Don’t let Rick Warren’s diplomatic words give you the wrong idea. He didn’t cancel his planned Saddleback presidential forum — a reprisal of the of the Obama-McCain forum four years ago — because he was fed up with the “irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads” of both parties.
No, Warren the megabestselling megachurch leader threw in his moderator towel because intends to take sides in this election. As he explained to the Orange County Register, his paramount concern is the “crumbling of our constitution’s first guaranteed freedom: the freedom of religion.”
This, the Southern Baptist minister explained, is a much broader freedom than simply the “freedom to worship.” It entails “freedom from government intervention in you daily living out what you believe.” And it is under unprecedented threat as “government bureaucrats are daily trying to limit that freedom, impose restrictions, and stifle expressions of faith on campuses, in hospitals, and in businesses.”
Warren bemoaned these “widespread attempts to redefine the First Amendment to simply mean ‘You are free to believe anything at your place of worship but you are not free to practice your conscience elsewhere.’” He plans to have Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders in for a Saddleback forum in September to help “speak out for each other.”
Warren has told President Barack Obama he “adamantly disagree[s]” with his approach to religious liberty. He speculated that Mitt Romney “as a Mormon he’d obviously understand the importance of protecting all religions against persecution, and ensuring people’s rights to practice their conscience without government intervention.”
This means, if nothing else, that Warren won’t be praying at a second Obama inauguration.