Evangelical pastor Rick Warren (whose book, The Purpose Driven Life, has sold approximately a buhzillion copies), felt the heat from fellow evangelicals last year.
His sin? He invited Barak Obama to speak at his church, in conjunction with the 2006 Global Summit On AIDS and the Church.
As everyone knows, Obama is a Democrat and pro-choice.
I am embedding the Youtube video of Warren’s response. The sound quality is poor, and it’s a long interview, so I’ve excerpted a key segment below it.
If you watch the first two or three minutes, there is one funny moment. When Warren says he’s willing to work with gay people, the interviewer’s eyebrows shoot upward so quickly, they practically fly right off his head.
If you can only work with people that you agree with 100%, you’ll never get anything done. …
I could show you Christians that run the whole spectrum politically and that’s not what we’re about. This is not a political issue. I’m a pastor, not a politician, and we’re about trying to save lives.
[Q. Do you think the evangelical movement has spent too much time focusing on questions of homosexuality?]
Well I definitely believe that we should expand the agenda because I’m tired of the Church just being known for what it’s against. … I do believe that there are other issues [besides gay marriage and abortion] involved, including 40 million people who have HIV/AIDS, growing to nearly a hundred million by the year 2010. 20 million deaths.
You know we’ve had two holocausts in my generation. One of them is the 40 million Americans who aren’t here because of abortion. And the other is the 40 million who are dying right now around the world because of AIDS. 20 million have already died.
I don’t think one is more important than the other. I think “pro life” means you care about saving lives any way you can. And that means malaria, that means poverty, that means waterborne eye diseases and many other things, not just one kind of protecting life. I’m for protecting life — all of life.
Some parts of Warren’s statement may make some of you cringe. But evangelical Christians get an awful lot of bad press, including from me, so let’s give credit where credit is due.
It’s so blinking obvious that the term “pro life” has a wider application than just the abortion issue. You mean it extends even to gay people dying of AIDS?! Who’d a thunk it?
Some evangelicals oppose torture on the grounds of the sanctity of life.
Maybe someday someone will argue that medical marijuana is also a sanctity of life issue, to prevent suicides like the tragic death of Robin Prosser.