Spotlight Exclusives

Rick Warren Selection Brings Poverty Into Inaugural Politics

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“Out of the Spotlight” Posting for December 19, 2008

President-elect Obama۪s choice of Rick Warren to deliver the Inaugural invocation has been met with sharp criticism from both ends of the political spectrum. But it also has the potential to make poverty a key topic during the inauguration. In explaining their Warren pick, members of the Obama-Biden inauguration team are referencing his work on behalf of the poor, according to CNN. Transition team talking points, leaked to the Huffington Post, also point to Warren۪s commitment to fighting poverty:

“Pastor Rick Warren has a long history of activism on behalf of the disadvantaged and the downtrodden. He’s devoted his life to performing good works for the poor and leads the evangelical movement in addressing the global HIV/AIDS crisis.”

“But what’s important is that they agree on many issues vital to the pursuit of social justice, including poverty relief and moving toward a sustainable planet; and they share a commitment to renewing America’s promise by expanding opportunity at home and restoring our moral leadership abroad.”

In recent years, Warren has been credited with leading an evangelical resurgence in the fight against poverty at home and abroad. And most recently, Warren hosted the Saddleback Forumwith Obama and Senator John McCain one of only a handful of joint appearances during the campaign that focused on issues most important to low-income families.

The Obama-Biden team, in defending their choice of Warren, has also announced thatRev. Joseph Lowry will deliver the official benediction. Rev. Lowry, a veteran of the civil rights movement and long-time champion of the poor, is widely respected by progressives.

This debate is sure to continue — and for good reason. But it۪s our hope and expectation that as the transition team considers the issues to address during the inauguration, poverty will not have been used as only a feel-good talking point to justify a controversial decision, but will remain a serious component of their national agenda.

posted by Helina


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