Just two months ahead of the November presidential election, Pastor Rick Warren said Sunday that Christians should gain courage and not apologize for voting in accordance with their worldview.
"You don't need to apologize for voting for a Christian worldview which stands up for the sanctity of life, the sanctity of sex and the sanctity of marriage. You don't need to apologize for that because everybody votes what they believe," Warren told thousands of Saddleback Church attendees at the launch of a new sermon series.
The Southern California pastor said those three issues (life, sex, marriage) are non-negotiables for Christians. While they may disagree on the economy or health care, what believers must be firm on is protecting the unborn, viewing sex as holy, and protecting traditional marriage.
"If you call yourself a Christian, you need to line up with what God says is the original intent of all three of these things," he preached.
Warren, a registered independent, made it clear that he has and never will endorse a candidate for president. At the same time, he called on Christians to make decisions based on the truth – God's Word.
Why? Because it's the "only source that will never lie to you," he said.
Warren's sermon comes just after the conclusion of the Republican and Democratic National conventions. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama both accepted the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations, respectively.
Both political parties released vastly different platforms. The GOP platform supports the sanctity of human life and traditional marriage and includes stronger anti-pornography language. Democrats, meanwhile, support "a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion," and, for the first time ever, same-sex marriage in their platform.
In his message Sunday, Warren told Saddleback members to study the platforms of the parties.
"'Well, I like that guy' – that's a stupid reason to vote for somebody," Warren stated. "You need to know their worldview. Read their platforms. And then vote your worldview."
Noting that many Christians don't even hold a Christian worldview, he said people tend to unconsciously pick up things from the world that play into their daily decisions in life.
He warned that there are four anti-Christian worldviews: materialism, hedonism, individualism and collectivism/socialism.
"People who don't know God make government god," Warren said of socialism. "The highest thing they can think of to make the world a better place is not the church, it's not God, it's government."
"What I've discovered is this: politics is the religion of people who don't know God," he said to applause. "They treat it as everything. Again, there's nothing wrong with politics; it's just not the savior."
The longtime pastor tried to instill courage in the congregation, knowing that some of their stances on issues are not popular with the public.
The sanctity of life, sex and marriage are "three aspects of the Christian worldview that are hated by this world," he noted.
"Most Christians clam up and shut up because they're afraid to even stand up."
But he reminded them that they should build their lives on Word of God and not on the opinions of others and that they should fear God's disapproval more than people's disapproval.
"If ever there was a message that you need in today's culture, God would say this to you about your faith – don't be afraid, keep on speaking, do not be silent," the Saddleback pastor said.
"Everybody else is telling you their worldview. Why should Christians cower in cowardice?"
Warren had originally announced that he would be hosting a civil forum with both presidential candidates this year as he did in 2008. But the event, which was scheduled for August, was canceled with Warren citing a lack of civility from both campaigns.