Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, sent a message on Twitter Tuesday than has generated a small controversy among liberals.
The “tweet,” as messages on Twitter are known, appeared to be in response to President Obama’s nationally televised speech on Monday evening.
“HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero,” wrote Warren. “So they’re happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES pay taxes.”
In a response to another Twitter user, @karoli, Warren sent another tweet later Tuesday morning.
Karoli, who uses only her first name and goes by @Karoli on Twitter, considers herself a “liberal-Christian” and blogs on various topics including politics. After seeing Warren’s initial post she replied by telling Warren how she felt.
In response to her comments, Warren posted another message saying, “@Karoli You are 100% right! It did sound mean.”
“I felt like his [Warren’s] comment sounded ‘mean-spirited and I found it appalling,’” said Karoli, who requested that her last name not be disclosed, to The Christian Post. “I think he meant and was repeating talking points that are being misused by many in the media such as Fox News. I just don’t think the statement is true.”
Karoli comments were specific to the 47 percent reference of those who don’t pay taxes.
“Even if he was talking about federal taxes, that is not true, but the poor pay a disproportionate share of state and local taxes,” maintained Karoli.
The message was removed from Warren’s Twitter feed, or list of messages later in the day. However, the same message is still on Warren’s Facebook Page.
The post of the same message drew 160 responses on the social media site, with over 260 people “liking” the post and giving it a “thumbs up.” Based on their comments, many people appeared to have a more conservative opinion on the issue.
“You are absolutely correct Pastor. Keep Going,” was one such comment.
Should Rick Warren or any other pastor give their political opinion?
Karoli has attended Saddleback Church and even personally met Warren, saying she even defended him on past occasions.
Warren delivered the prayer at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony in 2009, which led homosexual activists to protest because of his opinions on same-sex marriage.
When asked if as a minister Warren had the right to make such comments, she replied, “Yes, I do think pastors have a right to espouse their personal and political beliefs. But I feel they should do so with biblical principles,” said Karoli. “It’s really no different if he said something in a restaurant or any other public venue, but I would however have a problem with him saying it in the pulpit.”
The Christian Post attempted to contact Warren for a response, but his staff responded by email that he was not going to issue a statement on his tweet or a clarification. However, in a direct message response to Salon's Joan Walsh, who sent several tweets critical of Warren's comment, he replied, "I take zero salary & we feed over 2000 families a wk. But thank u Joan for the opportunity to pray God blesses your life greatly."
Warren is the author of the best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life.