In choosing evangelical pastor Rick Warren to provide the invocation at his Inauguration, President-Elect Obama (we need to keep saying "President-Elect Obama" to make it easier to get used to saying "President Obama") made a real mistake. Is it his first? Given the way the team he has assembled so far looks, it might well be, although the proof of that pudding will be in the eating.
The mistake in picking Warren is not in angering part of the President-Elect's base. That may even be politically wise. The error lies in giving a place of honor at a major public event to a man who espouses bigotry against a substantial group of Americans, and a group that has suffered and still suffers from prejudice. As more than one observer has noted, if Warren preached anti-Semitism or anti-Catholicism with the virulence that he shows toward gays and non-believers, having him appear at the Inauguration would not even been considered. Indeed, he wouldn't even be invited.