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The Real Rick Warren

Rick Warren, the anti-choice pastor to speak at Obama's inauguration, is not a man who symbolizes common ground.

Rick Warren understands politics.

It was announced last week that Warren would be giving the invocation at President Elect Obama's inauguration. It's shocking, to say the least, but a little less surprising considering Warren's Saddleback Forum, a campaign season event in which Warren questioned Senator Obama and Senator McCain about faith and politics - two issues Warren feels very comfortable merging. The Saddleback Forum, however, was no more an opportunity to discuss faith than it was an opportunity to discuss science. It was an opportunity for Rick Warren to "catch" the candidates in what he deemed inappropriate positions.

WARREN: That was a freebie. That was a gimme. That was a gimme, OK? Now, let’s deal with abortion; 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. As a pastor, I have to deal with this all of the time, all of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. Forty million abortions, at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?

It is beyond me how Warren feels that a perspective that so few Americans hold (reflected this election by the sound defeat of three anti-choice measures, the victory of pro-choice Democrats in Congress and, well, Obama's win), is a viable basis for a question for our presidential candidates? Luckily, Obama understands what most Americans do - it's about prevention and education, not religious extremism, and he responded:

OBAMA: But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion, because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And so I think anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue, I think, is not paying attention. So that would be point number one.

But point number two, I am pro-choice. I believe in Roe v. Wade, and I come to that conclusion not because I’m pro-abortion, but because, ultimately, I don’t think women make these decisions casually. I think they — they wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with their pastors or their spouses or their doctors or their family members. And so, for me, the goal right now should be — and this is where I think we can find common ground. And by the way, I’ve now inserted this into the Democratic party platform, is how do we reduce the number of abortions? The fact is that although we have had a president who is opposed to abortion over the last eight years, abortions have not gone down and that is something we have to address.

Rick Warren is also the man behind these (recent) statements on abortion:

“But to me it is kind of a charade in that people say ‘We believe abortions should be safe and rare,’” he added.

“Don’t tell me it should be rare. That’s like saying on the Holocaust, ‘Well, maybe we could save 20 percent of the Jewish people in Poland and Germany and get them out and we should be satisfied with that,’” Warren said. “I’m not satisfied with that. I want the Holocaust ended.”

Now we unveil the story of a religious leader who is adamantly against prevention; in favor of reducing abortion by stripping women of their rights; a leader who compares embryos in utero and mothers who make the best, most loving choices they can when faced with an unintended pregnancy or medical condition, to a murderous movement of anti-Semites who brutally slaughtered Jewish women, men and children. 

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