Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rick Warren is NOT America’s Pastor

Let’s get this straight! The more I read about this corn-ball, the more I don’t want it EVEN hinted at that he is America’s pastor!
by Charlie Leck

OK! So someone told me that the minister who gives the invocation at the inauguration is then, by tradition, considered America’s pastor. WHOA right there! Full rein! Stirrups and feet forward and shoulders back! Whoa!

Let’s get this straight. I’m not going to consider Rick Warren my pastor, or even allow it to be hinted at that he is America’s pastor!

Give me a pastor, or priest, or rabbi, or prophet with some brains and sensitivity. This guy may have sold millions and millions of his books, but the stuff is pabulum and mush – you know, all mashed and blended and squished up to make it go down easier.

Rachel Maddow put him in his place this week with convincing videos of him contradicting himself. If you want to hear Pastor Rick as he really is, watch this video.

Pastor Rick? I’ll take Ranger Rick as America’s pastor before I’ll allow the Very Wrong Reverend Warren to be called that. With pleasure, I’ll take the Pastor Jeremiah Wright a hundred times over Rick Warren.

Are there pastors who could better represent America?I was simply angered by a comment put up on one blog in response to the Maddow video. It stated bluntly that there were no pastors in America who could better represent Obama and serve as America’s pastor and that they are all alike in terms of their attitudes about the gay and lesbian community. Here’s the comment that I call plain old wrong;

“The sad part is that there probably isn't a better Christian pastor out there that Obama could have chosen. The stuff Warren is saying is standard Christian boilerplate at this point: homosexuals are deviants, homosexuals can't be Christians, homosexuality is equivalent to pedophilia and incest, abortion is murder, etc. It would have been close to impossible for Obama to find a Christian leader that doesn't say those things.’ Posted by: Jason Ouabache December 24, 2008 10:36 AM
Nonsense! I could list, right off the top of my head, a couple dozen pastors (both men and women) who could have delivered beautiful and loving invocations at Obama’s inauguration. Try reading about James Gertmanian, the brilliant pastor in Minneapolis who heads a congregation devoted to community service to those in need. And, there are currently gay pastors who serve on the staff of that church. There are dozens of pastors in America who work as street ministers to the homeless, or pastors to the gay, lesbian and bisexual community, or work in far-off lands establishing schools or digging wells or bringing medical care to the hopelessly ill. They don’t spew hatred and they don’t divide people. They heal and unite people. They don’t claim exclusive insight into how God works and how people are saved.

In the video I recommend above, you can hear a real description of the beliefs of Pastor Rick and, if you’ve been raised believing Jesus sends us out to minister to the outcast, the sick, the needy, and the hungry, you’ll be incensed at the thought of this guy being America’s pastor. Katha Pollitt put it very well in her discussion with Madow.

“Projects that teddy bear geniality… the things you notice would fly by the people that that was aimed at, who follow Rick Warren and think they’re the real Christians and that, if you don’t like Rick Warren, you don’t like Christ… he has compared people who are pro-choice to holocaust deniers… he says that women who have abortions are like Nazis… he has very disturbing ideas about sexual inequality… that abuse is not an adequate reason for a divorce…”
Listen! You can slough this off as just a minute or two appearance that this guy is going to make and then it will be all over, or you could more realistically realize that this will give Rick Warren an incredible moment of fame and a world-wide stage that he doesn’t deserve at all.

Obama has made an incredible mistake here. It seemed small at the moment he announced it, but, as we look into just who this freak is, the strangeness of the choice just grows and grows. This is not just a man who has some dissimilar views with Obama. This is a man who stands for all the things most of us voted against in our selection of Obama.

Here’s the argument, represented by Steven Guess, in The Guardian (UK), for NOT worrying about Pastor Rick’s little prayer.

“While in this transition stage appointments and guest speakers seem larger than life, when historians look back at Obama's presidency, this will be less than a footnote in comparison to the real fights to come. It is the calm before the storm, where the only ones fighting are Democrats jockeying for influence. Warren will hold no policymaking power, and although the inauguration gives him an audience with mainstream America, so too does Obama gain an audience with evangelicals to make his case for liberal policies. In the scheme of things, Warren gets a few minutes to speak on inauguration day. That's it. No more, no less. It is certainly an honour that builds his resume, but it does not alter the fate of the nation in one direction or another. In return, Obama adds to the political capital he needs to achieve the progressive victories his critics are clamouring to see before he's even in office.”
I don’t buy that. Pastor Rick is a man who represents an ideology that is simply counter to what Barack Obama said he stands for. Unfortunately for Obama, this issue is not going away. A large segment of those who stood up and supported, worked for, and voted for Obama feels betrayed by him. I can imagine Pastor Jeremiah Wright laughing right now at this new pastor with which Obama has aligned himself.

I’m not prepared to let this matter rest. Obama is certainly in a bind right now and he can’t do much about it, but Rick Warren can. Pastor Rick could withdraw and beg off. That would give Obama a break. The more the media reveals about this guy, the more the pressure will build on him to retreat into more anonymity. These revelations, I am afraid, are going to have to come from bloggers and the alternative news media. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the New York Times or CNN to introduce you to the real Pastor Rick – too many of their “customers” are evangelical Christians who eat up this Kool-Aid from the nutty pastor from Saddleback Church.

Amy Goodman, at Democracy Now, has revealed the real Rick Warren in an interview with Max Blumenthal, who wrote Rick Warren’s Hypocritical Double Life, which is on-line at Daily Beast.

“The media has made a hero out of Rich Warren without really looking at him and seeing what he stands for… Even The Nation magazine has called him America’s Pastor… the real Rick Warren is someone who fights the culture war with a velvet glove… he freely admitted that the only difference between him and James Dobson is a matter of tone… openly back Proposition 8 in California… backed every anti-gay proposition that’s come down the pike in California… called it the God given obligation of our nation to take out evil-doers… once claimed that man walked the earth with dinosaurs… that he won’t allow gays to be members of his church… says he fights poverty, but what has he actually done?... his programs (and churches) in the third world are really an evangelical attempt to make new Christians… he speaks the language that people want to hear… but it is unclear what he is actually doing… he has a doctrine of women’s submission… women have to submit, in a biblical manner, to their husbands… freely admits that he only believes a small segment of Americans are going to heaven and the rest of us are going to burn in an everlasting fire…”
Rick Warren is a master at twisting the truth and back-tracking on statements that he’s made publically – many of which are easily found on video. Rick Rosebrough, on the blog, Extreme Theology, takes one through a case study of how Warren twists the truth to serve his own purposes and reveals some interesting interviews that seem to indicate Warren is a flat-out liar. Take the time to read the blog to the very end because it is a little hazy and disjointed in its opening.

Listen, this blog could go on and on, revealing to you the real Rick Warren. You only need to do a little creative searching on the Internet to find out about the real Rick Warren and how dangerous his simple-minded thinking is. Then realize he has millions of devoted followers. It’s pretty frightening.

If you go searching, you’ll find stories like Rick Warren’s apology to Joseph Farah, who writes the blog, Between the Lines, for things he said about Farah. The Farah response to the apology is really powerful, but it also reveals a lot about Warren’s real international ministry:

“Thank you for your concern, but I want you to know that I was not personally hurt or offended by anything you said to me in your e-mails. “I was angered – and continue to be – by your seeming lack of concern for Jews and Christians in totalitarian police states like Syria. What must they feel like when they hear the world-famous Rick Warren telling the world that they do not really suffer, that their rights to religious freedom are protected by the murdering dictator Bashar Assad, that you think his regime is an example for others in the Middle East and around the world. That's what angered me. And I believe it is the kind of righteous anger I would direct toward any Christian leader who does not speak up, when he has the opportunity, for the voiceless martyrs and persecuted saints in countries like Syria, a nation that is even today directing the killing of foreign Christian leaders, imprisoning ordinary believers and using the well-honed dhimmi system of Islamic rule to keep a heavy boot of repression on the neck of the body of Christ.

“Please don't apologize to me. I am not offended – at least not for my sake. I am offended for the sake of my brothers and sisters in Syria and Lebanon, my ancestral home countries, who do not, as you suggest, live under a system of religious freedom. Instead, they live under fear – the kind of fear that Bashar Assad and his father before him instilled with mass murder, assassination, torture, imprisonment and terrorism.”
It is really sad that so many people around the world believe that the Christianity represented by Pastor Rick Warren is real Christianity. It isn’t! Warren does not understand the life and ministry of Jesus. He doesn’t understand the meaning of the Christ. He’s only one more Bible toting evangelical preacher making the rounds, like a traveling elixir salesman, and conning people into accepting salvation and easy religion in place of walking the path of the excruciatingly difficult faith of real Christianity.

Let’s raise the roof and see if we can get the silly pastor to withdraw as a participant in the Barack Obama inauguration.

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