For Immediate Release
CCR Statement on the Selection of Rev. Rick Warren to Lead the Convocation at the Presidential Inauguration
NEW YORK - The Center for Constitutional Rights is outraged at President Obama's
choice of the right wing Rev. Rick Warren to lead the convocation at
his inauguration. This is "change" we can neither believe in nor
support. Many of us have been looking forward to this inauguration as
we have no other in the past, with great hope that the new
administration will restore our Constitution and its place in a nation
of laws. We understand, too, that the new president is working to reach
across the aisle and make people of different beliefs welcome at his
But the choice of Rev. Warren is a callous slap in the face to all
progressives and people of conscience who cherish the equality of women
and their right to a safe and legal abortion. Roe v. Wade is still the
law of the land. It is a constitutional right. Women fought and died
for it. A man who so vocally opposes such a hard won and important a
constitutional right has no place at this inauguration.
The choice of Rev. Warren is a slap in the face to all progressives and
people of conscience who cherish the equality of men and women in the
LGBT community. His vocal support for the shameful California
Proposition 8 pushes from the table those who have fought long and hard
to be able to love and be loved without the interference of hate
mongers. A man like Rick Warren who envisions a society where some
classes of people are entitled to fundamental rights while others are
not based solely on whom and how they love has no place at this
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We understand that there will be compromises and decisions we won't
agree with in the coming years, and we will be right there challenging
them. But to begin it all in this way, is a terrible signal to send to
the people who worked day and night to elect President Obama. He should
withdraw his invitation. At the very least, he should ask someone else
to officiate as well, someone with decency and eloquence who can
balance the presence of Rev. Warren. If the president is at a loss for
ideas, allow us to suggest two women who could ably fit the bill:
Bishop Katherine Jeffords Schori, the presiding head of the Episcopal
church who supports the ordination of gay ministers, and Susana
Heschel, a feminist theologian and daughter of Abraham Joshua Heschel,
the Jewish leader who worked hand in hand with Martin Luther King.
Let's not start off on the wrong foot and hobble progress before we've even begun.
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The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.