President-elect Barack Obama has defended his decision to invite Pastor Rick Warren, an opponent of gay marriage rights, to deliver the invocation at his Inauguration in January.
The choice of Warren has outraged GLBT, liberals and moderate religious leaders due to Warren’s role in supporting Proposition 8, and his anti-abortion stance.
At a Chicago press conference, Obama said he was a “fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans” but said it’s important for people who disagree on social issues to work together.
“We’re not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is be able to create an atmosphere … where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans,” Obama said.
Warren’s more extreme views include a belief that abortion is on par with the Holocaust, that gay marriage is like incest, and that Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other non-Christians are going to spend eternity burning in hell. Supporters note that he works on behalf of people with AIDS, the poor in Africa and global warming.