President-elect Barack Obama is hearing loud protests from gay activists over his choice to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.
Rick Warren, the senior pastor of Saddleback Church in southern California, opposes abortion rights but has taken more liberal stances on the government role in fighting poverty, and backed away from other evangelicals’ staunch support for economic conservatism. But it’s his support for the California constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage thats drawing the most heated criticism.
Modesto Valle, the Executive Director of Center on Halsted, called Warren the "last person" he'd want to see on the day of the Inaugural.
"We are eager to know where we are on the agenda of change," Valle said.
But while he opposees gay rights, Warren has been active in fighting poverty and AIDS.
"We're not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focusing on those things that we hold in common as Americans," Obama said.
Valle predicts the Warren choice will lead to protests.
"To be hit in the stomach and to be knocked off our feet with this person on a day we should be celebrating? It will bring people to the streets in a negative way," Valle said.
Obama notes that Rev. Joseph Lowery, who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King, has been chosen to deliver the benediction.