Warren starts to feel shy

WARREN STARTS TO FEEL SHY…. Pastor Rick Warren ran into a little trouble last week when he claimed, during an interview with CNN’s Larry King, that he stayed out of the fight over gay marriage in California last year. “During the whole Proposition 8 thing,” Warren said, “I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never — never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.”

That, of course, turned out to be untrue. For Warren, this created two problems. First, the left criticized the Saddleback Church pastor for working against marriage equality and then denying it. Second, the right criticized Warren for seemingly backing away from what conservatives saw as the right position.

Warren would have had an opportunity to address the issue during a scheduled interview with George Stephanopoulos yesterday. The pastor, however, decided to cancel.

Pastor Rick Warren abruptly canceled an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” in which he would have had the opportunity to clarify his denial last week that he had ever endorsed California’s anti-gay-marriage ballot measure, when in fact he had done so on videotape.

A Warren aide issued a statement, explaining that the megachurch leader was suffering from “fatigue and exhaustion — which affected his voice — exacerbated by inhalation of fumes from the newly refurbished (but still drying) pulpit used in the televised services the previous night.” (Warren’s interview with Stephanopoulos was supposed to be taped on Saturday for Sunday’s broadcast, and Warren reportedly wanted to rest so he could preach on Easter.)

Stephanopoulos was clearly not pleased with the result, telling viewers yesterday, “For those of you tuning in this morning expecting to hear from Pastor Rick Warren, we were too. But the pastor’s representatives canceled moments before the scheduled interview, saying that Mr. Warren is sick from exhaustion.”

I’m not in a position to question Warren’s honesty here. For all I know, the pastor intended to do the interview, but was genuinely ill on Saturday. That said, Amy Sullivan did a nice job this morning summarizing Warren’s propensity for telling different audiences very different things when it comes to tolerance and respect.

It’s a pretty easy bet that George Stephanopoulos had clips of all these comments cued up and ready to go Sunday morning. Rick Warren is a talented communicator and has inspired millions of people. But in trying to explain or reconcile those contradictory statements, he wasn’t going to be able to wing it. Maybe the mere thought of trying exhausted him.

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