The pastor who gave the invocation at President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration has joined with other church leaders asking that Obama make a special exemption for religious organizations in his planned executive order banning job discrimination against LGBT individuals.

The Rev. Rick Warren, senior pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, where over 20,000 believers attend each week, has signed on to a letter in which religious leaders ask that Obama “include a religious exemption in your planned executive order addressing federal contractors and LGBT employment policies,” The Atlantic reported.

Further, the letter states, “Without a robust religious exemption … this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity, and religious freedom.

“We are asking that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need.” 

Obama’s choice of Warren, author of the bestseller “The Purpose Driven Life,” as a speaker caused a flap in 2008 because of the minister’s opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion rights, with Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights campaign, complaining in a letter to Obama at the time, “By inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans have a place at your table.” 

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