I’m ready to let go of the Rick Warren-in-Syria controversy – just as soon as Rick Warren stops deceiving people about what he did and said in that anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, totalitarian police state last month.
As you may recall, I first criticized the megapastor and best-selling author of “The Purpose-Driven Life” for his trip to Syria back on Nov. 16. Rick Warren e-mailed me from Rwanda to question why we had not sought his comment, which we had. No one from his church deigned to respond to us after repeated attempts to reach any spokesman.
He also suggested statements he made in Syria had been twisted by the official Syrian news agency. When I asked him for transcripts or any recordings that were made in Syria, Warren told me flatly that no recordings were made in Syria or any other country he visited on his swing through the Middle East and Africa.
When I e-mailed him with a link to a YouTube video, posted by his own church, in which he made statements describing Syria as a “moderate” country that doesn’t permit “any extremism of any kind,” the video was quickly pulled from YouTube without further explanation.
Syria showed just how “moderate” it was a few days later by assassinating Lebanese Christian leader Pierre Gemayel.
Then, astonishingly, even after stating in writing to me that no recordings were made in Syria or the other countries he visited, Warren showed video clips of his meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad in his own Saddleback Church Nov. 26.
In other words, Rick Warren keeps contradicting himself about what he did in Syria and what he said. He has repeatedly claimed quotes attributed to him by “Internet bloggers” were statements provided only by the Syrian government, despite the existence of the recording of Warren’s own words you can hear for yourself right here.
Listen to Rick Warren talk about Syria:
As if to prove the old P.T. Barnum adage that you can fool some of the people some of the time, Rick Warren recently spun his official yarn for a reporter at World magazine, who dutifully reported what he had to say, despite the existence of the recording.
“Some reporters even placed in his mouth pro-Syria words he did not say, as at least one tape-recorded interview showed,” wrote Edward E. Plowman. “Some U.S. conservatives criticized Warren for going at all to a country that supports terrorism. Although the Associated Press avoided the inaccuracies in the government-run Syrian media, internet bloggers widely publicized the flawed Syrian accounts.”
Even while Rick Warren has offered his apologies to me personally, he continues to state categorically in other venues that he is the one who has been wronged, victimized, persecuted. It’s so disingenuous.
To add insult to injury, here’s his concluding statement to World magazine: “Does it seem ironic to you that some believers trust Syrian press releases without even checking with the Christian pastor they criticize?”
I guess it would be ironic if it happened. But it did not. The record speaks for itself. Rick Warren’s condoning of Syria, his praise for its moderation, his ignoring of the plight of the persecuted church there and official anti-Semitism in Damascus is now a matter of public record. We don’t need the Syrian press releases. We have Rick Warren’s own words, recorded by his own team and posted – at least momentarily – on YouTube.
If Rick Warren wants to put this controversy to rest, he ought to release all the recordings he made in Syria. What does he have to hide?
Instead, Rick Warren continues to try to change the subject. He tries to demean those who are simply holding him accountable for his own words. He tries to have it both ways – attacking his critics even while apologizing to them.
I hate to say it, but this behavior is now bordering on sociopathic.
And what’s truly ironic is that at least one Christian media outlet has bought all the lies – hook, line and sinker.
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