I suppose the Rick Warren brouhaha has lingered as long as it has because we're in the holiday news lull. It certainly has continue to dominate the news. For my somewhat contrarian view on the matter, see The Purpose of Life.
I does, however, make one wonder: what if Obama had scored Pope Benedict to deliver the inaugural invocation instead of Rev. Warren. Would the reaction have been the same? I would be greatly surprised if it were. I think it would have been greeted as a coup by the public and the media, and would have been hailed as fitting for this historic occasion that the Pontiff was providing the inaugural prayer.
Yet, the Pope's views on gay marriage, and gays in general, don't differ much from that of Warren, even if the Pope's latest remarks on the gay scourge has an environmental-friendly flavor. In Gay groups angry at Pope remarks, BBC News reports:
Speaking on Monday, Pope Benedict said that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was as important as protecting the environment.* * * *
Pope Benedict made the comments in an end-of-year speech to senior Vatican staff.
Defending God's creation was not limited to saving the environment, he said, but also about protecting man from himself.
It was not "out-of-date metaphysics" to "speak of human nature as 'man' or woman'", he said. It came from the "language of creation, despising which would mean self-destruction for humans".
Gender theories, he said, led to man's "auto-emancipation" from creation and Creator.
"Rain forests deserve, yes, our protection but the human being... does not deserve it less," he said.
Who could argue against protecting rain forests? The analogy is priceless.
Once you look beyond the nice words that dress up the same bigoted sentiments, it brings to mind the fact that, along with the Mormons, the Catholic Church was in the forefront of the Prop 8 propaganda war. Black Churches weren't far behind. The reality is that Warren was a bit player in that battle. See, e.g., God Is Not Gay and Wedding Bell Blues.
So the real question should be, who could Obama pick in the religion department that doesn't have issues with gay rights -- assuming, of course, that the mix of Church & State belongs at the inauguration at all. Maybe, in the end, that's the appropriate answer (not that it's going to happen anytime soon).