Civil Rights Leader to Give Benediction at Obama Inaugural
The selection of Pastor Rick Warren spurred outrage in the GLBT Community, while other major liberal groups decided to refrain from criticizing the president-elect's decision to ask a pastor who opposes abortion and has compared homosexual activity to incest and pedophilia.
The Reverend Joseph E. Lowery, selected by President-elect Obama to give the Benediction at the 2009 Inauguration appears to represent the opposite of the President-elect's choice of anti-gay Pastor and Prop 8 supporter Rick Warren of Saddleback Church who was chosen by Obama to give the Invocation at the January 2009 Inaugural, in that he is, among other things, gay-friendly.
Lowery, retired pastor of Atlanta’s Cascade United Methodist Church, said Obama called him a few weeks ago and said he wanted him to take part in the Jan. 20 ceremony but hadn’t decided exactly what role he would play. Obama said he’d get back to Lowery.
“I guess this is his way of getting back to me,” Lowery said Wednesday afternoon as he fielded dozens of reporters’ calls at his southwest Atlanta home. “I’m grateful to the president-elect for picking a small-town preacher like me to be on the program of such a historic inauguration. I’m humbled.”
The civil rights leader will join other celebrities of the entertainment and religious communities. They include singer Aretha Franklin, Rick Warren, the evangelical minister of the Saddleback Church in California, and Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet Elizabeth Alexander.
“I am very pleased that a minister like Rev. Joseph Lowery will play a powerful role in this inauguration,” U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said through a spokeswoman.
Lowery, an 87-year-old native of Hunstville, Ala., campaigned tirelessly for Obama in Mississippi, Iowa, Alabama and other states and served as chief of Obama’s voting rights committee. After the inauguration, Lowery plans no official role in the Obama White House.