I heard this segment on All Things Considered this afternoon and thought it was worth posting. In this interview Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church, discusses the upcoming appearance of Obama and McCain at his California megachurch. His attitude and language is in refreshing contrast to another famous evangelical, James Dobson.
Below is an excerpt, but you can read the entire interview at NPR's website here.
Back in the 2004 election you sent out a letter to thousands of pastors in which you listed what you considered to be five non-negotiable issues and they were abortion, gay marriage, human cloning, stem-cell research and euthanasia. Are those still non-negotiable issues for you?
Well they might be for me. It doesn't necessarily mean they're for everybody in the nation. I have my own convictions, but I also believe in the common good. I think that's part of democracy. You have a right to promote whatever view you hold and you have a right to try to convince me that I ought to change my mind.
But would you be sending out that same list now in 2008?
I'm not going to send out any list this year because I'm obviously maintaining neutrality in order to do what I think is best for America and that is get these two guys to speak up in their own words. On a personal level, if I were sending out a letter today my view hasn't changed one bit on any of those particular subjects, but my agenda has expanded dramatically over the last four years. One of the things I've tried to do with evangelicals is to get them to not deny their pre-existing agenda but to expand it. I'm still pro-life but I don't call myself pro-life anymore. What I do is call myself 'whole-life.' I'm not just in favor of the unborn baby. I'm in favor of her when she's born. Is she a crack baby… is she an AIDS baby… is she a baby living in poverty? Is she going to get an education? It's not just concern for protection of the unborn but for protection of the born, too.