So, Barrack Obama has tapped Saddleback’s Rick Warren to offer the invocation at the upcoming Inauguration. That this selection irks those on the political and religious Left is no surprise. (Click CNN, Politico & Atlantic) Left Wing biggotry has been rampant for years. It just seems to be culturally acceptable.
What surprises me is that some Conservatives, even Conservative Evangelicals, are spewing bitterness. More than surprised, I am disappointed – deeply disappointed.
Why would Warren not offer the invocation? If asked I would do it with no hesitation.
I am not an Obama apologist, by any stretch of an imagination. But he has asked Warren to pray for God’s presence on that day. Would a better alternative be to not “invoke” God’s presence? Would it be preferable to ask someone who does not know God to pray? While the synics say this is a political ploy, I applaud Obama for the selection and Warren for agreeing.
I applaud Warren because he is doing what I believe he is called to do in Scripture. Does not God instruct us, through the Apostle Paul, to offer prayers for our leaders and those in authority? (See 1 Timothy 2.1-3) I am very well aware that Obama espouses policies contrary to the revealed will of God. I am also aware that when our Lord inspired Paul to give this instruction to pray that the man in authority at the time was Caesar Nero – one of the most vile men to ever govern. Even Obama haters should admit that he has a ways to go before he degenerates to the level of a Nero. And even if he does, that does not disqualify him from being recipients of our prayer!
What Rick Warren will be doing by offering an invocation is simply acting out publically what God has called him to do anyway. It is not an endorsement of any particular policies. He will ask God to visit our new president. How can that be bad? Even if Obama’s profession of faith seems dubious, is God not capable of regenerating his heart?
I applaud Obama for his willingness to weather the criticism he had to know would come from the majority of those who elected him. It would have been much easier on him to have selected someone more liberal or non-white. But he chose a man who, while not Right Wing, is a Conservative Evangelical. He chose a man who was Mike Huckabee’s seminary classmate!
Again, critics on both side suppose this is just a political ploy to placate those in the political middle. But from what I’ve read, Obama and Warren have a personal fondness for one another, even if they differ significantly politically. Could there not be some affection that effected this selection? Even more, could it not have been God who moved Obama’s heart to invite Warren?
Soon after the election I signed up for the Presidential Prayer Team. Each day since I have received an e-mail asking me to join others in praying for the transition of power, for President-elect Obama to seek God, and to be blessed with godly wisdom in his selections and decisions. I have not appreciated everyone he has chosen for the various cabinet positions. Some I like more than others. But in the invitation for Rick Warren to pray for him, I choose to believe God may be honoring some of my prayers.
I will never have the opportunity that Rick Warren has been given, to lead the Nation in prayer. But I will continue to do in private what Rick Warren is doing in public: Obeying God by praying for those in authority over us.