Dr. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA
Dr. Rick Warren founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, in 1980 with one family. Today, it is an evangelical congregation averaging 22,000 weekly attendees, a 120-acre campus, and has more than 300 community ministries to groups such as prisoners, CEOs, addicts, single parents, and those with HIV/AIDS. He also leads the Purpose Driven Network of churches, a global coalition of congregations in 162 countries. TIME magazine named him one of “15 World Leaders Who Mattered Most in 2004,” and in 2005 one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Arole that positions Mr. Warren to succeed Billy Graham as the nation’s pre-eminent minister and reflects the generational changes in the evangelical Christian movement.
The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery
The Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, considered the dean of the civil rights movement, co-founded along with Martin Luther King, Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and served as president and chief executive officer from 1977 to January 15, 1998. He served as pastor of Atlanta’s oldest predominantly Black United Methodist congregation, Central Methodist Gardens for 18 years, and as pastor of Cascade United Methodist Church from 1986 to 1992
Liberal groups criticized the inclusion of Warren, whose “Purpose Driven Life” books and lectures have made his church among the largest in the country. Rick Warren is an early taste of the President-elect Barack Obama’s post-election effort to reach evangelical Americans. The effort continues even though Obama’s evangelical offensive during the presidential campaign yielded only modest results on Election Day. Earlier this year, as the debate over same-sex marriage raged in California, Warren publicly endorsed Proposition 8, which amends the state Constitution to declare that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Wow this honeymoon is ending before it ever started… at least for the gay community. His selection has drawn criticisms from liberals, including the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Rick Warren is a slap in the face to every member of the LGBT community and their straight friends. This is offensive. Obama knows he has liberals in his pocket, and he no longer has to pay lip service to them. What are liberals going to do about it? Vote Republican? Or pray about it too?