Alex Blaze

Rick Warren's ridiculous damage control efforts

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 23, 2008 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Christian beliefs, evangelical Christian, hate speech, homophobic behavior, intolerance, Joe Biden, judgement, liberals, Melissa Etheridge, Mike Rogers, out of the closet, religion, rick warren, saddleback church, Tammy Baldwin

Rick Warren's feeling the heat and he's trying to dodge it.

rick warren gay.JPGThe image to the right will live on in infamy. It's Rick Warren at the Out off the Closet thrift store in LA with his new gay friend. It reminds me all too much of that series of images Stephen Colbert put together a while back, along the lines of "Here's me with my Black friend!" "Here's me with my latino friend!" "Here's me with my gay friend!"(Video of that's after the jump if you don't know the reference.)

Warren wants to be the compassionate moderate out there, but he either just isn't or doesn't want to take the heat from his own book-buying base by showing it in any material way. While he's being exposed for the charlatan that he is, his damage control comes across as ridiculous.

Rick Warren's efforts with his congregants

Matt Comer already posted earlier today about Warren's email blast to his church saying that his words are being taken out of context... which doesn't square away with what he actually said. Not at all.

To his church, he's blaming the media and he's on the attack against gays, saying that we're using "hate speech" and need to "get a life."

Here's part 1:

And part 2:


Site-washing

The Saddleback Church's website used to say that homosexuality was a sin, one of the worst ones at that. Here's an excerpt from their old FAQ, preserved for posterity by Google:

While all sin is destructive, Romans 6 warns us of the great dangers in sexual sin when it says, "Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body." (1 Cor 6:18 NLT) This includes not only homosexuality, but all sexual immorality: adultery, sex without marriage, pornography. We must not act as if homosexuality is the only serious sexual sin, and we must not act as if homosexuality is not a serious sexual sin.

I've heard it asked, "Isn't being homosexual something that a person is physically born with?" First of all, there are absolutely no facts to support this claim. From time to time studies have been reported in the news that seemed to indicate this, but every one of these studies has proven to be wrong. Secondly, even if some physical difference were discovered, it would be no excuse for sin. We know that some people can develop a stronger physical addiction to alcohol than others, but that's obviously no excuse for living an alcoholic lifestyle.

Finally, a word about being judgmental. It's not judgmental to say that what the Bible calls a sin is a sin, that's just telling the truth. Not being willing to talk to someone caught up in sin, or not believing that they can be forgiven, or thinking that you are not just as much in need of Jesus as they are ... that's being judgmental.

Because membership in a church is an outgrowth of accepting the Lordship and leadership of Jesus in one's life, someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at a member at Saddleback Church. That does not mean they cannot attend church - we hope they do! God's Word has the power to change our lives.

In equal desire to follow Jesus, we also would not accept a couple into membership at Saddleback who were not willing to repent of the sexual sin of living together before marriage. That does not mean this couple cannot attend church - we hope they do! God's Word has the power to change our lives.

Well, that's been scrubbed. It's very inconvenient for national journalists to be reading those words coming from Warren's own church, so they had to be removed. Hopefully, the policy of excluding gay and lesbian congregants was removed as well (fat chance).

Rick Warren's gay friends

A bit more from TMZ about Warren's gay friend from before the jump:

We got this pic, taken yesterday at Out of the Closet thrift store. That's Warren on the right (naturally), his arm around Erol Sarabi, who is openly gay. Warren, who supports the ban on gay marriage which has not sat real well with some Obama supporters, bought 8 to 10 books, two of which were his own (that doesn't help with his Amazon ranking). Warren told Sarabi not to believe everything he reads, that he does a lot for AIDS research and was happy that Out of the Closet does free AIDS testing.

Rick also apparently met with Melissa Etheridge and said that everything bad he's said about gays was wrong and that he's bought a lot of her albums:

I told my manager to reach out to Pastor Warren and say "In the spirit of unity I would like to talk to him." They gave him my phone number. On the day of the conference I received a call from Pastor Rick, and before I could say anything, he told me what a fan he was. He had most of my albums from the very first one. What? This didn't sound like a gay hater, much less a preacher. 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. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn't want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. He invited me to his church, I invited him to my home to meet my wife and kids. He told me of his wife's struggle with breast cancer just a year before mine.

When we met later that night, he entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future.

Telling Melissa Etheridge that he "regrets" what he said, in private, and then have her report it on the Huff Po, a site that Warren's homophobic supporters don't read, isn't enough. It isn't anything at all, actually. It's an attempt to get us to shut up without actually making up for any of the hurtful things he's done.

Mike Rogers raises the stakes

Here he is on MSNBC, asking Warren to meet the gays:

It's an interesting proposition. I doubt Warren would do it, considering that if he's too gay-friendly, his words will be in the press and his followers will see that, or if he shows his true colors, then he's just feeding this beast.

But it does highlight that the queer side isn't the intolerant one here. If he is the tolerant, non-homophobic evangelical pastor, then where's the problem?

The only issue we'd have is that we wouldn't want to be stood up again.

From the Obama camp

Tammy Baldwin was invited to be an honorary co-chair at the inauguration. Congrats to her!

I don't know if this is an olive branch, but having an LGBT person on that committee at the rate at which we generally appear in the population doesn't count for much.

Joe Biden will also be on Larry King tonight. Here's part of the transcript:

"King: There has been much controversy over the selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the inaugural.

He's been a guest on this show an awful lot, and he supported California's Proposition 8, a measure that outlaws gay marriage. He is also very opposed to abortion. I know the gay community in America appears to be up in arms. What do you make of this?

Biden: Well, I'd make of it [as] Barack Obama keeping his commitment.

Barack Obama said you've got to reach out. You've got to reach a hand of friendship across the aisle and across philosophies in this country.

We can't continue to be a red and blue country. We can't be divided like we have been. And he's made good on his promise.

And I would say to the gay and lesbian community, they have nothing to worry about. Barack Obama, every aspect of his life, every aspect of his public life, and every commitment he's made relating to equality for all people, will be things that he will stick with and that they should view this in the spirit in which he offered the opportunity to -- to Mr. Warren."

Don't worry, folks. Obama only chose a die-hard homophobe as America's new spiritual center....

Stephen Colbert's friends

And here's the promised Colbert Report video:

And the follow-up:

I think this sketch perfectly encapsulates what Warren's doing. It's absurd.

He thinks he can pretend to be friends with a few gay people and everyone will forget what they were mad about. That's an immature and reductionist understanding of civil rights.

Personally, I wouldn't care if he had no queer friends if he'd just stop talking shit about us.


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Queerty reported today that the Saddleback site hasn't been scrubbed after all; they're just changing the [printable, screencapp-able, cache-able] text with [EZ-delete] audio.

Otherwise, that's darn good analysis. The "I have a gay friend" thing has never worked, most recently with Sarah Palin. Why he thought it would work for him is beyond me.

This jerk deserves to be sent a fruitcake --- or a nice, big solid concrete doorstop, disguised as a fruitcake.

P.S. As I recall, Rick Warren used to be relatively thin before his book became such a bestseller. We might shudder that all that money went into the Saddleback treasury coffers --- but actually, I think a lot of it went to Hometown Buffet and Golden Corral.

It should not be a surprise that a guy who thinks dinosaurs and humans co-existed also thought his visit to the Out of the Closet store, just yesterday, complete with posing with a random gay person, would be a wise way to address his serious PR problem. It's quite amusing actually.


Timothy Kincaid at the Box Turtle Bulletin has taken notice of Warren's activities in Africa in which he has good relations with the Episcopal bishops who would rather gay people be in prisons.

Warren wants to be the compassionate moderate out there,

And I want a pony.

Alex, when we all wade through this knee deep Religious hoodoo, it is clear that Warren has to refresh himself of the 7 Deadly Sins, It is obvious that he has forgotten that GLuttony and Sloth are on the list.

This Xtinan shell game gets tiring at best. We all know where the Nuts are.

I read part of Warren's book a few years ago --"The Purpose Driven Strife"...if memory serves.
Warren's entire book can be summed up in a sentence that is a revolutionary thought to many fundamentalists: "Your life aught to stand for something." (If you didn't read the book, please send me money...for the summary at a discount rate of what you would have paid for the book had you needed toilet-paper...).
Of course, Warren's in too deep to actually "Repent". That would mess up his whole 7-deadly sins collection that he has going: Pride, hypocrisy, apparently gluttony...
You know: If you study the life of Jesus, -it was the rabid fundamentalists of his day who called him demonized & set him up to be killed. Jesus had quite a bit to say about them & their political groveling (as did his cousin, John). See Matt 23.
Well, while Rick was writing a book that talked about doing something, -I was ACTUALLY doing something. I was doing research to document a massive government fraud that --would you believe most organized religion is married to! I sent my research to movie producer Aaron Russo who was so intrigued by the abundance & clarity of the evidence, that he produced a documentary in 2005 (so good it was getting standing ovations during screenings) that hit some theaters in 2006 (before the same agency that the film documented began to threaten theater chains with dire consequences if they showed it. George Orwell - the prophet proven...I suppose!) You can check out Aaron's documentary website & watch the movie for FREE on G00GLE. The URL is FreedomToFascism.com and just like the Scriptures say -- I've been harassed relentlessly by the same group of thugs I documented.
I'm also a supporter of a rapidly growing group of men called g0ys -spelled with a zero. G00GLE 'em. G0YS have no qualms about a guys sexual orientation. What we point out is simply that the Bible verses used to condemn all same-sex intimacy actually (in context) forbid perilous acts such as AnalSex. The most educated Rabbi's also agree: Lev 30:13 is a prohibition against AnalSex (& that's all it forbids). See, the TORAH is a book of LAW and hence all the principles of reading LAW apply to reading Leviticus. It turns out that AnalSex spreads STD's some +5000% more readily than even 0ral! Those figures come from the CDC & WHO. +5000% --that's not a typo. Furthermore, AnalSex causes a lot of physical trauma because the body is NOT designed for the act. It keeps proctologists rolling in medical fees. Butt seriously -is that any sort of selling point for the act? Nope. G0YS simply point these facts out & we have a large theological apologetics essay area for guys who want to see how the Scriptures link in context on this issue. Fundamentalists run from the theology ex-cogitated on the g0ys.org main website. It is very comprehensive & shows how the messages of the Old & New testaments have NEVER forbade same-sex intimacy as long as those actions worked no ill towards a "neighbor". On the other side of the narrow path --the g0ys don't tolerate the callous attitude of disrespect displayed by the "Gay left" and their "anything goes" philosophy. Ultimately, - g0ys.org is a site for men who have similar beliefs. It is NOT a place to convert "leftist gAys" and it really isn't a place to convert fundamentalists. In those regards -it merely takes a fatalistic attitude summarized by the notion that: "Some people are simply hell-bent of being selfish & by their actions destroying others & themselves." Jesus talked about the blind leading the blind & their end. Let him who has an ear, hear!