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Rick Warren Backpedaling on Gay Marriage?

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 11, 2009 2 Comments

One of the major news stories doing the rounds of the blogosphere and the “Internets” is the recent Rick Warren interview on CNN’s Larry King Live. The interview yielded answers from Warren that seemed in direct contradiction to his very recent earlier stance on California’s Proposition 8 (aimed at “illegalizing” gay marriage).

Here’s Warren’s appeal for voters to vote FOR Prop 8 prior to the elections:

The partial transcript:

“Now let me say this really clearly: we support Proposition 8 — and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues I come out very clear.”

And here’s a rather contradictory statement, from earlier this week:

From the Larry King Live transcript:

LARRY KING: … How did you handle all the controversy that resulted [from] the President selecting you [to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration]:

RICK WARREN: You know, Larry, there was a story within a story that never got told. In the first place, I am not an anti-gay- or anti-gay-marriage activist. [I] Never have been, never will be. During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never—never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.

A Warren spokesperson just issued a clarification:

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.

Some things stand out for me here…In the first video, for example, Warren says “And a court of four guys actually voted to change a definition of Christian…err….of marriage that has been going for 5,000 years.” He repairs his statement so that the definition becomes universal, rather than “Christian.” Also, the obvious contradiction seems to be explained away because it wasn’t “organized” activism: somehow, the fact that it was mediated through emails and video make it, in his view, “less organized.” In an era in which massive political efforts are coordinated and groups mobilized electronically, through email, websites, blogs, and video dissemination, can we actually think that somehow that doesn’t count as organized activism? Hmm, I have to say I am going to be a skeptic on this one.

More on Prop 8 activism here.

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2 Responses to “Rick Warren Backpedaling on Gay Marriage?”

  1. Youki on: 15 April 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Interesting sets of text. Your presentation on Goffman was today, right? Any interesting discussion come from it?

  2. Usree Bhattacharya on: 15 April 2009 at 5:28 pm

    It got postponed…to next Wednesday. Check back in a week!


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