Rick Warren, one of America's leading evangelical pastors, has come under fire by members of the evangelical Christian community in online forums for saying he thinks divorce to be a bigger threat to the family than gay marriage.
"That's a no brainer. Divorce. There's no doubt about it." Warren, who was once dubbed "arguably the most influential pastor in America" by The Economist, laughed and declared in the interview released this week.
"Here's an interesting thing. The divorce statistics are quite bandied around. People say half the marriages end in divorce. That's just not true. Forty percent of first time marriages end in divorce. About 61 percent of second time marriages end in divorce and 75 percent of third time marriages end in divorce. So the odds get worse and what's balancing this out... when you hear 50 percent end in divorce, that's just not true. The majority of marriages do last..." Said the author of The Purpose-Driven Life which sold more than 30 million copies worldwide since 2002; the bestselling nonfiction hardcover book in history.
When asked why religious conservatives tend to harp on gay marriage rather than divorce as a threat to the family, Warren said: "Oh we always love to talk about other sins more than ours. Why do we hear more about drug use than about being overweight? Why do we hear more about anything else than about wasting time or gossip? We want to point that my sins are perfectly acceptable. Your sins are hideous and evil."
In a clarification to a question he was asked about his support for proposition 8 in California following the interview, he said that although he believes that no American should ever be discriminated against because of their beliefs, he doesn't consider civil unions (for same-sex couples) to be a civil right.
"Nowhere in the constitution can you find the 'right' to claim that any loving relationship identical to marriage. It's just not there."
When asked specifically, Warren said he supports "partnership benefits in terms of insurance or hospital visitation," but went on to say that he's opposed to gay marriage the same way he is opposed to "having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage," "an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage" and "one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage."
Update: CNN's Anderson Cooper moderates a fiery discussion between Hilary Rosen, Roland Martin and Robert Zimmerman about anti-gay pastor Rick Warren being picked for the Invocation at the Obama Inauguration (Dec 17, 2008)