Oh the joy of getting busted lying on international TV and having to do serious damage control. My post on Tuesday, “Rick Warren lies about his homobigotry on Larry King Live,” was picked up by Huff Post and created a buzz for pointing out that on the man who delivered the invocation at the President’s inaugural, Rick Warren, the spiritual leader of Saddleback church, flat-out lied about his support for Prop 8. A recap from the CNN transcript…
WARREN: During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never — never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.
But of course he seemed to have forgotten his message to his flock prior to the election where he very clearly endorsed Prop 8:
WARREN: Here’s an interesting thing: there are about 2% of Americans are homosexual, gay, lesbian people. We should not let 2% of the population determine — to change a definition of marriage that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years. This is not even just a Christian issue, it is a humanitarian and human issue, that God created marriage for the purpose of family, love and procreation. I urge you to support Proposition 8 and to pass that on.
OK, so after this blew up on the LGBT blogs, it also hit the evangelical, anti-gay sites because Warren’s performance angered them because it looked like he was backing away from his staunch anti-marriage equality position.
Apparently the damage control is under way. On Friday I received an email from a Jim Anderson, who is a Christian music artist and self-described “worship leader” — and a “media representative” for the Saddleback pastor. Folks, this is what massive PR fail looks like – it won’t stop the laughter on the left, and it won’t pacify the Religious Right:
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Correction for your post on Rick Warren’s CNN Appearance
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2009 09:47:37 -0700
From: Jim Anderson
I’m providing this to you in an effort to clarify statements made by Pastor Rick Warren during his April 6th appearance on CNN “Larry King Live.” Several comments he made during that interview have caused confusion which I would like to clarify on his behalf as media representative for Saddleback Church.
Throughout his pastoral ministry spanning nearly 30 years, Dr. Warren has remained committed to the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, for life — a position held by most fellow Evangelical pastors. He has further stressed that for 5,000 years, EVERY culture and EVERY religion has maintained this worldview.
When Dr. Warren told Larry King that he never campaigned for California’s Proposition 8, he was referring to not participating in the official two-year organized advocacy effort specific to the ballot initiative in that state, based on his focus and leadership on other compassion issues. Because he’s a pastor, not an activist, in response to inquiries from church members, he issued an email and video message to his congregation days before the election confirming where he and Saddleback Church stood on this issue.
During the King interview, Dr. Warren also referenced a letter of apology that he sent to gay leaders whom he knew personally. However, that mea culpa was not with respect to his statements or position on Proposition 8 nor the biblical worldview on marriage. Rather, he apologized for his comments in an earlier Beliefnet interview expressing his concern about expanding or redefining the definition of marriage beyond a husband-wife relationship, during which he unintentionally and regrettably gave the impression that consensual adult same sex relationships were equivalent to incest or pedophilia.
Direct questions to:
Kristin U. Cole
a. larry ross communications
How can anyone take this pitiful defense seriously? The general audience watching the Larry King Live program was not aware of the hair-splitting and parsing going on; and Warren didn’t address that prior interview that he surely knew would confuse the issue.
And come on, he knew that endorsement was going to circulate all over the place, and the Prop 8 folks had no problem with taking advantage of that. It’s still a lie, a lie of omission because it’s hard to explain away the very clear pro-Prop 8 statement.
And about that about the pedophilia/incest/polygamy stuff Anderson is alluding to? That BeliefNet interview didn’t sound like an unintentional impression to me.
Rick Warren: 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.
As I said in my earlier post — will Rick Warren ever be held accountable for trying to rewrite his bigoted history? If he’s so confident about his position, why has he refused to debate it in public? Why did he try to back out of meeting with gay and lesbian families from Soulforce who were invited to his church? His attempts to weasel out from under his bigotry on live TV hardly represents integrity.