Rick Warren on the ropes
The high-profile pastor of Saddleback (mega)Church who prayed at Obama's inauguration ceremony is mired in controversy over his stance on gay marriage.
Rick Warren and Barak Obama
Rick Warren, the man described as ‘America’s pastor’ who prayed at President Obama’s inauguration is on the ropes over his ambivalent stance regarding homosexuality and gay marriage.
The pastor of Saddleback megachurch has for some time been under scrutiny over accusations that his hugely-successful ‘Purpose Driven’ books, programmes and church growth schemes include as much new age philosophies and modern business methods as they do solid Christian principles.
However, to add to the huge profile he has had within the Christian community worldwide, to be invited to stand on the podium with Barak Obama has catapulted him to super-stardom.
Meawhile, in American life (as elsewhere) the political hot potato of same-sex marriage has been right at the top of the political and social agenda. And most recently focussed on a piece of legislation which was designed to reverse the legalisation of gay marriage.
One web site on the subject stated: "Voting YES on Proposition 8 will define Marriage in California to mean only a union between one man and one woman." In the event the measure won at the polls last November by a close margin.
Sitting on the Fence?
The influential Washington Times recently (11 April) reported on the controversy surrounding whether or not Warren is supportive of gay marriage under the headline ‘Warren waver on Prop 8 stuns leaders’.
The report continued: ‘Evangelical leaders say they are bewildered and stunned by the Rev. Rick Warren's apparent turnaround on gay marriage after the famous California pastor said earlier this week that he was not a proponent of California's Proposition 8.’
In an interview with CNN’s Larry King last Monday Warren stated that he ‘"never once even gave an endorsement" of the proposition, which said marriage in the state could only involve one man and one woman’.
Warren has also reportedly apologised to his gay friends for appearing to distance himself from the issue. Rev. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky said: ‘I was extremely troubled by the way he appeared to be so anxious to distance himself from the same-sex issue and to make clear he was not an 'activist' and that he'd only addressed the issue in a very minor way.’
Warren has now cancelled an appearance on ABC TV last Sunday morning when he was due to clarify his position. The cancellation led many in the blogosphere to speculate whether Warren was trying to avoid further controversy stemming from his comments on Proposition 8, California's constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman.
Pastor Rick Warren would appear to have fallen into the pot-hole of trying to please all of the people all of the time. Added to the big question marks raised about his ‘Purpose Driven’ programmes, this further controversy places his credentials as a Bible-based evangelical church leader in serious doubt.