While Bishop Gene Robinson was giving his not-for-TV inauguration prayer on Sunday, a small group of about 100 marriage equality advocates trooped down to Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest California. Of course, Pastor Rick had already left the building, as he prepared for his prime time appearance on Tuesday as well as a sermon to be delivered today at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Church in Atlanta, where more protests are planned.
“Stationed on two street corners downhill from the sprawling church campus, the demonstrators waved rainbow flags and signs, chanted “equal rights” and voiced disappointment with Obama for going ahead with his choice of Warren in the face of continued outcry in the gay community.
“President-elect Obama made a huge misjudgment,” said Jenny Mirmak, 44, of Irvine, an Obama supporter who demonstrated with her husband and 7-year-old daughter. “The Democratic Party has always counted on the gay and lesbian community for their votes, then thrown them under the bus once they get elected.”
Warren’s chief of staff, David Chrzan, declined to comment, other than to say that Warren did not deliver a sermon at the Lake Forest church Sunday.
After church services, several parishioners said they were pleased — and honored — that Warren would be a part of the inauguration.
“He will be able to spread the truth about Jesus Christ and how important it is to our lives,” said Arlene Hewitt, 46, of Mission Viejo.
Kathy Cox, 55, of Newport Beach voiced no ill will toward the demonstrators.
“They have the right to protest, but as Christians we have the right to believe what we want to believe,” said Cox, a five-year member of Saddleback Church, whose 22,000 weekend parishioners make it one of the nation’s largest congregations.”