Rick Warren Exploits Paranoia To Defend Prop 8

Jim Burroway

December 16th, 2008

Rick Warren — you remember him. He has all of those “many gay friends” — said this about why he supported California’s Prop 8:

…There were all kinds of threats that if that [Prop 8] did not pass, then any pastor could be considered doing hate speech if he shared his views that he didn’t think homosexuality was the most natural way for relationships. And that would be hate speech. To me, we should have freedom of speech. And you should be able to have freedom of speech to make your position, and I should be able to have freedom of speech to make my position. And can we do this in a civil way?

This is unadulterated nonsense. First, a civil marriage law does nothing to impinge on what a pastor can preach. Divorce is very common, but you can waive all the divorce decrees and new marriage licences in front of a Catholic priest’s face and he’s not going to marry anyone unless the Vatican has granted an annulment. And he’ll be happy to explain it to the couple in his office, at the pulpit, on the Internet, or anywhere else. It’s not hate speech.

And what if it were considered hate speech? No problem there either because in the United States, hate speech is not against the law. And it can never be against the law as long as the First Amendment is in effect. We already have laws against discrimination based on race and religion, but even with those laws, Rick Warren can be as anti-Semitic and racist as he wants to be. He’s neither of those things, but if he wanted to be, he could. And the law would protect him.

I suspect Rev. Warren knows that. But he’d rather stoke the paranoia of his fellow evangelicals than actually discuss the issue “in a civil way.”


December 16th, 2008

I saw Huckabee on John Stewart give the same runaround last week. He insists he wants to “preserve a 5000-year tradition…” What the right-wingers don’t want to say is that they can’t stand the thought of gay people expressing themselves (sexually), but that would sound too mean or morally judgmental. So they cloak it in sound-bites that have circular logic. For example they also say that gay people should not have sex because they aren’t married. But they don’t want them to get married because that “goes against a 5000-year-old tradition.”

Matt Algren

December 16th, 2008

But even beyond what Carol said (and she’s quite right), THE DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE HAS NOT BEEN CONSTANT FOR 5,000 YEARS.

For goodness sake, it hasn’t even been constant for the past 50 years!

Lynn David

December 17th, 2008

Gee…. there might be a 10,000+ year tradition of marriage between persons of the same gender in America. Let’s preserve that!


December 17th, 2008

Jim-I think you probably meant to write “why he supported California’s Prop 8.”

As the the substance of what Warren says in that video… ugh, what a frickin’ dishonest and patronizing creep. On the other hand, watching the interviewing toady work his way through his repertoire of sycophantic faces was kind of amusing.


December 17th, 2008

I’ve come to realize that many evangelical leaders are more than happy to mislead, deceive, and perhaps even lie when it comes to homosexuality. They simply won’t deal with the subject honestly.

And same-sex marriage has existed in cultures throughout the world for as long as we can tell. The 5000 yr old institution stuff is nonsense. The gay community needs to educate itself on the facts so we can publicly show the country how misinformed (or deceitful) the anti-gays are.


December 17th, 2008

Rev. Warren is a liar. I was taught by my mother not to lie and I don’t. It is too bad that the fundamentalists who pushed for passage of Prop 8 didn’t have a similar upbringing.

The Lauderdale

December 17th, 2008

RE: Patrick,

Same-sex unions have certainly existed across cultures and time periods, with varying degrees of legal, formal and ritual recognition. Examples of same-sex marriage (at least prior to the current century) seem sparser in the literature, but I’ve read convincing testimony of same-sex marriage in Native American Tribes, and obviously they are cited in very negative language in the early Roman/Christian context, basically for the express purpose of prohibiting them. I want to find more examples of same-sex marriages, where they are explicitly referred to AS marriages, in different historical/cultural contexts. For example, I’ve seen allusions to bridal arrangements between women in African tribes, but don’t know if that was just “stuff on the Internet” – I need to hit print resources for research to confirm or deny this: were those marriages or unions?

And arguing about it that way setting up a false dichotomy? I want to explore the distinction, culturally and historically, between “union” and “marriage” in those contexts, prior to the current debate between the legitimacy of civil unions vs. marriage.


December 17th, 2008


Check the following for more information:

Gilbert Herdt (1998) “Same Sex, Different Cultures”

Patrick M Chapman (2008) “Thou Shalt Not Love: What Evangelicals Really Say to Gays” – (in the interest of full disclosure, I am the author and a PhD anthropologist)

For one specific article on how the Azande of Africa used the same word to describe same-sex marriages and other-sex marriages, see:
E. E. Evans-Pritchard (1970) “Sexual Inversion among the Azande”, American Anthropologist 72:1428-1434.

There are also many other examples in the anthropological literature. My book and Herdt’s present a number of them. You will find that the distinction between a union and a marriage is not one many societies would recognize.

I recommend Stephanie Coontz (2005) “Marriage, a History” for more information on marriage in history.

Timothy Kincaid

December 17th, 2008

I’m not sure that Rick Warren is lying when he imagines the evils that could await Christians. He’s not a lawyer and he’s been bombarded with lies from Alliance Defense Fund and the Pacific Justice people.

Yes, he should know better.

And yes, he chooses to believe these people when there are plenty of legal voices saying that it’s nonsense.

And yes, he is definitely bearing false witness by claiming to know something to be true when it is patently untrue. But I think he may not be lying, per se. Instead he may just be allowing himself to believe and spread lies.

To wander way off on a pig trail: for those who are from a Judeo/Christian backgroud, bearing false witness is broader than lying. While it forbids stamements that one knows to be untrue, it also forbids making statements about which one doesn’t know the truth.

Interestingly, in our culture we are far more tolerant of those who are wrong than we are of those who lie. We figure that it’s “just a mistake”, even though the person has falsely set themselves up as an authority – which is, unquestionably, a form of lie. We dismiss it as, “he didn’t mean to lie, he just didn’t know the facts”. And churches seldom consider it “a sin” to make a false declaration about a subject over which one is ill informed.

I find that interesting.

OK… pig trail over.


December 17th, 2008

All this talk about the 5,000 year-old tradition of marriage just proves straight people don’t know their musical theater…

From Fiddler on the Roof, which was all about breaking tradition and marrying for love instead of letting the matchmaker pick your spouse for you…

Tevye: They gave each other a pledge. Unheard of, absurd.
You gave each other a pledge?
Unthinkable. Where do you think you are?
In Moscow? In Paris? Where do think they are? America?
And what do you think you’re doing?
You stitcher, you nothing! Who do think you are? King Solomon?
This isn’t the way it’s done, not here, not now.
Some things I will not, I cannot, allow.
Tradtion! — Marriages must be arranged by the papa. This should never be changed.
One little time you pull out a prop, and where does it stop? Where does it stop?”

Where does it stop!? If you break tradition and let Motel, the tailor, marry Tzeitel, the milkman’s daughter, for love, next thing you know Moishe, the baker, and Ocham, the razor maker, will want to get married too — even though they’re boys!


December 17th, 2008

Is this the same Rick Warren who is supposed to give the invocation during Obama’s inauguration?


December 17th, 2008

How can marriage be a 5000-year tradition when the Earth is only 3000 years old?

Timothy Kincaid

December 17th, 2008


Biblical literalists believe the Earth to be 6,000 years old

Ben in Oakland

December 17th, 2008

This is how Mr. warren does it:

Nobel prize-winner Peter Medawar on Teilhard de Chardin, a catholic priest writing in the early part of this century:

“the author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others, he has taken great pains to deceive himself.”

And quoting one of my very favorite authors–myself:

“A host of good Christians are all happy to tell me how much they love me… right before they tell me how much they hate my child-molesting, disease spreading, country-destroying, religion-despising, marriage-compromising, military demoralizing ways.”


December 17th, 2008

Recall Brown; annul exitsting gay marriage; ready National Guard to invade SF for failure to comply to annulments; recall gay judges; separate state for P8 counties; then separate country, west midwest, south, and western Canada; build Bering strait bridge to Russia for energy and new alliances that are not gay marriage states.

john williams

December 18th, 2008

The real reason for Gay Marriage is Legal leverage. In California, a Civil Union had the same rights as a Religious Marriage, saying that it did not have Federal Recognition was true but as half the states did not have Civil Unions it would have been much more productive to have kept the Civil Union in California and pressed all States to accept the same. In Boston a Catholic Charity that assisted couples with adoption was sued by a Gay Couple, they shut down their operation rather than pay the legal fees.
What kind of victory was that. A Photographer was sued and had to pay $10,000, another great victory, the battle was won but the war was lost/losing. Parents in Mass asked the School to not have their son attend lessons that included the King and King. They were told that their only resolution would be to take their son out of the Public School system.
I worked for the USPS for years and before Civil Unions we would know of couples that were referred to as married. Nobody treated them differently and we always delivered their post and let them sign for the other party. The way the San Fran Community have acted since Prop 8 has passed is embarrasing.
I think it is time for everyone to take stock of the situation and start thinking really seriously about what they want and to be realistic about how to get it. One more thing, be careful about what you want!!!!!!!.

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