Warren Aide Leaves Open Question of Whether Invocation Will Use Jesus' Name

Pastor Rick Warren's spokesman is leaving open the question of whether the California evangelist will invoke the name of Jesus Christ when he delivers the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration Tuesday.

Bully Pulpit News reported over the weekend that the Saddleback Church pastor told his congregation that he would invoke Jesus' name in his prayer. Some critics have complained that specifically mentioning Jesus leaves non-Christians feeling excluded from the ceremony.

Asked for comment, Warren spokesman Larry Ross told FOXNews.com that the pastor still is working on the prayer. He declined to give specifics but offered a defense of what the invocation might entail. 

"He's a Christian pastor. He's going to pray the only kind of prayer he knows how to pray," Ross said. "He is going to pray consistent with his calling as an evangelical pastor." 

Obama tried to demonstrate spiritual diversity in choosing both Warren, a conservative white preacher, to give the invocation and Rev. Joseph Lowery, a liberal black preacher, to give the benediction. 

Obama drew criticism, though, from gay rights groups for picking an opponent of gay marriage to deliver the invocation. 

Dozens of gay-rights activists protested Warren's keynote speech Monday at a Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative service in Atlanta. Warren has said he believes marriage should be limited to a man and a woman, in accordance with scripture. He supported passing Proposition 8 in California, which amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Members of the Atlanta LGBT Coalition who protested at the King ceremony told WAGA-TV that "Warren's controversial and narrow views on the nature of homosexuality, committed gay and lesbian partnerships, and a woman's right to choose are extreme, based in ignorance and false statements."