Why is Rick Warren being given a pulpit at the inauguration? In large part because the press has already given him a free pass. A media establishment that defines itself as “moderate” in all things — as if moderation wasn’t a political pose — needs religion it can define as good (read: innocuous). This, of course, is as much of an insult to believers as to those who oppose sectarianism in official life. Witness this editorial in the L.A. Times, opposing an atheists’ group’s attempt to block Colorado’s governor from declaring a day of prayer. The paper notes that the official prayer for the day would come from the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a fundamentalist outfit headed by James Dobson’s wife, Shirley. That’s fine with the paper, so long as it’s a nice prayer — a position that’s contemptuous of both the fundamentalists behind the initiative and anybody who’s bothered by the Colorado state government’s effective endorsement of a group that declares ” the issue before us is the ‘sexual re-orientation’ and brainwashing of children by homosexual advocacy groups.” The LA Times bases its support for the “inclusion” of such an organization by insisting that there must be room at the table for hate, so long as it’s well-behaved. Otherwise wholly ecumenical traditions such as the National Prayer Breakfast could be threatened by rabid church/state separationists. Here’s a sample of the Prayer Breakfast’s ecumenicism, as reported in my book, The Family (excerpted here): “Anything could happen,” reads an internal planning document, “even the Koran could be read. But JESUS is there. He is infiltrating the world.” The LA Times didn’t have to take my word for it — they could have simply trusted their own Pulitzer-winning reporter, Lisa Getter, who published a lengthy investigation of the sectarian group behind the Prayer Breakfast in 2002.