Paul Kopicki

Narberth

While I am in complete disagreement with the Rev. Rick Warren's fundamentalist views on gay rights, I think President-elect Barack Obama is sending a message that

all

have a place at the table and we can't remain in a polarized state if there is to be real and lasting change.

During his campaign, Obama said establishing a dialogue with our enemies is crucial in establishing any kind of productive coexistence.

That doesn't mean we compromise our ideals; we just don't isolate and alienate those in disagreement - a radical departure from the past eight years.

In a world divided, we certainly don't need more of the same. Warren is only giving the invocation, not making policy.

Bill Robling

Philadelphia

President-elect Obama has engendered another controversy involving a clergyman. But the Rev. Rick Warren cannot be confused with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

While Wright inflames certain members of the populace with liberation theology, Warren inflames thinking people by likening gay marriage to incest. He is indeed an odd choice for an enlightened politician like Obama.

But let's talk about real controversy. How about having no clergyman at the inaugural ceremony? How about leaving the prayers for the country in the hands of individuals in their own fashion - or not, if that is our fashion - and the job of problem-solving for the people elected to do that? Polarizing religion is not what we need right now.

When we want crusades or holy wars or intifadahs, then we'll pick the proper clergy.

Anthony J. Frascino

Swedesboro

Although I am not particularly enamored of religion, I respect the tradition of an invocation at the presidential inaugural.

However, President-elect Obama has selected a nondenominational evangelical "preacher" from the radical far right for the festivities.

I know Obama wants to touch all bases when it comes to inclusion, but this is beyond the pale.

It was such ilk as the Rev. Warren who blindly backed President Bush and traded Bush's ineptitude for his high-minded religiosity.

To give Warren a seat on the platform of change, inclusion and tolerance is like inviting a fox to the henhouse.

Tom Farley

Doylestown

I was thrilled when Barack Obama won the election in a too-long-delayed repudiation of President Bush, Bush Republicans, and the destruction that they have visited upon America over the last eight years.

My enthusiasm waned, however, when I learned that Obama had chosen Rick Warren to offer the invocation at the inauguration.

As a gay man, I am sick and tired of being demeaned and slandered by public figures and then being expected to not take offense because, apparently, there is no point of view that does not deserve a respectful hearing.

I am not a "social issue."

Gays and lesbians are American citizens who deserve all of the rights of citizenship, including the right to not be insulted at the president's inauguration.

I. Milton Karabell

Philadelphia

It is one thing to reach out to one's enemies and quite another to bestow honors on them that they do not deserve.

That is why the selection of the Rev. Rick Warren to speak at the presidential inauguration is ridiculous. President-elect Obama has very peculiar tastes in clergymen.

Anthony T. Massimini

Woolwich

In choosing the Rev. Rick Warren for his inaugural ceremony, President-elect Obama is challenging gays and all other segments of our country to accept the change he is promising.

He is calling for gays and all others to fully respect who they are and be fully respected. He is calling on all of us to go beyond our particular interests to see ourselves as Americans. He is working to build a "universal" America, one that accepts, respects and celebrates "unity in diversity," just as the universe itself does. It is a lofty gamble.

Cara Palladino

Philadelphia

When the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. presented views that were perceived as anti-American and anti-white, Barack Obama denounced him as "divisive and destructive."

But when the Rev. Rick Warren compares legalizing gay marriage to legitimizing incest, child abuse and polygamy, Obama rewards him by allowing him to give the inaugural invocation. Why not hold Warren and Wright to the same standards?

James F. Davis

Gulph Mills

The selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at President-elect Obama's inauguration is profoundly disturbing. Obama's defense of wanting to "hear all voices" is transparent and craven. All voices - really? Should we "listen" to racists like David Duke, skinheads or the KKK?

If Warren had singled out

any

racial or ethnic group for the kind of exclusion he clearly desires and works toward for gays and lesbians, he would not be given such a prominent forum.

I am left to draw two conclusions: one, equal status as citizens for gays and lesbians is still a matter of discussion; and two, that Obama talks a good talk but has not yet learned how to walk the walk.