Steven Waldman Interviews Rick Warren

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of "The Purpose of Christmas," spoke with Beliefnet Editor-in-Chief Steven Waldman at the offices of our partner, The Wall Street Journal.

The pro-life liberals say, “yes and I’m going to keep working for the ultimate elimination but in the meantime let’s work to reduce the number of abortions.” Some on the pro-life side say, “that’s giving aid to the enemy. That’s a charade and a diversion. We really shouldn’t help a pro choice leader like that with this kind of a plan.”

An analogy for me would like Schindler’s list. Yes, the Holocaust, we wanted it to end. But Schindler was pulling people out. That’s a good thing even though he couldn’t end the whole thing. So if I can save a few lives that’s a good thing.

But to me it is kind of a charade in that people say we believe abortions should be safe and rare. Why do you believe it should be rare? If you don’t believe life begins at conception, it shouldn’t be rare. That’s an illogical statement. Don’t tell me it should be rare. That’s like saying on the Holocaust well maybe we could save 20% of the Jewish people in Poland and Germany and get them out and we should be satisfied with that. I’m not satisfied with that. I want the Holocaust ended.


And if you truly believe that life begins at conception --which I do because of my commitment to the scripture -- then that means 40 million Americans are not here who should be here. That’s a Holocaust. That’s 40 million Americans who could have voted for Obama or for McCain who aren’t here.


My concern is that we have this discussion with civility, that we don’t demonize someone you disagree with even on a life and death issue. As a pastor I have had to deal with every single angle of abortion. The rapes, the incest, the Down Syndrome child and on and on and on on and on. It is not an easy issue. But to me, life trumps these other issues.

Torture. You issued a statement a couple of years ago condemning torture.


I’m totally against torture.

Do you think this was a profound moral failing of the Bush administration?

Well I don’t know exactly how they defined torture….

John McCain thinks they did torture.

Well, and you know what – some of the stuff I saw looking at Guantanamo looks like clearly it was torture. To me, if you torture someone, you put yourself no better than the enemy. We must maintain the moral high ground. You have no right to condemn the immoral actions of others if we’re doing the same thing. And we should expect that others will torture our people if we’re torturing them.

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