Warren to Keynote MLK Service
One day before controversial inauguration address
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2008 8:43 AM CST
President George W. Bush talks with Dr. Rick Warren, after receiving an award from him at the Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health, Monday, Dec. 1, 2008.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Just a day before he makes his appearance at Barack Obama’s inauguration, Rick Warren will give the keynote address at the annual Martin Luther King Jr memorial service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, King's former home in Atlanta, the OC Register reports. While Obama has taken heat from gay marriage supporters for inviting Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration, pastors say the MLK invitation opens the door between conservatives and the civil rights movement.

“I think this is nothing but a wonderful statement,” said one pastor of the King service. “Rick Warren—someone many would consider in the southern Baptist tradition—has embraced diversity.” Another said Warren’s participation in the event would counter the controversy over the inauguration. “It shows the seeds Rick Warren has sewn towards reconciliation to bring people together. It’s hard to do that in a divided nation.”