Rick Warren Surprises Nobody With His Support of Prop 8

Rick Warren is often considered one of the most influential leaders of the so-called "New Evangelical" movement that is working to expand the evangelical agenda beyond its anti-gay, anti-abortion traditions to embrace things like poverty, climate change, and human rights.   As we've pointed out before, Warren's reputation of not being part of the old-school Religious Right tends to make people overlook the fact that he does share a great many of their views ... as he says, the only real difference between himself and someone like James Dobson is their tone.

While the media might be fooled by this distinction without a difference, the Religious Right certainly hasn’t been and earlier this week Jan LaRue, formerly of Concerned Women for America, penned a column in which she complained that churches in California were not being active enough in mobilizing support for Prop 8 and called out Rick Warren specifically:

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, hosted a Presidential Candidates Forum at the church on Aug. 16. He asked John McCain and Barack Obama if the California Supreme Court got it wrong when it overturned the definition of marriage.

Here’s a question for Rick Warren: Do you think the court got it wrong? If you do, where’s your support for Prop 8? There’s no mention of it on Saddleback’s Web site. Your office isn’t returning calls requesting information. You hosted an AIDS summit. Where’s your Prop 8 summit?

It was a good question, considering that back in 2004, Warren declared the question of where presidential candidates stand on the issue of "homosexual marriage" to be one of the "5 issues that are non-negotiable" to Christians. As such, it was odd that he hadn’t taken a public stand at a time when the issue is on the ballot in his home state.

Well, Warren is silent no more:

Pastor Rick Warren is endorsing the effort to protect traditional marriage in California.

The well-known Christian author says people in California need to vote "yes" on Proposition 8 because for "5,000 years, every culture and every religion...not just Christianity...has defined marriage as a contract between men and women."

And Warren says "there is no need to change the universal, historical defintion of marriage to appease 2 percent of our population." As Warren puts it: "This is not a political issue -- it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about."

He urges people to vote "yes" on Proposition 8 on November 4 to preserve the biblical definition of marriage.

UPDATEVia Sarah Posner, here's the video of Warren's endorsement