Purpose Driven

President-elect Obama's selection of Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church and author of the mega-selling book The Purpose Driven Life, to give the invocation at his swearing-in has drawn howls from the far left.

Warren is pro-life and believes that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. The horror! Moreover, Warren exercised his right as an American and participated in the democratic process by endorsing Proposition 8, a measure codifying marriage as between a man and a woman and supported by a majority of Californians. Why, how in the name of all things tolerant could the left allow any such diversity in the Inauguration?!

Joe Solmonese, of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a letter to Obama, "By inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table."

Look, this was smart politics by Obama. Pastor Warren has a huge following in this country. Those are followers Democrats should seek to engage, not condemn. Also, Warren held the most illuminating debate of the campaign, one that shied away from the normal tit-for-tat and allowed voters to really get to know the candidates. Let's not forget how helpful this debate was for Obama, thus helping the left's cause. (Note to conservatives: Do not be distracted by Obama's choice of symbols; follow the policy.)

Yes, some of this could have been handled better — surprise announcements often draw surprise (if predictable) outrage. But the opponents of Prop. 8, many of whom have launched a hate-filled campaign against the supporters of the measure, might want to ask themselves what Democrat is most responsible for its approval. The answer: Barack Obama.

Obama's candidacy brought score of new voters to the polls. Many of these, such as churchgoing African-Americans and Hispanics, supported the measure. Polling suggests that three-quarters of African-American women in California supported Prop. 8. Prop. 8 won with 52 percent of the vote. There's your margin.

Lost in all of this outrage is that fact there will be any kind of invocation at all. Somewhere, atheists are outraged that there will be any recognition of a Higher Power. Now that they've made sure no one on the campus of my alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will be forced to see a Christmas tree at one of the school libraries — liberals love trees, just not at Christmas — perhaps they will now seek to remove any prayer-related activity from the Inauguration. Starting with Rick Warren.

God help us.