Friday, April 10, 2009

Rick Warren's Persona Is In Our Hands. One Word: CLAP!

And Clap LOUD!

Pat Robertson does it all the time: lying and addressing topics he knows absolutely nothing about. I've seen him answer one question on tattoos and then the next on the wisdom of investing in baseball cards. So why do preachers pontificate when they rarely know what they're preaching? Is it purely ego? Are they so imbued with self-righteousness that they don't challenge (or at least edit) their own sermons and public ruminations? Or is it plain hubris?

The whole world is buzzing about Rick Warren. People are clamoring for news and commentary. And some people (like me) are fuming. People are disdaining "gotcha" journalism, but it has grown in size many times since we've gotten it out of the box and we can't stuff it back in! Warren's primary sin (right now) is in thinking the American people will unequivocally accept anything he says. This is hubris of the most disastrous kind. Ted Haggard suffered for his hubris as well as others. Televangelists and megachurch pastors will eventually suffer as their supply of old-time-religion congregants dry up.

Even journals like Associated Baptist Press have become skeptical about Warren's use of words:

Pam's House Blend, an influential left-leaning blog that often reports on gay-rights issues, dug up a YouTube video message Warren recorded as an Oct. 23 posting on the Saddleback Church website. In it, Warren urges passage of Proposition 8....The Yes on Proposition 8 campaign put out a press release announcing Warren's support of the gay marriage ban. Conservative news sites, including the Southern Baptist Convention's Baptist Press, reported the story at a time when the main organization supporting Proposition 8 was trying to raise money to purchase additional television ads to fight off a final push by opponents.

So EVERYONE knew that Warren was endorsing (he uses the term "campaigning" in his denial) Proposition 8. And Warren MUST have known that people knew. He could have had Baptist Press print a clarification of his words, but he didn't. He trusted that an appearance on a national show would help much more than a restatement in a limited subscription religious magazine (online or not).

Now what? Do we forgive and forget? I wish we could. Maybe later. But right now we have the career of a person whose persona is much larger than our own in our cupped hands. We can either set it down gently as would a small, non-poisonous spider which has just bitten us or we can clap our hands together and promise ourselves never to get bitten again.

Just a thought.

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