Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


And Now for a Defense of Rick Warren (Chosen By Obama To Do The Inaugural Prayer!)

posted by swaldman

rick warren.jpg
Barack Obama has just asked Rick Warren to do the invocation at the inauguration.
This will no doubt cause serious consternation among many Obama supporters. After the Beliefnet/Wall Street Journal interview with him, Warren has been sharply criticized for his views on gay rights, torture and other issues. Andrew Sullivan picked apart Warren’s claim that he’d supported Prop 8 in California (banning gay marriage) as a free speech issue. Paul Raushenbush took issue with Warren’s claim that “social gospel” Christians were closet Marxists.
I myself have described areas where I think Warren skirted issues or lacked self-awareness. He has, for instance, talked about the need for civil discussion on culture war issues but in our chat he equated gay marriage to incest and pedophilia. His claim that he opposed torture but never tried to influence President Bush because the he’d never had the opportunity, seemed like a stretch.
Now, I’d like to explain why — despite some areas of disagreement — I respect Warren and believe he has earned his status at the top of the evangelical heap, and why it was a smart move for Obama to ask him to deliver the invocation at the inauguration.
First, Warren has used his fame and fortune primarily to help the most destitute people in the world. He reverse tithes, giving away 90% and keeping 10%. Please contemplate all the religious figures who have gotten rich off their flock and pocketed the money. Who among you reverse tithe or would if you were rich? I know I don’t, and every time I think about what Warren has done it makes me question whether I’m giving enough. That is a Christ-like example.
Second, he’s worked hard to get other conservative evangelicals to care more about poverty. Some on the left had hopes that Warren would somehow move evangelicals to the left on social issues. They were confusing temperamental with political moderation. Just because Warren is a nice guy, greets you with a hug, used to wear Hawaiian shirts, and cares about the poor, doesn’t mean he’s a political liberal or even moderate. He’s not. But it’s in part because he’s conservative on everything else that his views on poverty carry such weight in the evangelical community.
Third, he has voiced his own spiritual doubts. This is hugely important. So many religious leaders view expressions of doubt as signs of weakness at best and heresy at worst. By admitting his own doubts, and explaining how he worked through them, Warren gives permission to the rest of us to have an intellectually honest spiritual journey.
Finally, he’s mostly about God. Yes, he says things that are controversial and, I believe, is sometimes ill-informed and insensitive. But the Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose of Christmas barely mention the hot-botton culture war issues. He has his views on those issues but really believes that getting right with God is most important thing.
For Obama, picking Warren for the inauguration is a smart move. George W. Bush chose Franklin Graham, a hard-right evangelical to do his prayer. Instead of retaliating by choosing a liberal preacher, Obama opted for spiritual bipartisanship. The move helps to depoliticize prayer — which, of course, is very politically shrewd.
Click here for the full transcript of the Warren interview
Click here for video of the interview
UPDATE: Angry reaction from Andrew Sullivan (“Ugh”), People for the American Way (“A grave disappointment”), Right Wing Watch (“just a friendlier version of James Dobson”) and Atrios (“[Obama] Wanker of the Day”



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Your Name

posted December 17, 2008 at 6:05 pm


Good point about spiritual bipartisanship, Steve. So far no one has mentioned that civil rights icon Rev. Joseph Lowery is giving the benediction. Whether or not you think Rick was a good choice, the bridge-building impulse fits in with Obama’s strategy. I posted on this a short while ago:
http://blog.faithinpubliclife.org/2008/12/the_inauguration.html



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Henrietta22

posted December 17, 2008 at 6:49 pm


Very disappointed in Obamas choice. What a slap in the face to all the GLBT, and their families. Their children being compared to Old men marrying children, and sieblings marrying. I can’t believe it! What happened to middle ground for all Americans Barack? This is not moderate, that we heard so much about when you were running.



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Matt Algren

posted December 17, 2008 at 7:17 pm


He’s a warmongering homophobe. How is that not enough to disqualify him?
Hopefully President-elect Obama will step in and overturn the committee’s decision.



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Julie

posted December 17, 2008 at 10:07 pm


I cannot believe that the religious right has to be talked into helping with poverty. Have can they claim to believe in the Bible and still put such a low emphasis on poverty?
I had respect for Warren until his mainline churches are sidelined and do not care about Jesus, the Cross, the soul, morality/family issues, etc.. Obama came from a mainline church.
I do not agree with Warren’s postion on gays, I understand that many people believe homsexual relations are a sin. Warren did not need to demonize gay people.
I can understand Obama picking Warren. He is partially reaching across the isle. Plus it takes away from James Dobson power, which I think is a good thing.
Warren does do considerable good. Don’t think Steven needs to feel bad about Warren’s 10 percent. His 10 percent could still be a large amount of money.



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NightLad

posted December 17, 2008 at 10:31 pm


>>> I cannot believe that the religious right has to be talked into helping with poverty. Have can they claim to believe in the Bible and still put such a low emphasis on poverty?
Because that is an issue too massive for most people to comprehend, or ever feel they are making real head-way with.
Bashing gays(for example), on the other hand, is a constructed dilemma that they can battle and, in their own minds, conceivably “win.” (I’m sure many of them had to change their pants after Prop 8’s lynch-mob hung the GLBT community high.)
These same people claim that homosexuals account for less than 1% of the population, but they spend tens of millions of dollars to deny us any form of secular, civil rights.
Meanwhile, homeless shelters and street-youth outreach programs are going belly-up.
WWJD, indeed.



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Elena

posted December 17, 2008 at 11:13 pm


I’m as liberal as they come, but I’m sorry if I believe all the good he has done trumps his personal beliefs in gods grand scheme of things.
This is an interesting move, probably meant to bring the country closer together. I do not believe he means this as an affront to gays and lesbians as he is fairly moderate as evangelists go and probably chosen for precisely that reason.



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Will

posted December 17, 2008 at 11:57 pm


Warren has x views (described in the most sensationalistic way possible). Obama lets him speak, therefore Obama has x views.
By that logic, Obama should only ever associate with those who totally agree with him.
This is why Obama is president and Atrios isn’t.
I do disagree about “spiritual bipartisanship”. If both Bush and Obama pick conservatives, it makes it seem as though only the right wing is religious. I don’t like the attitude that one symbolic gesture negates everything that Obama stands for, but I am very disappointed he didn’t take this opportunity to show a different face of religious America. Now he has to choose between giving the middle finger to either LGBT people or evangelicals (if he drops Warren).



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Your Name

posted December 18, 2008 at 12:14 am


I think it’s about time that we stop labeling each other, especially regarding one’s stance on gay marriage. Matt, I understand your disappointment about Warren’s words. But does calling him a “homophobe” simply because he opposes gay marriage give you any credibility? I’m afraid not. Instead, drop the labels and look beyond the hot-button issue to try to understand the reality of the situation. Labels halt conversation. Without conversation, we will not make progress.



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Matt

posted December 18, 2008 at 1:44 am


I am so sick and tired of this spiritually immature people being propped up in the national spotlight. Read M. Scott Peck or Fowler’s Stages of Spiritual Development. Warren is Peck’s Stage II, all the way. He’s just James Dobson in sheep’s clothing.
Please, don’t let this spiritual neophyte be on the national stage any longer. I pray, “Lord, protect me from your followers. I have no problem with God. It’s her fan club that I can’t stand.”
matt



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Y

posted December 18, 2008 at 1:50 am


“Your Name”,
RICK WARREN’S STATED POSITIONS
ARE THE VERY DEFINITION OF A
HOMOPHOBE.
I do not see the post by Matt, but I must take issue with your assertion that recognizing this fact lessens anyone’s “credibility”.
Rick Warren compares LGBTQ people to pedophiles and actively works to deny them civil rights equality (for example, civil marriage, as distinct from a religious one narrowly, and incorrectly, defined by Rick Warren’s minority Christian sect). This is clearly part of Warren’s record and is not in dispute. He IS a homophobe. I doubt you can convert him into a more accepting, supportive person by refraining from an accurate labeling of his position. Was that your intent? To speak nicely and engage with him in order to convince him to support LGBTQ folks? If so, good luck and let us know how it goes! But, if not, then what are your comments doing other than attempting to silence someone with different views than your own in an admittedly nicer-seeming way than, say, I would?
Now, if you believe that naming a racist a racist, labeling sexist comments sexist, or calling out any expression or proponent of bigotry with an appropriate word such as “homophobe”, is not rhetorically effective, that’s fine. I think I understand where you are coming from and we just disagree. But, I am concerned you do not realize that refusing to call a spade a spade only gives some bigots more wiggle room, allowing them to adapt their own rhetoric to your own and, thus, continue to get away with it. Do you not agree that helping to create politically (rhetorically) adept bigots only helps them to widen their base of support? For myself, I am very concerned that it does.
What you are suggesting is conversation, so, then, converse. Tell us where you stand on these issues instead of trying to tamp down discussion yourself by shaming people into speaking for themselves only in ways that you approve of. We can criticize good people. In fact, good people who are active in the world are in great need of such criticism or they run the risk of negating their very valuable contributions.
On a related note, it worries me when we think we can accurately weigh good and bad to begin with, much less decide from our version of the final balance whether or not to forgive or ignore what is wrong in society or an individual. It is not a matter of things being more or less important really because we are not faced with either/or decisions. We can do both/and! We can BOTH work to help the poor AND support equality amongst all members of our communities. In fact, I would argue that it is impossible to address one without the other. Pointing out that an individual is doing great work in one area does not mean they are immune from criticism or that we should not confront her (or him in Warren’s case) on other issues where they are doing great harm.
While I am heartened in some ways by religious organizations’ renewed interest in the problems of class and poverty, I remain concerned that these efforts only disguise for some their more central evangelical goals. Helping people with unfulfilled, basic survival needs is a no-brainer. I applaud all such efforts in this regard. But it shouldn’t be done for either applause or other ulterior motivations, such as religious conversion. I consider it not only misguided but unethical to attempt conversion knowing the psychological effects of providing a person food, clean water, shelter, clothes, and medicine. This is the business of cults, not the legitimate spirituality of religious organizations.
Finally, Mr. Walden, I find your own rhetorical techniques more than a little suspicious. You begin by expressing a few of your own criticisms to generate trust in your readers only to turn around and manufacture a defence for Warren that takes the edge off his highly offensive and unethical comments. This makes it more difficult for us to have important conversations about civil rights issues. I don’t know why anyone on BELIEFNET thinks they need to defend Rick Warren at all. Let him defend himself. I believe it’s time for another interview.



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http://altpick.com/shahidcompany

posted December 18, 2008 at 2:00 am


Let us be crystal clear, Warren did not “merely” indicate that he opposes gay marriage. In Steve Waldman’s interview with the Pastor he EQUATED gay unions with pedophilia, incest, and polygamy. How is there room in the public discourse when you begin at this point?
I submit that leaders such as the Rev. Jim Wallis better reflect not only the America that exists, but the Nation we can be.



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Matt

posted December 18, 2008 at 2:13 am


here here on the Wallis…now, from what I know, *that* would be a good choice…



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non-metaphysical stephen

posted December 18, 2008 at 2:34 am


Has Wallis been that much better on gay marriage?



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janinsanfran

posted December 18, 2008 at 3:38 am


You know, the reverse tithing has to count. Jesus cared a lot more in the Gospels about what we do with riches (and if we are Americans we all have them) than what we do about sex.
But, but — I am nonplussed by having the guy I worked for to make President make common cause with someone who has the opportunity and wouldn’t push Bush about torture, who wants to police womens’ wombs, and who is a primitively ignorant bigot about gay people. Obama has chosen to put such a person in a prominent position. Now I know a lot of people whose follies I tolerate, but I don’t push them out front and center.
Obama’s move smacks of amoral political calculation.



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Ann

posted December 18, 2008 at 4:35 am


What an excuse driven post. None of it matters as long as he denies anyone their civil rights. Let him reverse tithe. Blog about it. Do it yourself. But don’t make him a hero when he is a bigot to gays and wants to overturn Roe v Wade. He’s just more of the problem and none of the solution. I find him purposeless until he shows me differently.



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Mr. Whipple

posted December 18, 2008 at 7:55 am


Obama is doing precisely what he said he do. He is trying to find common ground with people with whom he disagrees. Nothing in this choice suggests that he will not sign FOCA if it ever crosses his desk. Obama opposes gay marriage. I am a Christian and politically liberal and I’m happy to see Obama actually act on principle. It’s really refreshing.



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Mark

posted December 18, 2008 at 11:37 am


Pat Robertson does the same thing as Warren, yet PR doesn’t get the slap on the wrist treatment from American Journalists like Warren Has. Why is this? What’s the difference between Warren and Robertson? Both are high profile Christians yet treated differently by the media.



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Rob the Rev

posted December 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm


As a gay Christian clergyman who voted for Obama (he was not my first choice as nominee to be sure)I am not happy with his choice of Warren as the giver of the invocation. He is not a “moderate” evangelical. He is just a softer-toned Dobson or Robertson. He wants to make GLBT folks second-class citizens. Would Obama be choosing him to lead off his inaugeration with prayer if he expoused seperate-but-equal accomodations for black people? Would Obama consider that a “moderate” postion.
Watch the CNN video debate about Warren’s selection.
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/17/obama.warren/index.html?eref=rss_topstories#cnnSTCVideo



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Michael David

posted December 18, 2008 at 1:25 pm


What is wrong with the people (especially you Steven) who read/listen to Rick’s comments on gay marriage? ? Do none of you understand basic logic?
Please listen for a moment and quit trying to label things and purposely misunderstand.
When Rick says that gay marriage is the same as a man trying to marry a child or two siblings being married he is NOT saying that these sins are the same THING, that a person who is gay is also a pedophile! He is saying this (and making it quite clear): ANY redefinition of marriage to include sinful relationships is wrong! He is simply using *examples* to show that he is (or most Christians) not simply against gay marriage because of the fact the two people are gay. He is saying that ANY redefinition of marriage is EQUALLY wrong. He is saying that he would oppose any redefinition of marriage — to include sinful relationships — just as vigorously as he is opposing this one. He is saying, no matter *how* you try to redefine marriage, it is *wrong* to try to redefine it to include sinful relationships.
Steven, what is wrong with you? Are you saying that the sin of engaging in gay sex is a lesser sin than pedophilia? Is the sin of engaging in adultery a lesser sin than having gay sex? Who are you to go about attempting to lessen the severity of engaging in gay sex to pedophilia, or incest? NO ONE is saying that if you are having gay sex you are also a pedophile or that you are also incestuous, but Christians are saying that gay relationships are wrong and just as wrong as pedophilia and incest!
I don’t understand this problem with homosexuality being compared to pedophilia or incest in regards to sin? Homosexuality is UNIVERSALLY condemned by God in the New and Old Testament. There are *numerous*, specific verses about what happens to people when they engage in gay sex, about how God “turns them over to their own debase mind”. Engaging in gay sex is a SERIOUS sin, just as serious as MANY other sins.
When you respond to Warren’s comments comparing gay marriage to pedophilia and incest with consternation, what you are saying (Steven, and others who take this stance) is this:
“OMG, gay marriage isn’t as bad as pedophilia! Gay marriage isn’t as horrific as incest!” Oh REALLY, and how exactly is it that you came to this conclusion? Why are you so offended by Rick comparing those sins? He isn’t saying that if you are gay you are also a pedophile or incestuous, he is saying that sin is sin and any redefinition of marriage to include sinful relationships is wrong.
Tell me Steven, what is your conflict with Warren comparing other sin relationships to gay relationships? Please enlighten me. Is homosexuality a lesser sin than incest? Than pedophilia? Can you please direct me to the Bible verse that supports this claim?
Julie:
Christians do not need to be “talked into” dealing with poverty. Christians give more money to charities in this nation than all other groups *combined*. Christians give more money to charities than non-Christian liberals by FAR. The vast majority of money given to charities in this nation is given by Christians (read the book: Who Really Cares: America’s Charity Divide: Who Gives, Who Doesn’t, and Why It Matters: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism”).
Warren is saying that Christians — who do the most — still weren’t doing enough… near enough. However, this doesn’t mean that Christians were doing as MUCH as other groups. Sorry, that is wrong.
Ann and janinsanfran :
How is Warren a “bigot to gays”? Quit tossing around labels which are useless and back up your assertion. Warren is not a bigot. If God’s view on homosexuality in the Bible were ambiguous, you can BET that Rick and other Christians would be ambiguous as well. However, God is NOT ambiguous, He is quite clear and severe in His condemnation of homosexuality, therefore Christians must agree with God on the matter and attempt to do what is right before God. We have no choice in this. This is not about us being bigots, it is about us obeying God. He has been clear in His command in this, homosexuality is a sin and we cannot condone it. Christians also condemn their OWN sin, not just others. I fight with myself, with my own sinful nature constantly. I label sin in my life as sin and I condemn it. Being true to your faith and your belief isn’t bigotry, it’s called integrity and character.
Rick speaks out about divorce, adultery and other sins that occur in the Christian community, including homosexuality. He doesn’t “pick on” the issue of homosexuality any more than any other sin, in fact he speaks about the (more common) sins in the Christian community FAR more than he does about homosexuality. However, the reporters constantly ask about the hot button issues, and he answers those questions. In his church, homosexuality is rarely spoken about, you can’t judge a man’s ministry by the emphasis the media places on a few comments he has made, especially when those comments are true and correct as it pertains to his faith.
Do you realize that MBLA (Man Boy Love Association) considers people “bigots” who regard pedophilia as wrong? It’s easy to label someone a bigot if they don’t share your views, or if they hold views that say you are doing something that is wrong and/or a sin.
The only reason people like Warren (and myself) use pedophilia as an example, is NOT to lump gays in with pedophiles. It is because pedophilia is something almost everyone can agree is wrong. We use it to illustrate there are absolutes. We use it to show that some things should not change. We use it to show that some sexual relationships are never, ever going to be “okay”. We use it to show that some views aren’t “antiquated” no matter how old they are. We use it to show that *anyone* can be labeled as a “bigot”. We use it to show that *you* draw the line somewhere, it is simply drawn in a different place that we would… which is very hypocritical.



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non-metaphysical stephen

posted December 18, 2008 at 2:53 pm


“Homosexuality is UNIVERSALLY condemned by God in the New and Old Testament.”
So much for paying attention to the past 20 years of scholarship….



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Your Name

posted December 18, 2008 at 3:26 pm


Dear “Your Nmae”,
“But does calling him a “homophobe” simply because he opposes gay marriage give you any credibility?”
It is not because he “opposes gay marriage” – anyone is free to do that.
It is because of his heinous, hateful and untrue comparison of gay marriage to incest, polygamy and pedophila that he is – RIGHTLY – called a homoophobe.
Bearing false witness is a sin, remember?
With those comments, Warren bring shame to those who claim the name of Christ.



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Christian Voice

posted December 18, 2008 at 3:31 pm


Great pick by Obama, Warren again showed his high mental accuity (much higher than this blogger it would seem) and that he is on top of the history and Biblical truths involved in some of these issues, and Waldman showed he is either biblically or theologically illiterate in his few criticisms of Warren.
Keep up the courageous stands Rick.



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Husband

posted December 18, 2008 at 3:42 pm


Michael David,
“OMG, gay marriage isn’t as bad as pedophilia! Gay marriage isn’t as horrific as incest!” Oh REALLY, and how exactly is it that you came to this conclusion?”
Because children do not (can not) give consent. Gay marriage is about two (non-related) adult, human beings, in consenting, committed relationships.
As for brother/sister incest, the “ick factor” is far more justified due to the effects/results of consanguinity. Plus, they do not have to establish kinship (which is one of the things marriage does) because they’re already related.
That is how we come to this conclusion.
Thanx 4 askin’.
P.s. the 3:26 “Your Name” was me – CAPTCHA doesn’t seem to capture that info.



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Husband

posted December 18, 2008 at 3:45 pm


P.P.S.
Same-sex, committed, loving, consenting relationships between two adult human beings is not “something almost everyone can agree is wrong”.
Many faiths disagree with you, which is why an ever-increasing number of them do perform same-sex marriages.
Not to mention, the Constitution guarantees equal treatment before the law for all citizens, so what your faith teaches or what your version of the Bible says is (or should be) irrelevant – especially in a land that promises freedom of religion to all its citizens. We don’t have to agree on this tenet.
Regardelss, what Warren said is unconscionable.



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Henrietta22

posted December 18, 2008 at 4:25 pm


If the media did their homework and told about Rev. Lowery we possibly wouldn’t be so incensed with the pick of Warren. On the other “News” of Rev. Lowery, hop over and read it.



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Mordred08

posted December 18, 2008 at 9:29 pm


Why is it that when someone calls gays an abomination, saying they’re prejudiced against homosexuality is “intolerant” and “labeling”?



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Rob the Rev

posted December 19, 2008 at 11:02 am


If you would like to contact the members of the inauguration committee, and I hope you would, to ask them to reconsider their horrible decision to invite homophobe Rick Warren to give the prayer of invocation, use the links below. Please, speak out and help protest this shockingly bad choice.
Simple question to ask these officials: Would Obama permit a minister who opposed granting equal rights to interracial couples to deliver the invocation at his inauguration?
Parrag Mehta , President-Elect Obama’s LGBT liason on the transition team.- parag.mehta@ptt.gov



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Hypocrites and ignorant

posted December 19, 2008 at 1:30 pm


Interesting all the hateful anti-“homophobes” on this blog that can’t stand someone having a principled religious view on this issue. Grow up.
Husband, your points are unintelligent and lack critical development. I hope you can see the ridiculous double standard of changing the current parameters of a state-recognized “marriage” to your personal view of what should constitute one. You yourself are “phobic” and intolerant of those who don’t agree with your requirements. For example, a friend of mine would like to excercise his religious freedom (which you referenced as a reason why a definition of marriage is unconstitutional) and marry multiple wives, and another guy just was ranting the other day about how the homosexual lobby wont let him and his group be part of their “movement” just because the person he is in a “committed, same-sex, loving consentual relationship” with someone who just happens to not be an adult. I think someone else just called from Kentucky, and due to the shortage of good marriagable adults, they want you to stop your persecution of them and work also to allow them to marry their siblings. After all, its all of our human right to marry who we want! Why should we go with your definition just because YOU think it matters that it be just 2 adults who aren’t related.
Think through your reasoning better, and bring better arguments to the table.



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Margaret Jones

posted December 19, 2008 at 3:20 pm


I applaud Rick Warren for his courage to speak out against gay marriage. I agree that gay right activistss don’t just want us to tolerate their presence in our society but want us to endorse their behavior and normalize it. They consistently confuse sex with love. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you have to have sex with them. I think the Bible clearly condemns homosexual behavior. I suspect when Rick Warren said homosexual behavior was equivalent to incest and pedophilia he meant sin was sin and abhorrent to God. Pastor Warren also said we love to talk about other people’s sins more than we do our own. He equated drug abuse with overeating and implied gossip was also sinful.



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Look in the Mirror

posted December 19, 2008 at 3:46 pm


Anti-religion bigots try to get away with religious harassment and discrimination and call everyone who doesn’t agree with them “homophobes.” Militant anti-religion bigots, you better believe we feel very confident that we have NOTHING to fear from you….
Religiophobes……wow, thats convenient. If you disagree with my faith or lifestyle I just call you an Islamohobe or religiophobe or judaphobe, or Christophobe trying to insult your intelligence and belittle your perspective to make myself fell better about my hypocritical lack of tolerance.



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Your Name

posted December 19, 2008 at 3:57 pm


Yeah, everytime some ignorant hatemongeror uses the phrase “homophobe,” just throw a “religiophobe” at them. So intolerant these “tolerance” pushers are. Respect the faith and voting conscience of others!
Someone who would a “homophobe” would actually have a real fear of a person who was homosexual or attracted to homosexuality. Rick Warren might fear FOR such people, just like he would be concerned about someone struggling under the weight of any sin, including his own, but not fear THEM as if they are a leper. You anti-Christian bigots take yourself too seriously, and see yourself as too powerful and influential. Not everything is about sexuality for everyone! This is but one issue that Warren disagrees with, and their are millions that agree with him.



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Mordred08

posted December 19, 2008 at 8:45 pm


Your Name: “You anti-Christian bigots take yourself too seriously, and see yourself as too powerful and influential.”
Excuse me? We LGBT people are not the ones who claimed we caused Hurricane Katrina and 9-11. You guys said that about us. Maybe it’s you who see us as too powerful.
“Not everything is about sexuality for everyone!”
Then why do you refuse to see us as anything more than our sexuality? For example, if one gay person does something and it gets on the news, the next day all gays are blamed for it. That’s called prejudice, no matter how much you dislike that word.



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non-metaphysical stephen

posted December 19, 2008 at 10:31 pm


Saint Paul is quite clear in 1 Cor. 5 that as Christians, we are not to judge those outside of the church. Insofar as civil marriage does not need the church for legitimacy, this issue is a civil one and not a religious one. We as Christians have no right to prohibit gay couples from entering a civil marriage.



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Edward Manzeer

posted December 22, 2008 at 11:46 am


Does anyone know if Steven Waldman gets his kickbacks from Rick Warren and the Christian Right by check or cash in a brown paper bag? In my belief Christianity is about loving relationship with God and loving relationship with other people. Does Rick Warren’s God tell him to have religious and financial power over other people, not with them? Will giving big bucks to poor he doesn’t really like, non-heterosexuals he doesn’t respect or to others who physically care for ill people buy Rick Warren brownie points with God? I don’t think so. When Rick Warren goes through a transformation in spirituality, like Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, then he may see these different folk as fully human and not defective. I am an Arab Christian with a gay brother and know what hate, fear, and disrespect feels like.



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Your Name

posted December 22, 2008 at 12:03 pm


I am always amazed that people use the Bible as a reference book of facts. It is mostly filled with parables not factual stories. You can’t assume you are correct because a book of mostly fiction says so. Rick Warren does not have his facts correct either. Marriage was a property arrangement longer than it was a sacrement of God. There are also no sins more greater or lesser than others. If you hate or make trangressions against gays you are going to hell just as fast as they “supposedly” are. Rick Warren also believes we (America)would be justified morally and bibilcally in assassinating opposition world leaders. That does not sound like something Jesus would do.



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Y

posted December 23, 2008 at 3:47 am


HYPOCRITES AND IGNORANT,
In your posted response to “Husband”, you resort to ad hominem (personal attack) and slippery slope arguments. Both are logical fallacies. Please follow through on your own advice to “Think through your reasoning better, and bring better arguments to the table”, especially as regards the personal attacks. You’re better than that.
YOUR NAME @ 2008/12/19 3:57 PM,
You obviously believe homophobe is an insulting term. I’m glad, on the one hand. I don’t think it’s a good thing to be. However, it is not an insult as much as a psychological description. Your etymological approach was wrong on two accounts.
First, even if we accept your personal definition (which ignores its actual, modern meaning), Warren’s linking homosexuality with pedophilia implies fear. Pedophiles are predators and should be feared, as many of us who have either been sexually abused or love people who have been the victims of a pedophile know. We are not so stricken with terror that we do not act to stop them. What we have is a healthy, rational fear, knowing that What they do is psychologically destructive. I believe this is inarguable. Please do not prove me wrong.
Secondly, the definition of homophobia is not limited to mere fear. It refers to an *IRRATIONAL* FEAR, and that is just what it is. But, being a phobia, it includes other emotional reactions, like contempt, aversion, and discrimination (not the rational kind). It is the latter with which we are concerned in regards to Warren’s comments and sermons. What Warren has said in his sermons is indisputably homophobic. You may not like it because you agree with him and don’t want to think of yourself this way. I’m sorry if that’s true. I hope you have another, better reason for your posts, but, so far, I cannot tell what it is.
Since homophobia is, like pedaphilia, a psychological term, it is important we distinguish between what is psychologically unhealthy and what we might believe religiously. Equating the two, as we did in the United States less than 40 years ago when homosexuality was listed as a psychological illness, is a dangerous thing. It allowed us to criminalize, imprison, commit, and torture people. While I know that people still hold to this belief in homosexuality as a mental illness, and use this belief to justify their sometimes violent actions towards LGBTQ people, I hope we are not making this error on BeliefNnet by asserting that particular brands of “sinners” are like criminals and the psychologically ill, as Warren has done by linking homosexuality and pedaphilia.
But it is not just LGBTQ people, their families, friends, and supporters who are concerned about Obama’s choice of Rick Warren. What I’d like to hear more about are feminist perspectives on Warren. It seems to be all over the internet but the larger media outlets are ignoring this.



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Michael David

posted December 23, 2008 at 9:23 pm


non-metaphysical stephen wrote
“Homosexuality is UNIVERSALLY condemned by God in the New and Old Testament.”
So much for paying attention to the past 20 years of scholarship….”
So much for answering an intelligent, well-thought-out and lengthy response with one absurdly vapid sentence.
I have paid attention to the quality scholarship of the last 2000 years, including the last 20 years. Way to go there, Stephen, for paying attention to the worst of scholarship of the last 20 years by liberals and homosexuals with an agenda. Sheesh.
Stephen, are you referring to the same scholarship that led to the Jesus Seminar concluding that Jesus performed no miracles, didn’t die on the cross, didn’t raise from the dead and didn’t ascend into Heaven? The same scholarship that led to the conclusion that the Gospel of John was written three hundred years after the death of Christ, which was soundly and roundly proven wrong by fragment P52? Are you referring to the “scholarship” that leads to doctrine like “Universal Salvation”, that homosexuality is okay and other sinful, perverted doctrines? Do you mean that scholarship?
I have paid attention to the “past 20 years of scholarship”, by men such as Dr. Norman Geisler, M. James Sawyer, Duane Gish, Probe Ministries, Dallas Theological Seminary, the Baptist Church, Bible churches, Zane Hodges, Daniel B. Wallace, Paul L. Maier, J.P. Moreland, Douglas Groothuis, J. Ed. Komoszewski and on and on. They all join with God and his word in roundly condemning homosexuality. So much for picking and choosing the lousy, liberal scholarship of the last twenty years, Stephen.
I’m very well aware of the liberal conclusions about verses in the Bible that condemn homosexuality, just as I am aware of the “scholarship” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses concerning the entire book of John and how they interpret it as saying that Jesus isn’t God. As I am also aware of how the Mormons also conclude from their “scholarship” that God was once a man and had sex, and that Jesus and Satan are brothers, and all men and women who are good Mormons and perform the correct temple rites will become gods themselves, equal with God Himself. I am also aware of the “scholarship” of the Moonies and their conclusion that Rev. Moon is God. I am also aware of the “scholarship” of the Christian Scientists and their conclusion that all sickness and illness is an illusion of Satan, which leads them to denying medical treatment to their children. Is that some of the “scholarship of the last twenty years” you speak of, Stephen?
God has warned us that many false prophets and false doctrines would spring up in the end times, so it is of no great surprise to me that the so-called “scholarship” by liberals of the last 20 years has led to the conclusion that homosexuality isn’t a sin. Satan is always at work trying to convince people that sin isn’t sin, and that God isn’t God, or that there is no God at all. The Lord is quite clear on this, however, and the verses are quite clear, and no amount of sinful “scholarship” will change the will and meaning of God in these verses. Homosexuality is a sin, the act is a sin, the lust is a sin, however struggling with this sin isn’t a sin. Heterosexual men struggle with lust and this is not a sin, the nature is not a sin. Neither the homosexual nor heterosexual man is guilty of sin if he simply has the capacity to lust. It is the actual lusting and acting out that is sinful.
Different “scholarship” had sprung up even in the days of Paul, in the instance of the “Judizers” and others. Paul condemned them and admonished us to condemn false doctrine as well, you would be wise to consider that, Stephen.
It doesn’t matter if your scholarship springs from the minds of the Jesus Seminar, John J. McNeill, Bishop John Robinson, Nancy Krody, Malcolm Boyd or any others (none “Bible scholars” by the way), Romans 1:24-27 is quite clear… God turns men (and women) over to their own debase minds when they commit homosexual acts with one another. You can twist this verse, and many others, including:
Romans 1:24-27; I Timothy 1:10; Jude 7; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Deuteronomy 23:17-18 and on and on all you like, however: the entire chapter of Leviticus 20 is very, very clear. There is no “interpretation” of the sins listed there. There is no confusion concerning homosexuality with prostitution, orgies, or whatever. It is listed by itself, and roundly condemned.
Twist them as you wish, with your “scholarship”, but homosexuality remains a “detestable” sin before God. Over and over it is condemned in the Bible, and in each sense you find some way to pretend that the Bible is speaking about something else, prostitution, idolatry, orgies, heterosexual men having sex with homosexual men, sex with angels, whatever, but the scripture over and over condemns homosexuality and you know it, Stephen.
Sin is described as using a God given gift in an unGodly way, clearly homosexuality is using God’s gift of sex in an unGodly way. God’s original message to Adam and Eve in the garden was to “be fruitful and multiply”. Why would God ordain homosexuality? Makes no sense. What is next? Satan is a great Bible scholar. He knows the scripture inside and out. He can twist it to serve his purposes, just as sinners can. He tempts and twists the minds of so-called “scholars” as well. Ask yourself this one question, is the “scholarship” of liberals and homosexuals of the “last twenty years” on par with the scholarship of the last 2000 years which condemns homosexuality?
This scholarship of “the last twenty years” you speak of is poor scholarship. No reputable Bible scholar is included in this “scholarship” you speak of which condones homosexuality. Instead, this is simply false doctrine that both Jesus and the disciples warned us about. It’s no surprise that this would happen, as I said, Satan is always about twisting the word of God, twisting the minds of men, trying to make sin out to be acceptable. It’s as old as his tricks in the garden, it will go on until God puts an end to it, and it is our job to reject and rebuke such lies. Sadly, you are just another (of many) who have been deceived by the king of lies into making the wrong argument seem right. You are a Sophist, and no more.



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Your Name

posted December 24, 2008 at 9:52 pm


Rick Warren is so concern about the poor. Will Mr Warren works litle with the poor in Mexico. Orange COunty Ca has had thousands of Mexicans come illegality for the past 30 years to work in Orange County. Most live several people in old tract houses or apartments in Santa Ana or the west side of Anaheim in Orange County. Santa Ana has the highest number of people that live per household in the us than any other city and Orange COunty is now 33 percent hispanic and its a result of pastors like Mr Warren who are much more interested in Rwanda than Mexico or Central America.



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Y

posted December 24, 2008 at 11:41 pm


Michael David,
You do realize that resorting to ad hominem attacks while simultaneously refusing to interrogate or criticize your own arguments are the very definition of sophistry? For example, you describe non-metaphysical Stephen as “deceived by the king of lies” though you offer no support for this offensive assumption. Please prove me wrong here on the point of your own sophism, and I would like to offer a few places you could begin.
First, regarding AUTHORITY, you place heavy emphasis on whether or not an individual is a “reputable Bible scholar”. Reputable to whom? How do we recognize a reputable Bible scholar when you inform us that “Satan is a great Bible scholar”? Bit of a catch-22, no?
Stephen’s (very) short post failed to cite particular scholarship. This is something you could ask about, but, instead, you chose to invent references (Jesus Seminar, John J. McNeill, Bishop John Robinson, Nancy Krody, Malcolm Boyd) for your STRAWMAN ARGUMENTS, even lumping Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Moonies, and Christian Scientists together, because anyone who disagrees with you (not God, but YOUR limited, imperfect knowledge of God) is automatically delusional.
Putting “scholarship” in scare quotes is not sufficient argument. Your sarcasm is obvious enough but still not sufficient proof you know the true meaning of all scriptures and the rest of us do not. You attack the character of innumerable scholars without support, naming them, universally, homosexuals, sinners, and perpetuators of false doctrines. A nice, passionate form of emotional rhetoric, but do you know all of these scholars individually, or is this a case of OVERGENERALIZATION? Do you think they are consciously deceiving people? Or, are they merely deluded? Or just demon-possessed? Which is it and how have you achieved such certainty in your ability to recognize scholarship that is valid? You certainly have not convinced me that, while you are apparently well read within a very narrow sector of Biblical debate, you possess an infallible understanding of scripture. On the contrary, there are a number of things about your post which have convinced me otherwise.
But I do applaud you for citing your sources: “Dr. Norman Geisler, M. James Sawyer, Duane Gish, Probe Ministries, Dallas Theological Seminary, the Baptist Church, Bible churches, Zane Hodges, Daniel B. Wallace, Paul L. Maier, J.P. Moreland, Douglas Groothuis, J. Ed. Komoszewski and on and on”. These individuals are conservative Baptists that argue for BIBLICAL INERRANCY despite all evidence to the contrary. An inerrant view of the bible disregards ANY form of evolutionary theory (not only as it relates to humans as a species), and necessarily supports a flat earth, geocentric view of the universe regardless of the observational proofs against these beliefs. If you choose to disregard logic and simply wish to believe what you believe because you believe it, that’s fine with me. But do not pretend you have arrived at your conclusions through logic and serious scholarship. To hold these views, you must ultimately argue from a position of faith alone. You would not be alone in this; radical fundamentalists from all of the world religions make the same statements. For example, some (not most) Hindus argue that the Vedas represent true knowledge because the Vedas themselves state they are true, revealed knowledge. It is the same circular logic that what a Bible tells us about God is true because the version we have is the word of God. Many people make these and similar statements, refusing to acknowledge that the nature of language (religious, scientific, or otherwise) can never provide us such easy, unchanging answers. So how does an individual discern truth? What is most important, I think you’ll agree, is to find out the truth.
Your sarcasm, your pejorative use of the word liberal (confusing American politics with religion as if there is only one kind of liberal political philosophy in the world and none of them compatible with Christianity),tell me much about where you are both emotionally and spiritually. Intellectual and scholastic justification for your point of view does not impress. Maybe you think your approach comes from justified righteousness. To me, it sounds like the kind of angry intolerance I hear from people misrepresenting many religions who are so deeply uncertain about their own faith that they have to constantly prove it to others by using religion like a club to save the masses of ignorant people they feel so surrounded by, then justify their actions as somehow educational.
If you are serious about truth, please ask yourself the question you are asking others. If everything you’ve learned is wrong, would you even want to know?



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Husband

posted December 29, 2008 at 10:02 pm


That’s inventive: “religiophobes”, and it’s especially odd considering how many gay marriages are taking place in the couples’ places of worship. I know mine was, and about 40 of the 45 or so that I’ve witnessed.
More delusion from the radical coercive “religious” lying right.



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MattJ

posted January 15, 2009 at 10:09 pm


This so-called ‘Husband’ is lying to the whole forum. Those are not “places of worship”, they are dens of iniquity.
In REAL “places of worship”, the worshippers realize that Paul spoke with an authority equal to Christ’s. This IS what it means that Paul is Christ’s “chosen vessel (Acts 9:15)”.
But they also realize that Paul clearly and harshly condemned homosexual acts in Rom 1:18-32, 1 Cor 6:9-10 and 1 Titus 1:10.
True worshippers are not deceived by those wolves in sheep’s skins who come up with excuse after excuse for failing to see these clear and harsh condemnations.



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MattJ

posted January 15, 2009 at 10:15 pm


Margaret Jones says:
They [the SSM advocates] consistently confuse sex with love.
To which I reply: they are not alone! Powerful social forces have been hard at work deceiving MANY into this confusion for decades, now. Hollywood has to take the lion’s share of the blame. But Freudians and Jungians don’t escape blame, either.
In fact, it is BECAUSE this confusion is so widespread in today’s world that so many have been deceived into supporting “same-sex marriage”. It is because of this confusion that they fail to see what even secular 19th century sociologists could see so clearly: that marriage is the core of the family, and the family one of the three fundamental institutions of any human society.
Tampering with that institution by swapping out ‘marriage’ for ‘gender-neutral marriage’ is as destructive and reckless as Bolshevism was.



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