WASHINGTON -- Aretha Franklin will sing, the Rev. Rick Warren will pray and more than 11,000 U.S. troops will be watching over inauguration ceremonies in case of an attack during President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in on Jan. 20.
But not everyone is pleased with the president-elect's selection of Rev. Warren.
Joe Solomnese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, sent a blistering letter to the president-elect, accusing him of delivering a "genuine blow" to the gay community in choosing the reverend to give the formal invocation at next month's inauguration.
"[W]e feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination," he wrote.
Andrew Sullivan wrote on the Atlantic Web site, "[It's] shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now."
Liberal groups criticized the inclusion of Warren, whose "Purpose Driven Life" books and lectures have made his church among the largest in the country. People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said Warren's support for California Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage, should have blocked his invitation.
"It's a huge mistake," said California gay rights activist Rick Jacobs, who chairs the state's Courage Campaign. "He's really the wrong person to lead the president into office."
Washington Blade editor, Kevin Naff, called the selection "Obama's first big mistake."
A popular figure among evangelicals, Warren remained publicly neutral during the presidential campaign. He invited both Obama and his Republican rival John McCain to his Saddleback Church in Orange County for a forum on faith and public service.
Ahh........ To bad the homosexuals are upset. I am not sure the vast majority of citizens give a **** about this.