Pastor Rick Warren To Address American Muslims
NEW YORK (AP) — Times have changed for the Islamic Society of North America and for Sayd Syeed, who leads the group's interfaith outreach. In a sign of growing acceptance of U.S. Muslims, one of the most prominent religious leaders in the country, evangelical pastor Rick Warren, will speak at the Islamic Society's annual convention this weekend. Representatives from the two largest streams of American Judaism, the Reform and Conservative movements, will also be there to highlight their recently formed partnerships with the Muslim group.
"The landscape of religion in America is changing," Syeed said. "America itself has reached a certain level of fulfillment in terms of diversity of faith."
The Islamic Society, an umbrella association for tens of thousands of Muslims, has worked for years to persuade leaders of other faiths to attend its convention, a massive family reunion in its 46th year that draws about 30,000 people.
In recent years, the society has prominently denounced terrorism, including terror by Hamas, and has endorsed a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. The organization also elected its first female president, Ingrid Mattson, who participated in the National Cathedral service for President Barack Obama the day after his inaugural.
Syeed said that he and Warren, a Southern Baptist and author of "The Purpose Driven Life," have worked together on proj ects fighting malaria and advocating for people with HIV and AIDS.
But ONLY IN AFRICA - not the U.S. Look back on some of my posts here and here. Warren has yet to produce his stamp of approval on any AIDS agency in this country - at least one that accepts gays and its prevention program doesn't preach "abstinence only." Remember: AP's Rachel Zoll labeled Warren correctly when she wrote (as if in parenthesis) "a Southern Baptist."
The convention will not be the first time Warren has addressed an American Muslim group... But the Islamic Society gathering is by far his most dramatic display of friendship with U.S. Muslims. Warren would not comment ahead of the event.
That's because he's not prepared. What he REALLY wants to say and what he WILL say are two vastly different things. When he waddles up to that podium, he won't see Muslims. Instead, he'll envision a sea of (eventual) converts... with lots of money. And for a moment, he'll be nonplussed as to which speech he'll use. If he gets ballsy and insinuates that Islam is not as valid as his religion, he'll be mocked and scourged by the media. If he uses nothing but sweet unification phrases, then someone will eventually drag the bottom of the river for his hypocritical soul: calling for the assassination of Ahmadinejad would be a start, then working backwards from there it should be easy to find some slanderous quips a la Rod Parsley.
But let's wait and see how much innocuous pablum he can muster without looking totally stupid.
Remember bloggers: this Saturday may be the day when Warren's persona may be riddled with hypocritically inane statements. Make the most of it! Find out everything he's ever said about Islam - good, bad, ugly or just plain nuts.
This just in: Now right-wing WorldNewsDaily.com is castigating Warren:
While millions of other Americans will be celebrating Independence Day weekend, Rick Warren, often called "America's Pastor," will be serving as the keynote speaker for a Saudi-backed Muslim group that promotes a radical strain of Wahhabi Islam in about 80 percent of U.S. mosques.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of Rick Warren's bad judgments.
I don't know what Warren's agenda is. He would probably say he doesn't have one. But I can tell you the effect of his appearance – it is designed to disinfect and rehabilitate a group that is dangerous and subversive to U.S. national security.
But it should surprise no one, at this point, that Rick Warren will be there. One of the first times I ever wrote about Rick Warren was in 2006 when he took an equally misguided trip to Syria to meet with dictator Bashar Assad and praise him for his pleasant treatment of Christians. Syria was then and remains today one of the world's leading state sponsors of Islamic terrorism. Almost every terrorist group in the world maintains offices there. Nevertheless, Rick Warren said, while in Syria, that the country "does not allow extremism of any kind."
And in another article
What are we to make of such mealy-mouthed, wishy-washy, namby-pamby hokum? It's a great illustration of America's most prominent church leader equivocating and backtracking and saying almost nothing coherent so that he will offend no one.
BEHOLD! HE SAITH THE TRUTH! ---NOT!
Below is my analysis (poor, but I'll own up to it) of Rick Warren's fuzzy, erratic, and totally dysfunctional reasoning.
The Way Warren Thinks (a discourse between Warren and Sam Harris moderated by Newsweek)
God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren
At the Summit: On a cloudy California day, the atheist Sam Harris sat down with the Christian pastor Rick Warren to hash out Life's Biggest Question—Is God real? A NEWSWEEK exclusive.Newsweek
April 9, 2007 issue - Rick Warren is as big as a bear, with a booming voice and easygoing charm. Sam Harris is compact, reserved and, despite the polemical tone of his books, friendly and mild. Warren, one of the best-known pastors in the world, started Saddleback in 1980; now 25,000 people attend the church each Sunday. Harris is softer-spoken; paragraphs pour out of him, complex and fact-filled—as befits a Ph.D. student in neuroscience. At NEWSWEEK's invitation, they met in Warren's office recently and chatted, mostly amiably, for four hours. Jon Meacham moderated. Excerpts follow.
JON MEACHAM: Rick, since you're the home team, we'll start with Sam. Sam, is there a God in the sense that most Americans think of him?
SAM HARRIS: There's no evidence for such a God, and it's instructive to notice that we're all atheists with respect to Zeus and the thousands of other dead gods whom now nobody worships.
MEACHAM: Rick, what is the evidence of the existence of the God of Abraham?
RICK WARREN: I see the fingerprints of God everywhere. I see them in culture. I see them in law. I see them in literature. I see them in nature. I see them in my own life. Trying to understand where God came from is like an ant trying to understand the Internet. Even the most brilliant scientist would agree that we only know a fraction of a percent of the knowledge of the universe.Warren didn't answer the question. Meacham asked for EVIDENCE while Warren only told him about his own observations. And if we "know only a fraction of a percent" of the universe, who is Warren to say that his observations are true?
HARRIS: Any scientist must concede that we don't fully understand the universe. But neither the Bible nor the Qur'an represents our best understanding of the universe. That is exquisitely clear.
WARREN: To you.And to others who have knowledge and faith both. Warren is trying to make it seem as if blind believers the only ones who know the truth.
HARRIS: There is so much about us that is not in the Bible. Every specific science from cosmology to psychology to economics has surpassed and superseded what the Bible tells us is true about our world.
MEACHAM: Sam, does the Christian you address in your books have to believe that God wrote the Bible and that it is literally true?
HARRIS: ...in my mind the Bible and the Qur'an are just books, written by human beings. There are sections of the Bible that I think are absolutely brilliant and poetically unrivaled, and there are sections of the Bible which are the sheerest barbarism, yet profess to prescribe a divinely mandated morality—where do I start? Books like Leviticus and Deuteronomy and Exodus and First and Second Kings and Second Samuel—half of the kings and prophets of Israel would be taken to The Hague and prosecuted for crimes against humanity if these events took place in our own time.
[To Warren] Is the Bible inerrant?
WARREN: I believe it's inerrant in what it claims to be. The Bible does not claim to be a scientific book in many areas.He's distancing himself from the old Jerry Falwells. Falwell himself said that the Bible is absolutely inerrant in everything from start to finish! Furthermore, if the Bible does not claim to be a scientific book, why are people supposed to believe that Joshua actually made the sun stop in the sky? And what does the Bible claim to be? It claims to be the Word of God. So the Word of God does not claim to be scientific. Isn't God letting himself off the hook easily with that line of reasoning? If God is perfect, EVERYTHING he "says" must be perfect as well, even scientifically. If not, God is flawed.
Do you believe Creation happened in the way Genesis describes it?
WARREN: If you're asking me do I believe in evolution, the answer is no, I don't. I believe that God, at a moment, created man. I do believe Genesis is literal, but I do also know metaphorical terms are used. Did God come down and blow in man's nose? If you believe in God, you don't have a problem accepting miracles. So if God wants to do it that way, it's fine with me.Another dodge. Meacham did not ask him about evolution. And, ah, how can something be literal but put in metaphorical terms? Believing something in the Bible as literal means taking the words, metaphorical and all - literally. "...it's fine with me." That is to say, "I'm a spiritually lazy person. Just tell me how God created man and the earth and I'll believe it."
HARRIS: I'm doing my Ph.D. in neuroscience; I'm very close to the literature on evolutionary biology. And the basic point is that evolution by natural selection is random genetic mutation over millions of years in the context of environmental pressure that selects for fitness.
WARREN: Who's doing the selecting?
HARRIS: The environment. You don't have to invoke an intelligent designer to explain the complexity we see.
WARREN: Sam makes all kinds of assertions based on his presuppositions. I'm willing to admit my presuppositions: there are clues to God. I talk to God every day. He talks to me.Science is not a mass of presuppositions. Presupposition (according to wikipedia): an implicit assumption about the world or background belief relating to an utterance whose truth is taken for granted in discourse. Also, Warren is walking into Pat Robertson's territory with the "He talks to me" meme.
WARREN: ...A lot of atheists hide behind rationalism; when you start probing, you find their reactions are quite emotional. In fact, I've never met an atheist who wasn't angry.
HARRIS: Let me be the first.
WARREN: I think your books are quite angry.Posing questions and attempting to answer them in a reasonable way is not anger. Questioning the Bible is something that is anathema to Warren and his ilk.
Rick, Christianity has conducted itself in an abjectly evil manner from time to time. How do you square that with the Christian Gospel of love?
WARREN: I don't feel duty-bound to defend stuff that's done in the name of God which I don't think God approved or advocated. Have things been done wrong in the name of Christianity? Yes. Sam makes the statement in his book that religion is bad for the world, but far more people have been killed through atheists than through all the religious wars put together. Thousands died in the Inquisition; millions died under Mao, and under Stalin and Pol Pot. There is a home for atheists in the world today—it's called North Korea.I'll end this here by saying that Warren's bullsh*t shows a total lack of knowledge of world history as well as history of Christianity. TOTAL.
- The Crusades were the result of religion and greed and anti-Semitism. Jews were killed by knights ON THE WAY to Jerusalem. Knights were told that if they died in battle, they would immediately go to heaven. Pilgrims following the Crusades were told that they would have their souls wiped clean from sin. Jerusalem was knee-deep in blood.
- The first genocide of western civilization was the intentional eradication of Christian "heretics" called Cathars. Over 100,000 people perished in the span of ten years.
- Hundreds of thousands (perhaps up to a million) died during the Inquisition. Witch-burning lasted right up to the nineteenth century. As many as 100 hundred thousand people were burned as witches.
- The statistics of who killed who is actually reverse: "Religious wars" killed more than Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot put together. Almost all of Europe's 782 wars (in the last 800 years) involved religion and both sides of each war declared that "God is on our side."
- The great Tei Ping Rebellion in China was caused by a man who said that he was the brother of Christ. The total of lives lost was approximately 40 million.
- Before Cortez came to the shores of Mexico with his Catholic missionaries, there were approximately 25 million Meso-Americans. One hundred years later, there were only 1 million. Native American Indians were used as slave labor for the California Missions.And last: "I don't feel duty-bound to defend stuff that's done in the name of God which I don't think God approved or advocated." If not ministers of Christianity, then who? There are a LOT of apologies to be made by Christianity for millions of deaths, but it is the arrogance of people like Rick Warren who absolve themselves of any sin simply because they say that they personally did not do it themselves.
Just a thought.