal of heat this week from the media as he has been more or less labeled as a bigot for his belief that marriage is a union only for heterosexual couples. I commend Pastor Warren for his opposition of proposition 8 and I suspect that Albert Mohler is right in warning pastors and churches that we will all in the near future likely be labeled bigots for opposing gay marriage.
So I want to throw the question at you. What would you do? Put yourself in Pastor Warren’s shoes–what would be the best and most God-honoring course of action? I will weigh in on this next week, but for now, I want to hear your thoughts in the comment meta–what would you do? Could you lead in prayer without compromising on your convictions about issues as important as abortion and marriage? Would you take the opportunity to share the gospel through prayer and hope to shed gospel-light on this event? Or do you think you should make a stand because of your lack of support of Obama’s proposed policies on marriage and abortion?
Please join in the converstion–I will try to weigh in later tonight. (And please do not slander Warren or Obama–stick to the issues).