Unless you're in a coma, you've probably heard that President-Elect Obama invited megachurch pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration. You've probably also heard that this decision has royally ticked off quite a few members of Obama's base.
I'm not going to get into the political benefits or pitfalls of this decision. It's clear that Mr. Obama and his staff feel that the potential benefits sent by what they see as a message of inclusion outweigh the costs. That's clearly their call to make, and it would hardly be the first time that a politician has expended some political capital on their left to try to buy some on their right.
Instead, I'd like to look at whether or not this is really a message of inclusion. Matt Nisbet has Obama's remarks and some talking points given to staff. I think the key issue was nicely summed up by one sentence in the President-Elect's remarks:
Nevertheless I had an opportunity to speak, and that dialogue I think is part of what my campaign's been all about, that we're not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is to be able to create an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable, and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans.
The problem comes with that whole "disagree without being disagreeable" thing. Rick Warren recently compared homosexuality to pedophilia, bestiality, and polygamy. That's not disagreeing without being disagreeable. That's being nasty without shouting. There's a very large difference, and it's a bit disappointing that Mr. Obama doesn't see that.