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Dr. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven Life, has been asked to give the invocation (prayer) at the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Barak Obama. Rick Warren is a Christian who is pro-life. How will he handle this significant request?

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International has written an Open Letter to Dr. Warren concerning Obama’s request — to have Warren deliver the opening prayer. His letter is profoundly appropriate and I hope Warren takes heed. Here is an excerpt from the letter:

“. . .Your accepting his invitation to pray at his Inauguration, however, does not fit into your stated goal to “model civility.” An Inauguration is not the time or place to have that civil dialogue: it is a time to celebrate a political victory. On the contrary, your presence there gives the appearance of endorsing his Administration and even of blessing its inevitable radical policies, and hence your presence there gives scandal to the faithful. While you correctly point out that the Bible says we should pray for our leaders, it does not say that we should pray at their events or in their presence, lest we be used as political pawns. John the Baptist did not pray at the court of Herod, nor Jesus in the Praetorium of Pilate; Paul did not pray in the presence of Gallio or Caesar; Peter did not even offer an invocation before the Sanhedrin! “Better for us to obey God than man,” he said (Acts 5:29), and he followed that up with the sacrifice of his life for the sake of Christ’s fledgling church, not exactly a politically-correct act.

I too am a pastor of souls, and I speak in the name of many in the pro-life movement who are deeply scandalized by your decision to invoke God’s blessing at this ceremony which signals immense doom for the weakest and most vulnerable Americans, the unborn. Millions of death warrants will be signed, sealed and delivered over to the powerful abortion lobby perhaps within hours of your blessing. . . .”

To read the whole letter from Fr. Thomas Euteneuer to Pastor Rick Warren, click here. For the Catholic News Agency report, click here.

I would encourage you to pass it along, even to Dr. Warren (Dr. Rick Warren,
Saddleback Church, 1 Saddleback Pkwy., Lake Forest, CA 92630. You can call (949) 609-8000 or e-mail at

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