How’s this for a “sop to the left”? said John McCormack in The Weekly Standard. President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Gene Robinson, the controversial gay Episcopal bishop, to deliver a prayer at one of several inaugural events. Robinson has promised to be inclusive by avoiding anything “aggressively Christian,” but more Americans will surely feel evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren’s inaugural invocation is “their prayer.”
Obama is clearly trying to “balance religious symbolism,” said Andrew Brown in Britain’s The Guardian. Picking Warren was “a very necessary piece of bridge building” that pleased religious conservatives, but many liberals, angry over Warren’s opposition to gay marriage, found this “unforgivable.” The question now is whether picking Robinson to lead prayers at the opening inaugural event will restore Obama‘s “relations with the secular left.”
Of course it will, said Japhy Grant in Queerty. The gay community in particular was “outraged and rightly so, and lo and behold, the president-elect did something about it and is now asking our nation's most prominent gay religious figure to kick off the Inauguration on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.” Now Obama’s promise of inclusiveness and change has greater meaning.
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