Daily Archives: January 15, 2009

What America Needs to Know About Rick Warren

Vjack from Atheist Revolution has published a list of things that everyone needs to know about Rick Warren. He treats these things as if they are bad things, as if it is scandalous to believe any of them. I thought I’d take a look at his list and see just how scandalous it is.

  1. Warren’s much praised work on AIDS in Africa has been revealed as undermining scientifically-sound efforts to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS in favor of thoroughly discredited religiously-based methods. He opposes contraception, even when it comes to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS. This takes anti-intellectualism and religious delusion to astounding levels.
  2. Warren opposes reproductive rights for women and stem cell research. He has criticized Obama’s position on these issues and vowed to pressure him into changing his mind. This should be worrisome for anyone who values separation of church and state.
  3. He was a strong supporter of Proposition 8, the measure which rolled back civil rights for many Californians by denying marriage to GLBT couples. This is bigotry.
  4. Warren has equated gay marriage to incest and pedophilia. This is bigotry.
  5. Warren has publicly stated that he would not vote for an atheist, regardless of qualifications. He thinks that no atheist could possibly be worthy of holding office. This is bigotry.
  6. He is a creationist. Lest we dismiss this as mere stupidity, please remember that many of us are still having to fight to keep this nonsense out of our schools. (source)

All right, let’s break this down:

  1. In other words, if people aren’t allowed to have sex wherever and whenever and with whomever they want–which is what “scientifically-sound” methods do–then the approach is no good. It is no good to teach people to keep their pants up, no, we must give them condoms and allow them to have sex all willy-nilly. The only 100% effective method of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS is abstinence. The problem isn’t the method, as Vjack implies, the problem is the committment level of the people in question. I’ve covered this topic before.
  2. “Reproductive rights” is a very nice way to say “abortion.” Vjack is trying to use less emotionally-charged words in order to downplay a serious ideological argument. What Warren is opposing is the murder of the unborn children. Vjack himself admits to holding a similar position in this post.
  3. Proposition 8 was nothing less than an attempt to legislate morality, and therefore should not have been passed. My views on gay marriage are rather complex and best discussed in a separate post. For now, let’s say that I disagree with Proposition 8 but I think that it is harsh to call its supporters bigots. There are sound intellectual reasons to oppose gay marriage, but they are all grounded in the Bible and therefore have no place in the law books.
  4. Warren has never equated gay marriage with incest or pedophilia. What he has done is question where the state will draw the line as far as what immoral marriages it will allow. To that end, he cited incest and pedophilia as two examples of what may be allowed next. History offers no examples since gay marriage has been as universally forbidden as incest and pedophilia among the many cultures that have existed. Warren was speculating, not equating.
  5. I’m not going to disagree with this point. This is bigotry.
  6. There are many intellectual and philosophical reasons that lead someone to beĀ  a creationist. Just as there are many philosophical and intellectual reasons that lead someone to be a naturalist. I don’t call naturalism “nonsense,” even if I think that a person who holds the position is being intellectually dishonest. Neither view is nonsense; but one must be incorrect. I’ve made my stance known. Now, what about teaching creationism in school? It toes the line, but I don’t think that it should be illegal.

Vjack reveals himself as very close-minded to other points of view. He is so certain that atheistic naturalism is correct, that he won’t even consider the position of the other side. Perhaps Vjack is guilty of the same bigotry that he accuses others of.