Rick Warren (born January 28, 1954) is an American evangelical Christian pastor and author. He is also the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch located in Lake Forest, California, currently the eighth-largest church in the United States. His book The Purpose Driven Life has sold more than 30,000,000 copies and Warren champions his plan for global action, The P.E.A.C.E. Plan. To his credit, Warren’s plan calls for church-led efforts to tackle global poverty and disease, including the spread of HIV/AIDS, and to support literacy and education efforts around the world. In February 2006, he signed a statement backing a major initiative to combat global warming, thus breaking with other conservative, high-profile evangelical leaders, who had opposed such a move.
However, in a recent CNN interview with Piers Morgan Pastor Rick Warren continued his long foot-in-his-mouth tradition of “one step forward / two steps back” by contradicting his agenda of “peace” by comparing being gay to poisoning one’s self with arsenic as well as physically assaulting another human being:
WARREN: Here’s what we know about life. I have all kinds of natural feelings in my life and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I should act on every feeling. Sometimes I get angry and I feel like punching a guy in the nose. It doesn’t mean I act on it. Sometimes I feel attracted to women who are not my wife. I don’t act on it. Just because I have a feeling doesn’t make it right. Not everything natural is good for me. Arsenic is natural.
I have long been a champion of enlightened religions of peace such as Unitarianism, Episcopalianism, North American Anglicanism, Buddhism, and others. But with regards to the most morally reprehensible religions on Earth — Evangelicalism, Catholicism, Pentecostalism, Islam, etc. — Rick Warren is thankfully digging his own hole. Whenever Warren unleashes another tirade such as this it completely disintegrates every ounce of good this man has contributed to the world in the name of God.
In 2009 Pastor Warren sparked outrage from almost everyone outside his extremist circle when he refused to condemn Ugandan legislation that would make certain homosexual acts punishable by death. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Warren could do worse (and soon did). According to Think Progress, Warren recently tweeted the following in a desperate attempt to change the subject: “Globally last yr 146,000 Christians were put to death because of their faith. No one, except Christians, said anything.” Warren’s hypocrisy shines bright here, because a similar number of people were also killed last year simply for being gay. Warren’s deafening silence on the loss of these lives conveniently secures his cushy spot in the arms of his Christian extremist supporters.
Warren is also an enormous proponent of Creationism which believes the Earth was created a few thousand years ago by God in seven days total. It makes perfect sense to me that the most strident Christian supporter of Creationism would be opposed to the science of evolution because they are clearly suffering from a rare brain condition that prevents them from evolving towards an acceptance of basic science. In one of his countless attacks on the scientific facts that prove evolution to be true, Warren once tweeted: “When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it.” What Warren fails to realize here is that animals do not take semi-automatic weapons to kill crowds of their own species.
One thing that evolution has given us is the powerful ability to perceive dangers in the natural world that threaten our survival. We live in a world that is lit up with conflicts over who has the better God. Yet people like Rick Warren with his poisonous, unenlightened, purpose-driven words of hate and discrimination continue to throw fuel on the wild fire. This kind of behavior is not only a threat to peace, enlightenment, and human potential, it’s a threat to our civilization as well.
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