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Rick Warren Says He’s Never Been Anti-Gay Marriage. Excuse Me?

Saddleback Church pastor Rev. Rick Warren was on Larry King this week doing what all media personalities do after they’ve fucked up– trying to repair his tarnished image as a gay-hating evangelical holy roller. Warren told King, “I am not an anti-gay marriage activist. Never have been, never will be.”

Please don’t throw things at your monitor. We won’t pay for the replacement.

According to Warren, the whole gay marriage controversy was a huge misunderstanding and that nobody listened to all the nice things he said about gays and lesbians leading up to the inauguration.

We can call ‘shenanigans’ on this pretty easily. Queerty was in touch with the press folks at Saddleback Church from the day he was announced as the one who would give Obama’s invocation. We repeatedly asked Warren to speak with us about his views and to explain them and finally, a week before the Inauguration, his representatives told us that he had decided not to speak to any media, allowing the invocation to speak for itself.

If Warren was saying something nice about gays and lesbians, it was to his pillow, or to his favorite lesbian rocker, Melissa Etheridge, while eating canapes.

What Warren did say, quite unequivocally, was that he was opposed to gay marriage and that his followers in California ought to vote for Proposition 8. He did so in a video to his church:

Warren says in the video:

“I hope you’re thinking about your vote. One of the propositions I want to mention is Proposition 8, the proposition that had to be instituted because the courts threw out the will of the people… Now let me just say this really clearly: We support Proposition 8 and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues, I come out very clear.”

If that’s not anti-gay marriage advocacy and a direct call to vote for Prop. 8, then nothing is.

Furthermore, in an interview with Beliefnet, Warren compares gay marriage to pedophilia and incest, saying:

Beliefnet Editor Steve Waldman: Now one of the controversial positions you’ve taken is your support of Proposition 8 in California.

Rev. Rick Warren:
Yeah, Yeah

Waldman: A couple questions about that. First, just to clarify, do you support civil unions or domestic partnerships?

Warren: I don’t know if I’d use the term there, but I support equal right for everybody in America. I don’t know if we should have unequal rights depending on particular lifestyles, so I fully support equal rights?

Waldman: What about domestic partner benefits, hospital visitations?

Warren: You know, not a problem with me. I’m not opposed to that, so much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of the definition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage, I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and getting married.

Waldman: Do you think those are equivalent to gays getting married?”

Warren: Oh, I do.

Now, Warren says, “I was asked a question that made it seem like I compared gay marriage to pedophilia or incest, which I absolutely do not believe and I announced that.”

The question, ” What about domestic partner benefits, hospital visitations?” isn’t where the comparison comes from, it comes from Warren’s unprovoked answer. He goes on to complain, “All the criticism came from people who didn’t know me. Not a single gay leader who knows me criticized me. For years we’ve been working together on AIDS issues…”

Ah, yes– Saddleback Church’s much vaunted AIDS outreach, of which Warren is so proud. The only problem with this is that the religious groups in Africa that Saddleback partners with are funded by Bush’s PEPFAR program, which mandates that money can not be spent on helping prostitutes and that one-third of all funds go-to abstinence-only programs, which some of these groups have used as a mandate to have condom burnings in West Africa.

King then asks Warren about his response to the Iowa marriage ruling. Warren responds, “I’m totally oblivious to– that’s not even my agenda!”

It sure is your agenda, Rev. Warren. We’d love to think that Warren’s position has evolved and certainly, the fact that he’s backpedaling now is an indication that he sees the writing on the wall when it comes to America’s rapidly changing attitudes towards gay marriage, but how do we say this nicely? Rev. Warren is a sleazebag who’s demonstrated that he will say whatever is necessary for him to get what he wants.

If Warren wants to change his views, we’re all ears and we would be happy to count him an ally. If he wants to rewrite history, we’ll be here, reminding him– and us– of the facts.–Japhy Grant