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Rev. Rick Warren Hounded by Gay Protestors - and the Times

Shaila Dewan devotes almost half of her story to a gay rights protest outside the Atlanta church where Rev. Rick Warren was marking Martin Luther King day.

Rev. Rick Warren, who delivered the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday, first marked Martin Luther King day at King's home church, Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta. But Shaila Dewan's Tuesday story, "King Day in Atlanta: Protests Mix With Prayer - Rick Warren Talks Despite Criticism," focused not on Warren but on those protesting his opposition to gay marriage and abortion rights (without mentioning that Obama opposes gay marriage as well). Thestory featured a large photo of a protest outside the church on top of a smaller one of Warren making his speech inside.



Swarns got to the protest by the second paragraph:


The Rev. Rick Warren made an important stop here Monday on his way to Washington to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration: he gave the keynote address at the annual birthday service for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the church Dr. King called home, Ebenezer Baptist.


And just as Mr. Warren's part in the inauguration ceremony has been criticized because of his stands against same-sex marriage and abortion rights, demonstrators here denounced his prominent place on Monday's program.


Still, the sanctuary was filled to capacity and an overflow crowd watched on a giant screen outside as the church once again served as a de facto town hall for this largely African-American city celebrating Barack Obama's ascent to the presidency. Nearly every one of more than a dozen speakers mentioned Mr. Obama, to loud applause.


In a sign of the paper's obsession with social liberalism, eight of the story's17 paragraphs were devoted to the protestors:


About 100 protesters gathered outside with signs that read, "No bigotry in MLK's church" and "We still have a dream."


Craig Washington, who manages an AIDS prevention program, said, "We can agree to disagree, but we cannot build bridges by rewarding those who build walls to lock people out."


Several protesters said Mr. Warren's invitation to the inauguration, where the president-elect is striving for an image of national unity, was more palatable than his appearance at a service honoring Dr. King, whose message centered on tolerance.