Obama Defends Inviting Warren to Inauguration

CHICAGO (AP) - President-elect Barack Obama is defending his
invitation to the Rev. Rick Warren to pray at next month's
inauguration ceremony.

Obama told reporters he spoke at Warren's Saddleback Church in
California, despite their disagreement over such issues as gay rights and abortion.

Noting that the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a veteran civil rights leader, also will be praying at the inauguration, Obama says their diversity of views is part of what America is all about.

Gay rights groups have objected to Warren's role in the inaugural ceremonies, since the evangelical pastor supported Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.

In a statement, Warren commended Obama for being willing to -- quote -- "take enormous heat from his base."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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