As the LGBTQ community continues to be upset, and rightfully so, about [Rev. Rick] Warren taking the podium/pulpit for the invocation to call the nation together for Obama’s inauguration as our 44nd president, we, the queers of America and our allies, need to keep in mind that the outgoing blessing and charge will be given by [Rev. Joseph] Lowery, a man of openness, tolerance and acceptance who is almost the antithesis of Warren’s bigotry. The inauguration will start with a divider and close with a uniter.

Read the entire post on Miami Gay

Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery will deliver the Benediction [aka “the last word”] at the Inauguration Cermony January 20, 2009. To see the run-of-show for the swearing in of the 44th President, visit the official Inauguration site

I’m not sure which came first, but rock musician, singer, songwriter Melissa Etheridge has apparently reached out to Rev. Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church who turned out to be a fan of her’s. Also noted, whatever was posted on the “What We Believe” page of the Saddleback Church website about the church’s position and views on homosexuality, is gone – poof! I’m updating the benediction with a quote from Etheridge’s posting, “The Choice is Ours” published today (12/22/08) on Huffington Post.

I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say “In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him.” They gave him my phone number. On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn’t sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn’t want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife’s struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine.

When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future.

Melissa Etheridge