Dr. Rick Warren
Pastor, Saddleback Church
1 Saddleback Pkwy
Lake Forest, CA 92630
December 19, 2008
Dear Pastor Warren:
Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ! May this season of preparation for the celebration of His holy Birth find you and your congregation growing in grace and holiness.
Pastor, I write to you with a heavy heart asking you—no, begging you—to withdraw from giving the invocation at the Inauguration of President-elect Obama on January 20th. You have stated publicly that Mr. Obama is your friend and that your areas of disagreement about fundamental issues are all laid out clearly. That is fine in itself. Indeed, we all recognize that it is through such charitable discourse that even the most hardened of ideologues, as Mr. Obama is, may find some light to bring them to the Truth.
Your accepting his invitation to pray at his Inauguration, however, does not fit into your stated goal to “model civility.” An Inauguration is not the time or place to have that civil dialogue: it is a time to celebrate a political victory. On the contrary, your presence there gives the appearance of endorsing his Administration and even of blessing its inevitable radical policies, and hence your presence there gives scandal to the faithful. While you correctly point out that the Bible says we should pray for our leaders, it does not say that we should pray at their events or in their presence, lest we be used as political pawns. John the Baptist did not pray at the court of Herod, nor Jesus in the Praetorium of Pilate; Paul did not pray in the presence of Gallio or Caesar; Peter did not even offer an invocation before the Sanhedrin! “Better for us to obey God than man,” he said (Acts 5:29), and he followed that up with the sacrifice of his life for the sake of Christ’s fledgling church, not exactly a politically-correct act.
I too am a pastor of souls, and I speak in the name of many in the pro-life movement who are deeply scandalized by your decision to invoke God’s blessing at this ceremony which signals immense doom for the weakest and most vulnerable Americans, the unborn. Millions of death warrants will be signed, sealed and delivered over to the powerful abortion lobby perhaps within hours of your blessing.
You could have chosen to privately witness your Christian convictions about life to Mr. Obama by politely refusing his invitation and calling him to account for his supposed Christian faith. You could have seriously challenged him with your refusal all the while indicating your “loyal opposition” to his policies if you had wished, but you chose what appears to many as the way of political expediency. I see no “greater good” to be accomplished by you standing at that podium.
Was the Lord “uncivil” when He drove the blasphemers out of the temple with whips? The sanctuaries of our nation’s future, the sacred realms of life, marriage and family, have just been invaded by those who will unmercifully violate and raze them. As one who will be praying for their success, you can, I hope, clearly see the problem.
I ask you, in the name of all our unborn brothers and sisters, to respectfully decline this invitation and issue a forceful witness to Mr. Obama and his cadre that you have a purpose-driven respect for the least brethren of Christ.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
President, Human Life International