Matt Lewis

Rick Warren should show leadership instead of canceling his forum

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

Rick Warren has canceled an Obama-Romney forum scheduled for Saddleback Church.

As the OC Register reports,

We created the civil forums to promote civility and personal respect between people with major differences,” Warren said. “The forums are meant to be a place where people of goodwill can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attack and name-calling. But that is not the climate of today’s campaign. I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don’t expect that tone to change before the election. “It would be hypocritical to pretend civility for one evening only to have the name-calling return the next day,” Warren added.

My B.S. detector is going off here.

First, I think it’s a bit of revisionist history to pretend the 2008 campaign was that much more civil than the 2012 campaign.

Second, let’s suppose it is worse this time around — doesn’t that present an opportunity for Warren to provide some leadership — to exercise moral authority — and to summon the candidates to rise above the bitterness?

Wouldn’t that be an appropriate role for a respected religious leader to play?

Lastly, suppose this is a uniquely negative campaign. Wouldn’t it be terrific for Warren to provide at least one forum that demand the candidates treat each other with respect?