Shuck and Jive

Friday, April 10, 2009

Open Post for Rick Warren

Rev. Rick Warren won't let it go. His media representative sent me an e-mail. Wouldn't it be nice to have a spin doctor cover your ass when you say stupid things? It appears as though it was sent just to me. Why I am so important to the good folks at Saddleback, I am not sure. Here is the e-mail:
I’m providing this to you in an effort to clarify statements made by Pastor Rick Warren during his April 6th appearance on CNN "Larry King Live." Several comments he made during that interview have caused confusion which I would like to clarify on his behalf as media representative for Saddleback Church.

Throughout his pastoral ministry spanning nearly 30 years, Dr. Warren has remained committed to the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, for life -- a position held by most fellow Evangelical pastors. He has further stressed that for 5,000 years, EVERY culture and EVERY religion has maintained this worldview.

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.

During the King interview, Dr. Warren also referenced a letter of apology that he sent to gay leaders whom he knew personally. However, that mea culpa was not with respect to his statements or position on Proposition 8 nor the biblical worldview on marriage. Rather, he apologized for his comments in an earlier Beliefnet interview expressing his concern about expanding or redefining the definition of marriage beyond a husband-wife relationship, during which he unintentionally and regrettably gave the impression that consensual adult same sex relationships were equivalent to incest or pedophilia.

Jim Anderson
Direct questions to:
Kristin U. Cole
a. larry ross communications
(p) 615.289.6701
(f) 615.825.9152
This is nothing new. We know all of this. We know that Rick is ignorant regarding cultural anthropology. We know Rick is ignorant regarding the Bible and its interpretation. We got that. One day he will change his mind and support equality for LGBT people (including those in his own congregations). It would be nice if he made that change sooner rather than later.

What is amusing is that Pastor Rick continues to dig himself deeper into a hole. He has already ticked off the fundies who think he is pro gay now. No he is not. Take it from his media representative: Rick is as ignorant and prejudiced as always. All of you anti-equality folks can welcome Rick back with open arms. He is on your side.

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?

A video released just two weeks before the election pretty well clinched it. Imagine if he had used his two minutes and fifteen seconds to urge people to vote against Proposition 8? That would have been momentous. That could have changed hearts and minds. That might have saved lives. Who knows? Marriage equality might still be a reality in California.

Rick, you are against equality. No one is fooled by how many "gay friends" you say you have or by how many times you go on national media trying to convince the world that you are not an activist. You can have your media stooges send me a flood of e-mails.

The truth is still the truth. You are against equality and you used your influence to pass a law denying marriage equality to your lesbian and gay sisters and brothers.

The only way to atone for that is to change. One day you are going to say publicly: "I was wrong in October 2008. I was wrong about Proposition 8. I was wrong about my views, statements, and actions toward God's LGBT children. I now support full equality."

I am looking forward to that day. I will celebrate it with you.

It won't be me who will convince you. Maybe one of your 20,000 church members will finally help you. Maybe one of the millions who have read your books will finally open your heart. Maybe a family member or relative will say the right thing at the right time and you will get it.

One day the light is going to go on in your conscience. Like Saul on the Damascus Road, you are going to hear the word from Christ: "Why are you persecuting me?" Tears will well up in your eyes and you will weep. You will realize the pain of inequality and discrimination. You will understand what the phrase spiritual violence means. You will recognize your responsibility.

But it will be a day of grace and rejoicing. The cloud will be lifted. You will see human beings as human beings. You will be embraced by those you misjudged. They will welcome you and you will have new life.

People will shun you. Church attendance and giving will drop. You will probably have to let your media stooges go. All your big evangelical buddies will call you apostate. You may not have access to the places of power quite as easily if at all. Book publishers will say, "No thanks."

But it won't matter. Because now you will be making a real difference. Now you will be speaking words of healing, hope, and truth, rather than words of pain, despair, and falsehood. You will be saving lives that were previously destroyed. I know you don't mean to do that. I know you don't think you are doing hurtful things. Fact is, you do a lot of good for people. That is why I have a soft spot for you. It is time for you to do the hard work and to get this.

Rick, the people who were angry with you about your support of Proposition 8 are not your enemies. They are the best friends you will ever have. One day you will know that.


  1. Wow, John! U r very compassionate toward Rick W!! and u clearly, articulately lay out the consequences (good and bad) of conversion, as u say: "speaking words of healing, hope, and truth, rather than words of pain, despair, and falsehood." Any pastor knows that. Ignorance is a good word to describe what people do without examining the real, actual consequences of their words and actions. As someone said, "the truth will make you free!" indeed! it will make a LOT of us free! thanks for the post! R

  2. Ok, I've had about enough of this guy. I see it so much here at seminary from fundies. Say what you believe Rick c'mon, you don't think we are smart enough to see the 3:56 min talk you had on beliefnet???? "...I'm opposed to having a brother and a sister be together and calling that marriage, I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a CHILD (emphasis mine) and calling that a marriage..."

    Interviewer "Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?"

    Rick "Oh I do, I...I...I...I...I...I..."

    So an older man and a CHILD??? Can they have equal rights under the law as Rick wishes for LGBT folk? And he says they are his friends. When was the last time he had "friends", friends now, with an older man and a CHILD who were in love. Now please,he might try to define CHILD as aaaaaa
    22 yr old girl and a older man as a 23 yr old but will not fly. Just "come out" and say what you believe. "Gay brothers and sisters are children of G-d, that SHE loves them just as they are but I can't possibly give up all this this this stuff" Grow up

  3. **Wouldn't it be nice to have a spin doctor cover your ass when you say stupid things? **

    Since I'm wishing for that, I'm going to wish for someone to prevent me from saying stupid things in the first place.

  4. I suspect Warren's handlers have a sweeper that lets them know any time his name is mentioned in a post, and they respond with one of two form letters:

    "This is to clarify what Rev. Warren said when he clarified his earlier clarification."


    "Thank you for clarifying your clear support of Rev. Warren's clarification."

  5. I thought I was special there for a minute. But, in addition to Daniel, I am just dust that needs to be swept with a clarifying clarification.

  6. This is a beautiful rant. I'm linking to it over at my place. Thanks for this.

  7. And BTW ... I didn't get that e-mail!!! Should I be offended, or flattered?


  8. It seems that there's enough intolerance, ignorance, and grievance on both sides to keep crucifying Christ this Friday. And before you write John, I include myself in this observation.

  9. Well, if criticism of spiritual violence means we continue to crucify Jesus, I guess I've got a hammer in my hand, too.

  10. you are "on" today. what a wonderful post.

  11. However they try to spin it,

    it was still an inexplicable black and white lie.

  12. I'm not sure for whom Warren's preposterous defenses are written. The his fundie friends have had it with him. Take a look at the wingnut FreeRepublic site sometime. Even Warren's lukewarm talk toward LGBT people has driven the freepers off the cliff ... well, those that didn't already abandon him over his giving a prayer at the Obama inauguration.

    So why does he bother trying to placate them?

    Rev. Warren has yet to learn that the middle of the road is nothing but a long line ... painted yellow.

    Perhaps he should rename his church "First Laodicea".

  13. I am not sure why I am compelled to write because I am sure you won't listen or care to think the issue through--your mind is made up and clarity is unimportant to you as your rants about Warren show. The issue is not gaiety--it is about God's word--I am sure you will never see Rick change his position on this--he stands firmly with God on this---God said don't participate in the Gay lifestyle -- it is a sin -- don't do it -- and God hasn't and i suspect won't change his mind -- until God does, Rick and others -- including myself won't either. You see God is right --- always (otherwise he isn't God) -- he said don't sin and we cannot support those who continue to sin and flaunt their sin as OK -- it ain't.

    Therefore i cannot support the legitimization of sin, otherwise called marriage between other that one man and one woman. You see this slope we are going down leads to the legitimization of all other kinds of sin--the argument is ---"i was born that way" (which has not been proven, by the way).

    Well, i was born in such a way as to want to have many women--but God said "don't" so i control myself. God said "dont steal" so i don't, despite the innate urge. God said "dont covet" so i try to control myself. God never said "dont sin unless it is too hard for you". What about the man who falls in love with his sister--ok? or falls in love with his mother--ok? or a 12 yr old? or a 16 yr old? where do we say this is ok? who makes the rules?---you? i trust God more--no offense but i think he has a better perspective.

    What you don't get or wish to obscure is that Rick Warren is not in favor of the Gay behavior and cannot condone the BEHAVIOR. As he has said many times he cares for Gay people---it is the behavior he dislikes--not the people.

    Further i am pleased that he is willing to step out and stand up for God's word.

  14. The issue being discussed here is not what Rick believes. Though he, and you, are wrong.

    The real issue (which you might have realized had you not, as most conservatives do, gotten so obsessed with the gay angle of the story) is that Rick Warren is a liar. That's been demonstrated and there's video to prove it.

    Do you think his position on LGBT people excuses his lying, bem? Perhaps as long as someone agrees with you about the gays, they get a pass on anything else, eh?

    Some of us think he might want to spend some time cleaning up his own act (ie. not lying on TV) before he starts judging others. Might want to think about that yourself, actually.

    You apparently disagree. That's fine. But if that's the direction your moral compass points, don't be surprised if few people find your arguments compelling.

    You wrote, "Further i am pleased that he is willing to step out and stand up for God's word." You should amend that to "Further i am pleased that he is willing to step out and stand up for God's word ... when it politically expedient to do so."

    (By the way, before suggesting that we're closed minded, I'd suggest you actually read what this whole Rick Warren post is about and the post before this one. Did you bother to read it? Do you even have a clue what we're discussing? Because nothing in your post suggests you do. He's trying to backpeddle away from his opposition to gay marriage without seeming to do so. I'm not sure he even knows where he stands on the issue, so I find it surprising that you think you know where he stands on the issue.)

    BTW, Rick has enough money for a media consultant to protect him, you might want to see if you can get a slice of that money. ;)

  15. Odd comment,

    "he [Rick Warren] stands firmly with God on this---God said don't participate in the Gay lifestyle"

    It's nice to stand firmly with God. Is that kinda like taking sides between two wrestlers? But I am most curious about what God said about the Gay lifestyle.

    What is that, anyway? Is the lifestyle itself gay? What makes a lifestyle gay?

  16. "What makes a lifestyle gay?"

    Quality window treatments.