Purpose Driven Life Pastor Rick Warren weighed in on the economic downturn and President-elect Barack Obama’s proposed plan to redistribute wealth during an interview this week.
The man sometimes dubbed “America’s Pastor” said he disagrees with letting the government be responsible for distributing citizens’ tax dollars to the needy and would, instead, like to see Americans learn to give away their money themselves.
“I’d rather like to have the government let us keep it and then you’d learn to give it away yourself, because then you get the credit and then you get the character development and then you get the heart of generosity,” Warren said on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes show on Tuesday.
“If the government takes it from you and gives it away instead of me giving it away myself, I don’t get the personal development,” the socially-engaged megachurch pastor contended.
Furthermore, neither wealth redistribution nor wealth monopolization is the answer to getting America out of the economic crisis, says Warren, who tithes 90 percent of his income.
But wealth creation in terms of jobs is the answer, he said while also calling for Americans to learn to live within their means.
According to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, 84 percent of Americans say improving the economy should be a top priority when the new president takes office in January, and 80 percent say creating jobs should be a paramount task. Only 36 percent, meanwhile, cite trimming income taxes as a No. 1 goal.
Notably, 72 percent in the AP-GfK poll voiced confidence Obama will make the changes needed to revive the stalling economy.
Another hot topic discussed on the Hannity & Colmes show Tuesday was California’s Proposition 8, which Warren has publicly supported. Gay marriage supporters have protested outside his church since the passage of the measure.
The pastor, known for having amicable relationships with people he disagrees with, explained that he is opposed to redefining marriage.
“For 5,000 years that term, marriage, has represented a man and a woman,” Warren said. “And so, even some of gay leaders like Al Rantel, KABC, and others, have said why would we redefine marriage?”
But everyone should be given respect regardless of their lifestyle, religious beliefs and any other beliefs, Warren added.
“I think we live in a pluralistic society where we have to get along with each other and show common grace to each other. But I just didn't believe in redefining marriage,” he said.
President-elect Obama, on the other hand, says he also believes marriage is between one man and one woman but is against Proposition 8. Instead, he supports California’s Supreme Court’s decision in May to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
Though he disagrees with Obama on several social issues, Warren still calls the president-elect a “good friend.” Warren made headlines earlier this year when he convinced Obama and his former Republican rival, John McCain, to make their first campaign appearance together at his church in Lake Forest, Calif.
During the interview Tuesday, Warren commented that although he likes both men, they are “as opposite as night and day.”