Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor and founder of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. -- the eighth-largest church in the U.S., according to On Top Magazine -- tried to dance around providing a logical basis for his opposition to marriage equality when asked about it on CNN last night.
Warren sat down with Piers Morgan to discuss weight loss, religion, tolerance, and same-sex marriage on Piers Morgan TonightFriday.
"How can you espouse genuine equality if you don't allow gay people the same rights to get married as straight people?" asked Morgan after Warren lamented what he claimed is the changed definition of "tolerance," to mean that one must agree with another person completely in order to be tolerant of that person's views.
"I'd like to reposition it this way," Warren replied, sidestepping Morgan's question. "I'm more against the redefinition of the term marriage than anything else. I don't think other groups get the opportunity to redefine a term. For instance, if a Muslim says this is a term we use and all of the sudden I take that term and mean it for me, well, that's not right. I think historically, around the world, the vast majority of people would say marriage means one man and one woman in a commitment. Don't take a term and and make it something different. Orwell talked about doublespeak, where words mean the exact opposite of what they used to mean."
"It's not against the law for you to love anybody -- a man or a woman," continued Warren, apparently unaware of the frequency with which gay and lesbian people are fired, excommunicated from their homes, families, and churches, and often beaten and harassed for their perceived or actual gender identity or sexual orientation. "It's not criminal, at least, it shouldn't be. But when you start taking a term..."
"But that term is from the Bible," noted Morgan. "There are many things in the Bible which simply today wouldn't fly. I mean, if you were to look at me in a lustful way, or any woman in this audience, according to the Bible, you should be stoned to death. Now clearly we don't do that anymore, so there are a number of things in the Bible which seem very anachronistic."
Citing the number of faith-based scholars who have "evolved" in their thinking to support marriage equality and LGBT rights, Morgan asked the pastor if he could imagine a time when the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations would say, "actually, you know what, real equality means everyone has the same right to get married, gay or straight."
"I cannot see that happening in my life," replied Warren. "I fear the disapproval of God more than I fear your disapproval or the disapproval of society."
Watch the CNN segment below.