Report on Rick Warren’s Speaking at Muslim Convention

On December 15th, Lighthouse Trails reported that Rick Warren would be speaking at the 8th Annual Muslim Public Affairs Council(MPAC) Convention on December 20th. That conference has now taken place and below is a revealing commentary by one of the other speakers. The article addresses the present situation where Warren is being strongly criticized by the homosexual community and the media for his support on banning homosexual marriage. According to the article, Melissa Etheridge, a popular lesbian rock singer, who met and spoke with Rick Warren at the convention, was very impressed with Warren and feels he may change his stance on homosexual marriage with “some work” by those in favor of homosexual marriage.

Aside from Etheridge and Warren, New Age guru Deepak Chopra was also featured (by video). It is interesting to note that the writer of the article said he read The Purpose Driven Life for the first time on his way to the convention. He notes that there are “passages” in PDL that “are an unwitting argument for the unity of religions.” He also gives Rick Warren credit for helping more evangelicals vote Democrat.

Below, the article:
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Juan Cole, President of the Global Americana Institute

Rick Warren: “I love Muslims . . . I happen to love Gays and Straights”

I was in Long Beach,Ca. on Saturday for the annual conference of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, where Pastor Rick Warren and I were both headliners.

Also appearing on the stage Saturday evening were Melissa Etheridge and Salman Ahmad, singing Ring the Bells…. There are two stories here … One is Rick Warren addressing a Muslim audience. The other is his being at the same event with Etheridge, who is gay.

Warren will read the invocation at President-Elect Barack Obama’s inauguration, a choice that angered the gay community. Warren supported Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage (and forcibly divorced or ‘de-married’ 18,000 gay couples already married in California). Warren also has compared legalizing gay marriage to legalizing incest, pedophilia and polygamy….

Warren took the stage, friendly and ebullient, and implicitly complained about the bad press he has gotten since Obama announced he would read the invocation. He said that the media likes conflict, and where there is harmony there is nothing for them to report. When there is no conflict, he said, the media will create one….

Warren said, “Let me just get this over very quickly. I love Muslims. And for the media’s purpose, I happen to love gays and straights.”

He explicitly mentioned meeting Etheridge, and explained that he has been a long time fan of hers, beginning with her self-titled first album of 1988. “I’m enough of a groupie,” he said, “that I got her autograph on the Christmas album.” …

Warren, in short, is a representative of the turn of some evangelicals to a social gospel. Since evangelicalism is a global movement and very interested in mission, his social gospel not surprisingly becomes a global social gospel….

Once a pastor turns, as Warren did, to a social gospel, then he has social goals to accomplish, and he needs all the help he can get. A social gospel creates a field of practical ecumenism….

So you begin to see why Obama is reaching out to this man…. If Warren is the future of the American evangelical movement, then many more evangelicals might end up Democrats … And if any significant proportion of evangelicals can be turned into consistent Democrats, the party would more regularly win elections in some parts of the country and even nationally….

I came away liking and looking up to Warren. In fact, I wonder whether with some work he could not be gotten to back off some of the hurtful things he has said about gays and rethink his support for Proposition 8. Click here to read this entire article.

Other Coverage on the MPAC/Warren Story:

Pastor Rick Warren addresses Muslim group, emphasizes need to find common ground, Los Angeles Times

“We’re always looking to work with unlikely partners, and I think he’s a new kind of evangelical,” said [MPAC] spokeswoman Edina Lekovic. “We have a lot in common.”

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