Rick Warren and Sen. Obama

Sen. Barack Obama, Democratic wunderkind, is speaking Friday at Rick Warren’s megachurch in Lake Forest, Calif., and anti-abortion groups are not happy. Not happy at all.

Obama is speaking as part of a “Global Summit on AIDS and the Church.”:http://www.saddlebackfamily.com/home/todaystory.asp?id=8350 It’s a two-day event that will include video presentations from Warren buddies Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates, as well as the participation of numerous pastors and Christian relief groups.

But Obama is a high-profile pro-choice Democrat. His participation is not acceptable, despite whatever good work he does on AIDS, according to a “statement”:http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/791771591.html released today by 18 Christian anti-abortion leaders.

The statement reads, in part:

“You cannot fight one evil while justifying another. The evangelical church can provide no genuine help for those who suffer from AIDS if those involved do not first have their ethic of life firmly rooted in the Word of God. Accordingly, we call on Pastor Rick Warren to rescind his invitation to Senator Obama immediately.”

Warren is the mega-bestselling author of The Purpose Driven Life and pastor of Saddleback Church, which gets more than 20,000 people each Sunday. Apparently, he met Obama early this year in Washington and they focused on common ground: their desire to fight global AIDS.

Warren generally tries to stay clear of “culture war” issues and politics. But now the pressure is on.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.