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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Rick Warren on the Newsweek ‘End of Christian America’ article, Pt. 1

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HH: Special hour of the Hugh Hewitt Show, my old and dear friend, Rick Warren, is in studio with us, America’s pastor. He’s the author of The Purpose Driven Life. He is the founding pastor 30 years ago at Saddleback Valley Community Church. Rick Warren, first of all, thank you for coming in, thanks for all you do. I don’t know how many people stop and say thank you. Thank you for being such a witness.

RW: Great to be with you, Hugh, and love listening to the show, and all the time I’m in town, I’m tuned in, have a lot of fun.

HH: Let’s go back 30 years ago, because you just told Duane and I it’s the 30th Easter at Saddleback, and I was in the shopping center office. I didn’t go back to the beginning.

RW: Yeah.

HH: Tell people what it was, because you, this is not a recent invention.

RW: Yeah, it’s funny, I had finished up my Masters degree in Texas, and I had felt like I was supposed to start a new church, and I said God, I’ll go anywhere if you’ll let me spend my entire life in one location. I don’t really care where you put me as a pastor, it doesn’t have to be a big church, but I really like stability. If you can stay in…we underestimate what we can do in 20, 30 years, we overestimate what we can do in 10, and so I just thought I’ll just go there, I want to be the kind of guy, oh, that’s just Pastor Rick, he’s been there 40 years. And so we started, my only child at the time, Amy, was four months old, and now, today, Amy’s married and has three children of her own. So I’ve watched an entire generation of Southern Californians grow up at Saddleback, be born, go through grade school, get their hearts broken in junior high, go to prom, go off to school, come back, get married, and I have people on staff who were actually born in our church. I’ve watched a whole generation grow up. It’s been a lot of fun.

HH: Now you also said it’s a period of explosive growth at Saddleback. People know you because of your books, and we’ll talk about all this stuff…

RW: Yeah.

HH: …But you’re a pastor…

RW: First and foremost.

HH: …and you church continues to grow. And so tell people about the baptism thing.

RW: Yeah, well you know what? It’s funny, because every time I turn around, something new happens. We have had a, Saddleback is built on a series of four classes that are offered every month, a class on membership, what does that mean, a class on maturity, habits for spiritual growth and development, a class on ministry, on discovering your shape and contribution you can make in the world, and a course on finding your life mission, and making a difference in society. And we’ve taken people through this. It’s a four hour class for each of those, and people have taken them every month for 30 years. Well usually, we’ll have 100-150 people take the membership class. And this year, because I really do believe the rumblings of a spiritual revival could come out of this recession, and we can talk about that, 2,400 and something people showed up for a four hour class. So I taught it all, and they all joined on a single day. And then afterwards, I baptized 800 of them. Now we, as a Baptist church, put people underwater, which meant I was pretty tired. I was in a pool for nearly five hours.

HH: I think that is remarkable, and I think you’re right. In fact, there’s a book here, Great Powers: America And The World After Bush by Thomas P.M. Barnett…

RW: Yeah.

HH: He believes the greatest awakening is upon us. Now I’ve been hearing this for years.

RW: Yeah.

HH: And go back to that, because obviously, the Newsweek cover story…

RW: Right.

HH: …The End Of Christian America…

RW: Right.

HH: …one of the subjects I want to talk with you about, but let’s not look at the end of Christian America. What is Christ doing in the world right now?

RW: Well, the greatest churches in the world that have ever existed are in existence right now. Christianity is growing. There are two religions that are growing. Islam is growing, and Christianity is growing. Christianity is growing at a much more rapid rate than Islam. Islam is growing primarily through birthrate, okay? Christianity is growing through conversion rate. And so there are…and the greatest rates of growth are in China, in Southeast Asia, in Africa, and in Latin America. I take usually an around the world tour each year where we go visit our network. I, Hugh, over the last 30 years, I’ve trained over half a million pastors in 162 countries, so we have these networks pretty well connected, and I go back to regularly check on, kind of like Paul’s missionary journeys, go back and see how they’re doing, and encourage, and see what they need, and we learn a lot from them. And it’s the best of times, and the worst of times. Right now, we are in a stage here in America where we’re going to decide a number of major factors. One of them is will America return to the historic roots, Christian roots, that are foundational for every one of our institutions. Or will we go the way of Europe, and go secular. The bottom line is that secularism doesn’t last, because no faith will always be filled by something else, and so that’s why Islam is making strong inroads into Europe, because faith of any kind will always beat no faith.

HH: Now I’m looking at another book here by my closest friend, and a friend of yours, Bill Lobdell…

RW: Yeah.

HH: …Losing My Religion. You know Bill, he covered you a lot.

RW: Yeah, right.

HH: He’s one of the new atheists now.

RW: Yeah.

HH: Lost him, and we’ll get him back. But Hitchens was here in town at Biola University.

RW: Yeah.

HH: What do you make of the new atheism, whether it’s Lobdell or Hitchens or Richard Dawkins, and all the attention they’re getting?

RW: Well, first place, they’re making a ton of money, okay?

HH: Well, Bill’s not, but Hitchens is.

RW: Hitchens…and I’ve debated two of the three of those guys. I’ve debated Hitchens and I debates Sam Harris, and I told Sam, I said Sam, to be honest with you, I have never known an atheist who wasn’t mad, who wasn’t angry. And he got angry about it. But the truth is, every one of them have a thorn. I’m not worried about atheists. I’m more worried about the apatheists. The apatheists are the harder ones to reach. The atheists, the reason they are so dogmatic about it is they’ve got a burr under their saddle where they’ve been hurt. I was, two years ago, speaking at Davos at the World Economic Forum, and we were sitting around a room, and the guy, we were at tables, and the guy knew who I was, knew I was a pastor, and so he got up and made some long statement like the worst thing in the world right now is organized religion, and if we could just get rid of all of that, well then we wouldn’t have any wars, blah, blah, blah. And I knew he was just bating me, and I could have, if I had wanted to, I didn’t want to, I could have gone up, stood up and said the fact of life, and for instance, far more people were killed in the 20th Century by atheist regimes than all of the people ever killed in religious regimes put together in history. When you take Mao, Stalin and Hitler, there’s no comparison the genocides that have been caused by atheists. Christian campaigns are miniscule in comparison. But I didn’t. I wasn’t just going to take the bite. And after it was over, he came over and kind of chagrined, he said my father was a rector. And I’m going well, you expected me to be surprised at that? Paul Vitz, who is an author with New York University, wrote a very fascinating book called Faith Of The Fathers, in which he went and studied the 72 most well-known atheists in history, the Bertrand Russells, the Voltaires, the Freuds, and the only thing he could find in common with every one of them is they all hated their dads. Every one of them. They had distant dad, demeaning dad, a dead dad, they had no relationships with their fathers.

HH: But what about, now Lobdell’s book, for example, talks about the impact of the scandals.

RW: Yeah.

HH: He covered the Church scandal, he’s covered the TBN scandals.

RW: Yeah.

HH: You have stayed above scandal. Thank you for that, because so many Christian pastors, you know what happens when this happens, and we could name 30 of them, the damage they do.

RW: Yeah, I keep a list.

HH: You keep a list?

RW: Actually, I have what, Hugh, I’ve had it for almost 40 years. I call it a warnings file. And every time I watch somebody, and Satan has no temptations that are new. It’s either money, sex or power. It’s lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, the pride of life, and you have to know the antidotes, and you have to set up the parameters that keep you from even being tempted in those areas, which means for instance, I’m never alone, ever, ever alone with a woman, or even my myself when I’m traveling. And so there’s certain things Billy Graham did, and I just copied him. He taught me how to do that. And that’s an important thing.

HH: So what do you say to people like this who say, like Lobdell, they list all the scandals? What do you say to them?

RW: Bill, I’m not quite…I read Bill’s book, he asked me to endorse it, and I’m not convinced that the reason he dropped the ball was the real reason he dropped the ball. There’s got to be something more, because he knew enough genuine believers, like you, like me, like others, who he knew these guys are not rip-off artists, they’re not fakes, they’re not double-minded, they’re not double-dealing. Yes, there are bad apples in any bunch, okay? But the presence of counterfeit always implies there must be a real thing. Nobody counterfeits a counterfeit. If there’s a counterfeit out there, it implies, nobody does a counterfeit $4 dollar bill.

HH: is Rick Warren’s website. By the way, Rick, where can people order Purpose Driven Connection, the new magazine? Congratulations on that.

RW: Thank you. The Connection magazine is an exciting, it is an index to a total list of ten major tools that people can do to develop their spiritual health, and we can talk about that. They just need to go to

– – – –

HH: You listen to Jackson Browne, Rick Warren?

RW: Oh, yeah.

HH: Who did you listen…who are your favorite pop singers?

RW: Well, I actually like a lot of African singers, and I’m…reggae, African, people you’ve never heard of. I play people that are not typically, I listen to a lot of world music. I like every kind of sound, honestly, every kind of music except rap.

HH: All right. Rick Warren’s my guest in studio. It is Holy Week, Rick, I’ve got a lot to ask you, but I just want to make sure we make clear this is the week about which, on which Christianity turns. Someone out there doesn’t believe, what should they do this weekend?

RW: Yeah, well you know, two things. It just so happens Passover comes in this week, tomorrow night it begins. I’m actually going to a Passover Seder with a friend of mine, Rabbi Elie Spitz. And both Passover and Easter are about redemption. They’re about freedom from your past, they’re about how God turns bad into good, they’re about the fact that you need a savior. People say well, I don’t need a savior. Believe me, if you didn’t need one, God wouldn’t have wasted the time sending it. Now you may not understand why you need a savior, but if God says I’m sending you a Savior, he’s not going to waste the effort if you don’t need one. And so what is He saving me from? Well, He saves me from my past guilt, He saves me from my present stress, He saves me from my future fears, He saves me from the expectations of others, the Truth will set you free. And in a nutshell, the Bible says this. Heaven is a perfect place and I’m not. I stopped batting a thousand about day three, you know, as a baby, and I don’t even measure up to my own standards, much less God’s. So…and Heaven’s a perfect place, and if God let imperfect people get into Heaven, it wouldn’t be perfect anymore, and everybody there would be bragging on how they got there. Well, I gave to the United Way and I did this, and it would be just another Earth. So God had to come up with a Plan B, and He said here’s what I’ll do. I will go myself, and I will sacrifice myself. I will come to Earth in the form of a man, I will be Jesus Christ, and I will grow up and I will not only teach people how to love, and teach people how to live, I’m going to model it, and then I am going to sacrifice myself to pay for all of the bad things that have been done in the world. And if you accept that, of course, that is the turning point, and that’s what this whole weekend’s all about. It’s about changed lives. The most amazing thing is this, Hugh. God created the entire universe because he wanted a family. The Bible tells us that God wanted a family. God is love. It says…it doesn’t say He has love, it says He is love. It is the essence of His character, it is His nature. God is love. Now that means God, everything you see in creation, and what you can’t see, exists because God created it to love it. He loves the stars, He loves the Beatles, John, Paul, George and Ringo, He loves grass, He loves the beauty, all of these different things. And the Bible says that you were created as an object of God’s love. And what I’m going to be talking about this weekend is that you were made by God, but you were also made for God, not just by Him. Everybody know well, I was made by God. You were made for God, and until you understand that, life isn’t going to make sense.

HH: Does anyone need to stay away because they don’t know enough, because they’re too bad, they’re too lost? Or what does Easter Sunday…who is that for, Easter Sunday?

RW: Easter Sunday is the greatest time of the year to check it out. Easter is the greatest time of the year to go you know what? I’ve never even cared about this, but there’s an awful lot of people who do this, so I would want to check it out. Here’s what I would say to those, if you’ve never, ever been in a church service, ever, here’s what I want to challenge you to do. When I was a kid, my mother fed me strained spinach. Now I didn’t know any better, and I thought it was good. I actually thought strained spinach tasted good. I now know that strained spinach, people who serve it to their kids should be incarcerated for child abuse. It is actually a major, major sin. But I thought that was the best there was until one day, somebody gave me a bite of Chef Boyardee Spaghettios. Now I really thought I’d hit Heaven, okay? There was no more strained spinach. But…and I went years on Spaghettios as a little kid thinking that’s the best thing in the world to eat until one day, somebody gave me an In ‘N Out burger.

HH: (laughing)

RW: Okay, and all of a sudden, Spaghettios were no longer in the same class.

HH: To my friends in Florida and New York and Alaska and Hawaii, you’re clueless, but he’s right.

RW: Yeah, and so it was like okay, and In ‘N Out burger. And I often say to people, people say to me why do I need to go to church? I’m living a good life. And I say you know what? You’re right. You’re living a good life. But what if there was a better life? Wouldn’t you be interested in checking it out? Okay, yeah, you’ve got a good life, look, you live in California, come on, and you’re looking good, you’re feeling good, you’ve got the goods, or at least you did until Madoff made off with them. But you’ve got all these things, but there’s more to the good life than those. There’s the doing good. And the satisfaction, the significance and the fulfillment of life comes not in sex, salary, status. It does not come in possessions, passions, position, pleasure, all these things. The significance comes from service, learning to give your life away. And you do that by first receiving God’s love, and then giving God’s love to other people. And I would say to somebody who’s never gone to church, okay, here’s what I’d dare you. I dare you, I dare you to do this, I dare you to go find a church where there’s a bunch of cares at it, which means somebody’s going to be teaching there that they’re getting through. Find a place and go in there, and sit in the back row, and just try to have an open mind and listen, and see if maybe there might not be a better life out there, because if I knew a better life, I’d sure want to know about it.

HH: Now I want to switch subjects on you, got a minute and a half to the break…

RW: Okay.

HH: The Lord’s Prayer in the Inaugural prayer.

RW: Yeah.

HH: Did you plan that?

RW: Absolutely.

HH: Did you get permission to do it? Or did you just pray it?

RW: No, no, no. It’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission, but I, as I…I’m a student of history. I read probably an American history book at least one a week, sometimes two or three, and I happened to know that the Lord’s Prayer had never been prayed at the inauguration. And I just thought this is a very subversive prayer. When you talk about Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, every one of those things I later, after the inauguration, did a seven week series on each of the phrases at Saddleback.

HH: Were you worried about this? Were you nervous?

RW: Not at all. Not at all, and part of it was I just had a confidence that I wasn’t trying to get an invitation back a second time. I just thought, I get an invitation, this is my one shot at it, I’m going to do what honors Christ, not what is politically expedient. And of course, the big question is, will he say Jesus? So I just said, well I’ll just say it four times, and I’ll say it in Hebrew, and I’ll say it in Arabic, and I’ll say it in Spanish, and make it real clear. But I did it because I was trying to point out in the first place, I knew the moment I said it everybody on the Mall started saying it. And people, the secularists were shocked. And after it was over, I was literally mauled by people thanking me.

HH: On behalf of millions, thank you.

– – – –

HH: How many copies of the Purpose Driven Life are in print, Rick?

RW: Hard back in English, it’s somewhere around 32 million. I don’t know the paperback, but it is the most translated book in history now, second only to the Bible. It’s in over 100 languages, so I don’t know if anybody’s ever added them up. But it’s…

HH: You know, I’m going to try and keep you after the show. I’ve got to do some biography with you at some point, but I want to make sure we get to some of these topics. Are you speaking with the President occasionally?

RW: Actually not. I told him that I would pray for him, I’d pray with him, I’d encourage him, but I’m not a pundit. And I’m certainly not a consultant, and I don’t want that role. I have been friends with four or five of the different presidents behind the scenes, and I prefer doing that. He’s got a group of guys that he’s talking with, but politics are really not my agenda.

HH: No, in fact, you’ve taken a lot of slings and arrows…

RW: Yeah.

HH: And I’ve not been among them, because I thought A) when you invited him to Saddleback to do the AIDS conference, that was the right thing to do.

RW: Yeah.

HH: When you did the debate, I was afraid he’d get away with a lot, but you actually held him to a higher standard than any other journalist in America did in the course of this.

RW: Well, I did. We actually got real answers.

HH: Real answers, and so it’s been that way. But you did take, and you’re taking anvils today. I got like 20 e-mails, ask him about Larry King last night and gay marriage, and that’s not what I’m about. But how do you put up with, I mean, you’re just trying to be a pastor.

RW: Well, here’s the thing. Part of that thing was my fault, and part of it was just the way culture reacts. First place, anybody who knows me knows I am not a political activist. I am not an anti-gay activist. When the Prop. 8 issue thing started a year and a half earlier before the thing, I never made a single statement, I never went to any meetings, never released an endorsement. It’s just not my agenda. Everybody has an agenda they’d like for me to promote, but my agenda is the Peace Plan, and the churches and the training, and all of the stuff we’re working on, and it just wasn’t my agenda. On the very last week before the vote, I had five or six letters come in from members saying Pastor Rick, how do you want us to vote on this? What do you think? Give us the basis. Well, I do a video newsletter for our own people. And in that, I said I don’t believe that the historic definition of marriage should be changed. Okay, I’m not saying that people of the same sex don’t love each other. I’m sure they do. I’m saying marriage is a term that historically should not be redefined, because if you redefine it once, it’s going to get redefined over and over. For an example, if there is gay marriage, what does that do for a bisexual person? It gives them no freedom. Will we not next, then, have a bisexual saying when I express my full sexuality by having relations with a woman and a man, so I want my marriage to be a husband and a wife. And then that’ll be the next one. And then it can just go on and on and on. And I said we’re not going to get into this, but if you want to know my opinion, there it is. Well, everything that I say gets out, and so one note in the last week to my people all of a sudden made me the poster boy of the anti-gay marriage thing. Then the other thing was, I was interviewed, and this really was my fault, interviewed on Belief Net, an hour, and Steve Waldman did an hour interview, and we ran the whole gamut, and at one point, he asked me would you consider gay relationships a marriage. And I said no, I said no more than I would consider incest to be a marriage, or no more than I would consider, and I just gave him a bunch of other relational things. And his follow up question was so you consider those things all to be the same? And I said oh, of course I do. Well, it sounded like I was equating homosexuality with pedophilia and…

HH: Incest.

RW: …incest, which I totally disavow. I don’t believe that at all, never have believed it, don’t believe it. They’re not even on the same level, and a consensual, adult relationship is in no way the same kind of a thing as someone taking advantage of a child. But it got out, okay? And so I had made a commitment, when Obama called me the first week of December, I was sitting on a plane, and he said…

HH: Hold this thought.

RW: Okay.

HH: When the President-elect called you the first week in December.

RW: All right.

HH: It’s a great way to go to break. What a tease, America.

– – – –

HH: You know that song, Rick Warren, talks about what you can get done in a hundred years. You think you’re on track?

RW: Yeah, you know, we overestimate what we can do in 10 years, we underestimate what we can do in 20, 30 and 40. And when I started Saddleback, I was 25 years old, and 30 years ago this week, and I set a 40 year plan. And I just said we’ll just keep hacking away at it, and trying to build into the lives of this community and make a difference. And I know far more about South Orange County than any politician, because I’ve been listening to their problems for 30 years, and I’ve walked them through all of those major crises and things like that, and that gives you a credibility, they have credibility with you, and you have credibility with them.

HH: After we’re done talking this hour, Rick’s going to hang around and we’re going to tape an interview that I will play on Good Friday, this coming Friday, so you don’t want to miss that. But let’s get back to where we left at the break. When the President-elect called you, you were on an airplane in December.

RW: Yeah, I had just finished the week where we were launching the new magazine, the Purpose Driven Connection, which is really an index for about ten or twelve different tools we’re trying to produce to help people grow spiritually around the nation. And I’m sitting on the plane, and my associate hands me the cell phone as we’re on the runway, and he said it’s the President-elect. And so he said Rick, I want you to come and do the Invocation. Well first place, I was totally surprised, because I could have given you 25 guys I thought he would have asked instead of me. But I obviously would be honored to be a part of history, our first black American president, and the history behind all that, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. But I knew I was going to take shots. And so what I did is I made a commitment that I would not publicly speak about any reaction, I wasn’t going to fan the flames between that offer when it got out, and I didn’t put it out, he put it out, and when I actually did the inauguration. So I called that my 40 days of persecution.

HH: People were throwing a lot of bricks from both left and right.

RW: Oh, yeah.

HH: Conservatives were mad you were going.

RW: Oh, yeah.

HH: Liberals were mad that you were going.

RW: Yeah, and so I’ve been called everything from Hitler to Nazi, nincompoops, and all kinds of different things. And so I didn’t say anything about it. I did write an apology to the major gay leaders that I happen to know personally, friends of mine, and I said hey guys, this thing about me saying I believe gay relationships are the same thing as pedophilia and incest, I do not believe that and never have believed that, and I don’t. I don’t believe you should call gay relationship marriage. I would oppose that. But that’s not the same thing. And somehow, we’ve got to learn that you can love somebody and still disagree with them. I disagree with my wife on all kinds of things, and I love her to death. And where does it say that if you disagree, then you can’t get along, or you can’t even work on some issues like poverty, disease, illiteracy, humanitarian issues that we actually found a reverse form of discrimination. At Saddleback, we learned that Evangelicals were far more willing to work with, for instance, gays or other religions on humanitarian issues than they were willing to work with us.

HH: Why is that? Well, let me ask you about that – jealousy. You’ve accomplished more as a pastor than any other pastor in America. Obviously, Billy Graham’s preached to more people, but you may be catching up to him.

RW: Yeah, and look, by the way, let me tell you a little interesting thing on this, about the inauguration.

HH: Yeah.

RW: And I’ve never told this to anybody, but I felt like at the inauguration, it was going to be cold, and I thought I’m going to need a hat. So I called up somebody and said where’s a good place to get a hat? And they said oh, up in West Hollywood, there’s a great hat place called the Mad Hatters. It’s all of the orthodox Jews, Hassidic Jews get their hats there, you’ll have a great selection. So I went out, bought a hat, took it to the motel that I was staying at that night, left it there, and then next day went back to get it, and it was gone. So I thought well, I didn’t get a hat. About three days before we left for the inauguration, a box came in, and I opened it up, and there is this stunningly beautiful Hamburg, very expensive hat. And there was just a little note on it, and it said I wore this in all the other inaugurations. It’s yours now, Billy.

HH: That hat, the chapeau was from Billy Graham?

RW: So I wore Billy Graham’s hat that he wore in all the other inaugurations. He said it’s yours now, Rick. It’s your time. And he gave me his hat, and so when I put it on, I was praying, oh dear God, may my head not be bigger than Billy Graham’s.

HH: (laughing)

RW: (laughing)

HH: How is Dr. Graham doing?

RW: He is, he’s getting older and older, and of course with the loss of his wife, you know, there’s a struggle to feel…when your life has always been in the spotlight, it’s quite difficult to deal with the discouragement.

HH: Well yours is now. This is you.

RW: Yeah.

HH: You know, you didn’t sign up for this. You signed up to build a church. Are you comfortable this way?

RW: You know what, Hugh, the more I am in the spotlight, the more I crave solitude. And I do practice the spiritual disciplines of many of the ancient church fathers about solitude and fasting, and things that keep you on together. I also limit the amount of travel. I think travel is a seductive seducer.

HH: Are you surprised by the venom, by the hatred, by the fury of it, by the force of it, because people in the public eye like you get it.

RW: Yeah, well, I’m a pretty big target, and I think when people criticize me, my feeling is they’re criticizing the wrong thing. I should be telling them the things that they really should be criticizing. I mean, let me tell you what they really ought to be upset about.

HH: But does it surprise you?

RW: No, because as much as I want…my number one goal in life is to have a Christ-like ministry, to treat people the way Jesus did. And Jesus hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors and all different kinds of people. Today, he would have hung out with Democrats…

HH: And Republicans.

RW: …and Republicans, and he would have hung out with gays and with…

HH: Illegal immigrants.

RW: …Muslims and Jews and Christians. And today, so much of the pickiness is look who he ate with, look who he associated with. And if you’re going to have a Christ-like ministry, you’re going to be criticized like Christ.

– – – –

HH: Rick Warren, to wrap this one up before we talk about the church in America and whether or not it’s dead in the next hour, President Obama, you’ve obviously prayed with him and for him. What is your measure of the man?

RW: I think at his heart, Obama is a pragmatist. I think that he is certainly liberal. He is doing exactly what he said he’d do. I mean, he wasn’t bait and switch. He said I’m going to change these things on stem cells, I’m going to change these things on abortion. I’ve disagreed with him personally on them, and actually challenged him to sit down with me and let me take him through the Scriptures to show why the Bible teaches that God planned you before you were even conceived, and that abortion short-circuits the plan and purpose of God. So he knows that. At the same time, he knows that we can get along on some issues that America has to pull together on some areas.

HH: Have you spent time with the First Lady and the girls?

RW: No.

HH: Okay, no opportunity during the inaugural thing?

RW: No.

HH: In terms of the Council on Religion that the President has put together…

RW: Yeah.

HH: Do you think it tilts left? Does he have enough voices from the mainstream?

RW: Yeah. No, it tilts his connections. It tilts that way. My big concern about the Faith-Based Initiative, which I was very supportive of under the Bush administration, is that, and I asked him point blank this in the civil forum, will you have to give up your freedom in hiring in order to do, receive funds for different things like that? And he said yes. That will kill Faith-Based…

HH: Because you can’t hire a same sex couple that’s not living in…

RW: Absolutely not. No, no.

HH: You can’t hire a heterosexual couple that is not chaste outside of marriage, right?

RW: Right, right.

HH: I said that wrong, that isn’t faithful within marriage. You know what I meant.

RW: Yeah, exactly. No, and so that one issue will effectively kill faith-based and community initiatives.

HH: A minute to the break, and then we’ll continue and it’ll be on Friday. They want to take away the tax deduction at the higher end. You know, Rick, you fought a long time to preserve for little pastors. You fought a long time…

RW: I personally paid for it, too, yeah.


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Friends and Allies of Rome