So Rick Warren was supposed to host another one of those Town Hally kind of thingees, like he did in 2008 with then candidate Obama and Republican candidate John McCain. But it seems the Purpose-driven preacher has had it up to HERE (my hand is three inches above the top of my head) with the sheer naughtiness coming out of the campaigns:
“I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don’t expect that tone to change before the election,” Warren said. “It would be hypocritical to pretend civility for one evening only to have the name-calling return the next day.”
While Warren says both Obama and Romney were “favorable to participating” in a forum, Politico reported in July that Obama had no plans to make a joint appearance with Romney before the 2012 presidential debates. Warren said the planned Obama-Romney forum was inspired by a 2008 forum between Obama and Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) that “was praised for its unique format and fairness.”
What is a man of God to do? I know: hold a forum on religious freedom! Given that President Obama is to religious freedom what John Rawls was to property rights and Lou Rawls was to falsetto, it’s fair to say that O is in for a much-deserved drubbing.
Q. Who will be invited to speak?
A. I have invited the leading Catholic voice in America, the leading Jewish voice in America, and the leading Muslim voice in America to join me. We obviously have different beliefs, but we are all “neighbors” in the national sense and the scriptures command us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” But one thing we all have in common is the mutual concern for protecting religious freedom for everyone. We intend to speak out for each other. If the government suddenly decreed that all Jewish delis must now offer pork, you’d find me opposing that with my rabbi friends. I don’t have a problem with pork, but I support your right to follow your faith.
Q. What do you think are the candidates’ views of religious freedom?
A. President Obama’s policies clearly show what he values and I have told him that I adamantly disagree with those particular policies. I have not talked about this issue with Governor Romney, but I would imagine that as a Mormon he’d obviously understand the importance of protecting all religions against persecution, and ensuring people’s rights to practice their conscience without government intervention.
Oh that crafty devil!
The New Republic is not buying it, however. Amy Sullivan insists the whole thing is little more than a bit of misdirection on the Ricker’s part:
Despite Warren’s efforts to make it seem as if he was selflessly cancelling an appearance with both presidential candidates in order to avoid contributing to a toxic political climate, the evidence strongly suggests that there wasn’t any Saddleback forum this time to cancel. The Associated Press reported this morning that neither campaign was planning on attending any event at Saddleback. Saddleback’s own events calendar does not list any candidate forum. (And lest you think a listing was removed when the forum was “cancelled,” the calendar does note that the cross-training fitness class originally scheduled for today has been cancelled.)
According to Sullivan, Warren ran face first into his “increasing irrelevance.” And if there’s anyone who understands the concept of “increasing irrelevance,” it’s someone writing for the New Republic.