Rick Warren Blatantly Lies; Katha Pollitt on Warren's Misogyny

Rick Warren claims he never said it:

I have been accused of equating gay partnerships with incest and pedophilia. Now of course as members of Saddleback Church you know I believe no such thing, I never have. You’ve never once heard me in 30 years heard me talk that way about that.

Rachel Maddow has the video proving him wrong.

Rick Warren: But the issue to me is, I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-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.

Steven Waldman: Do you think, though, that they are equivalent to having gays getting married?

Rick Warren: Oh I do.

(Transcript via Pam’s House Blend; video via Dispatches from the Culture Wars.)

Maybe Warren misspoke; if so, the thing to do is apologize and move on. Instead, Warren simply lies about what he said.

The video is also well worth watching for Katha Pollitt’s segment at the end, in which she outlines some of Warren’s genuinely outlandish misogyny. For instance, you probably already knew that Rick Warren thinks wives should be subject to their husbands; but did you know that Warren says the only acceptable reasons for divorce are abandonment and infidelity? Abused spouses, presumably, should just suck it up.

Transcript of Maddow’s chat with Pollitt is below the fold.

Joining us now is Katha Pollitt, a columnist with “The Nation” and author of “Learning to Drive: And Other Stories,” which is currently on sale now. Katha, nice to see you, thanks for coming in.


MADDOW: I was surprised that Rick Warren is continuing to talk about this publicly. Are you?

POLLITT: No, I`m not. Rick Warren, I think when you said he confuses himself with Christ, I think you`re on to something. The man obviously has a colossal ego. He`s a best-selling author. He`s got churches all over the place. He is not going to shrink away. This is a big opportunity for him.

MADDOW: The thing that seems, I guess, even more surprising to me in watching this 22-minute video today and spending more time than I ever thought I would in my life with learning about him and his politics as an activism, is that he sort of seems like a “not ready for primetime player” here.

That was an unscripted 22-minute screed that had a lot of very impolitic comments, things that are not going to help President-elect Obama take this heat for having extended this invitation. I would have thought that a man that`s so experienced internationally and in national politics would be more careful.

POLLITT: Well, I had a different feeling about that video which I watched while I was having my little dinner before coming here. I thought, my god. He`s very – he does project that teddy bear geniality – I`m talking to you. He has that ability to seem like he`s just talking to one person when he`s talking to, you know, hundreds of – however many – hundreds of thousands are watching.

And I thought that the things that you noticed would fly by the people that that was aimed at who share those beliefs. They also think that they`re the real Christians. So if you don`t like Rick Warren, you don`t like Christ.

MADDOW: How big of a political problem is this for Barack Obama? And is it getting larger or getting smaller?

POLLITT: Well, I think it is getting larger. I think that the Proposition 8 and the disappointment and anger over that has given it a news hook that might not otherwise be there. When I wrote about it in the “L.A. Times,” I focused on some of the other things that Rick Warren believes that I find very disturbing.

Besides the anti-gay stuff and the anti-gay marriage stuff, that he has compared people who are pro-choice to holocaust deniers. He says that women who have abortions are like Nazis. And compared – you know, it`s like comparing their wounds to Auschwitz.

He has very disturbing ideas about the inequality between the sexes, that he believes, and his church believes – it`s all over the church`s Web site – that wives should be subject to their husbands and that the husbands where it goes.

I learned today – and I think everybody should spend time on the Saddleback Web site because it`s very educational. He believes there are only two reasons you can get divorced, so all those gays who want to get married better think about this.

MADDOW: Yes. The exit strategy.

POLLITT: And the reasons are abandonment and infidelity, but abuse is not a reason. Abuse is not a reason for divorce.

MADDOW: Wow. I think that this problem is getting larger for Barack Obama, and I think that is largely the choice of Rick Warren at this point which itself should be a bit of a warning bell. Katha Pollitt, columnist at “The Nation,” author of “Learning to Drive: And Other Life Stories,” it`s really nice to see you. Thanks for coming in. `

POLLITT: Thanks so much for having me.

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7 Responses to Rick Warren Blatantly Lies; Katha Pollitt on Warren's Misogyny

  1. Hey there!

    I think that Rick Warren should come out with a statement that he apologizes for saying that he never said “oh yes I do”.

    This guest has no proof of what she is saying that Rick has said. Let’s see the video.

    This guest also implies that Rick supports misogyny. She failed to prove that.

    She said that it’s on the web site and Rachel didn’t show that in order to substantiate it.

    I think that her guest simply created more convoluted arguments to add to the slander and it would have been more credible if she had showed the video clips as Rachel did and showed the material on the web site she was referencing as Rachel did.

    There is nothing wrong with Rick Warren stating that he is against gay-marriage and that he loves gays. I addressed this “controversy” at my own blog.

    I don’t object to Rick Warren quoting the scripture in the Bible about wives submitting to their husbands – as long as he is correctly defining submission in the context that it was intended and not using societal interpretations.

    I would hope that he would also present the scripture in the Bible about husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church if he’s going to quote the scripture about wives.

    Those who claim that Rick Warren doesn’t believe that women should have ministerial roles don’t know that he financed his wife’s global ministry – that she leads and that she is an author and preacher.

    I am not on a Rick Warren soap box but I am just saying that there are many inaccuracies that are floating around in order to slander him. Rick has made many missteps on his own…there’s no need for these pundits to bring on guest to “manufacture” lies about him to discredit him.

    There’s plenty Rick has out there that they can critique.

  2. 2
    Kate L. says:

    I’m REALLY disappointed in Obama. why they heck did he choose Warren?????

  3. 3
    raggedrobin says:

    I wonder if he is relying on one of those fine, unstated, legalistic distinctions we all love so much – “I didn’t mean that gay partnerships are equivalent to paedophilia or incest, just that if we seek to include anything other than adult, monogamous, non-incestuous, heterosexual relationships within what we call marriage, we are doing similar harms to the institution. It’s the challenge to the institution that’s equivalent, not the relationships themselves.”

    That would be rather like claiming that to allow Jews into Institution X is equivalent to letting child-murderers in, and then denying that you were invoking the blood libel – “I didn’t say they were child murderers – how dare you call me antisemitic, you pedlar of christophobic hate speech!” – but if he ever feels the need to defend this statement directly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the line he took.

    But if we try to take his argument seriously without the grossly homophobic subtext, it’s difficult to make sense of at all

    But the issue to me is, I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-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.

    So polygamy is a modern affront to 5000 years of tradition, brother-sister marriage wasn’t practised by the Pharaohs, and child brides are only now coming to be thought of as brides? Warren’s 5000 year definition looks weirdly modern and parochial – the bible itself would need to be rewritten to accommodate it.

  4. 4
    PG says:

    If there is any way to redeem Warren’s views (and I’m not sure there is), in fairness it should be noted that in his “clarification” of the Beliefnet interview, he also said,

    If anyone, whether unfaithful spouses, or unmarried couples, or homosexuals or anyone else think they are smarter than God and chooses to disobey God’s sexual instructions, it is not the US government’s role to take away their choice. But neither is it the government’s role to classify just any “loving” relationship as a marriage. A committed boyfriend-girlfriend relationship is not a marriage. Two lovers living together is a not a marriage. Incest is not marriage. A domestic partnership or even a civil union is still not marriage.

  5. 5
    Ali says:

    A domestic partnership or even a civil union is still not marriage.

    I think that’s exactly the point.

  6. 6
    hysperia says:

    Warren thinks that abandonment and infidelity are the only situations in which divorce isn’t sinful because they’re the two things that can be proven objectively – if a spouse is gone, s/he’s gone and if s/he cheats, there’s another party who can verify it. If Warren let abuse be a reason, he’d be advocating that people believe the often uncorroborated stories of women. Oh my GAWD!

  7. 7
    Ripplemagne says:

    Why do you cut out the bit before he clarifies what he meant when he said “Oh, I do”? Because you know he stated that the comparison is that none of them are traditional marriages and that that’s what he takes exception with.

    I think it’s evident that who lies is Rachel Maddow.