August 23rd, 2012
06:12 PM ET
Rick Warren cancels presidential forum; mixed explanations as to why
By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
(CNN) - High-profile pastor Rick Warren has called off plans for a presidential forum that he said was scheduled to include both major party candidates, but there are conflicting accounts about why the event was canceled.
Warren told the Orange County Register that he was nixing his "civil forum" because of the toxic political climate.
"It would be hypocritical to pretend civility for one evening only to have the name-calling return the next day," Warren told the newspaper in an article published Wednesday.
But sources close to President Barack Obama's and Mitt Romney's political campaigns challenged that explanation, saying the event was canceled because of a lack of interest from the respective campaigns.
"As I understand it, Pastor Warren received tepid responses from both camps well before the supposed 'cancellation,'" said a senior Democratic strategist in contact with the Obama campaign.
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"It appears that the event was canceled because neither the Romney nor Obama campaigns thought it was in their interest to do," the strategist continued, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a delicate political matter.
A source close to the Romney campaign said that the former Massachusetts governor hadn't planned on attending Warren's event: “We were never going, ever. We offered to do a video.”
A source close to Warren who worked on the event planning disputed the offer of a video from Romney’s campaign, ”considering the unique live, long-form Q & A format of the civil forum, obviously, video representation would have been impossible and was never discussed.”
The source said, “presumably the individual who responded on behalf of Gov. Romney confused Pastor Warren’s conversations with top campaign officials about that event with the exclusive five-minute plenary video that both he and President Obama provided at the request of Saddleback Church for a Global Health and HIV/AIDS Summit that Rick and Kay Warren co-hosted with several other ministry organizations at Georgetown University on July 25.”
During the 2008 election, Warren played host to both major party candidates at his Saddleback Church in Southern California, in what he called Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency.
Warren told the Orange County Register this week that this year's civil forum had been scheduled to take place this week and that there was interest from both campaigns and from the media.
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"[T]he TV networks were eager to cover it again since it garnered one of the largest viewing audiences of that election," Warren said. "I talked with both campaigns about the possibility of doing it again, and they were both favorable to participating."
Warren's spokesman declined an interview request on Thursday, referring reporters to the Orange County Register.
At the 2008 forum, Obama and Republican presidential John McCain fielded questions one at a time from the pastor on Saddleback's stage in front of 5,000 people and a nationally televised audience.
"We’ve got to learn to disagree without demonizing each other, and we need to restore civility in our civil discourse and that’s the goal of the Saddleback Civil Forum,” Warren said in the statement after the event.
This week, Warren seemed to criticize both campaigns.
"The forums are meant to be a place where people of goodwill can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attack and name-calling," he told the Register. "But that is not the climate of today's campaign."
"I've never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don't expect that tone to change before the election," Warren said.
Warren also said a larger issue cast a shadow over the event: religious freedom.
"There are widespread attempts to redefine the First Amendment to simply mean 'You are free to believe anything at your place of worship but you are not free to practice your conscience elsewhere,' " Warren told the Register, saying he was planning a forum on religious liberty for next month.
Warren used the issue to take special aim at Obama.
When asked by the Register what he thought of the candidates views on religious liberties he said, "President Obama's policies clearly show what he values, and I have told him that I adamantly disagree with those particular policies."
In February, Warren joined a chorus of Catholic leaders who denounced the administration over the implementation of a policy that required health insurers to provide no-cost contraception coverage to employees, even those working for Catholic hospitals and colleges.
"I'm not a Catholic," Warren, a Southern Baptist, wrote on his Twitter feed, "but I stand in 100% solidarity with my brothers & sisters to practice their belief against govt pressure."
Most evangelical and conservative Christians from Protestant backgrounds do not oppose the use of contraceptives, as official Catholic teaching does. The issue for those groups was what they saw as a threat to religious liberty.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Rick seems to think he is more important than he actually is.
you have that right.
If the proposed forum were located in Ohio or Florida, the 2 camps would have readily accepted. Impressing the folks in Orange County, California won't affect the CA vote on bit.
Indeed – or PA.
I wonder who south Orange County will vote for?
California is a welfare state, Its the deepest darkests blue state in the country.
"According to U.S. Department of Commerce estimates, California’s GDP (gross domestic product) was $1.89 trillion. And that puts California as the world’s eighth largest economy in 2009. Since the 1970s, California has ranked 7th biggest world economy, although for a couple of years in 1984 and 1985, California was the 5th largest economy in the world. The California economy currently ranks eighth just behind Italy and ahead of Brazil and Spain.
Ohio is ranked 20th.
I know it just burns the heck out of those republicans riding California's coat tails, but facts are facts. California is not only more productive, has more beauty, more great weather, more incredible entertainment and diversity than any other State.
@Greg S – Jealousy is a stinky cologne...
Rick Warren is a lying POS.
Any time he gets confronted about anything controversial that he's said or done, he denies it even though it's been caught on tape. He lied about his support of Prop. 8 to make himself look like a nice guy to all and he's lying about this.
The Romney campaign continues to downplay his religion because its misunderstood by many and Obama is downplaying his because so many people think his faith isn't strong enough because he doesn't go to church every Sunday.
Rick Warren is an all roads lead to heaven Christian, A Lao Christian.
"...Between this and the Akin legitimate ra_ pe topic, you have a snapshot of the Republican Party's problems. They cannot allow themselves to coalesce around fiscal and overall economic conservatism, they have to keep injecting inappropriate and made-up social and religious topics into the way they want to take the country. That is a losing proposition. It is a losing proposition. Did I say IT IS A LOSING PROPOSITION.
I think they see that the country feels that way (expressing preference for the socially conservative thingy) and it underscores the mistakes they made coming out of the mid-term 2010 elections. The voters in that election were not telling the party they wanted more god in their government, they were telling the party they wanted less government in their lives!!
The sooner the party and the ill-educated and informed parts of it comes to terms with their religious problems, the sooner we can move our party to majority...."
The faithful have shown their severe lack of faith in what they believe in, esp. if they have to depend on corrupt government leaders to push religion.
Maybe Rick Warren has just realized he is not as relevant as he was 4 years ago.
I'm not sure that Rick Warren was 'relevant' four years ago.
It was a ploy by the McCain campaign to try to get him to appear more religious – rather than the worldly non-religious man that he is.
You don't think Rick Warren is relevant? He and his wife, Kay, have mobilized one of the largest efforts to deal with AIDS not only in the US but in Africa as well. Check out http://hivaidsinitiative.com which is a ministry of Saddleback. If dealing with AIDS/HIV isn't relevant, I don't know what is.
"There are widespread attempts to redefine the First Amendment to simply mean 'You are free to believe anything at your place of worship but you are not free to practice your conscience elsewhere... "
Everyone enjoys the First Amendment and when it was written, the authors tackled the same issues of freedom. This new era of hyper-religious zeal from the right is slowly re-defining the Amendment, no one else is!
WELL PUT!!!!!!!! It was written to protect these people from harassment for their delusions, and for those of us that rightly point out that they are delusional. Typical TALIBAN GOP logic. "We have religious freedom!!!!" "Our religious freedom gives us the right to FORCE WOMEN TO GIVE BIRTH TO THE CHILDREN OF THEIR RAPIST." This is sadly, the current reasoning of the right.
These religous people continue to show their lack of faith.
If they truly believed that God is in control, then why continue to hand over the reigns to Big Government/Big Business?
Where Rick Warren has it wrong is that no one is stopping anyone from living out their religious beliefs anywhere. Anyone can pray anywhere, help the poor anywhere or do anything else their faith demands. What is not being catered to the the effort of some religious people to force their religious beliefs on those who do not believe the way they do. You cannot force kids in a public school to pray , they are always free to pray individually. You cannot force your employees to not use birth control but they are free to not use birth control. You cannot force your employees to refuse blood transfusions but you can refuse them. He just is wrong if he thinks people are being stopped from worshipping or living up to their beliefs.
@Boston. Very good!
i'm glad warren took time to throw a few at obama specifically. it makes it even funnier when romney's camp said he had no plans to attend this event ever. at the end of the day warren, romney doesn't want to talk about religion. he might have to admit in public what his own religion teaches him about you. that you're completely wrong and going to purgatory and hell because you're not mormon.
If your not a Mormon and dont believe in his religion then what his religions says will happen to you shouldn't bother you at all, its irrelevant.
A private individual wanting to stage a debate is allowed to cancel for whatever reason he wants. He's private after all.
Mr. Warren was hoping to ride the election year news cycle back into national relevance. Thankfully, both candidates told him to put his saddle back.
Rick Warren is a narrow minded fool that doesn't deserve any air time on the public stage. Canceling this event is a good thing. The less air time he gets, the better it is for for the collective intelligence of mankind...
I think you would probably be an expert on narrow minded fools. Your words betray you.
Why didn't you just write "nanny nanny billygoat" there Prescott? Grow a brain. This comment is completely correct, and he/she "betrays" nothing but intellect. What has been "betrayed"???
You must not know anything about Rick Warren. He and his wife, Kay, have mobilized one of the largest efforts to deal with AIDS not only in the US but in Africa as well. Check out http://hivaidsinitiative.com which is a ministry of Saddleback. Are you doing anything to help people with AIDS? If not, then stop slandering someone who is.
Ah yes. His work in Africa. Save the straight ones from AIDS. Support laws that make being gay punishable by death or life in prison. He's practically a saint. Hand me a tissue.
More unfounded slander, woodstockwoody. Link to an article that proves your point. Yes, there are people who do those things. No Rick Warren. Think before you slander.
I agree with the logic of this TROLL ALERT person. The best course of action is simply not to feed it, and wait for it to die.
I've been praying for it to stop...proof that prayer is nothing more than making a wish, and just as likely to work.
The only prayer available to you two is the sinners prayer.
Wouldn't it be nice if God pandered to your every need and request no matter what, Like a Genie in a bottle, Im sure even then folks would bi@tch
Who the hell is this guy and why is he so important? Its people like him that hold back the US. Keep egotistical religion out of the political loop. People like him are separatist. They care nothing for the political process only the spotlight and gaining more money by putting themselves at the forefront for something that needs them as far away as possible.....
First and foremost, this world is about Christ our lord. Be careful about condoning others and saying malice things. God is a loving God despite other's issues. This Pastor does a great job winnining souls to the kingdom of Christ. Its not about a political race, God care less because those things will pass away and behold God will bring in the new.
Jz, if "this world is about christ" why are the majority of it's inhabitants non-christions?
jaz, your opinion. Others have a different opinion.
Prayer changes things .
Please don't feed it.
Truth is never ever trolling. Freedom of speech !
It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. Teaching kids to be agnostic helps reinforce their understanding of the new real things they can see and learn about in life. It helps them properly separate the known from the unknown without confusing them. They just need to be taught things that are unknown, like god, and things that are made up, like all religion.
Atheists have strong minds, and don't run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, disserving society).
We have only begun to scratch the surface in using the mind to its maximum. Damaging it with made-up junk that politicians and salesmen dreamed up long ago is senseless, and limits the mind's potential. These politicians and charlatans didn't even do a good job of organizing and being consistent with the stuff they dreamt up to try to control people. Daddy used to say they were caught with their pants down when the bible was first translated so that common folk could read it. Very true.
old mama kindless
atheists have murdered more persons in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries. Mass murder, the "healthy" atheist lifestyle.
lies be told
Where exactly is your evidence to support this particular lie?
Truthie, Everyone has freedom of speech, no one has freedom from either disagreement or criticism. Everyone has freedom of religion, no has freedom to force their religious practices on others, Rick wants that evidently.
I think he probably is thinking of the Communists and Fascist of WW2 who killed a Lot of folks and they did not believe in a God, Both of these forms of Govt are Godless. So you see you cant blame all the murder on Religion, Atheists can muster up and Murder with the best of them.
And what in atheism calls for people to go out and kill people? Oh wait that's right, atheism has no tenants or doctrine.
atheist leaders torture and murder their victims because they can and because they think there is no moral authority higher than themselves.
@truth be told
DO you actually want answers, or do you just enjoy parroting the lies of your preachers.
When you get cute with a name it is difficult to tell if you want an honest response. Proof of atheists murdering millions? Joe Stalin atheist credited with over 24 million murdered or Chairman Mao credited with up to or over 800 million murdered not counting war dead or those who were abandoned to disease and starvation.
"So you see you cant blame all the murder on Religion, Atheists can muster up and Murder with the best of them."
Let's see how your reasoning stands up Greg S.
Here is your reasoning: Some guy's who rejected religion killed a bunch of people, therefore we can blame those mass murders on anyone who rejects religion.
Fact: Hitler was a vegitarian and he commited crimes against humanity, therefore we can blame those mass murders on vegitarians, right?
Fact: Pol Pot was a history teacher as well as a French liturature teacher and he commited crimes against humanity, therefore we can blame those mass murders on history teachers or people who read a lot of French lit, right?
Fact: Jeffrey Dahmer worked at a Chocolate factory and killed and ate at least 17 people, therefore Chocolate factory workers are cannibals, right?
If you are too dense to see the point i'm making, then you to might just be a mass murderer...
Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~ .
Well that answers my question.
truth be told lied again and said: "atheists have murdered more persons in the last . . ."
We've been over all this before – ruthless rulers of the world, many of whom actually practiced and had official religions are a poor, if not the worst example to associate with atheism. Haven't you learned by now that is a stupid approach? It is more helpful to look at entire organizations, such as the Catholic Church, that have been responsible for the death and disenfranchisement of many, many people in the name of their twisted version of something that was already made-up nonsense.
Obama's team said no because Warren's a religious conservative, and there's nothing to be gained from going. Romney won't answer any questions that they don't approve first, that's why his people offered a video.
There's only one thing I'm waiting for......the debates.
I'd guess that questions related to Mormonism might not be popular with the base as well.
Ahhhh, the voice of reason.
Warrens problem is he isnt Muslim, Obama would have been there with bells for sure.
Warren's problem is that he is one sided and has made that clear. Warren would do as he did last time praise one side and spend his time denigrating the other because they are not part of his political party. Obama isn't stupid. He is also not a muslim and more than Ryan is.
History proves it. RELIGION = HATE. There is no proof of god, or proof there isn't, but history proves that religion causes hate and war. That is academic.
Saying religion causes war is like saying alcohol causes fraternities. Wars are fought for resources and power – religion is just the published excuse. Stop being simple minded.
History doesn't prove that religion causes war. It proves that all kinds of things lead to war: poverty, greed, revenge, expansionism, idealism. The most violent regimes of the 20th century were atheistic — Stain's Soviet Union, Mao's China, and Hitler's Germany (no, Hitler was not a Christian, but hated Christianity). In the previous century, it was the atheism of the French Revolution that caused it to be so bloody.
The Lord gave the Jews 10 commandments and then the Jews created over 600 laws concerning them, Religion was invented by men, Its corrupted, always has been. God has nothing to do with religion.
Sorry but Hitler was a Christian and Hitl;er's Germany was also Christian. High percentage of Germans attended religious services, and even the SS prayed. It didn't stop their murderous ways but they were Christian.
Neither Stalin nor Mao professed Christianity, though Stalin was raised in a devout family and was educated at an religious school Yup they all three were nasty human beings but then so were the people who for centuried murdered people over the intrepatation of the Bible, Inthe case of Mao, Stalin and Hiter their murderous ambitions were about consolidating their personal power and had nothing to do with religion one way or the other. .
If the only thing that matters to the 10 commandments, then why should any christian be opposed to gays? It's not in any of the first 10 commandments, which by the way, were not seperated as special or important from the rest of the 600+ laws in the oldest manuscripts.
Religious people should just pray in their churches and closets stop trying to impose their moral views which are based on scribblings of bronze-aged men on society. Science is the answer to our problems. Science can indeed help us decide on moral issues.
There is a planet called Mars. There is no god, so "he???" cannot see what's going on there. We have eyes. We can see what's going on there.
Science is the answer? Germany was the most scientifically (and culturally) advanced culture on the face of the earth going into WWII. How did they use that science? To build weapons and to keep the trains running to get Jews to their extermination camps. Science isn't the answer. Science is a tool that can be used for good or evil. The answer is a moral and compassionate heart, which is something Jesus talked quite a bit about. Loving your enemies and all that.
Science changes daily, whats true today is a Lie tomorrow. No thanks.
Nazi Germany was a Christian nation. Remember, it was about killing the Jews because they killed Jesus.
never a serious student of history were you?
@truth be told
Got Mitt Uns ring a bell with you?
The Jews did not Kill Jesus, The Country was Occupied by the Romans who ruled over the Jews, The Jews did not have the power to order a mans death, Only the Romans could do that The Jews wanted an innocent mans death, The Courts in Jerusalem where Roman Courts, But fearing mass riots they chose to Crucify Jesus to keep the peace. They found him Innocent and Killed him anyway. The buck stops with the Romans in this case.
So it's not enough to constantly accuse each other of lying, now they have to accuse a pastor?
Yes. All "Pastors" are Liars. There, are you going to pray to your sky fairy to strike me down, to "smite" me.? Once more,
ALL PASTORS ARE LIARS.
Judgement is deferred until the return of Christ. Judgement is mot eliminated, your "strike down" will be permanent and without appeal at the judgement throne of God.
Yee Haa I got a rise out of a "thumper," who is going to tell me about christ and judgement. Forcing a woman to bear the child of her rapist gets your lot judged RIGHT NOW, HERE ON EARTH. I'm an atheist, but making WAR ON WOMEN IS A SIN, even this atheist believes in the word "sin" as far as that goes.
Your already smited and you don't even know it. But remember you asked for it.
Rick Warren is not relevant to the discussion but he wants to be.
Warren is a Lao Christian anyway, Just looking for a headline.
Maybe Rick should invite Palin. She wants to be relavant too!
Who is this guy?
Just another self-rightious blowhard.
Nothing is more true than "We’ve got to learn to disagree without demonizing each other, and we need to restore civility in our civil discourse. . . " Hate has never accomplished anything but hate.
Only delusional religious people believe in "demons" and thus believe in "demonizing." The President of the United States has been WAY TO POLITE to Romney and the american TALIBAN. THIS IS POLITICS. Go pray on it, but get out of government.
By definition atheism is hate, ho mo se xual agenda is hate. There can be no compromise with sin.
WAY TOO POLITE (Spelling correction.) You have the same religious freedom's you've always had. You want to talk "demons" Ms Repub. ?????? You are going to vote for a party that would FORCE YOU TO BEAR THE CHILD OF YOUR RAPIST, by denying you a safe and legal abortion. I stand corrected, I do believe in SOME demons.
Actually, atheism is an answer to a question; the question being "do you believe in god". If that question is answered in any way other than the affirmative, the answer-er can be considered an atheist.
Rick Warren is GAY and he needs to address his TRUTH period point blank.