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OC Pastor Has Gay Friends, Eats Gay Food, Opposes Gay Marriage

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Evangelical pastor Rick Warren, who was recently chosen to lead the invocation at Barack Obama's Presidential inauguration, spoke publicly yesterday at the 8th Annual Convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Long Beach, about his stance on homosexuality and California's Prop 8.

According to the Huffington Post, Warren "said Saturday that he loves Muslims, people of other religions, Republicans and Democrats, and he also loves 'gays and straights.'"

But does he love them equally?

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While he is more than happy to rub elbows with openly gay rocker Melissa Etheridge ("he is a huge fan who has all her albums") and recently gave an interview in which he claims he has "many gay friends [and he has] eaten dinner in gay homes. No church has probably done more for people with AIDS than [his] Saddleback Church," Warren has been very outspoken about his support of Prop 8. In the same interview where he breaks bread with his gay buddies, he also "compared the 'redefinition of marriage' to include gay marriage to legitimizing incest, child abuse, and polygamy."

Warren's people-pleasing rationale is that we all can't expect to agree on everything all the time, having told his listeners yesterday "You don't have to see eye to eye to walk hand in hand." Obama seems to be taking a similar stance, defending his choice of Warren by pointing out "he has also invited Joseph Lowery, a Methodist minister and civil rights leader who supports same-sex marriage and gay rights, to deliver the benediction" at his January 20th inauguration, noting that the festivities will reflect America's diversity: "That's part of the magic of this country ... we are diverse and noisy and opinionated," Obama said.

AP Photo/Hector Mata