Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Notorious Rick Warren Video Transcribed

I read a lot of stuff today about the new video that Rick Warren issued through Saddleback Church, accusing bloggers of hate speech and so on. Unfortunately I couldn't get the video to work until this evening. I wanted to see for myself what he actually said. How inflammatory was he? Reading bits and pieces, I was ready to say, okay, I'm changing my mind, I am opposed to including this guy in the inauguration.

TTF treasurer Christine transcribed a bunch of the video, and I did more. I skipped a couple of irrelevant parts, in brackets. And listen, I have to run, I have a band rehearsal in a few minutes, so I will probably leave in some mistakes, misspellings, etc. I'll try to fix them later.

See what you think, this is just for the record. The video is HERE. [NOTE: As promised, the transcript was edited a few hours after it was posted, I corrected numerous spelling errors.]
[Introduction ...]

You know, I have traveled around the world a lot and you know I've learned several things about the media in the last few years. One of them is that the media never gets it one hundred percent correct. I've never seen an in-print article that has everything right, there's always something that's wrong -- why? Because we're humans. And so, you know, if you believe everything you read or hear, or see, there's a word for that: foolish. Because the media never gets it always correct. Second thing I've learned is that the media lives for conflict. Conflict is the essence of a good story. Every good movie, every good novel, is built on some kind of tension and conflict. And if you don't have conflict you don't have a story, and what I've learned is that if there's no conflict then somebody's gonna create it. The media loves to create conflict.

The problem with that is that it's creating a more and more polarized nation, and that polarization is causing people to be ruder and ruder and more and more inflamed, and I blame that on two groups. One is all the talk radio and other programs where the goal is simply to get people to yell at each other. And the other is bloggers who really need to get a life. A lot of people think that because they can sit in the quietness of their own home and hide behind the screen they can hurl all kinds of bombs at people, and get away with it. Well, no, they're just being rude.

Now what I thought I'd do in this weeks News and Views, to the members of Saddleback Church, is to talk to you about some of the questions that came in this week. And of course the first one that came up is Rick, what do you really believe about gay marriage? Cause it's been all over the map. Well, let me just lay it out for you our members, cause you know, my views have not changed in thirty years, you've heard me talk about this over and over and over.

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. You've never once heard me in 30 years heard me talk that way about that. Now while you know I believe the Bible teaches that God created sex exclusively for marriage between a man and a woman, that means I don't believe in premarital sex, I don't believe in adultery, I believe that man, God created sex exclusively to be a marriage connection 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 taught that in 30 years. However I understand how some people think that because of a recent BeliefNet interview. In that interview I was trying to point out that uh I don't just, I'm not opposed to gays having their partnerships, I'm opposed to gays using the term marriage for their relationships and I'm opposed to any redefinition of the definition of marriage. The marriage, the definition of marriage that has been universally accepted since the beginning of man. The definition of marriage that every religion, whether it's Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist or Jew or Christian has said it's between a man and a woman.

Now in that interview I named several other relationships, in fact I've done it several times, I've named other relationships such as living together, uh or a man with multiple wives or brother sister relationship or adults with children or common law partnerships or all kinds of other relationships. I don't think any of them should be called marriage. Now I was not saying that those relationships were the same thing because I happen to not believe that and I've never taught it. I was just pointing out that I believe the definition of marriage should only be included one definition, a man and a woman for life. It's not an anti-gay view. In fact it's the view of the vast majority of the world and the vast majority of religions.

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 a free choice, and he gives us a choice to obey his word or to disobey it. And you know what, God has given me that choice. He's given me the free will that I can choose to follow Him and His ways and His rules and His precepts or I can, I'm free to not follow them. And because of that, I believe I must give everybody else that same freedom of choice. And I am opposed to forcing people to act the way I believe that I ought to act. That's not what's its 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, and there's been times that I didn't act the way God wanted me to act. Now I believe God says I must love everybody.

You've heard me say that 1,000 times, I have to love everybody, regardless of the choice they make. In fact I am never, ever free to hate any person. In fact the Bible says love your neighbor, love your enemies, love everyone over and over and over, it's all about love. So we love everybody. Those who disagree with us, those who hate us, those who despise us, those who attack us. You know what? We love 'em. Not only God but America gives us this great freedom to make choices, 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 relationships and partnerships. I oppose the redefinition of the meaning of marriage. I hope that's clear.

[civil rights: no American should ever be discriminated against because of their beliefs... no church should ever be discriminated against, either ... ]

Now some people believe today that if you disagree with them, then that's hate speech, if you disagree with them you either hate 'em or you're afraid of 'em. I am 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. Free speech is for everybody. Now let me say that I favor anybody being able to make anybody else the beneficiary of their health or life insurance coverage. I don't see a problem with that, I mean, I think if I'm willing to pay for it, I should be able to put my mother, my father, my friend, a relative, or a total stranger on my coverage. I don't see a problem with that. If I'm willing to pay for it I should be able to put anyone on my coverage.

I also believe that nobody should ever be turned away from seeing a friend in the hospital. But I want to make a point here. Visiting rights in a hospital are a non-issue in California. I mean since 1999 California has had the strongest domestic partnership law in America. I think that's true. That grants gay couple visiting rights and all other rights, too, and you know, I probably have visited more people in the hospital than most, having been a pastor for thirty years, and I have never in my lifetime ever seen one person turned away from visiting somebody else, a friend visiting a friend. So I don't understand that one.

What I really want to talk about in this issue to you, our members, is this issue of how we must champion civility even when people are mean-spirited to us. Even when they're hateful to us, even when they disagree, but not just disagree, they slander us, they lie about us. One of my three life goals is to restore civility to civilization. You've heard me talk about this many times. Our nation is becoming more and more rude. And so as Christians, we have to stand up for two things, the good news and the common good. I'm for both of these -- I'm for the good news, I believe Jesus Christ is the answer to every one of human beings' deepest needs. I make no apology for that. He's changed my life and millions and literally billions of other people. That's the good news.

But I also believe in the common good, and I believe in America that we have democracy. I oppose theocracy, and I think that faith works best when we are in a free market society, and may the best ideas win. Today our nation is being destroyed by the demonization of differences. Just because somebody is different doesn't mean they're a demon. And as I said, I think one of the groups to blame for this most is the fact that the media often fans controversy and conflict to create a story. And we've started yelling at each other so much, nobody listens to each other any more. I disagree with a lot of people, but I don't have a right to turn them into a caricature of what they are. You know, during the political campaigns of 2008, I knew almost every one of the candidates, there were a couple that I didn't know personally. And you know what, it struck me that on both sides, both the Democrats and the Republicans sides, that the way they were being caricatured in the media and by people on either extreme were in no way representative of how those people really were. Whether it was Hillary Clinton, or whether it was Sarah Palin, neither of those women were exactly the way the caricaturization of them were. They just were not accurate. Or whether it was Barack Obama or John McCain, friends of mine, both of them, I grieved at the fact that people did not listen to the truth, they listened to characterizations.

[why did I accept Obama's invitation ... I don't agree with everything he espouses ... or McCain ...]

But the media is totally missing the story here, the story of the president-elect's selection of me. You know, the fact that an evangelical pastor believes in keeping the historic definition of marriage, that's not news. I mean, that's been not-news for hundreds of years. It's a non-story, nothing new. And the fact that the gay community would disagree with me, that's not news either. What's the real story?

The 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.

Let me give you the history behind this decision. Three years ago I took a big risk for civility's sake by inviting Barack Obama to Saddleback to speak at our AIDS conference. Now I didn't invite him because of his views on abortion or his views on anything else, I invited him because he cares about helping people with HIV-AIDS. And he was willing to take a public AIDS test. As you know, I invited him to take one in public with me in front of all the national media, to show that it's no big deal, that everybody needs to be tested for AIDS, just to know your status. Studies show that when people know their status they actually tend to live safer lives. Now when that happened, I was criticized incessantly from the right, in fact it's never stopped. And they've just criticized me and criticized me for inviting, as if having him here said that I agreed with everything he agrees with. And one person said, he had Barack Obama preach in his pulpit. Well, no I didn't, first we never had a pulpit on stage, second it wasn't a worship service, wasn't a church service, it was a conference where we had invited world authorities on AIDS and doctors and specialists on the disease from around the world. But that is still going on, in fact one conservative writer who hates me for agreeing to pray for the invocation wrote me just recently, he said, you know, Rick, if you pray at the inauguration you are sticking a fork in the head of every aborted baby. No, come on, I'm doing this because I love America and it's a historic opportunity and it's an honor to be part of any inauguration of any president, and I love our country.

Now the president-elect has taken a big risk for civility's sake by inviting me to pray at his inauguration, knowing that he'd take flak from people who would disagree with me. But you know what, we'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 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. You see, that's the story that the media is missing, it's the story of risk-taking. Not that people on both sides of the opposite poles are angry at me, or are angry at president-elect Obama, that we're friends and we admire each other even though we disagree on some things. It's the missing element of civility.

Another question that you wrote me this week, that I want to respond to in this Saddleback News and Views is you say, Rick, what about these hateful attacks? You know, when you refuse to side with either extreme, you're gonna get attacked. And the only way to not be attacked is to do nothing and say nothing and be nothing. And a lot of you have written to me this week and said, Rick, how you gonna respond to all these false accusations and attacks, outright lies and hateful slander, and really a lot of hate speech. It's what I would call "Christ-o-phobia," people who are afraid of any Christian. Well, you know how I'm gonna respond, you already know the answer. Cause we're gonna respond the same way that we have responded to every single unfair attack over thirty years. We have no intention of changing. And that is, we return good for evil. We return love for hate. We overcome evil with good. And how will we respond to these people who attack me or Saddleback, or anybody else? We will love and we will love and we will love and we will pray and we will care. And you know we're going to keep on assisting the poor, keep on caring for the sick, and keep on educating the next generation, we're going to do the peace plan, promote reconciliation, to equip [unclear] leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation. We're not going to allow people to distract us from the main thing, we keep the main thing the main thing. And that is, God has never made a person he didn't love, God has never made a person Jesus didn't die for. God has never made a person that God doesn't want to know him in a personal way. And God has never made a person that he doesn't want him serving Christ and serving the Lord by meeting the needs, the practical needs of those around us.

Now I know this has been a long News and Views, so let me wrap this up by first sayinig a couple of things. I want you to know how proud I am of you. There is no church like Saddleback anywhere else in America. No church has sent more people overseas to help the poor and the sick, ever, in the history of America, than Saddleback Church. We sent over 8,000 of our members overseas in the peace plan, to 68 countries, in just the last four years.

[ ... more about Saddleback ... baptize more ... most generous ... bring a friend to Christmas services ... will release new network to help you grow spiritually, using high-tech etc. ... new magazine ... ]

This is not what I thought I was going to hear, after reading the summaries by progressive bloggers. I am curious to hear how the TTF community feels about the controversy and Rick Warren's statements, transcribed here.


Blogger BlackTsunami said...

This is what Warren said on the transcript - "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."

This is what he said on Beliefnet.com(http://www.beliefnet.com/Video/Beliefnet-Interviews/Rick-Warren/Rick-Warren-Interview-On-Gay-Marriage-And-Divorce.aspx): "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."

December 23, 2008 7:45 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

Hold up - there is another part -

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

Rick Warren: Oh I do.…

December 23, 2008 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see no support here for civil unions. I see non-opposition to designating your life-insurance beneficiary and I see acknowledgement that California allows gay partners to visit one another in the hospital.

To be honest, I think he's slick.

That said, Obama can have whom he wants at his inauguration. He will in fact become the president for all americans, even those who don't support queer marriage.

I want to know what kind of support his church gives to Exodus, Narth, PFOX and all those.

I think, for myself, that the words and actions of CRC and PFOX (and anonymous) have hardened my heart; I regret that.

December 23, 2008 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I want to know what kind of support his church gives to Exodus, Narth, PFOX and all those."

This is something you're obsessed with, Robert. Warren's made it clear that he supports the goals of those groups. My guess, however, is that the church gives very little. These para-church activities usually only get nominal donations from churches and are mostly supported by direct donations from individuals. No doubt many members of Saddleback contribute to these groups.

Call them up and ask them if you feel it's so important. I doubt it's considered confidential information.

December 24, 2008 3:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous says I'm obsessed. Hee hee.


December 24, 2008 5:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I go back and forth on these people, and am not entirely sure what to make of them. Maybe they're not entirely cretinous (it is important that not everyone who doesn't love queer people entirely thinks the same as our local troll, anonymous).

I looked on the Saddleback website, didn't find an ex-gay group (I think support for those programs is the acid test of anti-gay activism: it's one thing to oppose marriage, another thing to recruit queer people to a 'christian' life of misery).

I didn't find one.

Here's what the website says about proselytizing at work:

Examine the plank in your own eye before attempting to remove the speck in your co-worker’s eye. Avoid using scripture as a club to batter homosexuals, advocates of “same sex” marriage, “household partners”, atheists, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, new age cultists, Buddhists, Hindus, or Islamists.
Legal Principle: “In your face” efforts to convert resistant or indifferent people at work are not just offensive, but will expose the employer to charges of discrimination if the employer does not intervene to stop the behavior. Using scripture to point out how people are “living in sin” will also be viewed as offensive and possibly harassing in violation of law."

December 24, 2008 6:02 AM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

The continuing media coverage and Warren's efforts to explain himself are painful to those of us who feel deeply about the rights and legitimacy of gay people.

Yet, Warren's efforts may be having the salutary effect of bringing the anti-gay arguments into light.

Warren seems to be, now, falling back to two arguments, having sought to dissociate himself from the "moral" (as opposed to the theological) arguments. (Warren, likely, does not make the moral/theological distinction, but the public discourse is moving in that direction.)

Here is what he now relies on. First, "marriage has always been heterosexual." That is a tautological argument, having no more force that the fact that until relatively recently, marriage was a property arrangement which legally subjugated women.

Second, God commands that marriage be limited to one man/one woman. This, too, is a conclusory statement. We all have our beliefs as to what God wants (or if there is a God), and these are all, at bottom, matters of faith. But most people recognize that there are so many differences among faith communities that no one can be absolutely sure. This is what leads to how we all co-exist: Leaving matters of faith to the private sphere and bringing secular values, informed by the Golden Rule (the lodestar of most religions), to the public sphere of governance.

Warren's conclusion is swimming against the tide of history and simple humanity. Maybe he knows this. I don't know. But the upshot of this discussion is that the ball is being advanced, however painfully.

I would have preferred that the Obama Inaugural not be so caught up in this argument. But since it is now so caught up, the pressure brought by the gay community and its allies so far is making something good out of it. Making people explain themselves is very useful in the public discourse.

December 24, 2008 6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saddleback, like most Baptist and/or evangelical congregations, believes that non-christians will not be saved; i.e. there is no Universalism in their view of theology. Like many people, they believe that they are right and people who do not think as they do are wrong, simple as that.

December 24, 2008 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bethesda watermain break is evidence that God condemns MoCo's Trans protection law and it's new Family Life Curriculum.

December 24, 2008 7:34 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...


I'm sorry I missed that press release from Michele Turner yesterday :-)

Have a great holiday!

December 24, 2008 8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
His place in the inauguration is going to happen unless - as I continue to hope- he is caught in a scandal. And there is no reason to think that he may not have some sort of scandal- look at Haggard or Spitzer or Vitters. People in the spotlight sure they can do whatever they want and not get caught- or be allowed to continue(as Vitters does) on their merry way- and Haggard coming back to preach in some churches and I hear Spitzer has some blog.

Robert-I thought the River Road Flood was the result of MOCO electing only Dems and influencing other parts of MD- like Congressional District 1- to go Dem. But you could be right as well.

December 24, 2008 11:56 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Warren is so dishonest and this video proves it several times. He claims he never equated gay marriages with pedophelia yet in the beliefnet interview he refers to pedophelic and incestuous marriages, is asked if he considers those to be the equivalent of gays getting married and he emphatically states "Oh, I do!". He could have done the right thing and said "I shouldn't have said that, I'm sorry." but like the hateful liar he is he has to try to claim it never happened.

In another lie he says "I am opposed to forcing people to act the way I believe that I ought to act.". He is all for forcing people to act the way he believes he should - he went out of his way to try and force gays to abstain from marriage.

In another lie and attack on gays he said "we're gonna respond the same way that we have responded to every single unfair attack over thirty years. We have no intention of changing. And that is, we return good for evil. ....And you know we're going to keep on assisting the poor, keep on caring for the sick, and keep on educating the next generation, we're going to do the peace plan, promote reconciliation, to equip [unclear] leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.". He's implying that gays are against assisting the poor, caring for the sick, educating the next generation, peace and reconciliation. He's saying gays are evil and they are atttacking him because he (claims he) does these things. Its a lie and a demonization of gays who've done no such thing.

December 24, 2008 1:32 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Merry Christimas everyone. Remember a big party in the middle of winter is the reason for the season.

December 24, 2008 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Priya, the fact is, gays are a tiny minority that the majority really doesn't care much about, though most straight people are coming around to a more tolerant view. Warren didn't say what you say he said, he did not equate gay marriage with pedophilia, incest, polygamy, or anything else, he listed some kinds of living arrangements -- types of arrangements that do exist and that are sometimes called "marriage" -- and said he does not call that "marriage," just like he doesn't call a same sex couple "married." If you want to take it that way, then go ahead, throw a big snit, act like the world is supposed to tiptoe around your sensitive, easily hurt feelings, and good luck with that. You're doing just what Anon does, for instance when he tries to make it sound like Obama doesn't know how many states there are. In the end, if you keep this up, straight people will give even less of a shit about GLBT rights than they do now. The undignified and petty reaction of the gay community, as if everybody is supposed to cater to them, twisting this poor jerk's words into something he didn't say, is really driving the movement backwards. In fact, Warren's statements to his evangelical community should be seen as a great improvement over the outright hate-speech that has spewed from conservative pulpits in the past, but no, we have to feel sorry for ourselves because the big mean preacher doesn't think two guys living together is a marriage. Fucking get over it.

December 24, 2008 2:27 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Burnout, you can make excuses for Warren all you want, but his words and meaning were perfectly clear. He refers to pedophelic and incestuous marriages, is asked if he considers those to be the equivalent of gays getting married and he emphatically states "Oh, I do!". Your empty threat that you won't like us if we keep pointing out the truth doesn't scare me in the slightest.

December 24, 2008 2:41 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Burnout, that's a very fitting name given the drivel you spout.

December 24, 2008 2:50 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Re: The notion that Rick Warren did not equate gay marriage with pedophilia, incest and polygamy.

Red flag #1:

I saw Rick Warren on Larry King Live some years ago, and I was familiar with him because of his book, “The Purpose Driven Life.” On that show he made his anti-gay views known while attempting to avoid sounding anti-gay. This changed my positive opinion of him 180 degrees.

Red flag #2:

Earlier this year I read this article at Talk To Action:

Ugandan Media: Rick Warren Denounces Gay Rights

"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."

Warren was speaking in support of Ugandan Anglicans who intend to boycott the forthcoming Lambeth Conference, and this harsh rejection of tolerance for gays and lesbians may have serious consequences in a country where homosexuals face harrassment and and the threat of imprisonment.
Red flag #3:

This past spring, Soulforce embarked on its “American Family Outing” outreach program to 6 pastors and their mega-churches, Rick Warren and Saddleback being one of them.

Newsweek and the New York Times characterized the agreed upon meeting as an invitation, at which point Warren had a conniption, as well as taking the opportunity to slander Soulforce.
So, when I saw those interviews where he equated gay marriage with pedophilia, incest, polygamy, it was confirmation to me that he not only hates gay people, but that he enjoys it.

I understand the point that Jim, David, and Burnout are making -- that they are equal in the sense that none of them fall under the category of 1 man and 1 woman marriage, the point is, even if that’s the case, it’s irrelevant. In fact -- at least in this case -- it’s worse.

As I illustrated above, he already had a proven track record of being anti-gay, and if you include his support for Prop 8 then you can also include his support of the LIES of the pro-Prop 8 movement. And for the sake of argument, if he was too ignorant to have known about the lies that were used in the passage of Prop 8, or any other anti-gay measure for that matter, then he was too inexcusably incompetent to have been speaking on the matter at all. In either case, gay people weren’t worth his respect. (< Red Flag #4)

So beginning with the understanding that he has little or no respect for gays, there’s no way to see his comparisons with pedophilia, incest, polygamy as innocuous. In fact, the comparison, as well as everything else I heard in those interviews, was decidedly and definitively malicious.

His arguments aren’t shallow - or not well enough thought through, they’re non-existent.

Every anti-gay thing that came out of his mouth during those interviews were standard anti-gay industry talking points. Meaning that he has such little respect for gay people, that it’s not even worth his time to come up with his own arguments, let alone think them through. Meaning that independently of the interview, HE DOES INDEED consider us, and our relationships to be the equivalent of incest, pedophilia, and polygamy.

As has been said, the only difference between him and the Dobson types, is a more palatable tone. Which is actually worse than the directly, or more directly hateful approach because it’s much more effective at lulling people into a false sense of security, as far as the consequences of anti-gay hatred goes.

Rick Warren doesn’t sound as hateful, Rick Warren doesn’t sound as hypocritical, Rick Warren doesn’t sound as dishonest. Same garbage, new garbage can, but LOT$ more listeners.

In support of the interpretation that Warren was not making a direct comparison with incest, child molestation, and polygamy, and to demonstrate why that is worse, because it is more dishonest - in the beliefnet interview he said this:
Steven Waldman: One controversial moment for you in the last election was your support for proposition 8 in California. … Just to clarify, do you support civil unions or domestic partnerships?

Rick Warren: I don’t know if I’d use the term there but I support full equal rights for everybody in America. I don’t believe we should have unequal rights depending on particular lifestyles so I fully support equal rights.

[Clarification from Pastor Warren 12/15: I now see you asked about civil UNIONS -and I responded by talking about civil RIGHTS. Sorry. They are two different issues. No American should ever be discriminated against because of their beliefs. Period. But a civil union is not a civil right. Nowhere in the constitution can you find the “right” to claim that any loving relationship identical to marriage. It’s just not there. ]
He could have easily said, or clarified, that he was against civil unions. Instead, we get a drawn out explanation, essentially stating that people don’t have the civil right to civil unions, even though he admitted that when he was talking about civil rights, he said “I fully support equal rights.” IOW, the civil rights that are conferred upon couples in a civil union, just aren’t rights, therefore, everyone still has equal rights.

Mellissa Etheridge, in the effort to “reach out,” left with this impression after having met with him:

“He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection.”

I think it’s safe to assume that he’s also against domestic partnerships and company’s extending benefits to same-sex partners, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to this portion of the beliefnet interview:
Steven Waldman: What about partnership benefits in terms of insurance or hospital visitation?

Rick Warren: You know, not a problem with me.

[Clarification from Pastor Warren 12/15: I favor anyone being able to make anyone else the beneficiary of their health or life insurance coverage. If I am willing to pay for it, I should be able to put a friend, partner, relative, or stranger on my coverage. No one should be turned away from seeing a friend in the hospital. But visiting rights are a non-issue in California! Since 1999, California has had a domestic partnership law that grants gay couples visiting rights and all the other rights. Prop 8 had no –zero -effect on those rights.]
It’s not just obfuscation at play here, the intent is to portray a false image - above and beyond the false image that the likes of Focus on the Family, et al, attempt to portray. It’s anti-gay dishonesty unplugged.

This is why it upsets me to the core that he, and the choice of him by Obama, is being defended by some members of the LGBT community and our supporters. The danger here is even more significant. And if we can’t recognize the level of the danger, then how are we to defend ourselves against it?

This isn’t about not reaching out, I’m all for that. But to be naïve about the significance of the Rick Warren pick, is to be naïve about the magnitude of the equal rights challenge that we face.

Rick Warren is a fraud, through and through, because he’s sold out. And until we get it though our heads that every word that comes out of their mouths is suspect, our cause is a lost one.

Some of them may prove to be sincere, and/or reachable. Look at the recent Richard Cizik controversy, where he admitted to the support of, or at least the possible support of civil unions. That tells me he’s not a hateful bigot, and so it is a scenario in which I would be perfectly willing to “disagree without being disagreeable.”

Now that’s in regard to marriage equality specifically, but there are also people who are against ALL hate crime legislation, and they say so - another position I disagree with (and can back up), but can respect.

I can even respect people who say that gay people are confused. At least they’re being honest with me, and to that extent, shows me they are being respectful.

I met an “anti-gay” woman on the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministries forum (virulently anti-gay, Anon, you’d love it) who had gotten a divorce and was planning on a life of celibacy due to the Biblical prohibitions against remarriage. Another woman, to make her case that homosexuality was a sin, used to continually compare it with gossip. I said that people weren’t born with the need to gossip, and she finally explained to me that she believed that her brother was a born liar. Another woman there explained to me that her mother had had relationships with both men and women, and that she herself had had a lesbian affair but was essentially heterosexual.

These were the exceptions, the vast majority of ‘anti-gay’ people there were unabashed hateful bigots, who enjoyed hating gay people. Point being, all of those people exampled above weren’t just parroting anti-gay talking points, they had concrete experiential reasons for their beliefs, and thus by extension, identified with the anti-gay industry and its talking points.

Bottom line, the distinction between people like that, and people like Rick Warren, needs to be made - and more importantly, needs to be understood how to be made.

There is a time and a place to reach out to the oppressors of the world, but NEVER at the expense of their victims. Giving a platform, in the name of unity, to those who would seek to divide, arbitrarily, corrupts the very concept of unification itself.

Barack Obama, for the second time now, has done precisely this. Which makes the unacceptability of the Warren pick, all the more significant.

He’s a politician, politicians make mistakes, and are always going to step on somebody’s toes, I accept that, and I still have hope. But as a matter of our own gay / progressive political survival, we need to be unified in our clarity of message, and we can’t do that until we’re unified in our understanding of the depth of the sinister nature that lies at the heart of their movement.

December 25, 2008 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old-timey preachers such as Rick Warren teach people to stay on the straight and narrow path. You don't "try" things, you don't deviate from the norm, you obey authority and follow the group. Some of us don't do very well with that, but some people need that kind of advice. Some people need to be told how to brush their teeth in the morning and what to have for breakfast, how often to change their underwear, who to hang out with and what to do with their leisure time, who to love. The pastoral advice to those people is simple, just look at what "normal" people are doing and tell them to do that, tell them it's God's way.

This way of looking at the world favors conformity and pushes everyone toward uniformity, it discourages independent, critical thinking. It has no ability to deal with exceptional people. Are there any really brilliant evangelical scientists or mathematicians, for instance? How about classical musicians? Artists? Actors? It seems to me evangelicals and fundamentalists are underrepresented in groups of exceptional people. At the same time, they make up a little more than a quarter of the American population, so there must be some appeal, they must be doing something right. What those churches do is to help the ordinary person live their life by keeping it simple. That kind of religion helps people stay in a difficult marriage, helps drinkers stay away from drink, helps people pay attention to their stupid children, the message you get in those churches can be perfectly practical for the ordinary person. The advice is commonsense, for instance, if a guy come to the minister for counsel, tell him to fall in love with a pretty girl and marry her and start a family; that's just what an evangelical preacher would tell someone in his church who was attracted to other guys. Forget about it, do what the others are doing, this will go away, keep it simple.

You can see this as hate, you can take it personally, but it's just the straight and narrow, that preacher is just telling the guy to do what everybody else is doing, the moderate thing, the temperate thing. Somebody like Rick Warren is incapable of imagining what it's like to be gay or different in some way, he may have his quirks but he keeps them suppressed and figures everybody else should, too. You simply cannot expect an evangelical preacher, or an ordinary straight person for that matter, to actually empathize with gay people and care about their problems. It is not going to happen, it's just not how people work. People are too busy and too caught up in their own soap operas to think about what it's like for somebody who's different from them. The best gay people can ever hope for as a group, being a small minority in the population, is tolerance and acceptance -- the best you can hope for is that sexual orientation dies out as a social category axis, and nobody cares if someone's gay or straight, kind of like we are with blue versus brown eyes, we notice it but it is not the basis for judgment. And the last place you are going to look for tolerance is in an evangelical preacher, it's always been like that, as Warren himself says, "It's not news." That is the world as we find it, that's the world we have to live in.

Most Americans think the born-again folks are a little nutty, but we accept them as part of our society. Hopefully we have learned a lesson, we have to be sure not to elect them to public office, but even now most Americans see evangelicals as good-hearted but deluded people. You can oppose it with all your heart, you can argue that they're ignorant, they're wrong, they're unintelligent, but it doesn't matter, they aren't going to go away and they aren't going to change. The best you can do, it seems to me, is keep them out of public office, don't let them make policy, let them be as they are but if you have any self-respect you will not let them make decisions that affect how you live. And as long as they're here, you will find you win them over toward tolerance a lot easier if you can talk with them in a friendly tone, rather than trying to shout them down. There're a lot more evangelicals than gays in this country, and you can insist you're right and they're wrong but they don't care.

And to state the obvious -- can you really think LBGT policies will get worse under Obama? He's the best friend you could hope for. It is really dumb to act like he's actually done something to hurt you, when all he's done is ask a preacher who doesn't like you to say a prayer. If gay people don't screw this up, they could get everything they want out of this administration, but it appears they are heading off in the direction of screwing it up, pissing off exactly the people who could help them, undermining their best friend as he tries to help them.


December 25, 2008 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Burnout is right, the rhetoric used to be much worse.

The more I see of Rick Warren, the more I think that he is simply slick.

December 25, 2008 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't go that far, Mantu to say that gay folks are screwing things up, although I agree with you about Obama.

Nothing wrong with a little roar every now and then. It motivates the community.

December 25, 2008 9:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Successful con men are never obvious. If they were obvious, they would not be successful.

The con is not about his beliefs, of course, (and he's welcome to them), but about his self-claimed 'compassion'. Without PEPFAR $, I doubt he'd be any more involved with HIV-AIDS today than he was in 2003... zero.

Emproph's raised one of the more revealing angles -- the virulently anti-gay Africa connections -- for those who are interested in researching beyond the marketing efforts of Saddleback. Those PEPFAR funds are being leveraged into religious evangelism, and into attitudes and behaviour that are highly dangerous to GLBT people.

It's a pity they left the final 15 seconds off the end of that clip.


(his pants catching on fire.)

December 26, 2008 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But as a matter of our own gay / progressive political survival, we need to be unified in our clarity of message, and we can’t do that until we’re unified in our understanding of the depth of the sinister nature that lies at the heart of their movement."

Well, all gays have to be "unified" because homosexuality is a cult.

This whole "discrimination against physical characteristics" shtick is losing steam. You guys might want to argue next that homosexuality is an alternative religious view. Then, you could claim protection against bias but others would still be free to oppose you.

Your problem now is that the general public will always reject the idea that they should embrace and endorse you. You need to move on to the next level.

btw, you've all discussed ad nauseam how Warren is a "hateful bigot". That's wrong but you're right that his position is no different from Dobson or most other evangelicals.

Obama also knows all this, or at least now he does.

And Warren's still coming to the party.

What does that tell you?

December 26, 2008 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It tells me that Obama is a much more capable leader than Bush ever was. Bush sure didn't invite someone with Lowery's views to his Inauguration, but Obama invited both Lowery and Warren to his. It's obvious that the arrogant "my way or the highway" philosophy will be gone when the Bushleaguers leave the White House. Now, instead of an arrogant knee-jerker, we'll have a compassionate decider for President, one who will listen to both sides so he can make fully informed wise decisions.

December 26, 2008 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It tells me that Obama is a much more capable leader than Bush ever was."

You know one problem I've always had with TTF is the over-the-top seething hatred of George Bush. He had his limitations and there is plenty to criticize but hyperbole from the liberal establishment has always been a bit much. Even now, as he leaves, the consuming, raging anger inspires a need to kick the guy on the way out. He had many accomplishments. History will be kind to him.

A corollary is the mythic status bestowed on Obama before he's served a day. For crying out loud, nothing against the fellow, but his record is less than a full term as Senator which was not particularly notable. Give him a chance to perform a few miracles before you nominate him for sainthood.

"Bush sure didn't invite someone with Lowery's views to his Inauguration, but Obama invited both Lowery and Warren to his."

Actually, Bush had Louis Leon deliver the invocation at his 2005 inaugural. Leon is a clergyman in the Episcopal church which supports gay rights and abortion rights. Don't recall any hysteria from any type of Republicans at the time.

The benediction was delivered by Kirbyjon Caldwell a black minister with a thriving church in Houston active in inner city work. While Caldwell is more socially conservative than Leon, he did endorse and work for Obama's election.

"It's obvious that the arrogant "my way or the highway" philosophy will be gone when the Bushleaguers leave the White House."

It's obvious, as it so often has been in the past, that you don't know what you're talking about.

"Now, instead of an arrogant knee-jerker, we'll have a compassionate decider for President, one who will listen to both sides so he can make fully informed wise decisions."

In fantasy

you can be

anything you want to be

December 26, 2008 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one hates Bush here but is it our fault that over 70 percent of Americans can't wait to see him go?

December 28, 2008 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Your problem now is that the general public will always reject the idea that they should embrace and endorse you. You need to move on to the next level."

The problem with folks like you anonymous is that you think you speak for everybody.

December 28, 2008 12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"No one hates Bush here but is it our fault that over 70 percent of Americans can't wait to see him go?"

Actually, the hatred is apparent. Your fault is that you can't move on but prefer to look back, getting your validation from opposition. As is usual, there is a vacuum whenever liberals take over because they really have no viable vision. Rather than support anything, they only are comfortable opposing things.

"The problem with folks like you anonymous is that you think you speak for everybody"

No your problem is that I've observed the obvious and, egad, mentioned it.

December 28, 2008 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can't move on but prefer to look back

It's December 2008 and Bush is still President, he's still around and still in power. Maybe we just don't see him too much anymore because Cheney let him pitch a pup tent in Cheney's bunker where he can try to secretly stack the deck against the changes Obama was elected to bring.

December 30, 2008 8:06 AM  

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