Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Open Post for Rick Warren

Rev. Rick Warren won't let it go. His media representative sent me an e-mail. Wouldn't it be nice to have a spin doctor cover your ass when you say stupid things? It appears as though it was sent just to me. Why I am so important to the good folks at Saddleback, I am not sure. Here is the e-mail:
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.

Jim Anderson
Direct questions to:
Kristin U. Cole
a. larry ross communications
(p) 615.289.6701
(f) 615.825.9152
This is nothing new. We know all of this. We know that Rick is ignorant regarding cultural anthropology. We know Rick is ignorant regarding the Bible and its interpretation. We got that. One day he will change his mind and support equality for LGBT people (including those in his own congregations). It would be nice if he made that change sooner rather than later.

What is amusing is that Pastor Rick continues to dig himself deeper into a hole. He has already ticked off the fundies who think he is pro gay now. No he is not. Take it from his media representative: Rick is as ignorant and prejudiced as always. All of you anti-equality folks can welcome Rick back with open arms. He is on your side.

He thinks that somehow having "gay friends" absolves him from
actively working to pass Proposition 8. Yes, he actively worked to pass Proposition 8. He didn't stuff envelopes. He didn't go to meetings. He didn't knock on doors. He didn't make telephone calls. He helped the cause of Proposition 8 more than thousands of hours of activism by those who did those things.

He did it with a two minute fifteen second video. Care to see it again?

A video released just two weeks before the election pretty well clinched it. Imagine if he had used his two minutes and fifteen seconds to urge people to vote against Proposition 8? That would have been momentous. That could have changed hearts and minds. That might have saved lives. Who knows? Marriage equality might still be a reality in California.

Rick, you are against equality. No one is fooled by how many "gay friends" you say you have or by how many times you go on national media trying to convince the world that you are not an activist. You can have your media stooges send me a flood of e-mails.

The truth is still the truth. You are against equality and you used your influence to pass a law denying marriage equality to your lesbian and gay sisters and brothers.

The only way to atone for that is to change. One day you are going to say publicly: "I was wrong in October 2008. I was wrong about Proposition 8. I was wrong about my views, statements, and actions toward God's LGBT children. I now support full equality."

I am looking forward to that day. I will celebrate it with you.

It won't be me who will convince you. Maybe one of your 20,000 church members will finally help you. Maybe one of the millions who have read your books will finally open your heart. Maybe a family member or relative will say the right thing at the right time and you will get it.

One day the light is going to go on in your conscience. Like Saul on the Damascus Road, you are going to hear the word from Christ: "Why are you persecuting me?" Tears will well up in your eyes and you will weep. You will realize the pain of inequality and discrimination. You will understand what the phrase spiritual violence means. You will recognize your responsibility.

But it will be a day of grace and rejoicing. The cloud will be lifted. You will see human beings as human beings. You will be embraced by those you misjudged. They will welcome you and you will have new life.

People will shun you. Church attendance and giving will drop. You will probably have to let your media stooges go. All your big evangelical buddies will call you apostate. You may not have access to the places of power quite as easily if at all. Book publishers will say, "No thanks."

But it won't matter. Because now you will be making a real difference. Now you will be speaking words of healing, hope, and truth, rather than words of pain, despair, and falsehood. You will be saving lives that were previously destroyed. I know you don't mean to do that. I know you don't think you are doing hurtful things. Fact is, you do a lot of good for people. That is why I have a soft spot for you. It is time for you to do the hard work and to get this.

Rick, the people who were angry with you about your support of Proposition 8 are not your enemies. They are the best friends you will ever have. One day you will know that.