Category Archives: rick warren

>Rick Warren Spins Those Prop. 8 Claims

>[UPDATE]:

Rick Warren a no-show on This Week …. Spokesperson cites “exhaustion.”

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Rick Warren’s spokesperson has sent a letter to Shuck & Jive blogger John Shuck, a progressive Presbyterian minister here in Tennessee who supports marriage equality and who rightfully called Warren on his “I never campaigned for Prop 8” lie.

Apparently some other folks got the letter too (I didn’t), so it seems Warren’s spokesperson is doing a little damage control in the wake of that Larry King Live appearance. Warren, it appears, was against Prop. 8 before he was against Prop. 8 before he was for gays before he was against them …. or somethin’.

She actually thinks folks will buy this nonsense:

When Dr. Warren told Larry King that he never campaigned for California’s Proposition 8, he was referring to not participating in the official two-year organized advocacy effort specific to the ballot initiative in that state, based on his focus and leadership on other compassion issues. Because he’s a pastor, not an activist, in response to inquiries from church members, he issued an email and video message to his congregation days before the election confirming where he and Saddleback Church stood on this issue.

This is really rich. I’ve never seen someone in such deep denial about the craven ambition of their client. Rick Warren is just a simple pastor, not a limelight-seeking celebrity with a coterie of media handlers. A guy whose video messages to his congregation are inconsequential little things that go completely unnoticed by anyone outside his small little church community. Right.

Shuck rightfully calls him on this little BS, too, and the rant is awesome:

He thinks that somehow having “gay friends” absolves him from actively working to pass Proposition 8. Yes, he actively worked to pass Proposition 8. He didn’t stuff envelopes. He didn’t go to meetings. He didn’t knock on doors. He didn’t make telephone calls. He helped the cause of Proposition 8 more than thousands of hours of activism by those who did those things.

He did it with a two minute fifteen second video. Care to see it again?

Do go over to Shuck & Jive and read the rest of the post. Let me say, as a progressive Presbyterian myself, Pastor Shuck rawks.

I just don’t get this fence-riding by Warren. I guess he wants everyone to love him, from conservative evangelicals to the gays he claims as friends. But when you take a public stand on someone’s civil rights, and classify certain people as more equal than others, you’re gonna piss folks off.

Here a lesbian woman is about to get deported because she can’t legally wed her partner of 23 years, the woman with whom she has two children. She is not a U.S. citizen but her partner is; if she were straight she could wed and be a citizen. She’s not straight, she’s gay, and the federal government won’t recognize her relationship because of ignorant people like Rick Warren who have taken certain passages of the Bible as the inerrant word of God, while completely ignoring others. What they end up with is a world view that discriminates and destroys families.

Here’s a reminder for Rick Warren: people used the Bible to justify slavery, Jim Crow, anti-miscegenation laws, the slaughter of Native Americans, the oppression of women, and a host of other atrocities. Those people were wrong then, and you are wrong now.

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Filed under gay equality, rick warren

>The Amazing Transformation Of Rick Warren

>Shuck & Jive calls out Rick Warren on his Prop. 8 hypocrisy. Seems Pastor Warren told Larry King last night that reports portraying him against gay marriage and a supporter of Proposition 8 were all one big misunderstanding.

Why, Warren claims, he

never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.

Really? So this video statement from October 2008 where he says…

Now Let me just say this really clearly. We support Proposition 8. And if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8.

… was not an endorsement, and just part of this big misunderstanding, huh?

Warren has undergone an amazing makeover these past few years. Once a proud member of the wackadoodle far-right fringe, who sent this pre-2004 election letter to his flock informing them that abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research were the most important issues of concern to Christians, he now claims that he’s “impartial.” BTW, in that letter he closed with the admonishment:

this election REALLY counts more than most others have.

Yes, it sure did. Pay no attention to the war and torture your president did in your name, Pastor Warren.

Meanwhile in 2005, Warren was enjoying fresh celebrity thanks to Ashley Smith. So he appeared on Hardball, where he all but called Michael Schiavo a murderer:

MATTHEWS:  What do you do in that situation, after four or five years of sitting in a room with a person, in this case, 15 years of being in a room where he knows, when he goes in that room, there is not going to be another person in there?  What do you do for hope?

WARREN:  Well, my first question is, I wonder why he is in a hurry to pull the feeding tube on her.  In the first place…

MATTHEWS:  Fifteen years is a hurry? 

WARREN:  Well, he has already began his own life.  He is living with another girl. 

[…]

MATTHEWS:  So why is he doing this, do you think?

WARREN:  I have no idea.  Well, I don‘t know.

There‘s 1,000 reasons could you speculate.  What if she came back out of the—out of this state and had something to say that he didn‘t want said?

Wow, that’s some amazing compassion and understanding right there.

Interestingly, despite being such a prominent religious voice during the Terri Schiavo debacle, Warren had nothing at all to say when President Obama lifted the ban on federal funding for stem cell research. According to Warren’s spokeswoman,

Kristin Cole said he will not be issuing a public statement on it. Cole said in a brief phone conversation that Warren typically avoids making public statements on political matters.

Really? Since when? He said in that October 2008 video that he won’t endorse a candidate but he will speak out on moral issues. I guess stem cell research and “right to life” are no longer moral issues for Pastor Warren. What an amazing flip-flop.

However, let’s give Rick Warren credit for taking on the evangelical establishment on issues like global warming and AIDs in Africa. These issues are popular with young evangelicals; it allows him to hobnob with President Obama and rock star Bono. But it’s hard for me to take anything he says seriously, knowing that Warren’s commitment to a cause seems to shift with the political winds–and the all-important desire to take his “brand” global.

Rick Warren has always been a limelight-chaser. He’s ambitious, and ambition and religion are a deadly combination. He wants to be “America’s pastor” but the thing is, America doesn’t need a pastor. This is post-Christian America, remember?

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Filed under religion, religious right, rick warren

>Pastor Problems

>Apparently we liberals are up in arms over the selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at President-elect Obama’s inauguration.

Overlooked in the uproar is this info from Salon’s War Room:

This time, though, the decision to get involved with Saddleback was actually not Obama’s. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, run by the House and Senate, put together the program for the swearing-in ceremony. Congress, not Obama, invited Warren (as well as scheduling a musical performance by Aretha Franklin; here’s hoping she doesn’t reprise the 2005 inaugural performance of John Ashcroft’s “Let the Eagle Soar”).

Really? Maybe I’m a skeptic, but I’m calling bullshit on that one. I find it hard to believe that if Obama objected to the pastor giving the invocation at his inauguration, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies would still have overruled him.

But what do I know. Definitely worth keeping an eye on, though.

Yes, there are lots of reasons why liberals would hate this choice for the presidential inauguration–Warren’s support of Proposition 8, his anti-choice stance, giving President Bush an “international medal of peace,” plus the whole way he set up Obama with a phony ”cone of silence” deal, etc. etc. Oh, I could go on.

I have my own reasons for not liking Warren, which have nothing to do with his position on social issues and obvious partisanship, and everything to do with what I call his “bullshit driven empire.” When religion and commerce meet, I have a problem. And this strikes me as the antithesis of what Jesus preached:

The ubiquitous “celebripastor” […] recently announced that he and Reader’s Digest have formed a “partnership” aimed at “produc[ing] an inspirational multimedia platform called ‘The Purpose Driven Connection.’”

The Plan: According to a Reader’s Digest press release, “the organizations will pool their international resources to produce and publish this Purpose Driven platform to help people who are seeking their purpose in life and wish to interact with others on their spiritual journeys.” The goal is to “provide a suite of bundled multimedia tools: The Purpose Driven Connection, a quarterly magazine; small group study materials delivered in DVDs, workbooks and downloadable discussion guides; and a state-of-the-art Christian social networking Web site.” All for a $29 membership fee.

This isn’t Christianity, it’s merchandising, and it’s revolting.

There’s already a host of Purpose Driven crap for sale as it is. Someone overturn this money-changer’s table already.

I don’t care that Rick Warren loves fetuses and hates gays, that’s standard-issue with this crowd. I do think he’s profiting from his soul-salvation business and that in my book is Class A hucksterism. He’s a fraud and shouldn’t be given the platform the Presidential inauguration provides.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Reader's Digest, rick warren

>John McCain, Fairy Tale Candidate

>And by “fairy tale” I do mean in the “I can’t distinguish fact from fiction” sense.

Apparently John McCain told two compelling stories at Saddleback Church over the weekend, both of which are seriously lacking in the credibility department.

First there’s the infamous “cross in the dirt at Christmas” story, which McCain never mentioned in his autobiography or indeed ever before–until this campaign, that is. Some even suggest the story was cribbed from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who unfortunately died last week and therefore cannot weigh in on the issue.

In another instance, McCain repeats a hoax circulated by right-wing bloggers last winter about Al Qaeda using two mentally disabled women as suicide bombers. It doesn’t seem to have happened that way, but hey: it feels true, right?

All of which goes to show that when it comes to saying and doing anything–anything–to get elected, McCain has no shame. He’ll even lie about his faith, to one of the country’s most influential pastors.

And don’t even ask about this whole ”cone of silence” nonsense. Seriously, don’t ask: according to McCain’s spokesperson, questions like that are out of line on account of McCain being a former prisoner of war and all. So I guess we aren’t allowed to question his integrity on anything, ever: not about making up the cross in the sand story, not the Keating Five affair , not whether he cheated on wife Carol with Cindy, not how he helped Cindy evade felony drug charges. Guess he gets a pass.

And I have this to say to Pastor Rick Warren. I have been defending this event all across the blogosphere. I’ve been telling people it’s just a means of allowing the candidates to address a specific constituency, just as they address any other group of voters. But you tilted the scales, buddy. You gave one side an advantage by not ensuring McCain was in the green room before the whole thing began. So maybe folks were right. Maybe there’s a reason we shouldn’t let church folks inexperienced in the cut-throat ways of presidential politics be put in charge of these things.

McCain fabricated a couple of doozies at Saddleback that show him to be the worst sort of hypocrite. One story was carefully crafted to tug the heart-strings of Christian voters; the other, to tug at the trigger fingers of warhawks. Will either group learn the truth of these tales? Will any of us?

Of course not. John McCain was a prisoner of war. How dare we even ask.

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Filed under 2008 presidential election, John McCain, rick warren