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Rick Warren and the single most depressing quote I may ever hear

vastleft's picture

Obama's healing gesture of helping sanctimonious bigot Rick Warren build his oppressive and profitable brand jogged the recollection that Warren uttered the most depressing thing I can imagine:

All of the great questions of the 21st century will be religious questions.

As I wrote at the time: "Fuck, another century down the drain."

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Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

The questions couldbe ones like:

"Why is religion so fucking important?"

"Should we be killing people because of religion?"

"Does religion really belong in the public sphere?"

We can dream, right? :)

Nervine5's picture
Submitted by Nervine5 on

What to hell happened to the "Progressive's" president elect, did HE Change? Well there is change we suspected, but not the 'Fooled'. Whatever....

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and the fact that it's being floated now is even more insulting.

mark my words -- impossible, and they have no intention of giving him that spot.

oceansandmountains's picture
Submitted by oceansandmountains on

they have a gay marching band. What? Not sufficently mollified by that deeply serious and courageous decision? I never thought I'd live to see the day when alleged Democrats would resort to tokenism, It's so disgusting.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

he's actually treating us like the majority society treated blacks for many years. We should sing and dance for his pleasure and then go away.

I'll also add that Clinton rocked in terms of LGBT appointments and jobs in his administration -- from symbolic things like Ambassador to many many actual powerful policymaking positions.

so far Obama has only named one openly gay person -- and it's not in a policy job.

Submitted by hipparchia on

ken starr... now i have to go bleach my brain.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

-- which we know Obama's onboard with too -- given Donnie McClurken's prominent emcee role in that "faith" tour earlier.

Rick Warren & the "Ex-Gay" Movement --

... Warren’s Saddleback Church has a Friday night program called Celebrate Recovery. On the whole the program is modeled after the twelve steps, albeit with an evangelical supplement to it. There are subgroups in the program that cater to men with “addictions” to pornography, recovery alcoholics, and women with codependency issues. There is also a group for those who struggle with “same sex attraction”, the discourse of which is directly borrowed from the ex-gay movement. I know this, of course, because I was involved with the group in Spring of 2007. ...

Submitted by lambert on

.. an evangelical supplement. The slogan is ".... God as we understood God, and that means a Higher Power, which is up to each group member to determine for themselves; it could even be the group. That's totally antithetical to evangelical proselytization. These guys manage to pervert even AA and Al-Anon. It's grotesque.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

what is it? (is it?)

This whole Warren thing keeps reminding me of Haggard and all the others continually getting caught. He started -- but didn't finish -- some "program" of "cure" or something -- Rep. Foley too, i think. Warren's downfall can't happen soon enough for me.

Submitted by lambert on

and in any case what works comes first, not the wordagawd or anything like that. AA is pragmatic and egalitarian. It's the very reverse of religious, which is why that statement is such a perversion. I mean, can you imagine Rick Warren saying anything like: "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our traditions"? He wouldn't be a celebrity of he did that.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i've always heard that it was based on something Christian (and also that different programs are more popular with us non-Christians because of that)

this --

... A.A. was an offshoot of an early 20th-century evangelical Protestant movement called the Oxford Group Movement, and 12-step recovery is still essentially a conversion experience. Most simply, all 12-step concepts turn on the notion that a person suffering alcoholism or drug dependency or a similar burden does not have the strength to overcome the problem alone; he or she must call on a "Higher Power" for help. Five of the 12 Steps explicitly mention God.

...

Submitted by lambert on

but it's pragmatic. The goal is to help alchoholics, not to convert. If the "higher power" is the group, for example, that's fine. If the most florid variety of God is what works, then fine too. And I do believe that nobody has the strength to overcome alone (and in Bush we've got a classic, classic example of a dry drunk....)

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i only know what i've read about it--and i only know people who have used other types of group programs -- never 12-step ones or based on them.

i'm surprised tho, that there is any "higher power" element at all, given the whole buddy(?) thing, and the group supporting each other in itself.

Submitted by lambert on

"Higher power" does not necessarily mean supernatural power. I'm sure there's somebody out there with Evolution as their higher power. Or Beauty.

There's also the slogan "Take what you like and leave the rest." "The rest" can definitely include the supernatural.

I think the insistence on a "higher power," and/or "God as we understood God' is pragmatically useful, in that it takes the alcholic out of themselves.

Sorry to be defending this so hard, but I had a very good experience with Al-Anon, back in the day. It's the only (quasi-) spiritual system I've ever had the slightest desire to defend!

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i'm trying to reconcile and understand -- the reliance on 1 buddy (or whatever it's called) and the group meetings and support -- with something not there, and seen by some as religious.

like, is it self-help, or group help (like Weight Watchers or a million other things)? is it required that there be a focus outside them? instead of just them helping each other thru a problem via these steps, and support they get -- not from something else -- but from each other alone?

it seems like the power is all in the individual and group --with the group's help and extensive support as absolutely vital -- and via using the steps (also necessary) as a way to solve the problem.

in a way, it's because of religion -- that makes me see it as religious maybe. like "do good so you'll go to heaven -- after this life" or "do good because we're all here together now, and it makes everything better here and now -- for everyone" ...

a focus on something -- some "power"ful thing -- outside the person and group all working together to do something -- that's what i don't see as necessary and what i see as religious -- in a purely Christian kind of way, i guess.

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

my understanding (derived from family members and friends) is that Lambert is right on -- your 'higher power' can be belief in the love of your family, or in the (entirely non-religious) wonders of the universe, or your collection of 1920s Coke bottles, if that's what matters to you.

(speaking of higher powers, it's freakin' snowing here again, what's up with that?)

Probably for most who go to AA, it's one of what VL describes as supernatural entities. But in reality it's whatever will help, and whatever will get a person with an alcohol problem to either draw on something outside themselves for strength, comfort, whatever they need to help them stay away from alcohol, and to get them to think outside themselves. And, as Lambert points out, if thinking on a higher power doesn't work for you, then you can skip that part.

It's a tool, not the price of admission or an indoctrination method. Atheists can skip the tool and use other parts of the system. Many people do believe in some sort of higher power, and the HP tool helps them. But it's miles and miles away from creepy ex-gay ministry cults like Warren's.

AA has a sponsor system, which is not so much a buddy system as it is a sort of a mentor-helper in your recovery, someone who has already walked the path you're on who understands what you are going through, and can sympathize, empathize, cajole, harass, inspire as needed from the same place you're in now. It's someone you can call at 3 in the morning when you're at your nadir rather than opening up a bottle. The higher power belief and the group support system work together (it's not either/or). I suppose that for someone who does believe in a higher power, the group and your sponsor are your RL helpers/counselors/supporters, while your higher power is your abstract one. They all work together.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I'm not arguing about the higher-power stuff. In fact, I've spoken positively about AA's relatively hands-off approach.

But let's be honest about what "God as we understand Him" means. Almost all of us in this society understand God to mean YHWH or his son or the like, whether we believe in Him or not.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it's purely a Real-life one.

that's what i don't get -- why, if you have the group -- and the sponsor -- is any abstract help even involved?

isn't it like praying then? or not believing that you and the group are enough? what is the higher power supposed to do or help on this with that the group and yourself can't?

Valhalla's picture
Submitted by Valhalla on

I'm not sure that the governing principles are so much concerned with the metaphysical as the practical. I don't think AA is really about finding the minimal workable formula as it is going with the formula that works for as many people as possible.

Most people do believe in a higher power (isn't it something like 75% of Americans believe angels exist?). And your higher power is/can be with you all the time, unlike the group or your sponsor. Part of the point of AA, I believe, is understanding your own limitations and getting yourself out of your own head.

I don't know how much it is like praying -- I imagine it depends on the person, whether praying is something they do anyway. I do know AA often invokes the Serenity Prayer ("God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference"), which, excluding the 'God' at the beginning, is fairly good advice all 'round.

Submitted by lambert on

The operative phrase is as we understood. It's not about theological rigor. Why do you think atheists could stand it?

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

And because, apparently, they don't rub your face in it. So it's relatively easy to compartmentalize that, and because they can constructively use the "higher power" concept in ways that aren't God-centric.

But let's not pretend that many of us, in this predominantly Judeo-Christian society, fail to "understand" that God refers to a supernatural being.

Submitted by lambert on

The strength of the program is that if the supernatural being bit does not work for you, you will be encouraged to find a Higher Power that does. There is no "pretence" involved here (certainly not in my experience) and it's your own understanding that counts -- "many of us" do not seek recovery as a body; recovery is only sought and obtained by individuals working the program. See Valhalla's comment above.

This is, again, why the notion of an evangelical 12 step program is so very, very perverse, and I mean the word "perverse" in its strongest possible sense.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

..."God as we understand Him" might reasonably refer to something non-supernatural.

They could use a term like "conscience" or "nature" or "life force" or something if they didn't want such implications, but they refer to "God" as a "Him."

I'm not knocking the program, not at all, just admitting that God/Him surely implies the supernatural.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

... and based on the words and actions of others, it didn't. And Valhalla is saying the same. YMMV, of course. People can judge the pretence, if any, for themselves, I imagine.

Submitted by lambert on

... of "particular phraseis" is context-free, eh?

Personally, I think AA is to be commended for reducing the phrase's virulence! If only others would follow suit.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

That I have several comments upstream that praise AA for its evident light touch on things religious, but that I dispute as whitewashing the idea that it didn't deliberately fly close to or into the flame with the "God/Him" construction.

Submitted by lambert on

The context is the context in which the words are actually spoken in AA; the "native speakers" if you will. Based on my experience, I don't believe there is any "pretence" or "whitewashing" going on. YMMV.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

talking past the reality of what, for nearly all of us -- including atheists -- Him-God refers to.

Your experience is completely outside of what I'm talking about. For the thousandth time, I'm not criticizing the experience or methodology of AA, just being scrupulous about what Him-God means to anyone whose frame of reference is our predominantly Judeo-Christian culture.

If they didn't want to invoke the notion of a super-being, they wouldn't have mentioned a Him-God. Past that, they seem quite chill about it, and I have no desire to knock them.

Submitted by lambert on

... "pretense" and "whitewashing" aren't the words for the thought that you're trying to convey.

Because who's doing the pretending and the whitewashing? Where's the agency? Is it me? Is it Valhalla?

I assume not, so it must be AA. This whole thread reminds me of the kind of book review where the reviewer wished the author had written a different book than they in fact wrote. It's not AA's job to straighten out the predominant culture. It is AA's job to help the suffering alchoholic. If focusing on their mission, and developing concepts and vocabulary to support it, be "pretense" and "whitewashing," then have at it, say I.

As far as "Him," there are plenty of groups that substitute less onerous vocabulary.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I think you're scrubbing Him-God of its obvious meaning. "As we understand him" gives some wiggle-room for non-YHWH fans, but it's still reflective of some sort of anthropomorphic deity.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

It's called AU.

It's not called AA.

You say "whitewash" and "pretend" and "scrub," so apparently my experience (and Valhalla's) has no relevance to you, and direct testimony cannot be genuine. An odd position for an opponent of truthiness to take. And endless explanation does no good, so onward.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Throughout the thread. Do I not constantly avow my understanding that they do not bludgeon one with religion? Hence your positive experience there isn't an answer to charges by me of their overweaning religiosity -- because I made no such charges.

This is a semantic argument. You proposed a meaning (or lack thereof) to "God as we understand him" that I dispute.

zeezee's picture
Submitted by zeezee on

Warren said that. After all, "religion" is his business.

If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail

applies to Warren.

Now, if Obama said that, then we'd be right and truly F*cked. (Caveat: I'm not implying that we aren't already F*cked for other reasons.) Sadly, I can't say with any certainty that such words would never pass Obama's lips. Doubly sad, I can easily imagine him saying those very words in a receptive forum.

zeezee's picture
Submitted by zeezee on

Yup, we are right and truly F*cked. Not that I'm surprised, its just that a pony would have been very nice. Maybe we should all just hope for large shovels. So far its pony byproducts as far as the eye can see, but no real ponies.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

we get to march behind them--only--purely for entertaining them, and Obama (with that shovel you mentioned). We're also supposed to be thrilled and totally satisfied with that -- and not ever ever dare call out Obama's or their bigotry and lies.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

ugh.

Under fire for opposing gay marriage, influential evangelical pastor Rick Warren said Saturday that he loves Muslims, people of other religions, Republicans and Democrats, and he also loves "gays and straights."

The 54-year-old pastor and founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California told the crowd of 500 that it's unrealistic to expect everyone to agree on everything all the time.

"You don't have to see eye to eye to walk hand in hand," said Warren. ...

Warren said he prays for the same things for Obama that he prays for himself: integrity, humility and generosity. ...

Toward the end of his speech on Saturday, Warren also talked about singer Melissa Etheridge, who performed earlier in the evening. Warren said the two had a "wonderful conversation" and that he is a huge fan who has all her albums.

The openly lesbian gay rights activist even agreed to sign her Christmas album for him, he said. ...

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

And yet they still hold them hostage, terrorize them, and even murder them.

God, the more this misogynistic, homophobic asshat talks, the more I want to beat the shit out of him. And those aren't thoughts one should be having so close to the holidays. I've been feeling so bad about this (and other fuckery) I've taken to watching this repeatedly to cheer me up.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

one good(?) thing is that he felt he had to speak out -- again -- on this.

they're so very much alike -- him and Obama -- only when it starts to affect their oh-so-carefully-constructed "brands" is when they respond repeatedly -- always.

and it's also good that this story is not dying--at all. CNN and many others are all still talking about it -- but on the bad side, it's still "gays and liberals angry".

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

But then again homophobia affects males directly and misogyny doesn't.

I, too, am glad that Warren understands being seen as homophobic is bad. I mean, this is a right-wing religious zealot and he doesn't want to be seen as homophobic which is just leaps ahead of where we were as a society just ten years ago. I wish we would have a similar revulsion to misogynistic bigotry, which is still widely seen as natural or fun (see: Carville's take on Favreau's hate).

Back to watching that video of the cat sliding into a box.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

make the story "gays angry" since we don't matter at all, and we're one of the very few groups it's perfectly acceptable to run a story on, while portraying it as "angry liberals/officially disliked fringe group" -- especially if it's us against Obama (who the media itself has anointed) and also against the newest "America's Pastor" (who the media itself has anointed).

and the media (besides being totally sexist anyway) can't marginalize millions of women the same way, and also need them as viewers -- so have to downplay, dismiss or ignore "women angry" things, and have totally ignored Obama's and Warren's horrendous views on women -- they have to -- it reflects badly on them enormously -- since they're responsible for selling and making Obama and Warren wholly "mainstream".

it's not a male thing so much as a "it's 100000% ok to pit a small and officially powerless group like us against their favorite pol or preacher, because of course our favorites win" while "it's not at all ok to do that with the majority of Americans, who are women -- and viewers" -- it would harm their narratives to do it as women vs. Obama/Warren, while it reinforces tons of narratives to make it gays vs Obama/Warren.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

to speak out. They're all about access and thinking they have a seat at the table in DC.

all the DC orgs have been beyond tepid on Warren, even if speaking out belatedly or not. And since they all endorsed Obama, they're not in any position to really do anything about it all--whether Warren or Favreau or anything.

I bet they're all still having gigantic Inaugural Galas and Parties as fundraisers, like HRC, too--and depending on Obama to show up at each for a minute to validate them.

ugh!

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Your read of the cultural circle jerk. It's going to be "who you know" just as bad as it's been the past eight years, though some of the people will be a little smarter and cooler.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

The biggest surprise of Davos so far for me? Rick Warren. Being a cosmopolitan atheist type, I'd heard of him, of course, but thought he was, well, author of a bestselling self-help book and pastor of a megachurch somewhere. What I didn't realise was that he's been coming to Davos for years, and that he can work his magic on Masters of the Universe - and cynical hacks - just as much as he can on his congregation at home. ...

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

... The question was: What one thing do you think that companies, countries, or individual must do to make the world a better place in 2008. ...

... Rick Warren, pastor at a megachurch and author of megabooks, uses his moment to promote “the faith sector” to equal status to the public and private sectors of society. “The Christian church is bigger than China. It’s bigger than India. It’s bigger than China and India together,” he brags. ...

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

from his site --

As a global strategist, Dr. Warren advises leaders in the public, private, and faith sectors on leadership development, poverty, health, education, and faith in culture. He has been invited to speak at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, the Council on Foreign Relations, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, TIME’s Global Health Summit, and numerous congresses around the world. TIME magazine named him one of “15 World Leaders Who Mattered Most in 2004” and in 2005 one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Also, in 2005 U.S. News & World Report named him one of “America’s 25 Best Leaders.”

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Nation in 06 -- The Party of Davos --

... Davos is rather the most visible symbol of the virtual political network that governs the global market in the absence of a world government. It is more like a political convention, where elites get to sniff one another out, identify which ideas and people are "sound" and come away with increased chances that their phone calls will be returned by those one notch above them in the global pecking order.

Americans are of course prominent members of this "Party of Davos," which relies on the financial and military might of the US superpower to support its agenda. In exchange, the American members of the Party of Davos get a privileged place for their projects--and themselves. ...

Davos Man," a term coined by nationalist scholar Samuel Huntington, is bipartisan. ...

Submitted by hipparchia on

i read just about everything you link to, because i learn something from almost everything you link to, but after reading that, i want to go hide in cave or something.

i have to admit that the change i was hoping for from obama was that we would replace the davos-style dems with the comparatively penny-ante chicago-style dems, but i have to say, the prospects of that are looking dim.

but happy hanukkah to you anyways.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it's just tragic (which is also no surprise anymore).

we've been going backwards since Nixon, and will do so now too, but faster, since Obama is seriously just another Republican and wholly corporate and status quo. At least Clinton wasn't totally bad, and tried to do a little for us. : <

happy hanukkah hon --and thanks! -- (which has me thinking too -- the Maccabees were fundamentalists and rightwing also -- besides wanting the foreign occupiers out, etc.)

: <

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

very good

Humanity v. Rick Warren

Petition for Relief by Humanity, Plaintiffs

Maureen E. Hennessey, LL.B, LL.M, PhD, QC Counsel for the Plaintiffs

Whereas; Rick Warren, hereinafter referred to as the Defendant, residing in and citizen of the United States of America, did commit or conspire to commit the following offences and violations of International Law, the Charter of the United Nations, the Statutes of Westminster 1931 and the subsequent Singapore and Harare Declarations of 1971 and 1993 respectively, and of Hague Convention no. IV: ...

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

The 54-year-old pastor and founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California told the crowd of 500 that it's unrealistic to expect everyone to agree on everything all the time.

differs from, say, L. Ron Hubbard.

Is it 'cause he cloaked his cult in "Christian" camo enough?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

FDL -- Rick Warren Pays Himself First

... the core of their proejct is laid out: set up a community they control, including the political leaders, and make them meet every week to study the Bibles that they pass out and the materials they send. This is Disaster Christianity. Find hopeless people, give them a few goods and services, and then build a theocracy. It is the model of Hamas in Palestine. Clearly the argument that "churches are already present" is a sham, their projects go, instead, where their churches are not already present, and bargain the stuff of life, for political theocratic control. Rick Warren, again, pays himself first.

...Rick Warren's PEACE projects are nothing more than theocracy in action. Find hopeless people, plant churches, take over the political and social structure, and then make everyone's livelihood dependent on the Church. ...

and Obama wants to expand "faith-based funding".