Now if one-hundred percent agreement on policy issues is the requirement for a clergyman to pray at a President’s inauguration, it’s difficult to imagine how any religious leader could in good conscience participate in any inauguration. And if Warren is a self-interested hypocrite in this situation, then we’d probably have to say the same thing of Reverend Billy Graham, for having befriended, met with, and prayed with about a half-century’s worth of American Presidents.
And a Billy Graham analogy fits pretty well, here. Even if American media views Evangelical Christianity only through the lenses of political and policy activism, Warren has never allowed himself to be positioned as a political or policy activist. Like Graham, Warren has always positioned himself as a religious leader who, while remaining devout in his distinctly Evangelical theological positions, is nonetheless accessible to the broader culture, and willing to dialog with others who are not in total agreement with him.
This willingness to dialog has often resulted in Warren merely asking provocative questions, rather than lecturing. Those of us who watched got a good view of this, during last fall‘s “candidate’s forum” event that he hosted with Barack Obama and John McCain. The dialog between Warren and the two presidential contenders ended up being some of the most intelligent discussion of the entire campaign cycle - - and who else was going to have the insight to ask a would-be President “what has been your greatest moral failure?”
Six months ago, many Americans (myself included) were disgusted with what we learned of Obama’s Pastor from Chicago, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. And recently it was disclosed that, because of his failing health, Billy Graham will no longer be paying visits to the White House.
Rick Warrren may be emerging in to a role in the life of President Obama that Wright used to play, and that Graham can no longer play. In short, Warren may be America’s next “Pastor to the Presidents” - - and that’s not a bad thing.
After reading this, I’m sure there will be many who want to throw something worse than donuts at me. But now is no time to detract from a good person’s possible influence in the White House.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.