Friday, December 05th, 2008 | Author:

I’m not a fan of Rick Warren or his P.E.A.C.E. Plan, for a lot of reasons that I won’t go into now, but his latest just takes the cake. From the Saddleback website:

Pastor Rick Warren will present President George W. Bush with the first “International Medal of PEACE” from the Global PEACE Coalition in recognition of his contribution to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases

Fighting AIDS is not a bad thing, of course, but it seems to me that if you’re going to give someone a PEACE award, that someone should promote … well, PEACE. Think Progress reports:

During the award ceremony, Warren ignored the obvious irony of presenting a man who started two wars with a peace award. Last night on Fox’s Hannity and Colmes, however, co-host Alan Colmes asked Warren to comment on that irony. Warren explained simply that Bush’s “peace award was not about peace”:

COLMES: But to give a peace award to a guy who started two wars…neither of which are completed yet. […]

WARREN: Well, the Peace Award was not about peace in domestic — or foreign policy.

Hmmm. I guess this is more newspeak. As one commenter wrote, then maybe we should give Jeffrey Dahmer a peace award for discouraging cannabilism.

The Washington Monthly also had a post about this interview:

WARREN ENDORSES HANNITY’S WARMONGERING…. Pastor Rick Warren has a reputation for being far more stable and grounded than religious right leaders and TV preachers like Pat Robertson, but it’s worth remembering that he’s not exactly a moderate.

Last night, on Fox News, Sean Hannity insisted that United States needs to “take out” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Warren said he agreed. Hannity asked, “Am I advocating something dark, evil or something righteous?” Warren responded, “Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped…. In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. Not good-doers. Evildoers.”

Matt Duss explained why Warren’s comments are problematic on a variety of levels.

Does Warren really consider it part of his ministry to sanctify the inch-deep theologizing-cum-warmongering of thugs like Sean Hannity? If so, who else does Warren think Jesus would bomb?

I contacted Pastor Warren’s office for clarification, specifically to find out where, exactly, the Bible says that “God puts government on earth to punish evildoers” like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They said they’d get back to me. I’ll update if and when they do. I suspect Warren was referring to Romans 13, in which the Apostle Paul admonished Christians to submit to governing authorities (Hear that Hannity? Submit!), and also addressed the power of civil government to punish criminals. This has nothing to do, as far as I know, with invading foreign countries and killing their leaders, which is the context in which Warren is speaking.

In any case, if this were a conversation between an Iranian TV host and an ayatollah in which they discussed scriptural justifications for “taking out” high ranking members of the U.S. government, you’d probably see Sean Hannity running the clip on his show — while slowly shaking his head in pious disapproval — as evidence of what crazy extremists those Iranians are. As it is, they’ll probably be running this on Iranian TV as evidence of what crazy extremists those Americans are.

Later, Warren’s office called Duss back to say the pastor was, in fact, referring to Romans 13. When Duss noted the chapter and verse make no reference to killing foreign leaders, Warren’s representative said she’d have to look into it.

Something to keep in mind the next time Warren presents himself as the leader of a new breed of reasonable evangelical leaders.

As nauseating as I find Warren’s mis-representation of Jesus, I can only imagine how Jesus Himself feels about it.

You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:38-45)

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