The Case for and Against Rick Warren

WaPost does the dueling op-ed thing
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2008 1:31 PM CST
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, speaks during a panel discussion on rural development at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting Friday, Sept 26, 2008 in New York.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
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(Newser) – Liberals should be neither shocked nor appalled by Barack Obama’s inaugural invitation to anti-gay pastor Rick Warren, EJ Dionne writes in the Washington Post. His colleague Richard Cohen begs to differ, however, so the two duke it out in their columns today. Cohen says Obama has decided to “honor a bigot” and is refusing once again to take moral leadership, treating a civil rights issue “as some sort of cranky cultural difference.”

Dionne points out that Warren isn’t just a standard-issue conservative evangelical. He wants to move evangelicals beyond their abortion and gay rights obsessions, focusing instead on issues like social justice, poverty, and disease. His rise could break the GOP stranglehold on the movement. “One need not be too pious about any of this,” Dionne argues. Maintaining a durable majority “requires not just easy gestures, but hard ones.”