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    December 30, 2008

    Rick Warren clarifies and confuses

    Posted by: Chris

    Rickwarrenvideo Throughout the outcry over Barack Obama's selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, I have taken a lot of heat for defending the megachurch pastor against claims he considers gay relationships the "equivalent" of incest and pedophilia.

    As I explained (here and here and here), it was flatly irrational to interpret Warren that way, given that he was making a "slippery slope" argument that depends logically on examples like incest and pedophilia as horrific consequences of recognizing relationships like ours that are much less objectionable. I also interpreted Warren as favoring some forms of recognition for gay relationships, which of course he would never support for incest and pedophila, both illegal.

    Now there's confirmation from the horse's mouth, so to speak. In a video available for viewing on the website for Warren's church, the evangelical is ostensibly speaking to his own congregation, but of course he knew that whatever he said on the subject of gay marriage would enjoy a much larger audience.

    Here are some highlights (transcribed by me):

    I have been accused of equating gay partnerships and relationships with incest and pedophilia. Now of course, as members of Saddleback Church you know, I believe no such thing. I never have. You've never once heard me in 30 years talk that way about that. …

    God created sex to be exclusively in a marriage relationship between a man and a woman. But I've in no way ever taught that homosexuality is the same thing as a forced relationship between an adult and a child or, you know, between siblings, things like that. I've just never thought that in 30 years.

    However, I understand how some people think that because of a recent Belief.net interview. ... In that interview I named several other relationships, in fact I've done it several times, named several other relationships such as living together, man with multiple wives, or brother-sister relationships or adults with children or common law partnerships -- all kinds of relationships -- I don't think any of them should be called marriage.

    I was not saying those relationships are the same thing because I happen to not believe that and I've never taught it.

    Just to reiterate my own view, I am not defending Warren's opposition to gay marriage, which is based on imposition of his own theological view in the law and "slippery slope" scare tactics that would fear-monger if they weren't so ridiculous.

    I also could not help but laugh at Warren's hypocritical views on civility in public discourse. At one point in the video, he complains that gays treat all disagreement with them as some form of "hate speech," an accusation I think is unfortunately all too true:

    Some people today believe if you disagree with them you either hate them or are afraid of them. I'm neither afraid of gays nor do I hate gays. In fact, I love them, but I do disagree with some of their beliefs and I have that constitutional right just as I would fight for their constitutional right, too.

    Then, later in the video, when he answers questions from his congregation about how he plans to respond to the controversy over his role at the inauguration, Warren engages in the same demonization and demagoguery he earlier criticized, and without even a hint of irony:

    You've asked, 'What about these hateful attacks? ... How are you going to respond to all these false accusations, attacks, outright lies, hateful slander and really a lot of hate speech -- it's what I would call Christ-aphobia -- people who are afraid of any Christian. You know how I'm going to respond. You already know the answer. ... We return good for evil, we return love for hate.

    Just as progressives want Obama to unify the country without including the views of millions who disagree with them, Warren objects to demonization of his views while readily engaging in the same smear tactics. Warren will never gain credence as an advocate for civility as long as he uses such doubletalk.

    But again, trying to focus on common ground, Warren does suggest without specifics in the video that he supports legal recognition in some form for gay couples, if not full marriage equality. Whether or not you believe, as I do, that Warren is clarifying his view, or is modifying his position in response to the controversy, he has very clearly left the door open to support for legal recognition for same-sex couples.

    Given the proliferation of "bad cops" who have made hay out of this controversy, including gay leaders trying to change the subject from Prop 8, now is the time for "good cops" to reach out to Warren and see whether he would throw his specific support around some level of legal recognition, or perhaps even federal civil unions.



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    1. the troll on Dec 30, 2008 4:00:36 PM:

      I think that the last quote of Warrens in big type that you posted says it all. He is lumping all gays into a big monolith. Has Warren said hateful things about gays and when? This could be researched. Have hateful things been said about Warren, yes. But one must realize that the evangelicals definition of love is quite different from reality. An evangelical believes you must love everyone, which really means that you love no one. To say I love my children and also Charles Manson renders the term love meaningless, yet they would say this. Suffice it to say I don't love Warren by any definition. He is immoral in my mind. My opinion of him is much the same as Hitchens (always the final word).

      Trying to get him to support anything in the political realm is a mistake. In politics we are doing the work of Caesar not God. It would be a huge mistake to make him the new Falwell or Billy Graham. We need to move beyond that and make these religious figures much more peripheral.

    1. Chuck on Dec 31, 2008 12:25:07 AM:

      Yes, Chris, you certainly have taken a lot of heat defending Rick Warren and one has to wonder why you are doing that?

      At the very least, it sound like you are suffering from selective hearing and only hearing what YOU want to hear.

      At the very worst, it sounds like you are willing to trade off your sense of ethics and you sense of right and wrong for a boon from Pastor Warren. I'm a non-believer, so we'll leave your soul out of the conversation, but I am sure that you can see what I am alluding to.

      Chis, this is what Rick actually said:

      RICK WARREN: But the issue to me is, I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

      STEVEN WALDMAN: Do you think, though, that they are equivalent to having gays getting married?

      RICK WARREN: Oh I do. …

      And here is the video of him saying it.


      And it's beend ocumented by the interviewer. What part of Pastor Warren's statements do you not understand?

      Now, he claims that he didn't say these things and now he accuses the LGBT community of false accusations, attacks, outright lies, hate speech and Chris-aphobia in his "new" sanitized version to his church flock. Umm...like doesn't he have it just a little bass-ackward?

      Talk about flip-flopping? He puts McCain to shame.

      Is he drunk, or on drugs?

      That's not all Prick Rick had to say about the LGBT community, however. It gets even better. While visiting with Peter Akinola in Nigeria, Dr. Warren made this statement about homosexuality, among other comments: He's the link to the article in the Huffington Post.


      Dr [Rick] Warren said that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right. "We shall not tolerate this aspect at all," Dr Warren said.

      Dr. Warren makes it quite obvious with his above comment that he supports Peter Akinolas endorsement of legislation that would ban most basic civil rights for gay and lesbian Nigerians, and enforce that ban with a 5 year prison sentence."

      He's just a step short of The good Reverene Phelps, who would like to see not only legislation calling for the criminalization of gays, but the enforcement of that legislation with the death sentence.

      God's love (and anger) is, of course, the motivating factor behind such legislation, in both instances.

      This legislation Mr. Akinola endorses would make it illegal for gay men and lesbians to form organizations, read gay literature or eat together in a restaurant."

      Well, at least, one can live with that, even if it is a Draconian, Paragraph 175 sounding law.

      And Rick Warren has NOT since clarified his comments while in the company of Peter Akinola and I doubt that his congregation is even aware of them.

      And this is a man that YOU want us to believe that he would throw his specific support around some level of legal recognition, or perhaps even federal civil unions if we sweet-talk him and play footsies with him? Now I need to ask you...

      Are YOU drunk or on drugs?

      I fully agree with the Troll's comment that trying to get him (Rick Warren) to support anthing inthe political realm is a mistake. And as he points out in his next sentence, I'd rather have the blessings of Caesar than Mr. Warren's God.

      And like the Troll, I will stick my guns with respect to separation of Church and State as I have no desire to click my hells and salute Rick Warren with a "Seig Heil" when he supercedes Caesar.

    1. Chuck on Dec 31, 2008 12:30:47 AM:

      I meant to say "I will stick to my guns..." in the last paragraph. "Seig" should also read "Sieg"

    1. Kris on Dec 31, 2008 10:31:12 AM:

      Rev. Rick Warren and President Hussein Obama can both kiss my gay ass.

      New bumper sticker
      The President

    1. the troll on Dec 31, 2008 10:35:01 AM:

      Warren = Falwell with perfume

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Dec 31, 2008 12:20:02 PM:

      I have to agree with Chuck here. You appear to be grasping at anything to justify Obama's selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation.

      [...] he has very clearly left the door open to support for legal recognition for same-sex couples.

      Barely. He speaks about partnerships, but then prattles on about hospital visits and life insurance policies, as if those things are the whole of any "domestic partnership." Notice also what he did not say. He never said, "GLBT folks should have full civil rights in our country, including the right to have full domestic partnerships, at the state and federal level right here, right now." He equivocated and did so badly. If he really meant what he said, he would have been firm and clear.

      Translation? It's all talk. He was merely modifying his previous stance because he came off sounding like a bigot in the belief.net interview. Real class act.

      Your suggestion that outreach and dialogue with Warren will lead to civil unions is naive. Very few, if any, evangelical leaders, including "Pastor Rick," will ever compromise their views on marriage and sexuality. Recall that, until recently, Warren information on his church website stating that "un-repentant gays" were not allowed to be members of Saddleback Church. So let me get this straight...he won't let me join his church, but he'll give me a civil union? Yeah, somehow I don't think so.

    1. Strict Scrutiny on Dec 31, 2008 1:39:34 PM:

      And one other thing...

      Part of my anger over this Warren fiasco is related to Prop 8. Until this past election season, all other state level DOMAs were "pre-emptive strikes" which cut off the ability of state courts to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples.

      In CA, we won that cherished right and were only 1 of 2 states to have it. We had won! And then Rick Warren marshalled his forces to help rip it away from us. Prop 8 wasn't just a slap in the face. It was a punch to the gut that made all of us sick.

      And now you want GLBT people in CA to extend a hand to "Pastor Rick"? You want us to smile and exchange pleasantries with him and talk about common ground and hope that leads to federal civil unions?! Thanks, but no thanks.

      Also keep in mind that the Prop 8 lawyers, led by Kenneth Starr, have recently filed papers seeking to ANNUL the 18,000 marriages performed in this state when same-sex marriage was legal. No longer are they simply seeking to cut-off marriage rights for anyone in the future--they are now seeking to annul several thousand lawfully contracted marriages, despite their promises that they would not do this.

      So, Rick Warren supports this vile initiative, urges his flock to support it, Prop 8 eventually does win...and now it threatens to void thousands of marriages and wreak legal havoc on same-sex families ... and you want us to sit down and find "common ground" with Rick Warren.

      I am at a loss.

    1. Mike on Dec 31, 2008 5:58:29 PM:

      Chris, You are right on this. But nothing will satisfy the increasingly irrelevant war on Warren crowd. Someday they too will realize we need more than 50%.

    1. DCPoster on Dec 31, 2008 6:13:17 PM:

      Leaders of gay groups will never satisfy Chris. If none of them had spoken out he'd be accusing them of being in bed with the Democratic party, so much so that sell out their own members to curry favor by staying silent. Instead, they did speak out, which was exactly the right response, and Chris accuses them of trying to change the subject from Prop 8 missteps (a topic he loves to wallow in).

      Why on earth should these leaders listen to Chris anymore? They can't win with him. Only Chris knows how to win equality for us, and nobody else is doing right. Yeesh.

    1. Chuck on Dec 31, 2008 7:49:07 PM:

      Mike said "irrelevant war on Warren"???

      If you're not outraged, buddy, you're not paying attention!

    1. Chuck on Dec 31, 2008 9:16:22 PM:

      This was one of the New Years Resolutions on Queerty.

      It seems so appropriate to this thread, that I took the Liberty of copying and pasting it.

      Realize that equal rights is not a popularity contest.

      More than a few well-meaning gays and lesbians seem to think that if only homophobes could see what nice people we are, they would step aside and allow us our rights. Join the Impact's series of increasingly silent and passive protests are a step in the right direction (there's only so many times you can march back and forth and still be effective), but the attitude that by being the best little boy or girl in the world will confer upon you a gold seal of approval is so last century. Stop asking for equal rights and start demanding them. This doesn't mean simply yelling louder than the opposition, but it does mean making the case for equality forcefully, and remembering that there's nothing wrong with you—it's the homophobes who need to change.

    1. Hawyer on Jan 2, 2009 3:52:45 PM:

      Even Warren - with his galactic ego - sensed the firestorm he had ignited by being asked to lead the nation - secular government notwithstanding - in prayer.

      Like any fat chicken-eating preacher caught with his balls in a vice, he dissembled in that homemade video to his flock of homophobic zombies. All the back peddling in the world doesn't really change the damage he would do - and has done - us.

      Kris hits my sentiments dead-on (thank you):

      Rev. Rick Warren and President Hussein Obama can both kiss my gay ass.

      And for all the blacks that are still shilling for the white-mans' religion that bought and sold their ancestors like cattle: ditto.

      I will not be watching the inaguration. I fear Barack Obama has all of the symptoms of a Clarence Thomas and even Colin Powell (if you care to look at his record on DADT): The fucking life boat is full & I got mine. Shove off homos.

    1. Mark in Colorado on Jan 2, 2009 9:43:30 PM:

      Wow. Mr. Crain has a B.A. and a J.D. (from Harvard no less) and yet the facts still allude him. Or is it willful ignorance? Commenter Chuck has provided you with the link to the actual video that shows Rick Warren stating he does see gay marriage as equivalent to incest and pedophilia. The video and transcript are quite clear.
      It always should be a strong concern to anyone when someone who achieves such a high level of education demonstrates a willful lack of ignorance on facts that are available to them.
      I have a Masters in Library and Information Science and have worked with functionally illiterate adults who could see these facts clearly. My respect for you Mr. Crain has dropped tremendously. Your analysis and discussion on this matter are not living up to your academic credentials.

    1. Attmay on Jan 9, 2009 8:20:04 PM:

      Hawyer is absolutely correct, especially about Christianity. I have no respect for P. Rick Warren, B. Hussein Obigot, or those trying to cover up for him. You can all kiss my gay white Jewish ass. It should have been painfully obvious that someone who belonged to a racist, anti-semitic, anti-gay church for two decades (and that's without mentioning Donnie McClurkin) would not have our interests at heart.

      I hereby demand from the government my rights. If you do not give them to me I will take them.

    1. Attmay on Jan 9, 2009 8:22:20 PM:

      Hawyer is absolutely correct, especially about Christianity. I have no respect for P. Rick Warren, B. Hussein Obigot, or those trying to cover up for him. You can all kiss my gay white Jewish ass. It should have been painfully obvious that someone who belonged to a racist, anti-semitic, anti-gay church for two decades (and that's without mentioning Donnie McClurkin) would not have our interests at heart.

      I hereby demand from the government my rights. If you do not give them to me I will take them.

    1. Chuck on Jan 9, 2009 10:04:59 PM:

      Exactly how are you planning on doing that, Attmay?

    1. Chris on Jan 11, 2009 7:47:37 PM:

      Do those of you so angry over the Rick Warren flap realize how you are only confirming how intolerant you are toward dissent from your own viewpoint when you resort to insults in exchange for actual argument?

      As I've pointed out repeatedly, it makes no sense to argue that Warren equates gay relationships with pedophilia and incest when he acknowledges friendships and support for some level of recognition for the former and would support nothing other than jailtime for the latter.

      I also acknowledged the video and transcript that Chuck, Mark in Colorado and others have pointed to, and I believe that Warren short-handed his view that recognition for gay relationships is "the equivalent" of recognition for incest and pedophilia because, in his view, "redefining marriage" in any way throws open the door to all three examples. I don't agree with Warren, but I'm able to see that he's not equating.

      And while we're referring to video and transcripts, the whole point of this particular post was to show that Warren has himself clarified his viewpoint. Your refusal to see or acknowledge, much less embrace, that clarification only shows the true colors behind your alleged outrage. What a curious movement we are that we are so interested in trying (in vain) to marginalize our opponents rather than confront them on the merits that we insist on not allowing them opinions that are more difficult to counter.

      That's a sign of weakness, my friends, not strength, as are the type of juvenile insults that we see so frequently on this subject.

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