Rick Warren’s Church Scrubs Gay Ban from Website


SCRUBBED: “Someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at a member as Saddleback Church”
Yesterday, BeliefNet reported that the website for Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, Cal., contained a warning that unrepentant gays were forbidden from joining the church:

Because membership in a church is an outgrowth of accepting the Lordship and leadership of Jesus in one’s life, someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted as a member at Saddleback Church.

Today, that section, which was part of a longer diatribe about the sin of homosexuality (see below), is gone. According to BeliefNet, this link led to the page banning gays. Now it connects to a page titled “What We Believe.” BeliefNet is known for down-the-line reporting on religion. It was recently purchased by Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp.

Via Good As You, there are are still offensive statements about gays on the megachurch site:

I’ve heard it asked, “Isn’t being homosexual something that a person is physically born with?” First of all, there are absolutely no facts to support this claim. From time to time studies have been reported in the news that seemed to indicate this, but every one of these studies has proven to be wrong. Secondly, even if some physical difference were discovered, it would be no excuse for sin. We know that some people can develop a stronger physical addiction to alcohol than others, but that’s obviously no excuse for living an alcoholic lifestyle.

While there is no consensus on what causes sexuality, there is no legitimate science that suggests it is fundamentally a choice. And comparing homosexuality to addiction is the sort of sanctimonious, anti-factual ranting for which megachurch Christians earn their reputation for feeble-mindedness.

Here is the complete statement from the Saddleback website as it was excerpted by BeliefNet:

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?

The Bible very clearly says that homosexuality is a sin.

“Homosexuality is absolutely forbidden, for it is an enormous sin.” (Lev. 18:22 TLB)

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:9-11 NIV)

While all sin is destructive, Romans 6 warns us of the great dangers in sexual sin when it says, “Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” (1 Cor 6:18 NLT) This includes not only homosexuality, but all sexual immorality: adultery, sex without marriage, pornography. We must not act as if homosexuality is the only serious sexual sin, and we must not act as if homosexuality is not a serious sexual sin.

I’ve heard it asked, “Isn’t being homosexual something that a person is physically born with?” First of all, there are absolutely no facts to support this claim. From time to time studies have been reported in the news that seemed to indicate this, but every one of these studies has proven to be wrong. Secondly, even if some physical difference were discovered, it would be no excuse for sin. We know that some people can develop a stronger physical addiction to alcohol than others, but that’s obviously no excuse for living an alcoholic lifestyle.

Finally, a word about being judgmental. It’s not judgmental to say that what the Bible calls a sin is a sin, that’s just telling the truth. Not being willing to talk to someone caught up in sin, or not believing that they can be forgiven, or thinking that you are not just as much in need of Jesus as they are … that’s being judgmental.

Because membership in a church is an outgrowth of accepting the Lordship and leadership of Jesus in one’s life, someone unwilling to repent of their homosexual lifestyle would not be accepted at a member at Saddleback Church. That does not mean they cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives.

In equal desire to follow Jesus, we also would not accept a couple into membership at Saddleback who were not willing to repent of the sexual sin of living together before marriage. That does not mean this couple cannot attend church – we hope they do! God’s Word has the power to change our lives

By any rational analysis of the Scriptures, adultery is a worse sin than homosexuality, both quantitatively — adultery is mentioned much more often — and qualitatively — adultery is forbidden in the Ten Commandments; homosexuality is not. Nor did Jesus ever mention it.

Adultery causes serious societal problems. It is the real threat to “traditional marriages,” half of which end in divorce, usually because of adultery. Adulterers’ injured parties suffer severe stress and quite often financial hardship. Adultery is the leading cause of single-parent households. Children of adulterers are often emotionally scared for life.

Adulterers are 100 percent more likely to spread sexually transmitted diseases than are faithful partners. Adulterers are, by definition, liars.

And yet Christians like Rick Warren make no effort to rescind adulterers’ civil rights. Adulterers are free to remarry and adopt children. Unlike gay people, adulterers can’t be fired or evicted because of their status as sinners.

When the day comes that right-wing ideologues like Warren take action against the rights of adulterers, we can start to believe their moralizing is sincere. Until then, we have to assume that they are using the Bible as a fig leaf to cover their personal prejudices and, too often, their own twisted self-hatred.

Update:: This is article cross-posted at the BRAD BLOG, and the ending has been edited.

14 Comments

  • Jon
    December 23, 2008 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    “Here’s why the rationale is faulty: Homosexuality is mentioned in a few obscure references in the Scriptures, but Warren and the other Christian homophobes choose to ignore sexual sins that the Bible warns against more frequently and fervently — particularly adultery and sex between unmarried people, which it calls “fornication.””

    “This includes not only homosexuality, but all sexual immorality: adultery, sex without marriage, pornography. We must not act as if homosexuality is the only serious sexual sin, and we must not act as if homosexuality is not a serious sexual sin.”

    It would be prudent to read what you yourself quote and write.

  • DaBears
    December 23, 2008 - 10:02 am | Permalink

    I guess that makes you a heterophob.

    The hate that you have for people like Rick Warren is clearly not biblical. Name calling, and smearing people is not “loving your enemies”. Rick clearly has one up on you there. He has spent millions of his own money to address the Aids epidemic. What have you done for people that disagree with you?

    From a biblical standpoint, you didn’t address the scriptures the clearly condemn this sin. Your remark of a “few obscure references” doesn’t answer the problem that they exist and that they are very clear.

    What amazes me is how intolerant you are. Is Rick Warren picketing your building, is he calling your language “hate speech”, does he say you do not have a right to exist?

    The majority of people in our country agree with Rick Warren. You are the one out of step. Even Obama, your guy, has stated that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman.

  • December 23, 2008 - 10:46 am | Permalink

    Jon, the point is that Warren and other have no plans to introduce constitutional amendments to restrict the civil rights of adulterers, fornicators and porn fans. When they start putting constitutional amendments on state ballots to restrict the rights of fornicators to marry or when they support laws to make it so that adulterers can be fired or evicted because of the status as sinners, I’ll believe their moralizing is sincere. Until then, I’m calling it what it is: Bullshit.

    DaB: What you’re describing is mob rule — which is the way it works only in right-wing dreams of an authoritarian state. If it had been up to the majority, blacks would never won their civil rights, and women would still not have the right to vote or own property. In America, minority rights are guaranteed. To believe otherwise is to be un-American.

  • nikolai
    December 23, 2008 - 11:08 am | Permalink

    “That does not mean they cannot attend church- we hope they do!”

    Just give generously during the service and leave quickly afterword…queer.

  • December 23, 2008 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Obama condones discrimination. The irony of it is that both Obama and Rick Warren are unchristian.

    Jesus reached out to the outcasts first and made it very clear that he did not condone the priests who banned from the temple, the blind, the deformed, the sick and disabled, gays, prostitutes, simaritans and Romans, it is written Jesus reached out first and foremost to all those who were banned from entering the temple and outcast.

    It was true then and it’s true now, we are the new untouchables/impures to persecute. Obama seems to enjoy discriminating against certain groups.

    He has already reversed his promises to women, environmentalist, the democratic party, his liberal constituents and now the gay community who mobilized 90% of their votes for Obama.

    I am so proud I voted for Hillary and then for Nader! I saw Obama’s true colors from the beginning and could not in good conscience vote for a compulsive liar who’s record showed the opposite from what Obama professed to be. His record has proved me right.

    He’s divided the party and now will divide the nation and he’s not even inaugurated. No leadership, no great dispenser of hope that he professed to be. How quickly “yes we can” has vanished. It’s up to us now to petition for justice and volunteer for equality to create the change that Obama has betrayed and abandoned.

    People like Rick Warren can vote. Do we really want our world dictated to our children by those who would discriminate against them? I’ve been gay since I was 3. I’m sure of that. I knew what Homo and queer meant when I was 8 and I knew then and there it was me. I’m 70 and I’ve never had a single fleeting thought, urge, desire, attraction for a woman. I have stayed true to my nature and am married to my spouse, another man. We don’t engage in sodomy or felatio because it’s not our thing, but we love each other and we pay taxes and we deserve to live in peace far from Rick Warren’s hypocristian persecution. Leave us alone in peace. We are good, productive, decent taxpaying contributers to this society and we deserve to be appreciated for our contributions.Please go to the URL:http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/107914679?z00m=18704475 and sign the petition against discriminators being condoned at the inauguration.

  • martha ward
    December 23, 2008 - 3:39 pm | Permalink

    It seems President Bush rode into the white house by convincing the evangelicals that he was on there side. He was not. He had another agenda which was hidden but was revealed and has certainly taken its toll on our country. It seems President elect Obama rode to his victory by convincing the hopeful that there is worth and value in every person and that would include gay people. He was honest about seeing marriage in a biblical since as between a man and a woman. However, he did not say that he saw same sex couples as perverse pediophiles. By asking Rick Warren to be involved in his inauguration he has chosen to be honest about his truth a little late. Oh well. It happened with Bush, it happens with Obama. So be it. I will sign the petitio against discriminators being condoned at the inauguration. I will pray for Warren and Obama and their continuing intolerance of people who are different from them in their sexuality. I feel sorry for Bush as he leaves his horrendous administration. The model which he taught was used by Obama. Obama’s model for vote getting was not about truth, it was not about hope, it was not about change. It was about deceit and it was about grabbing power with whatever it took. We, as Americans, will now watch what has yet to be revealed. And so, my joy with his election is gone. My hope returns to the place where it belongs… where there is a spirit of love. Amen

  • Jesus Hussein Christ
    December 23, 2008 - 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Gluttony is addressed many times in the scriptures as sin. Rick Warren is observably obese. Since obesity is destroying the fabric of our society , does Saddleback have a position on gluttony? Proverbs says that believers should not even be around gluttons, not to mention allowing them to head up a congregation.

  • December 23, 2008 - 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Wow! So many of you are so quick to blame others for perceived slights that haven’t even been legislated…or condemn as unworthy those who don’t even have the true reins of power yet in this country.

    I’m a lifelong Dem…proudly voted for Obama…and grounded in reality enough to realize that no one change everything that’s wrong all at once!!

    Take a deep breath and consider these words:
    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    It can make a big difference in your perspective when you deal with and pursue the reality of what is possible, achieve that, and then take on the challenge of what may not be possible…only then might you find what is REALLY possible.

  • martha ward
    December 24, 2008 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

    george q. public is right. it did not take long yesterday for me to see the error in my thinking. warren has every right to think what he thinks and I can not change him. obama has made an inclusive choice with warren. i made a mistake which i think was a good mistake to make for the negative feelings with which i was filled were nothing which i wanted to carry. i will take deep breaths and work to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can, and the wisdom to know the difference. thanks again to george q public.
    amen
    martha ward

  • martha ward
    December 24, 2008 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

    another thought…and so timely on this night of jesus birth. rick warren follows jesus and i follow jesus. i am a christian because of jesus. i remember thinking one time that i might be jewish. i couud not. they did not bedlieve that jesus was the son of God. so, okay. i follow jesus because he was a kind and compassionate to the people who came to see him and he was the man who knocked over the table of the money changers letting those who saw him know that he was saying, do not give such attention to this in the house of God. and that is why i follow jesus. i think he was right. i would like to know why rick warrren follows jesus. why he is a christian. he seems as though he is representative of many american men. i would ask that he please tell why he follows jesus.
    perhaps we will move closer to understanding where the other is coming from.
    amen
    on this eve of Christmas

  • martha ward
    December 24, 2008 - 2:48 pm | Permalink

    as a bible scholar, i would like to ask Rick Warren if jesus said we would always have the poor, or if one of the disciples said that. i am not doing this myself because i think he is the scholar here.
    amen

  • Pingback: Rethinking Rick Warren « out of the blue

  • Yvonne
    December 31, 2008 - 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I dont think homosexual understand that we as christian do not hate them, we just do not like their lifestyle, it is sinful, I believe gays can go to church, but they cannot be a member of a church unless they repent of their sins and ask Jesus to come into their hearts, then they can be a member of any christian church, so I agree with Pastor Rick,,I am waiting to see if Pastor Rick will use the name of Jesus when he pray for President elect and the United state of American..because as christians we must pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

  • December 31, 2008 - 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Yvonne, in case you actually believe the “love the sinner, hate the sin” nonsense, please know that no one else buys it. (Try looking in the mirror and saying it out loud, and you’ll see what I mean.) As noted above, you Christians do not persecute other sinners the way you attack gays. You don’t work to put amendments on state constitutions to prevent adulterers or fornicators from marrying, for example. You’re using the Bible as a fig leaf to cover your own personal prejudice. It’s your right to be filled with hate and ignorance — but you don’t have a right to put your bigotry into the law.

    The real point is, why would any self-respecting gay person want to join a church where he or she isn’t wanted.

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