Rick Warren

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Rick Warren


Pastor Richard Duane "Rick" Warren is the founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church, a megachurch in Lake Forest, California. He is a "fourth-generation Southern Baptist pastor."

Rick Warren is married to Kay Warren, co-founder of Saddleback Church.[1]

Obama connection

Barack Obama with Pastor Rick Warren during the Saddleback presidential forum

The Call to Unite: Voices of Hope and Awakening

The Book "The Call to Unite: Voices of Hope and Awakening" is the manifesto of UNITE, published in March, 2021. From the UNITE website:[2]"Featuring stories and insights from Bishop TD Jakes, Elizabeth Gilbert, Van Jones, Arthur Brooks, Amy Grant, Dr. Rheeda Walker, Pastor Rick Warren, Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Jewel, Deepak Chopra and many others, The Call to Unite offers readers a book of wisdom to turn to in hard times." The book was edited by Tim Shriver and Tom Rosshirt with an epilogue by Maria Shriver.


Rick Warren was born in San Jose, California, the son of Jimmy Warren and Dot Warren. His father was a Baptist minister, his mother a high-school librarian. He was raised in Ukiah, California, and graduated from Ukiah High School in 1972, where he founded the first Christian club on the school's campus.

Warren received a Bachelor of Arts degree from California Baptist University in Riverside, California; a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (1979) in Fort Worth, Texas; and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

Obama's 2009 Presidential Inauguration

Rick Warren gave the invocation at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration in January 2009.[3]

"expansion beyond social conservatism"

An article published Aug. 07, 2008 by David Van Biema at Time Magazine[4],[5] revealed that Rick Warren was "leading and riding" a "wave of change in the Evangelical community" that included new causes such as "combating global warming."


"And he is both leading and riding the newest wave of change in the Evangelical community: an expansion beyond social conservatism to causes such as battling poverty, opposing torture and combating global warming. The movement has loosened the hold of religious-right leaders on ordinary Evangelicals and created an opportunity for Warren, who has lent his prominent voice to many of the new concerns.
"A shift away from 'sin issues' — like abortion and gay marriage — is reflected in Warren’s approach to his coming sit-downs with the candidates. He says he is more interested in questions that he feels are “uniting,” such as “poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate change and human rights...”


"Warren grew up in Northern California. He is a fourth-generation Southern Baptist pastor, intimately familiar not just with churches but also with the spreading of them: his father was a “church planter,” or serial church founder. The son, who has said that from sixth grade on he was always president of something (and told TIME he led a courthouse march for the 1960s radical group Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS), received his own call to ministry at age 19. He got a conventional theology doctorate and an unconventional education from a friend, management guru Peter Drucker, who refined Warren’s organizational gift and offered a secular vocabulary with which to express it."

“Loving God and Neighbor Together”

Christian Response Grows To Muslim Plea For Global Dialogue December 11, 2007.

More than 100 U.S. Christian leaders, mainline and evangelical, have endorsed a favorable response to an unprecedented Muslim call for churches to help initiate international dialogue between the two faiths.

Among the endorsers were three megachurch founders: Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life; Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral and Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church.

Released in October, the Muslim document, called “A Common Word” and signed by 138 clerics and academics from around the world, declares that “love of the one God and love of neighbor” are core beliefs for both Muslims and Christians and should be the basis for dialogue. Since adherents of the two world religions number more than half the world’s population, the Muslim authors say, chances for peace would grow if Muslims and Christians showed together their adherence to those principles.

The Christian response, “Loving God and Neighbor Together” drafted by scholars at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, which is headed by theologian Miroslav Volf, appeared November 18 as an advertisement in the New York Times along with the names of signatories.

The Christian authors said they were “heartened” by the Muslim appeal and concluded: “It is with humility and hope that we recieve your generous letter and we commit ourselves to labor together in heart, soul, mind and strength for the objectives you so appropriately propose.”

Signers included Harvey Cox of Harvard Divinity School; Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary; Joseph Hough, president of Union Theological Seminary; Richard Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals; John Buchanan editor/publisher of the Century; and David Neff, editor in chief of Christianity Today.[6]

Other signatories included Jim Wallis Sojourners, John L. Esposito Director Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University Alexander Negrov, President, St. Petersburg Christian University, Russia.[7]

Students for a Democratic Society

Rick Warren claims to have "led a courthouse march for the 1960s radical group Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS."[8]

Rick Warren and ISNA

“As-salamu Alaykum. I come to you today deeply humbled and honored by this invitation. I truly mean that. I applaud your courage for inviting an Evangelical pastor. Thank you.” This was the opening statement of Rick Warren, the leading pastor of the influential Southern California Saddleback Church, as he stood in front of the attendees of ISNA’s 46th Annual Convention in July 2009.

During Warren’s speech to ISNA, he told ISNA’s conference attendees that he loved them, and he stated to them, “[W]e need to work together.”

ISNA is an American arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was founded in 1981 by a group of individuals which included the North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Sami al-Arian.

In 2007 and 2008, ISNA was named by the United States Justice Department as a willing participant in the financing of millions of dollars to Hamas.

At the convention, Warren’s fellow speakers included: Siraj Wahhaj, an “unindicted co-conspirator” of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; Zulfiqar Ali Shah, the former South Asia Director of KindHearts, a Hamas fundraising group that was shut down by the FBI in February 2006; and Naeem Muhammad, a U.S. staff member of Islamic Relief, a “charity” that the Israeli government has claimed is a front for Hamas.[9]

ISNA speaker


In 2010 Rick Warren was listed as a speaker for the Islamic Society of North America.

Council on Foreign Relations

Rick Warren is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[10]

New York Meetings Program

Rick Warren was a part of a "New York Meetings Program" hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.

"A series of discussions focusing on the nexus of religion and foreign policy continued in its second year, featuring the Reverend Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church; the Reverend Dr. Richard D. Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright."[11]

Oxford Analytica

In January 2007, Joseph Farah of WND wrote that Rick Warren was a member of Oxford Analytica.[12]

Hobby Lobby and religious liberty


June 9 2014 Russell Moore, Rick Warren, Samuel Rodriguez, David Platt served on a panel at the Hilton Baltimore "Hobby Lobby and the future of Religious liberty".

Moderating Cornel West

Noted public intellectuals Cornel West and Robert George will participate in a public discussion moderated by Rick Warren on the challenge of preserving freedom of thought, speech and education; finding a common vision for American public life; and acquiring the moral and intellectual virtues we need to remain civil despite serious disagreements.

The event, The Cost of Freedom: How Disagreement Makes Us Civil, will happen at Biola University on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 7 p.m. This event is co-sponsored by the Torrey Honors Institute and Biola University's Center for Christian Thought.

“Our cultural climate is often characterized by loud arguments and unproductive media squabbles,” said Biola University President Barry H. Corey. “With this event, we want to model for our community a respectful discussion and a productive debate.”

West, George and Warren are three of America’s most prominent religious and philosophical leaders. Between them they have written or edited nearly 50 books and sold millions of copies. Each participant is an active voice in American public life, and though they represent very different political, religious and moral perspectives, they share a commitment to the significance of learning and respect, even in the midst of disagreement.

Despite their divergent perspectives, West and George foster a unique friendship: they co-teach classes at Princeton University, remain in regular dialogue, and together they mentor students to exemplify how disagreement, handled with good-will, humility and courage, can improve public discourse about cultural issues.[13]

"Raise Your Voice for Religious Liberty"

July 23, 2014 | Jennifer Marshall .

This spring, the President announced he would issue an executive order regarding LGBT employment in organizations contracting with the federal government. A number of religious organizations quickly expressed concern. The policy would pose a problem for groups whose conduct standards reflect biblical teaching that reserves sexual relations for the marital union of a man and a woman. As it turns out, even raising a voice to defend religious liberty in the policy discussion would be portrayed as a problem by some.

Michael Wear, a former Obama White House and campaign staffer, helped to produce a letter to the President signed by 14 Christian leaders, including Rick Warren of Saddleback Church and Andy Crouch of Christianity Today. “Religious organizations, because of their religious faith, have served their nation well for centuries, as you have acknowledged and supported time and time again,” they reminded the President in their July 1 letter. “We hope that religious organizations can continue to do so, on equal footing with others, in the future. A religious exemption in your executive order on LGBT employment rights would allow for this.”

The executive order issued Monday by President Obama did not heed these appeals. While it did not go so far as to overturn a prior policy that allows a religious group to continue employment on the basis of its affiliation, “[l]itigation and a chilling of partnerships are predictable,” says Stanley Carlson-Thies, president of IRFA. Religious groups have contracted with the federal government to provide relief and development abroad, to provide services to the Bureau of Prisons, and to engage in research and technical assistance. How the new executive order will affect such working relationships remains to be seen.[14]

Letter to Obama

July 1, 2014 The Honorable Barack Obama President of the United States of America

c/o Melissa Rogers, Executive Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Dear Mr. President, As religious and civic leaders who seek to advance the common good, we write to urge you to include a religious exemption in your planned executive order addressing federal contractors and LGBT employment policies.

We have great appreciation for your commitment to human dignity and justice, and we share those values with you. With respect to the proposed executive order, we agree that banning discrimination is a good thing. We believe that all persons are created in the divine image of the creator, and are worthy of respect and love, without exception. Even so, it still may not be possible for all sides to reach a consensus on every issue. That is why we are asking that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need.

Americans have always disagreed on important issues, but our ability to live with our diversity is part of what makes this country great, and it continues to be essential even in this 21st -century. This ability is essential in light of our national conversation on political and cultural issues related to sexuality. We have and will continue to communicate on these broader issues to our congregations, our policymakers and our nation, but we focus here on the importance of a religious exemption in your planned executive order disqualifying organizations that do not hire LGBT Americans from receiving federal contracts. This religious exemption would be comparable to what was included in the Senate version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which passed the Senate with a strong, bipartisan vote. Without a robust religious exemption, like the provisions in the Senate-passed ENDA, this expansion of hiring rights will come at an unreasonable cost to the common good, national unity and religious freedom.

When you announced the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, you said the following: …the particular faith that motivates each of us can promote a greater good for all of us.

Instead of driving us apart, our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife and rebuild what has broken; to lift up those who have fallen on hard times...

We could not agree with you more. Our identity as individuals is based first and foremost in our faith, and religious beliefs are at the foundation of some of America’s greatest charities and service organizations that do incredible good for our nation and for the world. In fact, serving the common good is one of the highest expressions of one’s religious liberty outside of worship. The hiring policies of these organizations— Christians, Jewish, Muslim and others—extend from their religious beliefs and values: the same values that motivate them to serve their neighbors in the first place.

Often, in American history--and, indeed, in partnership with your Administration-- government and religious organizations have worked together to better serve the nation. An executive order that does not include a religious exemption will significantly and substantively hamper the work of some religious organizations that are best equipped to serve in common purpose with the federal government. In a concrete way, religious organizations will lose financial funding that allows them to serve others in the national interest due to their organizational identity. When the capacity of religious organizations is limited, the common good suffers.

But our concern about an executive order without a religious exemption is about more than the direct financial impact on religious organizations. While the nation has undergone incredible social and legal change over the last decade, we still live in a nation with different beliefs about sexuality. We must find a way to respect diversity of opinion on this issue in a way that respects the dignity of all parties to the best of our ability.

There is no perfect solution that will make all parties completely happy. As we know you understand, a religious exemption in this executive order would not guarantee that religious organizations would receive contracts. Instead, a religious exemption would simply maintain that religious organizations will not be automatically disqualified or disadvantaged in obtaining contracts because of their religious beliefs.

Mr. President, during your first presidential campaign you were asked your views on same-sex marriage. You responded: “‘I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix… I am not somebody who promotes same-sex marriage.’”

You justified withholding your support for same-sex marriage, at least in part, by appealing to your Christian faith. Yet you still believed you could serve your country, all Americans, as President. Similarly, some faith-based organizations’ religious identity requires that their employees share that identity. We still believe those organizations can serve their country, all Americans, in partnership with their government and as welcome members of the American family.

This is part of what has been so powerful about religious liberty in our nation’s history. Historically, we have been reticent as a nation to use the authority of government to bless some religious identities and ostracize others. We live in a blessed nation, constantly perfecting its fundamental ideal that no matter what god you pray to, what you look like, or who you are; there is a place in this nation for you if you seek to serve your fellow Americans.

Religious organizations, because of their religious faith, have served their nation well for centuries, as you have acknowledged and supported time and time again. We hope that religious organizations can continue to do so, on equal footing with others, in the future.

A religious exemption in your executive order on LGBT employment rights would allow for this, balancing the government’s interest in protecting both LGBT Americans, as well as the religious organizations that seek to serve in accordance with their faith and values.


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