Pastor Rick Warren: Neutral on Gay Executions

I was watching Meet the Press over the weekend (because I’m a party animal like that) and heard Pastor Rick Warren says things that would make anyone’s head spin.

Take this exchange:

MR. GREGORY: Just sticking with that topic for just a moment. If the issue of legalizing gay marriage comes up again…

MR. WARREN: Mm-hmm.

MR. GREGORY: …on the ballot in California…

MR. WARREN: Mm-hmm.

MR. GREGORY: …would you work to fight that?

MR. WARREN: You know, my position on gay marriage is very clear and it hasn’t changed. What I do believe in is that it is my job to love everybody, no doubt about it.

MR. GREGORY: So you would fight it?

MR. WARREN: Well, again, I’m not a politician. I didn’t fight it in the last issue…

He “loves” everybody… unless you happen to be a gay person who wants to get married like straight people do. In that case, screw you.

Warren wasn’t an official ringleader in support of California’s Prop 8 last year, but he’s arguably the most influential Christian in the world and anything he advocates to his congregation will have an impact well beyond the walls of his church.

He knows that and it’s pathetic that he pretends otherwise.

MR. GREGORY: So you would fight it?

MR. WARREN: Well, again, I’m not a politician. I didn’t fight it in the last issue. What was misunderstood is people, people on both sides tried to make me the campaign leader. I only mentioned it one time, and I mentioned it to my own congregation when I was asked, “What is our position on this?” and I made a video for our congregation. Well, that was dumb, because it immediately went everywhere and then all the sudden it looked like I was the big campaigner. And — but I wasn’t. Of course I have a position on it. As a pastor, I happen to believe what the Bible says…

What does the Bible say about this?

Ah, yes, 1 Corinthians 13:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Unless you’re a homo.

I cannot for the life of me understand how certain Christians can claim to love all people while at the same time actively fighting to stop others from experiencing the joy of marriage. How do you not see the contradiction?

Warren, whether he likes it or not, helps lead the charge. Don’t believe me? Just think of the ripple effect in the Christian community if Warren told his congregation that they should not vote against gay marriage, that homosexuals should be allowed to get married, and that Saddleback Church would be glad to sanctify those marriages in the name of Jesus.

You think other Christians wouldn’t take notice?

Anyway, Warren is in the headlines this week for another reason, too. Martin Ssempa is a Ugandan pastor who has made appearances at Saddleback in the past. He is currently supporting legislation that could make sodomy punishable by death in his country.

Anyone in a position of authority who is aware of a gay or lesbian individual has 24 hours to inform police or face jail time. Individuals found to engage in efforts to sexually stimulate another for the purpose of homosexual relations, or found touching another for that purpose, will face life in prison. Those who engage in “aggravated homosexuality” — defined as repeated homosexual relations or sexual contact with others who are HIV/AIDS infected — will face the death penalty.

So two gay people in a committed relationship could be killed because of their acts of love.

Even outside the gay marriage issue, this is clearly injustice that any Christian would oppose. Warren says he severed contact with Ssempa years ago, which is fine, but surely he could condemn the legislation, right?

Of course not. Here’s what Warren said in response to this piece of legislation:

“The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.

Rick Warren: Spreading the love.

(This is the same Warren who said in the Meet the Press interview that the number of abortions since Roe v Wadeis a holocaust.”)

Whether it’s other nations or our nation, he has no problem taking political sides when it suits his needs. It’s shameful he’s not taking a stance now when the correct response is so painfully obvious. His silence speaks volumes about his character.

(Thanks to everyone for the link)

  • http://home.countthatdaylost.com CharlesP

    “I cannot for the life of me understand how certain Christians can claim to love all people while at the same time actively fighting to stop others from experiencing the joy of marriage.” …

    well… This reminds me of Kinky Friedman’s run for governor in Texas. His stand on gay marriage? “I support gay marriage. I believe they have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us.” So maybe this IS Warren’s way of showing love of homosexuals… he’s saving them from the misery of marriage.

    Disclaimer: No, I don’t actually think that the X-tians who opposed gay marriage are doing it for this reason.

  • Chester Bogus

    I just want to post to say that Rick Warren is a lying idiot. He couldn’t even pass an intro-level anthropology course.

    I have passionately hated him since I heard him say in an interview, completely serious, that marriage has been “between a man and a woman” in every single culture throughout the world for 5,000 years.

    And, honestly? I have no words for how mind-numbingly stupid that statement is.

    He sickens me. Deeply.

    Everyone needs to see how twisted this man is in his heart. Everyone needs to know that he lies through his teeth, though I’m not sure if he does it knowingly.

  • PrimeNumbers

    By not condemning the execution of homosexuals, Warren is showing that he’s morally bankrupt. Sounds like he had a good opportunity there to take a stand, but found himself unable to because it’s about homosexuals.

    Warren – get a backbone, get some morals.

    I myself clearly condemn the persecution and execution of homosexuals all over the world and support them in the fight to win the same rights and privileges that heterosexuals enjoy, like marriage.

    It’s not hard to say, Warren. You’ve just got to grow a backbone, be a leader and say those things if you truly believe them. Or else you can equivocate and wiggle and from that infer where you really stand.

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  • keddaw

    I takes more backbone to ignore genocide in other countries than it does to support the sending of troops to try to stop it.

    Doesn’t make it right, but it does fit in better with the founding principles of America.

    Of course, to be able to have some impact simply by verbally coming out against it and to not do so is an act of cowardice at best and evil at worst.

  • Trace

    No, really Chester, tell us how you feel. ;)

  • http://www.epicure.demon.co.uk Chris Hughes

    he’s arguably the most influential Christian in the world

    Really? I think you mean ‘in America’ — I don’t think most of us in the real world have ever heard of him, and we have plenty of Christian numpties, popes and the like who could probably out-influence Mr Warren

  • Erp

    I would definitely say the Pope is more influential even in the US.

    Evangelicals including Rick Warren do seem to have increasing influence in Africa and South America. However a fair number of evangelicals consider Warren too liberal.

  • DGKnipfer

    Chris Hughes,

    Consider yourself very lucky.

  • http://thinkingforfree.blogspot.com Eamon Knight

    Just think of the ripple effect in the Christian community if Warren told his congregation that they should not vote against gay marriage, that homosexuals should be allowed to get married, and that Saddleback Church would be glad to sanctify those marriages in the name of Jesus.

    I’d be happy if he just said that the government should make partnership contracts (call them marriage, unions, or whatever you want) available to all adults on an equal basis, and churches could endorse or ignore them according to their particular beliefs, as a matter of internal discipline only. IOW: respect separation of church and state, and recognize that the legal and religious aspects of marriage are distinct.

  • Jerry Priori

    Rick Warren is an idiot, but he’s not stupid. He may be a Christian “leader,” but that’s only because he confirms the biases of those who follow him. I think they’d turn on him very quickly if he stopped being an asshole, and started endorsing equality and taking a firm stance against genocide. I’d be very surprised if Warren himself doesn’t realize this. He has no real power; the power is with the mob that buys his books.

  • Robert Byrch

    I totally agree with Eamon. Marriage is a legal act, requiring a license by the State. The sacrament of marriage in a church, mosque or synagogue is a religious ceremony and is unneccessary to validate a civil marriage. Religious entities and their beliefs are constitutionally required to be separate from State Laws. Rick Warren needs to understand this if he wishes to maintain his tax-exempt status!

  • 271Ds

    @ Eamon Knight

    Completely agree. In fact, why this topic is always framed as an either/or hinging on the word “marriage” itself is aggravating, to put it mildly.

    If only religiously-sanctioned unions are to be called “marriages,” then so long as the same legal status is afforded all legal unions, whether gay or secular, then let’s be adults about this and stop using the intentionally-inflammatory expression “gay marriage.” That’s what this really comes down to–the inability for either party to flinch from wanting to “own” the definition of the word marriage.

    If the church wants to own the word and its definition, let’em have it. Let’s coin a secular equivalent (or not–”legal union,” though rather plain, spells it out well enough), and get it on the books, and let that be what we talk about as a society.

  • Revyloution

    it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”

    I wonder if he would hold that position if Saudi Arabia passed a law saying that Christianity was an executable offence.

    Christian morals are so flexible, they can be wrapped around any kind of bigotry you like.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Hemant said above:

    I cannot for the life of me understand how certain Christians can claim to love all people while at the same time actively fighting to stop others from experiencing the joy of marriage. How do you not see the contradiction?

    Maybe someone already commented on this, but it’s all based on fear, both inflicting it to others to fall in line and fear that their majority may someday be a minority and their control over all things will diminish.

    It’s not about love at all and Rick Warren proves that every time he opens his mouth.

  • jemand

    for all of you talking about “civil unions”…

    marriage is NOT just a state issue, NOT just a national issue, but is a contract which is highly regarded *throughout the world.* Keeping nonreligious or gay partnerships in the US from being able to call themselves “marriages” will separate them from the wider understanding of commitment, and will negatively impact such things as emigration with a spouse, any medical emergencies during international travel, etc.

    Just call it marriage already, and let the CHURCHES come up with another word. “Spiritual union.” whatever.

  • bernerbits

    “The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”

    Really, Mr. Rick? What about nations where converting from Islam to Christianity is punishable by death? Is it still your calling to stay the f*ck out?

    If not, then your hypocrisy is exposed.

  • Siamang

    I’d argue that Rick Warren isn’t an asshole.

    Rush Limbaugh is an asshole.

    Rick Warren, on the other hand, is a douche.

    Douches are passive-agressive, and generally don’t give a fuck about who they piss off. Call them on their shit and they whine and back off, but blame you for getting upset… “Jeez…lighten up!”

    Assholes want to piss people off. They get off on it.

  • gribblethemunchkin

    Hemant said
    “but he’s arguably the most influential Christian in the world”.

    As others have pointed out, i’m not sure thats really quite so accurate.

    The Pope, leader of the largest denomination in the world for any religion clearly pips him to the post, Rick Warren doesn’t even have his own country (pffft, what an amateur).

    The Patriarch of Constantinople is very influential too and “First amongst equals” of a religion with more adherents than the USA has people.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury as head of the Anglican faith has 77 million people paying attention to him.

    Rick Warren is a big fish in a small pond. In nations outside the US where he has sway he is very much a small fish in a vast ocean.

    That said, he is still an arsehole.

  • Edmond

    @Jemand,

    AMEN.

    Maybe the churches could call it Mawwiage?

    As in, “Mawwiage is what bwings us togevah today.”

  • Vas

    Chris Huges said

    “he’s arguably the most influential Christian in the world

    Really? I think you mean ‘in America’ — I don’t think most of us in the real world have ever heard of him…”

    Your point is true but what’s with the “real world” bit? Do you think America some kind of imaginary realm? Maybe you will think we are part of the “real world” if we unleash our army of battle hardened invisible pink unicorns to open a can of whup ass on the real world, (it wouldn’t be the first time). Or worse yet maybe we’ll send Rick Warren over there to establish a mega church in your backyard and then you will understand just exactly how much of a menace this cat is. But what do I know… I’m not a “real American”, (as Fox “news” has pointed out over and over again), and now it seems I’m not part of the “real world” either as Chris has pointed out. Don’t be so quick to dismiss Warren, evangelicals like him have great access to our government and have influence over policy and as even a casual observer knows we are not above raining down death and destruction on our perceived enemies. Remember while Bush is no longer at the helm the Bush doctrine is still very real and no nation should be so smug as to imagine they can escape our wrath if they so much as cast a snarky glance our way. Indeed the “real world” has much to fear from the likes of Warren and a superior attitude will not be enough to keep you safe from our aggression if we are crossed. America is as real as it gets, religious fanatics run the show over here and if you are not fearful of that then God help you. We, (America) are an unpredictable, violent, angry lot and we have the resolve to spend our last dime on revenge, (preemptive revenge at that). We hold aloft the flaming sword of righteous indignation and will smite anyone or anything that holds the potential to displease us. How much more real could we be, we are not boogie men, we are psychopaths with extreme amounts of firepower. I think it is unwise to dismiss Warren and his ilk out of hand, even if you live in the “real world” and have never heard of him until now.

  • Baconsbud

    This sounds like more of the double speak to me. He is saying things to please both sides but never fully committing on air to what he really believes. He says that the video was made for the congregation but got spread around. If he wanted something to be between him and his congregation he wouldn’t have made a video available.

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    I see.

    So individual women terminating the lives of undeveloped embryos is a “holocaust.”

    But a national government executing an entire class of adult human beings for engaging in a consensual sex act… that’s not a holocaust. That’s the political process of other nations.

    I realize I’m going to get Godwined for this… but the actual Holocaust was a “political process of other nations.” Would Warren be similarly disinclined to condemn it?

  • Jen

    Of course it is worse it have an abortion than to kill gay Africans- we are talking white, adoptable babies verses poor block people who don’t even speak English. And killing the gays is Biblical… so is killing non-virgin women who get married, but they can have Christian babies, so let’s just pretend we don’t know that.

    Gag.

    Rick Warren is the worst kind of person, because he isn’t even willing to admit to the awful stuff he believes. While I wouldn’t agree with him, I could at least respect him if he admited that he’s really pretty ok with killing adults for their sex life. But no, honesty would be too much.

  • Karen

    What a frickin’ coward.

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    For me becoming an atheist was not a choice. It was a realization.

  • Pseudonym

    Vas:

    Your point is true but what’s with the “real world” bit? Do you think America some kind of imaginary realm?

    Reading some of the stories on FA, it’s hard not to get the impression that the United States is, if not an imaginary realm, then at least on a different planet with a sizeable population who don’t act like normal human beings and seem mostly unaware of anything going on outside the continent, run by an organisation that’s not immediately recognisable as a human government and whose largest religious group doesn’t resemble any of the major world religions that most humans adhere to.

    I realise that none of the above is strictly true, but then, the stories on FA are a highly biassed sample.

  • Miko

    Whether it’s other nations or our nation, he has no problem taking political sides when it suits his needs. It’s shameful he’s not taking a stance now when the correct response is so painfully obvious.

    No, it’s shameful when he is using his religious position to seek political ends. Right now he’s correct to not try to use his position to influence voters. Separation of church and state is a good thing no matter which side the church is planning on supporting.

    I takes more backbone to ignore genocide in other countries than it does to support the sending of troops to try to stop it.

    You’re making the mistake of thinking that sending troops is the only or the best way of stopping genocide. I used to think the same way, until I realized how terrible the government’s track record was on that issue. Not surprisingly, it turns out bombing for peace doesn’t actually work. I’m all for non-governmental humanitarian aid, but sending in troops/weapons/etc. is like trying to fight fire with fire and typically ends up making us two enemies and no friends.

  • http://radicalatheist.com Jack Carlson

    I’m not near as concerned about what Warren says or thinks about the horrific treatment of gays in Uganda. I doubt he has much influence on international affairs. What does concern me, and ought to concern every American, is the involvement of The Family in the Ugandan situation. These are our elected representatives, not some publicity seeking minister.
    http://www.beyondchron.org/articles/The_Family_and_Uganda_s_Anti_Gay_Legislation_7602.html

  • AxeGrrl

    271Ds wrote:

    so long as the same legal status is afforded all legal unions, whether gay or secular, then let’s be adults about this and stop using the intentionally-inflammatory expression “gay marriage.” That’s what this really comes down to–the inability for either party to flinch from wanting to “own” the definition of the word marriage.

    I agree that securing all the legal protections/privileges is the primary point, but here’s where I think you’re wrong:

    it’s only those on the religious side who want to claim “ownership” of the word “marriage’. They’re the only ones who want to keep it ‘to themselves’.

    Unlike them, gay people don’t want to ‘hoard’ the title…..they merely want to be equally included.

    Big difference.

    And ‘gay marriage’ is no more ‘intentionally inflammatory’ than the phrase ‘interracial marriage’. I’m sorry, but I think it’s ridiculous to label the quest for equal treatment as ‘intentionally inflammatory’.

  • Juliette

    I had never read that verse of Corinthians before, but I think I could get behind this. I’d like to learn in by heart and shoot it back at anyone going on and on about Leviticus. I will never understand how love can be demonized. Love is such a beautiful thing. I’m glad it is properly celebrated somewhere in the Bible.
    Then again, with a book this thick, they were bound to get something right…

  • muggle

    You beat me to it, Jemand. I was about to call 271Ds on that. I was married (albeit badly) for four years and it had nothing to do with religious sanction. And I loved this:

    Just call it marriage already, and let the CHURCHES come up with another word. “Spiritual union.”

    Warren’s an ass. To state the obvious.

  • Pseudonym

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