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Home arrow Feature Items arrow Miscellaneous arrow WARREN, OBAMA, AND MCCULLOUGH (NOV 2006)
Written by Kevin L. Howard   


(with update)

First let me say that I enjoy reading Kevin McCullough's columns at http://www.townhall.com/.  And Townhall.com is one of my favorite websites.  But on November 26, McCullough wrote an article titled, "Why Gays Can Not be 'Pro-Choice.'"  In that article he wrongly reported that Rick Warren was having Barack Obama speak at Saddleback Church.  Here's what McCullough said: "Sadly, this is why Barack Obama will take this message of slavery to the teaming masses at Saddleback Church this Friday, and from Rick Warren's pulpit sing the praises for condom distribution as the solution to eradicate HIV/AIDS."


Since I used to be a member at Saddleback, we still get their email blasts, and here's what Rick Warren's mass email said, dated November 25:


"Another blogger claimed I've invited Barack Obama to preach in my pulpit to the Saddleback congregation.  Of course that is untrue.  I'd never invite ANY politician to speak from the pulpit to our congregation.  Never.  The blogger got his facts wrong but he told everyone to call our church office and complain.  Many of these people were quite rude and vicious to our receptionists this past week."


I don't know if McCullough is the blogger Rick Warren refers to in his email, but I emailed Rick's paragraph to McCullough through his Townhall.com email address.  McCullough has either not read the email or chosen to ignore it because his blog-post titled, "Voices Opposing Obama's Speaking At Rick Warren's Church Explode...," on Townhall.com, for November 28, says this:


"Today, my phone has not stopped ringing. Prominent pro-life leaders from across the nation have joined my efforts to politely ask Rick Warren to disinvite Barack Obama from speaking this coming Friday at Saddleback Church."


Unless Rick has sent another email, that I don't know about, in which he has changed his policy about letting politicians speak from the pulpit at Saddleback, McCullough has an apology to make.




It seems as though Obama will speak at the conference, but so will a host of others.  (So McCullough's mistake wasn't in reporting that Obama would speak there but in giving the impression that his message and politics are endorsed by Rick Warren and Saddleback Church.)  Essentially, the speakers at the AIDS summit will be using Saddleback's facilities, not preaching to the main congregation from the pulpit, as in a regular church service.  In fact, Saddleback includes a disclaimer in the front part of the summit syllabus.  Here's an email-blast excerpt from Rick Warren about the AIDS summit:


"Thursday and Friday ATTEND The Global Summit on AIDS & the Church will take place on our [Saddleback] campus. This is an international summit between world leaders who are fighting AIDS and pastors. Leaders from churches, denominations, health, NGOs, Christian organizations, governments, businesses, and entertainment will meet together to discuss how they can work with churches to end AIDS. Most AIDS conferences never invite or involve church leaders, so this will be a unique experience. Participants at the summit will include Republicans and Democrats, Christians and non-Christians, pastors, business leaders, and leaders from around the world.


The following disclaimer was printed at the front of the Summit syllabus: 'We do not endorse everything every speaker might say. With nearly 60 speakers representing different backgrounds and expertise, you'll undoubtedly hear statements you disagree with. We will too. Each speaker represents himself or herself, not Saddleback Church or the Purpose Driven Network.'


Participants will hear messages from First Lady Laura Bush, Sen. Bill Frist, Sen. Sam Brownback, Franklin Graham, the President of World Vision, the President of World Relief, the President of Compassion, notable pastors, and about 30 other speakers who are fighting AIDS in some way. Also speaking will be Dr. Robert Redfield, the renowned physician and devout Christian who discovered AIDS transmission heterosexually, and Dr. Ted Green, the Harvard professor who did the landmark studies on abstinence and faithfulness to one's spouse as the best prevention against AIDS. Video messages by Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono will also be heard."




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