(Photo: Reuters/Tami Chappell)
Pastor Rick Warren of Southern California's Saddleback megachurch explained his position on tolerance, homosexuality and marriage during an interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, telling the journalist he is most concerned about the attempts to redefine the term "marriage."
"While I may disagree with you on your views on sexuality, this does not give me the right to demean you, to demoralize you, to defame you, to turn you into a demon," Pastor Warren stressed on the onset.
Tolerance, Warren said, used to mean that we treat each other with mutual respect even if we have major disagreements. But that has changed.
"Today, tolerance has been changed to mean, all ideas are equally valid," Warren told Morgan. "Well, that's non-sense, OK. All ideas are not equally valid. You can say the moon is made of cheese, or I can say the moon is made of beans..."
Morgan interrupted, and asked if the pastor believes in equality for all. "Then how can you as a Christian man, and a great man... how can you espouse genuine equality if you don't allow gay people the same right to get married as straight people?" the journalist asked.
"I'm more against the redefinition of the term 'marriage' than anything else," the pastor responded. "I don't think other groups get opportunity to redefine a term..."
Warren emphasized that marriage is almost universally seen as between one man and one woman.
"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 make it something different. Orwell talked about 'doublespeak,' where words mean the exact opposite of what they used to mean," Warren said.
"It's not against law to love anybody… it's not criminal, it shouldn't be," Warren pointed out. "Don't take a term and make it something different."
But that's from the Bible, Morgan said, interrupting Warren, who agreed the Bible says God created marriage.
There are many things in the Bible that are no longer practiced, such as stoning to death an adulterer, Morgan then said.
Warren responded by saying there is a difference between how he and Morgan view the Bible.
Morgan then asked Warren, praising the latter's vast library, if he can envision a time when he and other Christians, including the Catholic Church, will begin to support full same-sex marriage.
"I cannot see that happening in my life," Warren said firmly, concluding the argument by saying, "I fear the disapproval of God more than I fear your disapproval or the disapproval of society."