Rick Warren: what’s wrong with American evangelicalism

“I don’t have the time to explain my disdain for Warren, but it suffices to say that his reactionary moralism—and willingness to pander to the prejudices of well-off suburbanites—is emblematic of what’s wrong with American evangelicalism.” — Stay Classy, Rick Warren (via: azspot)

Pastor Rick Warren seems confused about this whole ‘Christianity’ thing

Here’s the man of God himself, “Pastor Rick,” aka “America’s Pastor” (God help us!) answering Jake Tapper’s question about whether he agrees with President Obama about helping our neighbors, according to the Bible:

“Well certainly the Bible says we are to care about the poor. There’s over 2,000 versus in the Bible about the poor. And God says that those who care about the poor, God will care about them and God will bless them. But there’s a fundamental question on the meaning of “fairness.” Does fairness mean everybody makes the same amount of money? Or does fairness mean everybody gets the opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation. The only way to get people out of poverty is J-O-B-S. Create jobs. To create wealth, not to subsidize wealth. When you subsidize people, you create the dependency. You — you rob them of dignity.” — Pastor Rick Warren, yesterday, on ABC ‘This Week’

Kevin Drum comments,

You know, there’s nothing really wrong with a Republican politician saying this. Or a Democratic politician, for that matter. My first preference for helping the poor is indeed to make sure they have decent jobs. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet met anyone who has an especially great plan for making the economy boom on such a sustained basis that jobs are available for everyone.

But I’m a blogger, not a minister. And while I might not be an expert on the Bible, I’ve read enough to know that Jesus sure didn’t seem to think that helping the poor robbed them of dignity. Can someone help me out here? What part of the gospels do you think Warren is referring to?

Digby says,

I just love it when people who pay no taxes make this case. Especially when all they have to do is crook their fingers and millions of tax free dollars flow in to them — no questions asked:

It’s been a heck of a year for mega-pastor/bestselling author/power broker Rick Warren of the enormous Saddleback Church. It started out with Warren’s invocation at the historic inauguration of one President Barack Obama – and it concludes with Warren asking his flock to cough up nearly $1 million in just two days to keep the church out of the red.

[...] Nobody knows what [the money] was used for, of course. But I guess we know it didn’t go to “subsidizing” the poor and robbing them of their dignity, so there’s that.

Blue Texas adds,

Since Warren is against “subsidizing people” — I say we start taxing his ministry like any other business. Also, I don’t ever remember the part in the Bible where Jesus fretted about “dependency” when he instructed his followers to give everything they had to the poor, do you? Why would a supposed follower of Jesus say such a thing?

And Hunter wonders,

It’s puzzling how an Obama reference to loving thy neighbor and, rather more specifically, not asking poorer Americans to shoulder the burden of our suddenly-scary deficits “alone” morphs so quickly into tsking about fairness and wealth redistribution and, in the end, “freedom of religion.” What the hell does “freedom of religion” have to do with poor people “shouldering the burden alone” unless your religious viewpoint is that they should, yes, shoulder the damn burden alone? How do you get from one part of that discussion to the other?


Tuesday morning’s 10 interesting things

1) Satire: Santorum thinks ‘it’s never polite to look a rape horse in the mouth’ – From the satirists that brought you comedian Andy Cobb as “a godless heathen” mocking Rick Perry’s bizarre anti-gay political ad comes a tidal wave of sarcasm cresting off Rick Santorum’s odd statement that women who are the victims of rape should “make the best of a bad situation” and go through with the pregnancy. Watch video:

2) Dems Say Romney Outspends Newt 5 -1 In Florida – The narrative that Team Romney is pushing is that of a new-and-improved candidate, battle-hardened after his South Carolina woes, and sharpened as a candidate by having had to outsmart Newt Gingrich. The Dems think these figures suggest something else: that it’s not Romney who’s winning votes in Florida, but the size of his wallet.

3) Gingrich sued over use of “Rocky III” theme song – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich faces a lawsuit over his use of “Eye of the Tiger,” the theme song to the movie “Rocky III,” court documents show. || Seriously, Newt? Eye of the Tiger? Maybe it would be best if Republicans stick to music that suits them. Remember when Heart wouldn’t let McCain/Palin use Barracuda

4) Putting Romney’s wealth in context -  For most working families, this is a level of wealth that’s hard to relate to. Romney took in more wealth in a day in 2010 — without actually having a job — than most Americans earn in a year. Romney would be in the top 1% based solely on the income he receives in one week. [...] The problem isn’t that Romney is extremely wealthy. It’s hard to imagine a significant number of voters saying, “I’m uncomfortable voting for a rich guy.” The problem is how Romney acquired his vast wealth (a vulture-capitalist firm), his frequent gaffes on the subject, and his policy agenda (which includes more tax breaks for the wealthy).

5) Scamming his herd: Rick Warren is an ass, but he’s right – Rick Warren, mega-church grifter, uses some of his tax-exempt time to promote the asinine Republican attack on President Obama’s use of the teleprompter: “Leaders speak from conviction. Actors speak from telepromters.”@RickWarren  Of course Warren is right. Actors do use teleprompters:

6) Majority Of Americans Support Taxing Investment Income The Same As Wage Income – …a CBC News/New York Times poll shows that a majority of Americans favor taxing investment income the same as wage income. The disparity between the 15 percent top rate for investment income and the 35 percent top rate for wage income is what enables wealthy investors like Warren Buffett to drive their tax rate down to or below the rate at which many middle class families pay.

7) ‘Socialist’ Obama has conservatives seeing red – “I am for the Declaration of Independence,” Newt Gingrich proudly proclaimed. “I am for the Constitution.” Obama, by contrast, “is for European Socialism.” (i.e. Obama’s black) [...] Another Gingrich supporter, John, who only gave his first name, said he was convinced Obama’s upbringing overseas — he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia — explains his alleged estrangement from centrist American values. “Mom, baseball and apple pie… He doesn’t understand us,” said John. (i.e. Obama’s black)

8) Santorum pushed to limit malpractice awards but sought larger payout for wife - On the campaign trail, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum says he will push to limit payments to victims in medical malpractice lawsuits, which he blames for unnecessarily driving up health-care costs. And over the course of his two decades in politics, he repeatedly spoke in favor of capping such awards. But Santorum testified in support of his wife when she filed a medical malpractice suit in 1999 that sought $500,000, twice the cap in his 1994 legislative proposal. Karen Santorum claimed that a Fairfax chiropractor had left her with a permanent back injury that probably would result in a lifetime of pain medication and restricted mobility.

9) Jan Brewer Expecting Treat Now for Shaking Finger at Barack Obama – From the “JAN PAC” website: “Friends, I need your help! When I met President Obama this week, I really wasn’t pointing at him. I was telling him, “You have ONE more year!” The President needs to be reminded that he is the President of the FEDERAL REPUBLIC and not a KING lording over state governors. While I wanted to talk to him about jobs, our economy and visiting our border, President Obama criticized my book, Scorpions for Breakfast, and then walked away from me…”

10) Matt Taibi | Rolling Stone | The Odd Couple: Romney Vs. Gingrich – Less than a week after New Hampshire, Romney committed a series of gaffes that revealed his crucial character flaw: He’s a hypernervous control freak who flips out if you try digging around below the paper-thin veneer of his schlock patriotic presentation. The robotic Mormon financier looks like a walking OCD diagnosis, a trim coil of tightly wound energy with perfect coif and tie, seemingly living in permanent terror of a single hair falling out of place. For this type of anal-retentive personality, the messy chaos of South Carolina was a phobic horror. Faced with actual opposition, he lost his grip on everything. At a time when a quarter of the population has zero or negative net worth, when outrage against the financial elite is at an all-time high on both sides of the political aisle, Romney, it turns out, is so weirdly tone-deaf about his status as a one-percenter and bloodsucking corporate raider that any question in that direction sends his eyes pinwheeling. As his electably boring-mannequin act began to crumble, his carefully concealed true self – a deluded gazillionaire nitwit – was suddenly thrust naked onstage for all of America to gape at…

Teabag Christianity vs. Jesus Christ

[image: divineirony]

‘What Would Jesus Cut?’: Christian Leaders Urge Obama To Protect The Poor In Debt Talks

An “unprecedented” coalition of religious leaders are coming together to urge President Obama not to sacrifice the needs of the poor in negotiations to reduce the nation’s debt. Leaders from the Episcopal Church, the Salvation Army, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ all met with Obama last week to present their unified message[...] The coalition focuses on those Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45), which speaks to obligations to look to the less fortunate. One goal it to get lawmakers to consider, “what would Jesus cut?” (Actually, to ask the question is probably to answer it.)