Saturday, April 11, 2009

Is lying a moral issue, Reverend?

Here is fundamentalist minister, Rick Warren on Larry King's show adamantly insisting that he was not involved in the Proposition 8 campaign in any way. Included in his litany of ways in which he was not anti-gay marriage was the claim that he "never once issued a statement and never once gave an endorsement" to Prop 8. Listen, let his words burn into your brain so that you are absolutely clear about what he is saying. Now watch the next video.

Notice that he is very clearly endorsing Proposition 8, the very thing he went on national television to deny that he ever did. He said here: "Let me make this very clear. We support Proposition 8." The man obviously lied to Larry King. Apparently, while Warren will speak out on "moral issues" it appears that lying is not a moral issue to him. If you want something really hilarious look at the screen capture below.
The man says that a court of "four guys" made the decision then to illustrate his point he holds up three fingers. Hilarious. In you put that in a parody of Warren you would be accused of unfairly making him look stupid. But what happens when the real life is like a parody?

His second flub, a Freudian slip I suggest, was when he went to say that the judges changed the definition of Christian marriage, not marriage. He quickly tried to drop the word Christian from his comments—it gave away too much.

All we can conclude from the two videos is that either Rick Warren has severe memory problems, bordering on Alzheimer's, or he intentionally lied to Larry King, and to the millions of television viewers. Unless there is a medical condition explaining this major lapse of memory, the second thing we can conclude is that Warren does not consider lying to be a moral issue as long as he is the one doing the lying.

This reminds of me of something that I witnessed some years ago when I was young and arrogant, as opposed to now, when I'm old and cranky. In a previous occupation I was sent to cover a Moral Majority rally in Indianapolis ,which was called to pass a piece of legislation called "The Right to Decency Bill." The law had been proposed by Rev. Don Boys, a member of the state legislature. Boys was a Republican, of course, and a pastor with the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, run by an odious theocrat named Greg Dixon. The legislation specifically called for making it a felony to be gay in the state of Indiana. It never passed but that was the intent of the law. At this rally, to promote this legislation, the two main draws were Jerry Falwell and Anita Bryant (someday I will have to share my "day with Anita" story).

There was a march for the bill by angry, hateful, fundamentalists (but I am being redundant). They rally that evening capped off the day set aside to push for this law. There was nothing ambiguous about the rally, or its purpose, or what this law would have done. I taped much of the rally, as well as several interviews with people attending, as part of my job.

About a week or two later Jerry Falwell was holding a press conference, which unfortunately I was only viewing on television, and not attending. At that conference Falwell was asked about the extreme anti gay views his organization took. Falwell looked into the camera and lied. He said that Moral Majority never opposed legitimate rights for gay people at all, they just opposed "special rights." I should also note that Dixon had been the recent vice president of Moral Majority, and still held the position of National Secretary at the time of the rally, which Falwell spoke at. In addition Dixon was the head of the Moral Majority in Indiana.

Unless, by some bizarre form of logic, Falwell really believed that NOT going to jail is a "special right" then he was blatantly lying. He told that lie repeatedly in press conferences ever after that. And guess what? He got away with it. Journalists may have a liberal bias, but they more often have a lazy bias, and research is not something they like doing. Even a cursory look at Falwell's record would show that he lied.

About a year later I went up against Dixon in the first of three discussions we were supposed to have on a large radio station. Dixon started out the discussion telling porkers about his views on the rights of gay people. What he didn't know was that I had brought with me various tape recordings of him preaching from his own pulpit. In those sermons he specifically said that gays should either be killed or put in prison and that this was God's will. When Dixon started out with the same sort of lie that Falwell got away with, we were prepared and simply played the tape of his own sermons. Dixon was furious. He fumed and screamed for most of the rest of the show. Come day of the second broadcast he never showed up. Though we did get flooded with his supporters claiming the show was biased since Dixon was on it.

If you wonder why I believe that fundamentalists are rather immoral people, their willingness to lie is one reason. I saw it up close on numerous occasions. They have their theology and the world must be twisted to fit it. If that requires them to tell a few porkers along the way, they consider it necessary for their "higher calling." I don't believe they have a higher calling and that they are just confused, bigoted and dishonest. Confused is not a moral issue. But their dishonest and bigotry is.

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