Rick Warren: First Priority Get America Back To Work

Rick Warren spoke with David Gregory on Meet the Press today about a variety of topics including giving, understanding, compassion, Prop 8, abortion, the economy, and President Obama.

In talking about his world-wide humanitarian efforts Warren made an interesting point. 

Pastor Rick Warren

Pastor Rick Warren

“The greatest need right now are the 146 million orphans in the world. There are 146 million children growing up without mommies and daddies. That is anarchy waiting to happen, and whoever gets there first and loves them first will have their heart and devotion… Health Care and and poverty relief and orphan care are good foreign policy.”

Ther are many issues the I disagree with Warren on, however on this he is right on target. After the 8 years of war in Afghanistan, we should be focused on building the structure and foundation of Afghanistan rather than sending thousands more troups to blow things up. After decades of civil war in Gaza, the hearts and devotion of the Palestinians are in the hands of Hamas. Not because of acts of terrorism or war, but because of their efforts to feed and care for the people of their community.

For the amount of money we spend on a single soldier, we could build dozens of schools, provide medical supplies to hospitals, and feed people. Rather than spending billions to send in more troops we could invest in infrastructure such as building roads, providing electricity, clean water and sanitation services.

In discussing the performance of President Obama Warren said:

I think this president came with a, a number of cards stacked against him, that’s for sure.  He entered the presidency with more on the plate than many of the previous presidents entered with.  And my biggest fear is that there’ll be too much on the agenda and that things will get bogged down.  I, I personally believe that the number one thing we need to do is get America back to work.  I think before, I think before health care or anything else, we need to get people back to work.  There’s nearly 10 percent unemployed.  That’s the equivalent of Canada being unemployed.  And so we have to look at this fact that if we get people back to work, then we can work on some of these other issues.  Now, Afghanistan, of course, was already going on.  But that’s what leadership is, is being able to balance balls and juggle things like that.  And, you know, I certainly pray for him.

On the debate over health care reform and abortion Warren had an interesting exchange with Gregory.

MR. GREGORY:  In, in the House there was an amendment to prohibit public funds be used to pay for abortion if there’s a public plan in health care.  E.J. Dionne wrote this in The Washington Post recently about the involvement of Catholic bishops, saying, “Catholic bishops…have a long history of supporting universal coverage,” health insurance “but [have] devoted most of their recent energy to the abortion battle.  How much muscle will the bishops put behind the broader effort to pass health-care reform?  Their credibility as advocates for social justice hangs in the balance.” Raising the question, is there a moral equivalency between fighting for the unborn but also fighting for universal coverage?  Should there be equal energy to both efforts?

MR. WARREN:  Well, this is what I call–I’m not pro-life, I’m whole life, which means I don’t just want to protect that little baby girl before she’s born; I want to make sure she gets an education, she’s not raised in poverty, she gets her vaccinations.  And so this is what I call the whole life platform, which, beyond just pro-life of protecting that unborn child, goes on.  And, and part of my goal has been to not deny what I believe, that historically Catholics and evangelicals have stood firm on together, but expand the agenda to say we can’t just care about that, we’ve got to care about the child after she’s born and make sure she gets an education, she grows up healthy and grows up to be a productive human being.

Whole life. Now that is an interesting concept. Unfortunately, most pro-life Republicans do not hold the same perspective on caring for children in our society. Most notably for me is Chuck DeVore, who does not support health care for uninsured children in California, or funding college education. For people like Chuck DeVore, life begins at conception, but ends at birth.

On Prop 8 and the gay marriage debate Warren and Gregory had this exchange:

MR. GREGORY:  Well, when you think about the debate about Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, and you think about how much money, the tens of millions of dollars spent on both pro–for and against Proposition 8. And as you look back at that do you say, well, maybe that money’d be better spent trying to fight AIDS and find a vaccine for AIDS rather than having that fight?

MR. WARREN:  I could give you a hundred campaigns where that would be true. I mean, I think we spend…

MR. GREGORY:  Is it true in this one, though?

MR. WARREN:  Oh, of course.  I spend–we spend way too much money on everything else that, that–and not on what matters.  If–you know, as a pastor, I’m always looking at how do we relieve the suffering, and I’m also looking at how do we increase prosperity for everybody?  For instance, you know, you’ve heard the phrase, “Don’t give a man a fish, teach him to fish.” Well, that’s not even good enough.  If you–I’ve discovered if you teach a man to fish, you create a village of fisherman; they all catch the same fish and they have a, a subsistence economy.  You need to teach a man how to sell a fish.  You need to teach him how to build a business.  You need to teach to some build the nets and some builds the boats and, and create a free enterprise so that the, the society raises itself out of, out of just subsistence on a, a more complex economy.

MR. GREGORY:  Just sticking with that topic for just a moment. If the issue of legalizing gay marriage comes up again on the ballot in California would you work to fight that?

MR. WARREN:  You know, my position on gay marriage is very clear and it hasn’t changed.  What I do believe in is that it is my job to love everybody, no doubt about it.

MR. GREGORY:  So you would fight it?

MR. WARREN:  Well, again, I’m not a politician.  I didn’t fight it in the last issue.  What was misunderstood is people, people on both sides tried to make me the campaign leader.  I only mentioned it one time, and I mentioned it to my own congregation when I was asked, “What is our position on this?” and I made a video for our congregation.  Well, that was dumb, because it immediately went everywhere and then all the sudden it looked like I was the big campaigner.  And–but I wasn’t.  Of course I have a position on it.  As a pastor, I happen to believe what the Bible says.  But I also believe that I understand the pain that people feel from rejection.  So I care about both angles.

Gregory”s interview with Warren is below.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

  3 comments for “Rick Warren: First Priority Get America Back To Work

  1. Eric Cooper
    November 29, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Surprisingly, there are a number of things that Mr. Warren said on MTP today that I agree with also. But the vast majority of his religious continuency (i.e., followers) do not agree him on these things, especially on issue of whole life. They hate President Obama and most likely are on the side of the birthers and tea baggers. Mr. Warren’s task, in my humble opinion, is to stop being “The Great Rick Warren” and start becoming a real regular person who can beecome an effective spokesperson for the positions and issues which you expressed an agreement with him on. None of Mr. Warren’s consituents believe in anything but the superstar image that he has so carefully and purposefully created for himself. If he really cares about this world, he will have to make the decision, at some point, to lay aside his books, book tours magazines, megachurch and all the other things that go with it. I believe that is the best way for him to join some of the rest of us in attempting to change the things in this world that really need changing.

    • November 29, 2009 at 7:36 pm


      I found myself in the same position as you. Warren talks well, but his followers need to listen more to what he says.

  2. D Mitchell
    November 30, 2009 at 8:45 am

    “There’s nearly 10 percent unemployed. That’s the equivalent of Canada being unemployed.”

    In October 2009, US unemployed = 15.7 million according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Population of Canada is more than double that amount. Does anyone check such statements?

Comments are closed.