Evangelical pastor Rich Warren on Thursday admitted that there was “probably” a chance that churches had a role in propagating negative views about gay men and lesbians.
During an interview with Warren on CNN, host John Berman pointed out that the mother of Tyler Clementi, a gay teen who committed suicide in 2010, told The New York Times that the church’s teaching that homosexuality was a sin was partially to blame for her son’s death.
“At this point I think Jesus is more about reconciliation and love,” she said after quitting Grace Church in New Jersey over its anti-LGBT views. “He spoke more about divorce than homosexuality, but you can be divorced and join a church more than you can be gay and join churches.”
“You know, Jesus taught, as a Christian, I am not allowed to hate anybody,” Warren agreed. “There’s a difference between acceptance and approval. He accepts me, he accepts you unconditionally. He doesn’t approve of everything we do.”
“But, pastor, do you think some of our churches are responsible for some of the attitudes towards gays in America — the negative attitudes?” Berman wondered.
“Oh, probably,” Warren acknowledged after an awkward pause. “In fact, there are some people who are extremely violent or hateful and hate is never of God, never.”
In 2008, the pastor published a video encouraging his flock at Saddleback Church to vote in support of California’s Proposition 8 because “there is no need to change the universal, historical defintion of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population.”
Warren told The Huffington Post’s Marc Lamont Hill on Wednesday that he had made a “mistake” in publishing the video because it was supposed to be a private message to his congregation.
“What I learned from that is that anything I say privately is now public,” he explained. “I would not have made that statement. Because I wanted to talk to my own people. As a duty, as a shepherd, I’m responsible for those who put themselves under my care. I’m not responsible for everybody else.”
Warren also told CNN’s Piers Morgan on Tuesday that homosexuality was “like punching a guy in the nose.”
Watch this video from CNN’s Starting Point, broadcast Nov. 29, 2012.
(h/t: Think Progress)