In 2009, Saddleback Church founder and pastor Rick Warren gave the invocation at President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Four years later, Warren admitted his disappointment with the re-elected commander in chief.
In an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” on Wednesday to promote the re-release of the 10-year anniversary of his book “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?” Warren weighed in on government and its role in a societies moral shift.
“Each generation the morals do shift and do change, and we can see that in a lot of different areas,” Warren said. “But a lot of it also has to do with how things are framed. You see, if you take an issue and frame it as a rights issue, well then, everybody goes, ‘Well, I believe in free rights,’ okay.”
“Honestly, I think what we have to look at is, are we looking to the government to bring moral recovery to the nation?” he continued. “The answer is, you better not, because that’s never happened. It doesn’t happen. If there’s going to be a moral recovery in America, it’s not going to happen by laws. If I actually thought that you could change people’s behavior by making laws, I’d become a politician.”
Host Sean Hannity pointed out that in Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense,” first published in 1776, government was thought to be a “necessary evil,” but now that notion has changed. According to Warren that is a result in the lack of trust in society as a whole.
“[T]rust has gone down,” Warren replied. “This is true in a marriage, it’s true in a government, it’s true in our nation: the greater the trust, the fewer rules you need. The less trust you have, the more you start having to say, well, let’s make a law for that one, for that one. What often happens, like in an organization, or a corporation, somebody gets off base, so they make a law to rein it in, and 90 percent of the other people weren’t even going to bother them, but now they’re hindered by the law. So you get more and more regulations for the few people.”
Hannity observed that America has lost touch and used Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority as an example. That has occurred according to Warren because the country has been cut off from its moral, spiritual and ethical roots.
“Will Herberg, who was a Jewish philosopher of a previous generation, called it the cut flower syndrome,” Warren said. “What it is, flowers are beautiful, but if you cut them and you put them in a vase, they’re going to stay beautiful for a period of time, but eventually they’re going to fade, because you cut them off from the roots. As America is cut off from its moral and spiritual and ethical roots, we’re now seeing the flower fades. I actually had a debate with this in People’s Hall in Tiananmen Square with the communist government a number of years ago.”
“You want the economic success of the west without the moral and ethical underpinnings,” he continued. “Capitalism works because there’s a Judeo-Christian basis underneath it that says, treat people well, treat them with integrity, take care of people, things like that. If you take that out, you just have raw greed, you get what happened in Russia — oligarchs.”
To wrap-up the appearance, Hannity asked Warren his views on the president, to which he admitted his disappointment in Obama.
“I think every leader disappoints,” Warren said. “And there are certain things that President Obama’s done I’m deeply disappointed in. I’ll just leave it at that.”