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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pastor Rick Warren Clarifies Position on Homosexuals, Marriage

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Dec. 23 2008 08:39 PM EST

Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren believes America is being destroyed by "the demonization of differences" and the media is to blame.

"[T]he media often fans controversy and conflict to create a story and we start yelling at each other so much, nobody listens to each other anymore," Warren said in a lengthy video message, posted Monday, addressed to members of Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

As the media creates or fuels conflict, it's creating more polarization and causing people to be more rude and inflamed, the renowned pastor said.

Warren also blamed bloggers for contributing to the polarization of the country and said one of his three life goals is to restore civility to civilization.

The evangelical pastor posted his comments on his "News & Views" blog page to address concerns and questions raised by his congregants.

In recent weeks, Warren has been inundated with criticism from evangelicals as well as gay-rights groups after he accepted the invitation to deliver the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Obama has also been blasted for his selection of the evangelical pastor for such a significant role.

But while countless reports have covered the controversy around homosexuality – Warren supported Proposition 8, protecting the traditional definition of marriage – the Saddleback pastor says the media has totally missed the real story.

"The fact that an evangelical pastor believes in keeping the historic definition of marriage – that's not news ... it's a non-story. And the fact that the gay community would disagree with me, that's not news either," he said in the video.

"What's the real story?" he posed.

"The real story is that a couple of different American leaders have chosen to model civility for the rest of the nation and that Barack Obama and Rick Warren have decided to try to create a new politic that says 'we can disagree without being disagreeable; we can walk hand in hand without seeing eye to eye; we can have unity in our nation without uniformity; and we can have collaboration for the best of America.'"

Although both Warren and Obama are receiving flak, they're both "willing to be criticized in order to try to bring America into a new day of civil discourse and to create a new model that says 'you don't have to agree only with your side on everything; you can reach out in the middle and try to figure out to have a way that we can make America a better place without having to agree on everything," Warren stressed.

"See, that's the story that the media's missing. It's the story of risk-taking."

In the video message, Warren also clarified what he really believes about gay marriage as he responded to questions raised by his congregants.

"My views have not changed in 30 years ... I have been accused of equating gay partnerships with incest and pedophilia. Now, of course, as members of Saddleback Church, you know I believe no such thing. I never have," he said, as he cleared up false accusations and clarified comments he made in a recent interview with Beliefnet.com.

"...I'm not opposed to gays having their partnerships. I'm opposed to gays using the term 'marriage' for their relationship and I'm opposed to any redefinition of the definition of marriage – the definition of marriage that's been universally accepted since the beginning of man," he said.
He also stated, "Now gay partnerships are typically between consenting adults. And while I believe that the gay view of sexuality is contrary to God's word, I do believe that God gives us free choice and He gives us the choice to obey His word or to disobey it.

"Because of that, I believe I must give everybody else that same freedom of choice. I'm opposed in forcing people to act the way I believe that I ought to act. That's not what it's about. It's what I believe God wants me to act and it's the way I believe God wants other people to act but God has given me the choice."

He continued, "Now I believe that God says I must love everybody. You've heard me say that a thousand times. I have to love everybody regardless of the choice they make. In fact, I am never ever free to hate any person."

"Not only God, but America gives us this great freedom to make choices," Warren added. "And so I simply believe that while we're all free to make choices, I think gays should use another term for their consenting adult relationship and partnership. I oppose the redefinition of the meaning of marriage. I hope that's clear."

And in terms how he will deal with the incessant verbal attacks, false accusations and hateful slander, Warren said, "We return good for evil. We return love for hate. We overcome evil with good. We will love and ... we will pray."

On the Web: Rick Warren video message

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Anonymous said...

"I have been accused of equating gay partnerships with incest and pedophilia. Now, of course, as members of Saddleback Church, you know I believe no such thing. I never have." -Rick Warren

Not so fast, buddy.


Rick Warren: 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.

Steve Waldman: Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?

Rick Warren: Oh, I do.

Accused? Please. It's pretty simple, really. Warren said he thinks incest, pedophilia, and polygamy are equivalent to gay relationships, he made a lot of people angry, and now he's backpedaling and blaming the media to protect himself. Let's not forget that even evangelical celebrity-pastors can be politicians!

But I'm happy to say I do agree with him on one point: gay couples should not call their relationships "marriages." Not legally, at least.

Bob Ellis said...

In a rare moment, you and I agree on something. It's pretty clear that he did equate homosexual partnerships with other sexual sins such as incest and pedophilia. And as I have stated before, they are.

They are not non-consensual as incest and pedophilia usually are, but they a misuse of human sexuality, one that God condemns and is immoral.

I also agree that Warren is doing some politically correct backpedaling. He got close to the full truth of this issue during the BeliefNet interview (though he still fell short in implying that homosexuals don't have the same rights that heterosexuals do--they clearly do). But he's taken some heat and now he's backing off even further from the truth.

Warren has done some good, but it seems he's a little too concerned with what the world thinks of him and not concerned enough about what God thinks of him.

Anonymous said...

It's sad that in less than a month, this liar will be on the steps of the Capitol leading our nation in prayer. That honor should be reserved for someone with enough integrity to be honest about what he said.

Bob Ellis said...

There's some small merit in what you said, cinemaphile85.

But he'll be doing it at the inauguration of a Marxist who has expressed disdain for the U.S. Constitution, works with and lauds terrorists, has pledged to gut the U.S. military and has pledged to undermine marriage and promote homosexuality.

So maybe in a way, it's a wash.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if the person being sworn in is Barack Obama or your dreamgirl Sarah Palin. That doesn't change the fact that American Christians will be represented around the world by a pastor who publically broke one of the Ten Commandments. And since he doesn't consider this to be lying ("it's all the media's fault!"), we have no reason to expect him to repent, which makes him an unrepentant sinner leading a mega-church (but gays still aren't allowed to be ordained?). Using this as an opportunity to criticize our next president may distract people from this truth, but it will not change it.

What does it take for people to lose confidence in organized religion?! Obviously, the covered-up Catholic priest sex scandals were not enough, so I doubt this pastor's act of public sin will make any difference either. It's very sad. People need organized religion so desperately that they're willing to overlook or rationalize things like this. Just like you did by saying "maybe it's a wash."

Bob Ellis said...

I'm not defending Warren's moral cowardice or error; far from it.

However, when you consider the impact of Warren's compromise, versus Obama's intentional and deliberate assault on our nation's foundations and moral underpinning, one will definitely wreak more damage than the other.

Anonymous said...

Interesting choice of words: moral cowardice and error. You don't think his action constitutes an unrepentant lie? When someone, especially a pastor, commits a sin, isn't that a deliberate assault on God? Surely that is more serious than a president who assaults our nation's principles.

It's just like I said. People need their religion to be right, and won't stand for any pastoral wrongdoing to slander their community's name, so rather than face the unflattering truth, they have to weigh it against other people's misdeeds so it doesn't seem so bad by comparison. That's what I call moral cowardice.

Bob Ellis said...

Yes, it would constitute an unrepentant lie, because he clearly did equate homosexuality with incest and pedophilia, and now he appears to be unwilling to admit that, and appears unrepentant of that.

I classified his backing off from this truth as moral cowardice because it helps to better understand the nature of the offense.

Anonymous said...

I hope you had a merry Christmas, Bob! There's one question I'd been hoping to ask you before you shut down comments for the holiday:

Why have you not protested Rick Warren's pastoral leadership? He, like Bishop Gene Robinson, is an unrepentant sinner. If openly gay men have no place behind the pulpit, shouldn't that same rule apply to liars?

Bob Ellis said...

I believe I have condemned Warrens behavior, as I have Robinson's.

However, as I have also stated previously, Warren's packpeddling lie is obviously less damaging than is Robinson's outright attack on morality and God's design for human sexuality. The number of people who may be misled to enter or remain in an immoral, unhealthy and unnatural lifestyle because of Robinson's endorsement--AS A RELIGIOUS FIGURE--of a practice that God makes abundantly clear that he does not approve of.

Anonymous said...

Let's put aside the number of people affected and compare Rick Warren and Gene Robinson objectively, given the following premises:

-Gene Robinson has sex with a man. This is a sin.
-Rick Warren told a lie. This is a sin.
-Sin, regardless of its manifestation or frequency, is always an outright attack on morality and God's design. In other words, sin is sin.

-Robinson is a religious figure who has not repented of his sin, and therefore endorses homosexuality.
-Warren is a religious figure who has not repented of his sin, and therefore endorses lying.

-Homosexuality is immoral, unhealthy, and unnatural.
-Lying is immoral, unhealthy (meaning socially unhealthy), and unnatural.
-God has made it abundantly clear that he does not approve of either practice. In fact, God feels so strongly about lying that he physically wrote "Thou shalt not lie" into law himself.

-The percentage of people who have sex with their own gender is three percent.
-The percentage of people who lie, even if it's once a week, is far greater (can't cite this, but I think it's just common sense).

-According to Outreach magazine, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church has a weekly attendance of 22,000, making it the fourth largest church in the United States.
-The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, of which Gene Robinson is the ninth bishop, covers the entire state, which has a population of about 1.3 million.
-God does not judge or rationalize our sins based on the sins of others, or by how many people our sins affect. If an action goes against God, his character, and his design, that is enough to warrant his judgment and to require our repentance.

-You have condemned both men's behavior, but believe Warren should be allowed to keep his job, whereas Robinson should not.
-This indicates you have a particular bias against homosexuality in relation to other sins, a belief that is devoid of biblical justification.

Ah, the familiar stench of Christian hypocrisy!

Bob Ellis said...

Whether Warren keeps his job is up to his church and any denominational leadership to which he's accountable.

Having said that, I think you understand that a moral failure in denying that you said something doesn't carry nearly the impact as does promoting an immoral act that God clearly says is wrong. I think you understand it, but would rather find endless excuses to reject Christianity so you can avoid your own moral accountability.

I think if you asked Warren if lying was wrong, he'd say it was, even though he's done it and probably knows he's done it. If you asked Robinson if homosexuality was wrong, he'd deny it, even though God makes it abundantly clear that it is.

One is a moral failure, while the other promotes immorality. Even you should be able to recognize the difference, were you interested in intellectual honesty at all.

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