Rick Warren Lied About Why He Canceled the Presidential Forum

A couple of days ago, Pastor Rick Warren explained why he canceled a forum featuring President Obama and Mitt Romney by saying this:

“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.

Civility! That was the problem!

Except now we’re learning Rick Warren lied about that.

“As I understand it, Pastor Warren received tepid responses from both camps well before the supposed ‘cancellation,’” said a senior Democratic strategist in contact with the Obama campaign.

“It appears that the event was canceled because neither the Romney nor Obama campaigns thought it was in their interest to do,” the strategist continued, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a delicate political matter.

A source close to the Romney campaign said that the former Massachusetts governor hadn’t planned on attending Warren’s event: “We were never going, ever. We offered to do a video.”

Should we really be surprised? Lying is essentially what Warren does for a living so maybe we need to forgive him…

(via Daily Dish)

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.

  • mikespeir

    Can you believe that–a man of God lying?

  • RobMcCune

    “You didn’t leave my forum, I left you!”

    -Rick Warren

  • Santiago


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

    I saw the headline and thought, “yeah, of course he did… duh.”  How do you know he’s lying?  His lips are moving.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1527623930 Melissa Williams

    Saw this last night on Hannity. Well, not the truth. Just about Warren cancelling because of incivility & the usual “Isn’t Obama just awwwwwful?!” stuff. I was wondering what the real reason might be. 

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Warren: Hey guys, can I steal some of your fame and prop up my fading relevance and importance by having the two of you come talk to me as if I’m even more relevant and important than you?

    Obama and Romney: Uh, no. We’re kinda busy.

    Warren: Well! How uncivil! You two are not worthy of coming to talk to me. Clean up your acts, and maybe I’ll consider condescending to letting you meet with me and steal some of my awesome fame, relevance, and importance! Hmph! Now go away and stop pestering me!

  • newavocation

    Cash must be getting tighter for Rick, he must not be paying enough to be relevant in these campaigns. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QPVVPRJ7QKLPU6TF5B4IZTENTI No

    How does a drama queen try and grab attention when none is being paid them? Act like a drama queen. Except that he’d also be a drama concern troll, what with the whole “civility” soapbox that is curiously lacking any audience whatsoever.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Should we really be surprised? Lying is essentially what Warren does for a living so maybe we need to forgive him…

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Naaah!

  • http://exconvert.blogspot.com/ Kacy

    Aside from Rick Warren lying, which really isn’t all that surprising, I think the more important point is here:

    “It appears that the event was canceled because neither the Romney nor Obama campaigns thought it was in their interest to do.”

    I mean, how awesome is it that neither cared for Warren’s faith-based forum?  That’s a far cry from the 2008 election.  I, for one, am taking this as a good sign–that maybe our nation is slowly moving in the right direction.

  • RobMcCune

    He’s a pastor, he needs to conceal his selfish desires in a higher good and pretend his pettiness is taking the highroad.

  • 3lemenope

    I mean, how awesome is it that neither cared for Warren’s faith-based forum?  That’s a far cry from the 2008 election.  I, for one, am taking this as a good sign–that maybe our nation is slowly moving in the right direction.

    As much as I might want to believe that’s the case, I think it is far more likely that each candidate had vulnerabilities and uncomfortable topics that would have been raised had they gone, and that better explains their respective decisions. Romney’s Mormonism is still an uncomfortable topic for many evangelicals who are currently holding their theological noses to vote for him; Warren himself has said some nasty things about Mormonism in the past, and so Romney may even be concerned about getting a fair hearing out of the guy. For Obama’s part, he may be trying to take the focus off of social issues that tend to poll poorly among the same people; his shift on same-sex marriage, the ACA’s contraception coverage rule, and abortion. He might be particularly scared of accidentally deflecting attention back onto himself on women’s issues in particular and possibly spoiling the current spectacle of GOP self-destruction.

  • cipher

    Richard, your comments have more of an edge lately than they used to. You seem less willing to cut them slack than you were when we spoke about it privately a couple of years ago.

    Frankly, it’s good to see.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I have my moods and I have my phases like most people.  I guess I’m complicated. But thank you.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Honestly, I’d like to have seen Obama verbally bitchslap the guy when he inevitably started whining about the supposed war on religion. “Gays, women, non-whites and non-christians all want the same rights that we have, and you support this. How can you justify this horrible attack on freedom of religion?” SMACK!

    It would have been therapeutic. 

    And seeing Mittens faff about when asked about making profits off abortion waste would have been wonderful add fodder. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MOG3ACTGRZRL2BN3JNAZQTTJRM Robert

    10 years ago Rick Warren was able to get Congress and the President to act with lightening speed to get him out of tax problem with the IRS and preserve the offensive income tax free ministerial housing allowance and all its abuses.  Now the Grassley Commission has considered whether that was a good thing but punted to a private, religious think tank in order to deep from acting for a few more years.  Meanwhile, the FFRF has legally challenge the constitutionality of such a law (a ruling on “standing” may come down from the Court any day now).  Rick Warren’s tax coup may, in the long run, come back to bite him as the country may now be in a better mood to seriously consider that income tax free income gimmick that only “ministers” get is just a little too much.

  • jdm8

    The Saddleback debate in 2008 was about the tail end of my belief in Christianity. I didn’t watch it because I really didn’t think it was a good place for a debate.

    I’m really glad that they aren’t repeating it. If it really were about civility, I don’t think the 2008 debate would have happened.

  • Keulan

    So Rick Warren’s a lying liar who lies? In other news, water is still wet.

  • DraftingMan

    “Civility’ wasn’t the reason, obviously. Insincerity was the reason. Secondly, you’re saying he lied because YOU HEARD that there was actually another reason?!

    Are you pretending to be stupid for our entertainment?

  • Tanya2

    Mehta, you continuing to call this blog “The Friendly Athesit” is itself a lie.

  • nakedanthropologist

    Well color me shocked.

  • Rwlawoffice

    You immediately accuse warren of lying on the statements of to unnamed sources from politicians campaigns because unnamed sources for politicians are pillars of virtue. And then you assume the reason they may not want to go is because you think warren is losing clout. How very rational of you and clearly an unbiased opinion on your ineffective campaign to discredit him.

  • Nox

     Isn’t Warren the same pile of disingenuous that wrote The Purpose Driven Life?

    We already know he has lied about hundreds of things. At this point it would be news if he got caught accidentally saying one true thing.

  • kraken17

    Why? Is he being mean? Hemant, you should be nicer to homophobic, misogynist, self-aggrandizing liars. Cuz you know, “friendly”.

  • Rwlawoffice

    It’s obvious you don’t anything about Rick Warren so it would be best if you did not pretend you did.

  • Coyotenose

     1. Warren’s story was suspicious to begin with, given his history.

    2. Indications come from both camps that his story was false. They don’t have motivation to come together against him on a false premise.

    Are you pretending to be dense to encourage people to sharpen their logical thinking skills?

  • Coyotenose

    “We already know he has lied about hundreds of things.”

    Nah, only dozens of things, at least on this site.

    Oh wait… you weren’t talking about Rw. Nevermind.

  • Coyotenose

     I’d accuse you of only being naive and ignorant regarding Warren, but you’ve lied so many times and so badly on this site that it’s clear your reaction is a desperate knee-jerk circling of the wagons.

    Warren discredited himself years ago. That you aren’t familiar with such only reflects poorly on yourself. Deal with it.

  • Coyotenose

     Wah. Just wah.

  • phantomreader42

     “Friendly” does not mean “mindlessly submissive to the batshit insane”.  The fact that you think it does only shows that you are batshit insane. 

  • phantomreader42

    It’s obvious you don’t know anything about anything and would rather die than learn, so quit babbling nonsensical lies.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Warren has not discredited himself in any manner. You don’t have a clue what he does. And tell me where I have ever lied. If you can’t back it up don’t cast dispersions.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Romney was the only major GOP candidate to not attend 

    (and of those that did attend, Ron Paul was the only one who acted remotely secular)

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Maybe you’re like an onion.  Onions have layers.  Richard Wade has layers.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I know you’ve both stated that there’s zero, zero support for slavery in the bible.

  • Rwlawoffice

    We have both said there is zero support for slavery as used by those supporting racial slavery in the 1800s and we are right. Those that tried to use the bible to support racial slavery in America in the 1800s were wrong.

  • 3lemenope

    Aspersions. One casts or not aspersions, not dispersions.

    Honestly, on the other thing, I think it takes a credulous sort to look at the facts as presented, with both camps (who had every reason to stay silent) both independently saying they had no intention of going, and that being the more likely reason why Warren cancelled than his sudden personal revelation that presidential politics can get nasty, and take him at his word.

    For him to claim so is disingenuous at best; if calling him a liar is too strong for you (though it is almost certainly a lie), just call it a bit of sleight-of-hand to save face after being dissed by both major party candidates. That’s about the best spin I can think to put on it without lying myself.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I don’t recall you ever adding that qualifier before.  Perhaps you did at some point I didn’t see it.  And I’d be willing to buy the context of Warren’s statement if he didn’t make it so emphatically.  He said zero twice, and didn’t qualify the kind of slavery at all.

    This is a point where our biases come into it.  I’m looking at points where I consider the bible ‘wrong’ because a single ‘wrong’ in the bible means it is not 100% ‘right’.  That they weren’t sailing to another continent to capture people doesn’t matter to me.  I consider it “treating human beings as chattel” and happy to toss the ‘slavery’ word out of the conversation.

    You (and Rick) are defensive (my take anyway) about the fact that at one point the bible was used to defend American slavery.

    So when I say slavery, I envision owning people.  And you envision something from Uncle Tom’s Cabin?I’ve never ever heard you admit or deny that God not only condones, but commands ownership of people.  As much as I don’t think anyone is required to answer anything in a public forum (I’ve stopped arguing with a few people on here who kept saying the same old thing over and over), your avoidance really strikes me as a cognitive disconnect.  I’m genuinely curious as to how you explain things like Exodus 21:4.  I’ve asked a few other Christians on here and nobody has ever even attempted an answer.

  • B. Pecker

    Hey Rwlawoffice, Kirk Cameron called. He needs his brain back ASAP!

  • Nox


    “And tell me where I have ever lied.”

    At the Friendly Atheist website.

  • Rwlawoffice

    As I recall his statement which I was agreeing with, it was in an interview for a program about ancestors and was specifically deling with some religious leaders in the past using the bible to support the slave trade. He said correctly that there is nothing in the bible to support that.

    As for Exodus 21:4 you may not like it but slavery at the time this was written was a different institution than the race based slave trade in the U.S. it was to pay debts. It was indentured servitude that was voluntary. For example Jacob voluntarily became a slave to pay for the dowery of rachel. In addition, the fact that god gave rules to people towards their behavior does not mean he condones it. Jesus said this in relation to divorce. He states that God through Moses gave rules on divorce because men’s hearts were hard not because he liked divorce Matt. 19:8.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Where is the lie in my comment there? There isn’t one.

  • Rwlawoffice

    You are correct aspersions. It was late and I used the wrong word.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    It was indentured servitude that was voluntary.

     Bullshit.  Read the passage and tell me that ‘the wife’ or the children had any choice in the matter whatsoever.

    the fact that god gave rules to people towards their behavior does not mean he condones it 

    Bullshit.  If you make a rule about something, you’re condoning it, otherwise you’d make a different rule.

  • Nox

    “The only choice the pro choice folks want is the choice to kill another life”

    “the end result of those who are pro life is to protect life”

    That’s misrepresentation of your opponents, and misrepresentation of yourself, in one post.

    I chose that example because it was from the same day. You and Guest have been doing the same thing on every thread on this site.

    Do you really think your scam is working? I find it baffling that you think anyone here doesn’t get what you’re trying to do. You are among the informed trying to use tricks that only work on the uninformed. Your ability to lie with a straight face is not convincing anyone.

  • Nox

     Leviticus 25:44-46

    44 Both
    thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the
    heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and

    45 Moreover
    of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them
    shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat
    in your land: and they shall be your possession.

    46 And
    ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to
    inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but
    over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over
    another with rigour.

    This is not merely a case of god regulating slavery. This is a case of god condoning slavery.

  • Rwlawoffice

    You know better then to take these directions on how servants should be treated out o their cultural settings. In the setting of the times these rules took into account the rules re marriage, dowries, the patriarchal setting of the times. You can try to use modern standards and judge these rules, but that would be an error. If you take into account the setting, you would find that these rules were far more compassionate then the non Israelites and were for the benefit of the servant who due to poverty (even if it was the adults who made the decision) engaged in this arrangement voluntarily.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Since I’m of the opinion that the various books of the bible were written by men, I think they all reflect the morality of the culture in which they were written.  It’s theists who keep wanting the bible to be the infallible word of a perfect God.  Except when you don’t agree with some part, and then you want to view it under the subject lens of culture.  But when you happen to agree with something, whey then it’s God’s word.

    If you think the bible is God’s word, then God said children born into slavery remain the property of their master.  There’s no voluntary about it.  Forget what other people we’re doing, we’re all supposed to be God’s children, right?  Or at least that’s what the NT tells us.  Forget “the way things were”, this is God setting down rules.  He can tell people to not eat shrimp or wear mixed fibers, but he can’t tell them that people aren’t property?

    And Jesus doesn’t even correct that passage.  If anything he re-affirms it by saying he doesn’t come to do away with the old laws.

    So it’s up to humanity grow a better sense of right and wrong.  God doesn’t seem to help much there.  And yes, I know the bible was also used to argue against slavery, but only by relying on some rather roundabout arguments that didn’t deal directly with people as property.  Seems if God had predicted the issue, he could have made it a lot easier.

    But where DO atheists get their sense of right and wrong?  How can we say something is good or bad if we don’t have God to give us an absolute standard?

    Eat much cherry pie?

  • Rwlawoffice

    It is not cherry picking, it is proper biblical interpretation. It is an error when interpreting the bible to ignore the cultural context in which it was written. For example, the reason why the Isrealites were given rules regarding clothing were because of pagan relgious of their neighbors. You must know that context in order for it to have meaning.

    As for right and wrong, I believe you mut have an objective morality in order to know what is good or evil. Otherwise everything becomes subjective and relative. It is not saying you can’t be good without God, but you would not know what good is without something that transcends man establishing an objective moral standard.

    As for the bible being argued to end slavery, it wasn’t some obscure passages. It was the very heart of the bible that all men are children of god, that before him there is no class, gender or race distinction Gal.3:28.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    So God changed his mind?

  • Rwlawoffice

    Why do you believe that is the only option? Do you think that these specific instructions fr the Jewish people cannot be reconciled with the notion that all are the children of God as revealed through Christ?

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Do you think that  these specific instructions fr the Jewish people cannot be reconciled with the notion that all are the children of God as revealed through Christ?

    No.  I don’t.  Specific instructions to a single person to treat another human being as property is inconsistent to me.  Telling me that “God was just working within the social constructs of the time” or “It’s ok, God was telling this group of people how to be a little less evil but not nearly good” doesn’t cut it.  It frankly sounds like really bad excuses.  Those things would all be fine for humans, but this is God.  God shouldn’t need excuses.

    To be clear, I’m just picking a single example out of a multitude. I can’t see how one can reconcile any of the ‘bad’ bits (another e.g. The correct answer for Abraham to God re: Isaac being ‘yes’) with a perfect God.

    And I’ve heard before that I’m trying to judge God on my standards.  Actually I’m trying to judge God on Godlike standards.  I’ve read the bible in its entirety, and in pieces I don’t know how many times.  It boggles my mind that anyone can see God for anything other than a haphazard human construct that reflects the multiple authors.

  • phantomreader42

    Rick Warren is a lying sack of shit, just like you, Rwlawoffice.  It’s no wonder you’re so eager to defend him when he’s called out on his lies, no matter how transparently dishonest and shitty your defense is.  

  • Piet

     It is cherry picking of the higherst order.
    The only correct context is to read the bible a a mythology, and nothing more.context is