Rick Warren is one of those “third way” Christian political activists, the kind who remind you more of Bill Gates and Bono than of James Dobson and Jerry Falwell. It’s like the Christian version of “Compassionate Conservatism,” in which those who have been fighting the good fight all along, both in and out of season, are implicitly and explicitly rebuked by today’s aspirants for being mean-spirited, heartless, intolerant, judgemental, racist-sexist-bigoted-homophobic and most reprehensible of all, a turn-off to swing voters.
So the Rick Warrens and Bill Hybels, etc… of Evangelicalism offer to show us the path of light and verity, caring about the poor, about AIDS, about at-risk children (as if the "dinosaur" Religious Right had not been doing those things all along, sans the sanctimonious fanfare), and making holy pilgrimages to that most holy of all holy destinations, Africa, complete with soft-focus videography to document their superior compassion.
From the pulpit, they pre-emptively invalidate any outbreaks of common sense in the pew by couching their Left-leaning affinity with Big-government Nanny-ism in immaterial disclaimers of the “The church is not about politics, the church is about Jesus” variety (well duh, thanks for letting us in on that), thus clearing the way for the third-way preacher -- now self-cleansed from the apparently epidemic sin of substituting politics for Jesus -- to advocate “solutions” -- which just coincidentally happen to read like highlights from the DNC Platform -- to every problem under the Sun, without the taint of idolizing politics attaching to himself.
It must be a very satisfying process for the practioners, allowing the third-wayers to go up to the temple to pray, thankful to God that they are not as other men, mean-spirited, intolerant, bigoted, nor even as that Moral Majoritarian.
And what reward do the third-wayers have for dissing the pioneers of modern evangelical political stewardship? Why, the acceptance of the Political Class: the chatterers, the newspaper writers, Oprah, the “ladies” on The View, and hip politicians like BHO. So, it’s a fitting irony that, having venerated the vast majority of Leftist relics, Rick Warren finds himself just as vilified and hated as the most hayseed, Bible-thumping televangelist, and by the very people his “outreach” was designed to win over, just because he wouldn’t genuflect at the alter of “Gay Marriage.”
How can this be? The old guard knew instinctively that Liberalism is an EVIL philosphy, because its essential character is to displace the Living God with Government, substitute the stigma of corporate divergence from Marxist and Politically Correct ideals for the stigma of personal sin, seek salvation/perfection through human institutions, collectivize property, and deny the divine-image-endowed potential and prerogative of every man to successfully navigate free choices and associations. Knowing that the philosophy is itself evil, the Dobsons, Falwells and Robertsons, though never so hip or polished as Rick Warren, did not bother to seek common ground on Liberal turf. Rick Warren, on the other hand, by stipulating to the (false) Liberal premise that Conservative Christians are characterized by intolerance, mean-spiritedness etc…, in order to gain the acceptance of Liberals, is grasping at the wind. What is so tragic as unrequited love, eh?
Disclaimer: I have no particular hostility to or affection for Rick Warren. The foregoing is simply my observation/analysis: