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April 9, 2009

Rick Warren Clarifies Same-Sex Marriage Remarks

Several writers have questioned whether Rick Warren backpedaled on his opposition to same-sex marriage. Earlier this week, I asked Warren when he told Larry King he did not campaign for Proposition 8.

The truth is, Proposition 8 was a two-year campaign in the state, and during those two years, I never said a word about it until the eight days before the election, and then I did make a video for my own people when they asked, "How should we vote on this?" It was a pastor talking to his own people. I've never said anything about it since. I don't know how you take one video newsletter to your own church and turn that into, all of a sudden I'm the poster boy for anti-gay marriage.

A spokesperson for Warren and his church sent me further clarification tonight:

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.


Seriously? EVERY culture and EVERY religion?

I was under the impression that Islam allows for 4 wifes and numerous concubines, so did 1st and 2nd Temple Judaism (look at Herod's family), Egypt, India, China etc.

In fact its ONLY the Greek and Roman cultures that stipulated for one man-one woman contract. Yes - contract - there was nothing religious about it.

If you want to defend the one-man/one woman view I wish you did it with some intellectual integrity.

I believe that the media is so corrupt that we have to learn to discern the Spirit of truth rather than the spirit of accusation when we read any article. Rick Warren is a righteous man and will continue to follow sound doctrine.

Warren never said he wasn't against gay marriage, he only said that he didn't campaign against it. The church is tax exempt under the condition that it cannot engage in any political campaign and Warren was probably just trying to say that although he believes gay marriage is wrong that he was not engaged in a campaign. Considering that he is so visible, he was probably just trying to protect the tax exempt status of the church and keep the government out, which is looking for any opportunity to come in and seize it taking away our liberties as they are now doing in the business world. Warren's church has been sued in the past being accused of political campaigning.

Also, Warren has never backpeddled or apologized for being against gay marriage. He simply wrote an apology for his comments that may have sounded demeaning to gay people. Though he is against gay marriage, he knows that he can only win them over through love rather than condemnation.

I agree with Josh. I have been following this for several days and I don't see any inconsistencies in what Rick Warren has said. I think a lot of people who read this and complain don't understand nuances and semantics. I also see that some people are confused over whether Prop 8 was for or against gay marriage.

This is another example of how every leader should guard against the temptation of the fallen human desire to fear man = to seek popularity with the media in Rick Warren's case.

Did Mr. Warren take a Bible with him onto Larry King's set? If he did (and if he knows God's word), he could have read Mark 10:6-12 which includes:"But form the beginning of creation, God 'made them male and female'. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,"...

It is truly a great disappointment that this leader of a mega church appears to think that he was obligateed to make up to the homosexuality advocates instead of using this opportunuty to tell the Gospel that God can change any sinner's life if they surrender to the truth and obey the Holy Spirit & God's word.

Instead of a "Purpose Driven Life", it appears that this week Mr. Warren is living a "Pompous Driven Life".

I will pray that I do not follow his example in my more obscure dealings with people. If you (the reader of my blog) recognise my name, please know that the temptations I struggle with are not homosexuality...Rather like most internet reader/bloggers I will struggle with getting obsessed about this contoversy to the point that I neglect more important priorities of a married father who is currently lacking enough work to pay our bills.

Things aren't that easy, Mr. Talmage, as Paul's not joined to his wife life illustrates quite well.

Paul thought that marriage was an acceptable compromise with lust for weaker people, but for those made of stronger stuff, celibacy was the best way for service to God.

"Pompous Driven Life." Great phrase.

"May have sounded demeaning...?" They were viciously demeaning, and when the interviewer, Steven Waldman, graciously gave him a chance to backpedal...he affirmed what he said instead.

"Do you think those (incest, pederasty and polygamy) are equivalent to gays getting married?"

"Oh, I do."

I guess a very weak, late in the day, self-pitying apology is better, I guess, than his first tactic with dealing with his display of rank bigotry: which was to deny what was incontrovertibly himself saying what he incontrovertibly said on a respected website.

Nobody is really advocating "homosexuality," an obsolete, Victorian era theory long recognized for its weaknesses with the complexities of biology, society, psychology, identity and community. There are no "homosexuals."

What Gay activists are advocating is recognition of sixty or so years of theological, sociological and psychological research that there is nothing "unnatural," innately sinful, conspiratorial or pathological about same-sex orientations. Some people will simply be same sex oriented, so what?

Gay activists are merely demanding full equality and respect for the human dignity of all citizens in America, and for everyone, everywhere in the world.

Some people are just Gay...so what? Causality is unimportant, merely interesting, but pretty much what one should expect in an intelligent, complex, highly social, meaning/identity/community creating species anyway.

There is no "homosexuality" problem, any more than there was a "Negro" problem when I was a kid. There is and was a bigotry problem, though.

It doesn't matter if one is Gay in order to take up and try to practice the Golden Rule. Life is difficult enough as it is. Why make it unnecessarily harder for a Gay, consenting adult couple to responsibly and fully love, cherish and care for the "Alma de mi alma" as the old song goes...the soul of their souls.

I wish more of my fellow Christians would actually read the Bible instead of listen to some of these babbling so-called 'charismatic' church leaders. The obsession some of my brothers and sisters have with homosexuality borders on the absurd and can only be attributed to fear and hatred. The passages in the Bible about homosexuality are few, and there is sufficient vagueness in them that we should not be casting judgment on whole groups of people. The Bible is much more clear on subjects such as fornication, adultery, and divorce. I don't see too many activist evangelicals pushing voter initiatives to outlaw pre-marital sex, adultery, or divorce (or prohibiting any people who may have committed these sins from being allowed to marry or re-marry).

It does not matter how "soft" Rick Warren is on any form of sexual immorality. The New Testament Scriptures speak clearly and openly. God does not need Warren's approval or disapproval.

As my people say, 'Oh, puhleaze".

Sending out a video to your entire mega-congregation and urging them to pass it along is "participating". It's not major activism, but it is activism.

Warren's ashamed of himself.

Rick Warren is simply telling the truth when he says that campaigning against gay marriage is not his thing. That's not his focus. He is trying NOT to get sucked into being a "culture warrior."

If you pin him down, of course he'll have to say that gay marriage is a bad idea and homosexual acts are sins--that's the orthodox and biblical Christian belief.

Previewing your Comment

Rick should not apologize on behalf of God for offending homosexual sinners! The scriptures are purpose driven to make sinner feel guilty and affended so they can turn and repent.

Ricks last apology feeling for equating homosexuality with incest and pedophillia is misguided. Why? The bible clearly equates homosexuality in the same category with these sins..Please read the bible below and see how God equates homosexuality with all sorts of evil. Rick is a nice guy, but he is making a mistake in apologizing for quoting the bible which makes sinners feel offended.

Fact: Bible says homosexuality is evil like adulterly and idol worship.

9Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality,
Amplified Bible (AMP) 1 Corinthians 6:9:

9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. 10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders,[c] liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching 11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.

Main point, Rick has no business apologizing to sinners for Gods word making his friends feel guilty. That is called conviction. It is the work of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures. That is what drove the revival in Jonathan Edwards time. Sinner are in the hands of a wrathful God.

Rick and all ministers of the gospel stand strong. Let us pray for not to be moved by his friends feeling, but by the feelings of Heaven.


There is no reason for Rick Warren to send an apology for what he stated. Consistency. This is important. Stick to your guns and god will bless you for it.

Those on the board do a complete dis-service to 2000 years of christian history and practice when they pit Paul against Jesus. To avoid being too 'right wing', so called sophisticated Christians will say things like Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. This is true, but it is sort of like Clinton asking clarifying questions of what 'is' is.

Traditional Christian and Jewish practice has never supported the idea of homosexuality. Where scripture is supposedly nebulous, historical Jewish and Christian practice has been clear. Sexual immorality outside of one man and one woman marriage is frowned upon. Let's not skirt the issue... but embrace it.

I like the caution one poster gave... the 'hetero' church that points the finger at gay relations most likely has a big log in his own eye... that of divorce, pre-marital relations and porn. The church would do good to have a bit more mercy on everyone regarding sexuality as there is virtually no one that is pure.

Victory is truly achieved via repentance and earnestly seeking one's own purity while being charitable with everyone else. Sexual sin in any form is bondage both mentally and physically. God's wish for us to be free of this to freely serve Him and others... not to condemn those that are lost.

Pastor Rick needs to take a stand on one side or the other and not worry about being politically correct. Or did I miss that in the Bible somewhere - "thou shalt be politically correct" or "don't take a strong stand on the Word of God if you are concerned about goverment getting involved in your business."

There are straight forward scriptures (Old and New Testament) on God's take on homosexuality. It's fairly clear. Unrepentent homosexual sin is a sin that has serious consequences. So is porn. However, today most homosexuals are unrepentent and want us to believe it's ok or that we got scripture mixed up somehow - see Espiscopal Church move to pluaralism and away from Christianity.

I read these comments and I am amazed. How Christians are trying to evolve with the world instead of changing it. If you are not Salt than you are useless. Issues of homosexuality is clear as day and night. Anyone in his right mind can read the Bible about it and understand for him/herself.
1 Cor 6:9,10 "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,?"

Let the world have its own way but for Lord's sake stand your ground based on the Truth, the Word of God.

it is so nice to see christians stand up for their right to discriminate against homosexuals. this is an important matter, because soon there will be no one left for them to judge and treat differently than they would want to be treated. christians must have someone in this world who isn't right or natural or shouldn't have the same rights they have, just because. not for any logical reason, just because, or because god told them. these deluded, arrogant, discriminatory bigots are loosing their ability to coddle their discriminatory practices under the veil of "god said so" or "god told me to" buybull bullpuckey.

Man, lately such name calling on this site by those favoring homosexuality. Who cares when the "word" homosexuality was invented by who and when. Each generation has another word to replace words used by generations before it. For instance, two men and two women prefering their type of sex are not "gay". The gay word meant extremely exuberant, overly happy, etc. Now it means a way of doing sex. And now the word marriage is supposed to mean everybody and soon it will mean everything. For some reason two men and two women want to keep changing the meaning of words that have meant one meaning for centuries, all for their convenience. The reason why homosexuality was not mentioned all that much in the Bible is because the Jewish society for ever just left them alone but didn't mention them as long as they didn't try to change laws. Those asking Jesus questions didn't ask about homosexuality because the answer was so engrained in their society it wasn't necessary to ask Jesus because it wasn't political or threatening to the Priests. Two men and two women simply stayed to themselves and didn't rock the Jewish laws.




Dear Sarah;

I know Rick Warren and graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with him. I love Rick Warren very much. I have a hard time with articles which use an organizations "spokesman" for the majority of an article. Spokespeople always put their position in the best possible light. The issue is what did Rick say on Larry King Live? This is the issue is it not ? Did he back peddle or not? I am not concerned with what people are trying to decide. Nor do I accept as primary source what a PR guy has to say. Did he back peddle or not? If he did I am very disappointed in my friend. If he did not it is very easy to clear up. Simply state what he said on Larry King Live. I am very close to this issue. I have a half sister that is a lesbian. I love her very much and feel she is my sister. I am however commanded to allow scripture to be my sole guide to faith and practice. Scripture is very clear on the issue of marriage.

Pastor Tim Wilson

I am not a christian, but I just had to say it seems to me you people take words in the bible written by men, and you use it to sit on your high horse and tell people what they are doing is a sin, I believe that Jesus loved everyone, and I also believe that if you are a good person, and you live a good life, you will go to heaven, I dont believe that we need to be saved to do so, I think christians are the worst thing to happen to christianity, and I dont think we should judge others, for being who they are, and in case you were wondering, I'm not gay, but I have a very close friend who is and nothing you say will ever convince me that he is going to hell, simply because he is being himself