Rick Warren, Saddleback Church’s popular and nationally famous conservative pastor, has announced that his church’s civil forum planned with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at the church this week has been canceled as a result of the relentlessly negative, mean-spirited and uncivil campaigns being waged by both parties.
The forum was to have been two hours long, with each candidate speaking with Warren for 50 minutes. Warren hosted the first presidential campaign forum in 2008 between Obama and his Republican opponent Sen. John McCain. Despite that forum’s success and the notoriety it brought him and the church, Warren decided that to host a “civil forum” with such uncivil candidates would be hypocritical, saying,
“We created the civil forums to promote civility and personal respect between people with major differences. The forums are meant to be a place where people of good will can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attack and name-calling. But that is not the climate of today’s campaign. I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don’t expect that tone to change before the election. It would be hypocritical to pretend civility for one evening only to have the name-calling return the next day.”
Indeed it would. Credit is due to Rick Warren for properly and meaningfully delivering a needed rebuke to both parties and their candidates, and for choosing integrity over publicity, unlike some ministers I could name. [Note: Later in the linked article, Warren says that he also cancelled the session because of what he perceives as the Administration’s hostility to religious freedom. This muddles his message, to be sure. Thanks to reader tgt for focusing my attention on it.]
Will it do any good?
Of course not.
Pointer: Ethics Alarms reader “Brian”
Facts and Graphic: The Orange County Register
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