Rick Warren Cancels Obama/Romney Forum Due to Lack of Civility… Hypocrisy Much?

This is Pastor Rick Warren shortly after the Aurora theater shootings:

(He claimed there was no connection between the shootings and his tweet… but deleted the tweet, anyway.)

This is Pastor Rick Warren saying that acting on one’s homosexuality is a sign of immaturity:

This is Pastor Rick Warren incorrectly explaining why you’re an atheist:

This is Pastor Rick Warren telling his staffers not to follow atheists on Twitter because… well, who knows why.

And this is Pastor Rick Warren today, explaining why he canceled a forum featuring President Obama and Mitt Romney:

“The forums are meant to be a place where people of goodwill can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attack and name-calling. But that is not the climate of today’s campaign. I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don’t expect that tone to change before the election.

“It would be hypocritical to pretend civility for one evening only to have the name-calling return the next day,” Warren added.

Says the guy who feigns “civility” time and time again, passing off untrue statements as facts and offensive statements as misinterpretations or hacks…

It’s actually strange to see him cancel the event, since candidates are usually much more civil in person than they and their surrogates are via attack ads. Instead of setting the tone for a more respectful conversation — which would’ve been a welcome thing — Warren just quit altogether. Or, if I can speculate, Romney canceled and there was no good way to explain that to the public without doing more damage to his reputation.

Either way, I don’t trust that Warren’s telling us the entire truth. He has a history of bending the facts to suit his purposes.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Gregory Lynn

    He’s Pat Robertson with better PR.

  • RefulgenceGarbler69
  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    People don’t understand  atheism because they are unable to empathize with other human beings, then lie about it to validate their own misunderstanding.

  • CS42

    “I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads…”

    Really? Where was he during the 2008 election?  Or 2004? Did he skip the 9os? This year’s election has been *tame.*

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

    Not a single gay person has ever asked this man why they can’t have multiple sexual partners.  The only people he is fooling with that statement are the people who are already on his side.  He may very well have gay friends, but I guarantee, none of them have asked his opinion and none have wanted him to justify their having multiple partners. 

  • Stev84

    Compared to other far right hate preachers who advocate the exact same position as him he is actually relatively calm and civil about how he expresses them.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Hey, any time Rick Warren wants to make himself less relevant, less in the public limelight, that’s fine with me, regardless of his bullshit rationalizations. If he wants to imply his superiority to both candidates by dismissing them both as unworthy of his august presence, okay, let him have his fifteen seconds of fame with his six or seven personal ego attendants.  Then let him continue to slip steadily into obscurity.

    I hope this means that whichever candidate wins, neither will have Warren speak at the inauguration.

  • Margaret Whitestone

    They always whine for civility in the wake of their own utter incivility.  

  • Guest

    Hypocrisy?  Why yes.  Doesn’t he know the definition of civility is conforming to pro-gay liberal groupthink?

  • LesterBallard

    Let me be civil: lick my sweaty taint, Rick.

  • jdm8

    Yes, keep telling yourself that, when he himself has been calling gays children, and says atheists only exist because they were spiritually hurt.

  • LesterBallard


  • RobMcCune

    lazy troll is lazy…

  • RobMcCune

    Keep at it Rick, please continue to whittle away the undeserved credit you got from that book of yours.

  • unclemike

    So, in the face of incivility, Warren turns tail and runs away.

    Just like Jesus would.

  • Paul D.

    I think it’s highly likely one of the candidates declined. HuffPost suggests that Obama did not intend on participating in any early debates, which would rule out Warren’s shindig.


  • Randomfactor

    Good.  Can we leave him out of Obama’s second inauguration, now?

  • Coyotenose

    Ahem. What’s the Magic Word?

  • Coyotenose

     Couldn’t last a full day, could you, you sad angry coward?

  • Coyotenose

    And so Warren displays his true colors by using a classic bully’s tactic: deflection.

  • http://profiles.google.com/schwabby Aaron Schwab

    The news reporter in that first clip’s raised eyebrow says exactly what everyone is thinking. Because, as a heterosexual male, wanting to rail every attractive girl he sees is comparable to being gay.

  • Keulan

    Rick Warren wouldn’t know civility if it came up and bit him in the face.

  • amycas

     That’s the part that really stuck out to me. Is the “multiple partners” thing the only reason why he thinks being gay is somehow wrong? It doesn’t make any sense.

  • amycas

     True, but bigotry wrapped in civility is still bigotry. “Look at those gay people being immature and indulging in their sexuality, while I sit maturely on my high horse and wouldn’t dare to have sex with all teh beautiful womenz because of my maturity.” It’s just another way for him to feel superior to them.

  • amycas

     He only said that to prove his own masculinity to others, so they wouldn’t accidentally think he was gay.

  • Tainda

    Roll over?

  • Mary

    People become religious because of fear, hurt and guilt (we’ll leave out the cultural and familial indoctrination). Then they look to an imaginary being to make things better instead of taking responsibility for their own lives.

  • Tainda

    Kind of an off-topic comment but, I didn’t come to atheism because I was hurt.  I never had a bad experience at church.  I just realized at a young age it was BS.

  • Gus Snarp

    The thing about saying people came to be atheists because they were hurt is just a cold reading trick. Religion leaves a lot of people feeling hurt at times, many of those people leave their religion. Thus, people become atheists because of hurt. He may well get people who just sort of lost religion and haven’t actually become thoughtful atheists with that statement, much like a hit in cold reading. Even if he doesn’t it, he and his followers can use it because it’s so general. All they have to do is find someone with a story about leaving religion, and they can find something in there that’s “hurt”. 

    My story, for example, includes a friend dying, and realizing that because he was Jewish, Baptist theology effectively condemned him, a better man than most Christians, to Hell. So Warren would say this “hurt” caused me to become an atheist. The truth is much different though. The truth is that this appeared to me to be a fundamental problem with Christian theology and the notion of Christianity as a moral guide. So yeah, I left the church then and there, because the theology didn’t make sense any more, not because I was hurt. And that led to years of questioning and study before I actually called myself an atheist. I certainly wasn’t hurt or angry when I realized I just didn’t believe in any god, nor did I feel any reason or desire to do so.

  • Gus Snarp

    I hope so. And that we can leave him out of public discourse in general, particularly about politics.

  • Gus Snarp

    Or 1800, when Thomas Jefferson’s campaign called John Adams a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman,” and the Adams campaign called Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”

    But I guess he couldn’t have seen that one since he wasn’t born. Nevertheless, the constant talk of how unusually nasty any given campaign season is shows a complete disconnect with history, from recent history to the founding of the United States.

  • Chris Kilroy

    Whatever. I’m tired of hearing this blowhard. I really don’t see the relevancy of having Presidential candidates come explain to this idiot how much they love their imaginary sky-friend. It sounds a bit like a religious test for public office to me. I really didn’t like him being at Obama’s inauguration either. He’s a bigot, through and through, who has no place in the spotlight. 

  • NoDoubtAboutIt


  • NoDoubtAboutIt

    Yer mom still owes me change from that $10.  If I don’t get it, Immagonna sue her!

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I don’t even think it’s that.  I think it’s that they can’t imagine it, and rather than take an atheist’s word for it, they come up with some rationalization that better fits their worldview.  Other similar explanations include “atheists hate God” and “atheists are self centered”.  The ‘nice’ the about it is that if a) you ‘know’ someone better than they know themselves, and b) ‘know’ that they are either deceitful or have a subconscious factor that you know about but they don’t, you can just dismiss anything they say and continue being right.

    It’s a non-falsifiable position, just like anything you ‘know’ about God.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    It goes hand in hand with this being the most important election EVER!!!

  • Gus Snarp

    I think that’s probably true for most of the followers, but for someone who’s making as much money as Warren is preaching, I have to assume he’s basically a huckster. He knows what he’s doing. He knows what techniques work, and he’s a lot more conscious about that wording than rationalization.

  • Wild Rumpus

    BAM! Take that, Rick Warren! The truth hurts more than anything he can make up.

  • Tainda

    “I think it’s that they can’t imagine it”

    I think that’s a big part of it.  Other viewpoints do not compute

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

    Judging from the data in the Altemeyer/Hunsberger “Amazing Conversions” study, Warren’s “People become atheists because…” is empirically inaccurate. (Big shock, there.) Hurts from religious institutions or merely the normal process of life at most will prompt people to look again at their religion. It seems a necessary condition, but not sufficient for turning away. It also seems incredibly common. (At the least, it’s hard to reach 40 without having a friend or relative die, or consider the possibility of your own impending demise.)

    Even at having reached that point, however, it’s not that they seek intellectual arguments to validate their desire to live without God. Rather, it’s that those who want to validate the truth more than validate their own preconceptions, seek out arguments both for and against the existence of God; and that those who fall away tend to be those who find the intellectual arguments against God more compelling than any argument for.Ironically, it’s usually religion itself that so strongly inculcates the valuing of truth over anything else.