National Religious Leadership Roundtable responds to selection of Rick Warren to give invocation at inauguration

December 18, 2008

Pedro Julio Serrano
Communications Coordinator
(Office) 646.358.1479
(Cell) 787.602.5954

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 — The National Religious Leadership Roundtable, convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, responds to the selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the Jan. 20 inauguration.

Statement by the Rev. Rebecca Voelkel
National Religious Leadership Roundtable

"As a Christian pastor and a lesbian, I am deeply troubled by President-elect Obama's choice of Pastor Rick Warren to pray at his inauguration. Pastor Warren was one of the leaders in smearing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the recent Proposition 8 campaign in California. His words and actions have solidified the impression that Christian equals bigot when it comes to the LGBT community. And his leadership was one of the factors in Prop. 8's passage.

"But Pastor Warren and the Saddleback Church, whose membership counts in the 20,000 mark, have also taken a leadership role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. And through this work they are coming to know many LGBT persons and our real lives — as opposed to the lies they have painted us with.

"My prayer is that Pastor Warren allow himself to repent of his hatred and harm to the LGBT community. If he is going to purport to acknowledge God's presence at the inauguration, he must recognize the power and blessing in all our lives — especially LGBT people."

NOTE TO MEDIA: Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey has also issued a statement saying in part, “President-elect Obama campaigned on a theme of inclusivity, yet the selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation is a direct affront to that very principle.” Read the full statement here.


The National Religious Leadership Roundtable (NRLR), convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is an interfaith network of leaders from pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) faith, spiritual and religious organizations. We work in partnership with other groups to promote understanding of and respect for LGBT people within society at large and in communities of faith. We promote understanding and respect within LGBT communities for a variety of faith paths and for religious liberty, and to achieve commonly held goals that promote equality, spirituality and justice.

The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.