(Photo: Saddleback Church)
WASHINGTON – Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., announced Tuesday that he will begin a radio show the first week of April.
Warren said at a media gathering at Georgetown University today that he is doing the show to bring hope to a country that is in a discouragement period and that he wants to speak out more about the deterioration of religious freedom in the United States and around the world.
The show will be syndicated through Salem Communications and air for half an hour, Monday through Friday, in the 25 largest radio markets, he said at a press gathering hosted by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs' Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Even though Warren is one of the most well-known pastors in the country, Warren resisted for 32 years from doing a radio or television program. "I don't like televangelists," Warren said.
There are three reasons, Warren explained, that he did not want to do a radio or television program. He does not want to turn his church into a studio and lose the intimacy of a congregation; he does not like the style of TV preachers; and he does not want to do fundraising.
But he changed his mind for several reasons, including that "America, right now, is in a discouragement period," Warren said.
The discouragement can be felt, Warren continued, in the weak economic recovery and high rate of joblessness, the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the partisan gridlock among political leaders. The discouragement can also be felt in the "coarsening of society."
"People are far more rude now than they used to be," Warren said, which he attributes to the way Americans communicate with each other on the Internet. "Our civilization is losing its civility. We just don't know how to be nice to people."
The radio program will be called "Daily Hope," and will be aimed at "injecting some hope" into the country.
The other purpose of the show is to speak to the disintegration of religious liberty in America. Warren spoke about attempts to prevent Muslims from wearing head scarves at school, prevent Jews from being able to circumcise their children, and to require companies and religious institutions to purchase health insurance coverage that is in opposition to their religious beliefs.
Warren will also be speaking about religious freedom Tuesday evening at the Berkley Center. A live webcast of the event will be online here.