Short Takes
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 03:21:04 PM EST
BeliefNet:  In the wake of his much ballyhooed Civic Forum with candidates McCain and Obama --Religious Right leader Rick Warren doesn't think Obama and the Dems have much of a chance of making inroads among white evangelicals. His reason? Because prochoice Americans and candidates for public office are like Holocaust deniers...  
For many evangelicals, of course, if they believe that life begins at conception, that's a deal breaker for a lot of people. If they think that life begins at conception, then that means that there are 40 million Americans who are not here [because they were aborted] that could have voted. They would call that a holocaust and for them it would like if I'm Jewish and a Holocaust denier is running for office. I don't care how right he is on everything else, it's a deal breaker for me. I'm not going to vote for a Holocaust denier...

Daily Kos -- DemfromCT reports that the Religious Right and the hard right economic conservatives in the GOP are a feudin'.

Facebook:  Fans of Talk to Action

From what I saw of the session, Obama was trying to have a real conversation while McCain stuck to campaigning.  Apparently by keeping his answers short and superficial and by sticking to his usual talking points, McCain supposedly won the evening.


by tacitus on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 05:50:54 PM EST

it was a set up.  Warren asked no follow-ups. and when he asked McCain about abortion, he described it as a holocaust, to which McCain gave the most radical antiabortion position in the history of presidential politics, saying that human rights begin at conception.

When Warren asked Obama about abortion, he did not invoke the holocaust.

McCain won the day on the litmust tests, abortion and marriage. I think everything else was window dressing -- although he did get across some good lines on other subjects.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 06:07:27 PM EST

yet they were supposed to be asked the same questions, right?

Anyway, one thing that's always stuck me about the "40 million lost babies" argument is that they are ignoring the fact that many of the women who have abortions will go on to have children they otherwise would not have had.

There aren't 40 million fewer Americans alive today than there would have been without abortions.  Indeed, it's quite possible (though perhaps unlikely) that there are more American-born today than otherwise would have been.  Consider how many abortions are the result of teen pregnancies or birth defects that would have resulted in mothers who were too mentally, physically, or fiscally sapped to go on and have a family with more than one child.

I am the second child in my family.  My parents were only planning on two children and my mother had a miscarriage before I was born.  If that baby had lived, the chances are that I would never have existed.  (Actually, the chances are nil given the almost infinite variables that govern events before any conception, but you get my point -- no child would likely have been born to my parents around the time I was born.)

by tacitus on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 06:29:56 PM EST

Obama would have done well to decline the invitation.

The interesting bit is that burial customs haven't changed among all those conservative "life begins at conception" people. I don't see a rash of people requesting their first or second trimester spontaneous abortion fetal remains from the hospital pathology lab., for purposes of burial or individual cremation.

Are the conservative LBAC people more open about their spontaneous abortions (in lay terms, "miscarriage")? I don't see condolence cards for this situation.

by NancyP on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 08:17:10 PM EST

Just to be fair, I suggest it is not accurate to label Warren as a leader of the Christian Right. There are many who rightly fall within that label with whom there is much disagreement about him and vice-versa.

by ErwinDale on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 08:34:27 PM EST
Its my view, and I am sticking to it.

by Frederick Clarkson on Mon Aug 18, 2008 at 10:36:35 PM EST
Warren may take care to appear "softer" than, say, Hagee or Robertson, but he is part of the religious right. In fact, he can sound downright Dominionist if you pay attention... I think the "stealth Dominionists" will probably have success where the iron-fisted ones fail. Rick Warren is not "scary" like Hagee, and a lot of semi-secular people think he is pretty cool, just like Jim Wallis. Be very careful of any who have megachurches.

by phatkhat on Tue Aug 19, 2008 at 01:10:34 PM EST

I have noticed that many people, rather than discussing an issue directly, put a label on people. The label is usually meant to be pejorative in nature and intends to place unnecessary baggage on the targeted person. This is certainly true here and an unfair representation of Warren's views. He is certainly not a "dominionist" and, while a expressly conservative Evangelical, it is unfair to characterize him as "Christian Right". He has many issues of disagreement with both theological expression and practice from many who identify themselves with that label. I am sure you would take issue with someone placing a label on you with which you disagree. Why intentionally do this to Warren? Does it help understanding and discussion? I think not.

by ErwinDale on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:12:52 AM EST

Warren is a marketing expert, aka church growth expert. He wishes to appeal to a broad range of people in the most fertile and financially church-going market, white moderately conservative to very conservative adults with families. He rightly notes that end-times stuff sells well in an entertainment format, but is not enough by itself to support a large franchise of megachurches. A large part of his business is in advising start-up or stagnant churches by way of "Purpose-Driven" kits. A focus on personal improvement in the PDL format, plus fairly standard preaching 90%+ of the time, with attention to hot-button current issues the rest of the time, is his way to attract new congregants who may be unchurched or apathetically churched. He's not going after the highly opinionated activist sectarians - he won't get them easily.

Warren has no desire to be seen as anyone's bulldog. He's not in the fulmination business, it would be seriously damaging to his marketing model. He will leave all that to the media specialists (Dobson, Robertson). People react better to expression of extreme opinions in radio/TV than from the new pastor they are visiting.

His opinions are standard Religious Right, including his interest in co-mingling church and state (at least overseas).

by NancyP on Tue Aug 19, 2008 at 01:50:58 PM EST

financially comfortable/ capable of sizable contributions

by NancyP on Tue Aug 19, 2008 at 01:54:13 PM EST

You profess to know a lot about Warren's motives and strategy. Unfortunately, I humbly suggest, you are quite misinformed in your statement. To wit: (1) His intention in creatively attracting people to church is simply so that they have every opportunity to hear the message of love, hope and forgiveness that Christ offers and to be an active part of a family of other believers in Christ. (2) "Purpose Driven" simply means base your ministry on God's purposes, not your own. There is no nefarious intent here. (3) He does not propose "mingling church and state" anywhere. His message is quite clear, the church is to remain the church. However, on social issues (especially poverty, health and education) the church, state and private sector should cooperate and bring their resources to bear on the issue to be the most effective in combating the problem, while maintaining their own distinctive. This is not "mingling."

by ErwinDale on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:31:33 AM EST
that you never answered my query on a previous thread as to whether you support the purposes of this site. Now that you are back in reflexive, unsupported defensive mode regarding Rick Warren, I am reminded, so let's pick up where we left off -- do you infact support the purpose of this site?

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 01:47:19 PM EST
Actually I did reply and my answer was a nuanced yes. However, I do not support lies and distortions being spread without challenge. One thing I do agree with Warren upon is that we have lost civility in our nation and we all need to do what we can to return to civil conversation and debate.

by ErwinDale on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 03:28:37 PM EST

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