By Mark Willen, Senior Political Editor December 28, 2008 A lot has been said and written, including on this site, about President-elect Barack Obama's decision to invite Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration. The decision has been described by gays, who took great offense, as Obama's first big mistake, while conservatives have read it as a sign that Obama will reach out to evangelicals. Frank Rich devoted his New York Times column to the subject today, arguing that Obama and Warren are on the wrong side of history. The problem with most of the commentary is that it has come from people who have never talked directly with Warren.That's not the case, though, with singer Melissa Etheridge. Etheridge, who is gay, discovered that she was scheduled to appear at the same event with Warren and admits her first instinct was to back out. But instead, she sought a conversation with Warren, exactly the kind of dialogue that Obama says he wants to promote. And that's why Etheridge's column on Huffington Post is important reading.