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Rick Warren says he’s not Anti-Gay Marriage. Really?


Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren was a guest on the Larry King Show on CNN last night and said he’s not the anti-gay marriage advocate so many people claim he is.  See the You Tube video of last night’s show above.

Here’s a transcript of his comments:

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-marriage activist. Never have been, never will be. The whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement. Never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going–the week before the vote, somebody in my church said, “Pastor Rick, what do you think about this?” And I sent a note to my own members that said. I actually believe that marriage is really, should be defined. If that definition should be saved between a man and a woman and then all of a suddenly out of it they made me, you know something that I really wasn’t. And there were actually a number of things put out.

I wrote to all my gay friends, the leaders that I knew and actually apologized to them. That never got out. There were some things said, everybody should have 10% grace when they say public statements and when I was asked a question that made it sound like I equated gay marriage with pedophilia or incest which I absolutely do not believe. And I actually announced that. All of the criticism came from people that didn’t know me. Not a single criticism came from any gay leader that knows me and knows that for years we’ve been working together on Aids issues.”

The problem here is that this charge seems to fly in the face of a BeliefNet interview Pastor Warren did last fall at the height of the Prop 8 battle.

Here’s what Warren said on the interview then after nodding his head to an interviewer’s question on if he supported Prop 8.

“I’m not opposed to that as I am opposed to a redefinition of a 5000-year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

Q: Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?

Warren: Oh, I do. For 5000 years marriage has been defined by every single culture and every single religion….

And the reason I supported Prop. 8 was because of a free speech issue. Because, if it had, first the court overrode the will of the people, but second is there were all kinds of threats if you, if that 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 a relationship and that would be hate speech. …I just don’t believe in the redefinition of marriage.

I attend Warren’s Saddleback services in Irvine and I’m currently reading his book, “A Purpose Driven Life.”  It seems to me that Pastory Warren is either having a dicfficult time being clearly understood or has forgotten what he said previously on the issue of Gay Marriage.  I clearly remember him asking both Barack Obama and John McCain to define marriage at last August’s Saddleback Forum and being happy with the response he got. 

So I think the good Pastor needs to Google himself on this issue and correct the record if it needs correcting.  But clearly, you can’t go on Larry King and say one thing after its well-documented you’ve been on other programs and said completely the oppossite.


  1. Bill Spaulding Bill Spaulding April 7, 2009

    I want some of whatever drugs he’s using. I’ve said several things I’d like people to remember differently.

    And we can always count on Larry the King of Softballs not to challenge anyone, no matter how ridiculous the statement. If Warren said the sun sets in the north, King would take his word for it. Rick Warren and Larry King – a match made in heaven.

  2. Misha Houser Misha Houser April 7, 2009

    If Warren had said he had a change of heart or had come to understand that his former positions were wrong, I would be more understanding. This comes across as crocodile tears, especially when he reiterates that marriage should be defined…

    “Not a single criticism came from any gay leader that knows me and knows that for years we’ve been working together on Aids issues.” ‘

    I’d really like to know who that gay leader is! Why hasn’t any gay leader come forward to defend him???

  3. duplojohn duplojohn April 7, 2009


    I don’t care what Pastor Warren and his flock believe.

    What is is position?



    This is 2009. we’re allowed to have different sets of opinions, even while you sell MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF BOOKS expousing different views.

    Just come out and say it YES I support GAY MARRIAGE or NO I DON’T SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE.

    This guy is waiting for the next pooll.

    It has little to do with God and more to do with Random House!

  4. Eric Cooper Eric Cooper April 7, 2009

    Well, Pastor Rick, your next step should be to admit gay and lesbian couples to full membership in Saddleback Church. How ’bout it!

  5. Cathie Underwood Cathie Underwood April 10, 2009

    I’m providing this to you in an effort to clarify statements made by Pastor Rick Warren during his April 6th appearance on CNN “Larry King Live.” Several comments he made during that interview have caused confusion which I would like to clarify on his behalf as media representative for Saddleback Church.

    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.

    Kristin U. Cole

    a. larry ross communications

    (p) 615.289.6701

    (f) 615.825.9152

  6. Dan Chmielewski Dan Chmielewski Post author | April 10, 2009

    Kristin —
    I think Pastor Warren is the one who is confused. That’s why we posted a video of his interview on Larry King and the link to the video from his BeliefNet interview. There’s no confusion. The good pastor has said two different things. And since he has previosuly stated that the media gets it wrong and that the media makes mistakes, the statements made by Pastor Warren are coming out of his out mouth without the benefit of a filter. It seems as though Pastor Warren spends considerable time explaining his statements after the fact. There’s a big difference between what he said and what he meant. I don’t believe Pastor Warren’s statements in the BeliefNet interview were unintentional, but do agree they are regretable.

    As someone who attends Saddleback services in Irvine, Pastor Warren is far more tolerant of church members who are divorced or facing divorce when even the Bible has a great deal to say about the negative impact of divorce. But he is less tolerant of same-sex marriage.

    Pastor Warren seems to spend considerable time amending statements madein TV interviews, even on programs that lob softball questions like the Larry King Program. Perhaps he needs better media training?

    But to suggest that Pastor Warren was only acting as a Pastor in the Prop 8 debate and not as an activist in response top church members is, excuse me for saying this, a load of bull. Pastors are activists and Pastor Warren’s statements on Prop 8 amounted to providing Saddleback members with biblical guidance on how they should vote on Prop 8. As a Pastor, Pastor Warren has every right to decide who is eligible for marriage in Saddleback Church. But on the issue of Civil Marriage performed by a justice of the peace or court official, he has no authority.

    Your reference to the Biblical worldview of a 5,000 year history of marriage is inaccurate. In ancient Israel, both polygamy and monogamy were legitimate forms of marriage. Scripture never states that marriage is “one man for one woman,” but it is equally clear that marriage is only between men and women, and forbade homosexuality.

    There are gay-friendly passages in the Bible. For example, Ruth 1:16-17 and 2:10-11 describe a close friendship with Naomi. Perhaps the best known passage from this book is Ruth 1:16-17 which is often read out during opposite-sex and same-sex marriage and union ceremonies:

    “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” (NIV)

    Ruth 1:14, referring to the relationship between Ruth and Naomi, mentions that “Ruth clave onto her.” (KJV) The Hebrew word translated here as “clave” is identical to that used in the description of a heterosexual marriage in Genesis 2:24: ” Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (KJV)

    Then there was Saul and David: 1 Samuel 20:41
    “After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with is face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together – but David wept the most.” (NIV)

    And God does seem to sanction polygamy by giving King David multiple wives in 2 Samuel 12:7-8.

    Does Pastor Warren have a position on Levirate Marriages in the Bible?

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