Civil rights vet to balance out Rick Warren at the inaug?

So Pastor Rick Warren will give the invocation at the presidential inauguration.

The benediction, though, will be given by the Rev. Joseph Lowery, 87, a retired United Methodist minister and a veteran of the civil rights movement. In 1957, he co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and Fred Shuttlesworth.

Obama’s more liberal supporters should be more comfortable with this choice. At the funeral for Coretta Scott King in 2006, Lowery hammered away at the war in Iraq even though President Bush was sitting right near him.

Warren, by the way, has released a statement commending Obama for choosing him despite opposition from his “base.” Here it is:

I commend President-elect Obama for his courage to willingly take enormous heat from his base by inviting someone like me, with whom he doesn’t agree on every issue, to offer the Invocation at his historic Inaugural ceremony.

Hopefully individuals passionately expressing opinions from the left and the right will recognize that both of us have shown a commitment to model civility in America.

The Bible admonishes us to pray for our leaders. I am honored by this opportunity to pray God’s blessing on the office of the President and its current and future inhabitant, asking the Lord to provide wisdom to America’s leaders during this critical time in our nation’s history.

Obama yesterday also defended his choice of Warren, who recently told Beliefnet that gay marriage to like allowing siblings to marry:

“We’re not going to agree on every single issue, but what we have to do is be able to create an atmosphere … where we can disagree without being disagreeable and then focus on those things that we hold in common as Americans,” Obama said.