evangelicals

Complex realities behind that '81 percent of evangelicals love Trump' media myth

Complex realities behind that '81 percent of evangelicals love Trump' media myth

For millions of American evangelicals, a recent Oval Office photo-op was a perfect example of the political realities they face.

A day after his release from a Turkish prison, the Rev. Andrew Brunson knelt and prayed for the president who helped focus a global spotlight on efforts to free him. Brunson had been accused of backing critics of the Turkish regime.

The pastor asked God to give Donald Trump "perseverance, and endurance and courage to stand for truth. I ask that you to protect him from slander from enemies, from those who would undermine. … Fill him with your wisdom and strength and perseverance. And we bless him."

Millions of evangelicals, but not all, had to smile.

Trump, in jest, asked Brunson and his wife: "Who did you vote for?"

Millions of evangelicals, but not all, had to groan.

In the current news theory of everything, few numbers in American political life have received more attention than this one -- 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016. Politicos have paid less attention to signs that many evangelicals cast those votes with reluctance, and some with a sense of dread.

"This was really a faith-based vote -- faith that Trump would operate as a conservative on the issues that mattered the most to evangelicals," said World Magazine editor-in-chief Marvin Olasky, a Christian conservative who, citing character flaws, openly opposed Trump getting the GOP nomination.

"I still don't like him at all, but I have to say that he's coming through. … It's a kind of politics by gesture, but he's pulling it off."

Praying with Brunson was "a perfect gesture," he added. But if Trump had "blown it on the Supreme Court, his support among evangelicals would have plummeted."

Before the election, World consulted 100 evangelical "leaders and insiders" and half of them said they wouldn't vote for Trump, "no matter what." The other half said they would watch for signals that Trump sent about the U.S. Supreme Court.

'On Religion' flashback -- Pat Robertson, evangelicals and the White House (column No. 1)

'On Religion' flashback -- Pat Robertson, evangelicals and the White House (column No. 1)

Some friends have asked to see "On Religion," column No. 1 -- which predates the Internet by about five or six years. So here it is, typed into the system, working from a copy printed at the time on a newsroom dot-matrix printer. Remember those?

There may have been a few edits in DC, because the column format was about 100 words shorter in the early days.

-- tmatt

 

WASHINGTON DESK: Terry Mattingly's religion column for 4/11/88.

On the morning before Easter, Pat Robertson stood in a pulpit under an American flag and a banner that read, "King of Kings, Lord of Lords."

The press was barred from the meeting in the Harvest Christian Center, in a Denver suburb.

One of the last stops on Robertson's first try to reach the White House was at a luncheon here with about 200 clergy and church activists. Days later, he stopped active campaigning, but pledged that he would try again.

Still this 1988 scene held pieces of the puzzle that is Robertson's future.

The faithful raised their hands high in praise to God and sang familiar hymns with a man that they knew well, a fellow "charismatic" Christian who believed in miracles, prophecy and "speaking in tongues." A nearby table held tapes on a subject close to Robertson's heart -- healing.

It was a scene from his past. And Robertson's aides were trying to keep it out of his public image in the present and future.

NASCAR America collides with NPR America at the National Prayer Breakfast

In terms of the worldviews that drive American life, the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast was a head-on collision between NASCAR and NPR.

Both President Barack Obama and NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip were the speakers and both were sure the world would be a better place if many sinners climbed down off their high horses and ate some humble pie.

First, Waltrip bared his own soul and described how he found what he believes is the one true path to eternal salvation. Then, moments later, the president told the same flock that religious believers who embrace precisely that kind of religious certainty are threatening the peace and harmony of the modern world.

This was, in other words, a morning for red religion and blue religion.

While the president's remarks comparing the modern Islamic State with Medieval Christian crusaders made headlines, Waltrip's blunt testimony contained words that -- for many in the interfaith audience -- were just as controversial.

Talking to real, live 'Nones'

Like many computer pros whose lives revolve around the Internet, Marc Yoder eventually created a weblog in which to share his views on life, technology, faith and other cultural issues that happened to cross his path. His "Marc5Solas" site -- the musings of a self-proclaimed "nobody from nowhere" -- drew a quiet hundred readers a week.

Then the 42-year-old Yoder wrote his "Top 10 Reasons our Kids Leave Church" post, based on dozens of face-to-face conversations with college students and 20-something agnostics and atheists in San Antonio. He offered them coffee, the occasional lunch and a chance to vent. They did just that.

"We all know them, the kids who were raised in church. They were stars of the youth group. They maybe even sang in the praise band or led worship," noted Yoder.

Then they vanish. About 70 percent slip away somewhere between high school, college and the office, according to researchers. How many return?

"Half. Let that sink in," noted Yoder. "There's no easy way to say this: The American Evangelical church has lost, is losing and will almost certainly continue to lose OUR YOUTH."

Before he knew it, 500,000-plus people had visited the website and his manifesto went viral on Twitter and other social-media platforms. Then the agonized digital epistles began arriving. A few religious leaders started looking for the man behind the brash post.

"There was lots of church bashing, but I expected that," said Yoder, reached by telephone. What hit him hard were the "worried voices" of "people concerned that something fundamental had gone wrong in modern churches and they couldn't put their finger on what that something was," he said.

What Yoder had done was tap into one of 2012's hottest cultural trends, which was the rise of the "religiously unaffiliated" -- the so-called "nones." The key numbers emerged from research backed by the Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life and the PBS program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

The study's findings have loomed over a variety of news events in recent months, from debates about gay marriage to the challenges facing a new pope. The key facts: One-fifth of the U.S. public -- and a third of adults under 30 -- are now religiously unaffiliated. The ranks of the unaffiliated have risen, in only five years, from about 15 percent of American adults to nearly 20 percent. This trend appears to be accelerating.

What is happening with the dropouts? Among Yoder's blunt observations:

* Churches offering the atmosphere of Starbucks/Dave & Buster's "knockoffs" are no longer cool for the young. "Our kids meet the real world and our 'look, we're cool like you' posing is mocked. ... The middle-aged pastor trying to look like his 20-something audience isn't relevant. Dress him up in skinny jeans and hand him a latte, it doesn't matter. ... The minute you aim to be 'authentic,' you're no longer authentic."

* Many young people have never been to a real church, since they were raised in multi-media nurseries and then taken into hip church services built around jumbo video screens and rock bands. "They've never sat on a pew between a set of new parents with a fussy baby and a senior citizen on an oxygen tank," he argued. In short, many have never seen faith applied to the full timeline of real life.

* Rather than teaching tough truths about tough issues, many religious leaders now sell a faith rooted in emotions and pragmatism. "Rather than an external, objective, historical faith, we've given our youth an internal, subjective faith. The evangelical church isn't catechizing or teaching our kids the fundamentals, ... we're simply encouraging them to 'be nice' and 'love Jesus'," he said.

* Young people are also supposed to be winners all the time and there is little room for "depression, or struggle, or doubt" in many big churches, argued Yoder. The bottom like: "Turn that frown upside down or move along."

It's hard to talk about sin, repentance, grace and forgiveness in that kind of happy-talk environment. Far too many of what Yoder called the "big box" churches are not the kinds of places in which young believers learn to wrestle with the timeless tragedies and modern temptations of life.

"The church," he said, "is simply a place to learn life-application principles to achieve a better life. ... You don't need a crucified Jesus for that."

Billy Graham & Co. push the values voters

The television talking heads all agreed that the election was over, which ignited celebrations among the staff and supporters of winner Richard Nixon -- including the world's most famous evangelist. "We did it," proclaimed the Rev. Billy Graham, according to iconoclastic journalist Joe McGinniss in "The Selling of the President 1968." Graham, he added, went "directly into Nixon's room, without explaining whether 'we' meant Billy Graham and Richard Nixon or Billy Graham and God or perhaps all three together."

Years later, a repentant Graham said he wept and became ill when he heard Nixon's paranoid, profanity-laced chatter on the Watergate tapes. While "America's pastor" kept meeting with presidents -- as he has with every Oval Office occupant since Harry Truman -- he vowed never again to become that attached to a candidate.

The question, for Graham's critics and even some supporters, is whether the national advertising campaign launched on Oct. 18th by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association -- now led by son Franklin Graham -- has crossed that line. The target audience: Readers of USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, key swing-state newspapers and church bulletins nationwide.

"The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren and this great nation is crucial," proclaims one ad. "As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.

"I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman."

It's easy to read between those lines, noted sociologist William Martin, author of "A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story."

"Billy Graham representatives note that the ads do not mention a specific candidate or party -- an observation intended more for the IRS than for the target audience," wrote Martin, at Christianity Today online. "Given that former Gov. Mitt Romney opposes same-sex marriage and President Barack Obama supports it (and by doing so, has -- to use Franklin Graham's words -- "shaken his fist" at God), the ads leave no doubt about their intent."

There's more. Romney aides claim that, at the end of a recent meeting with the candidate, the evangelist promised: "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."

Months earlier, the Graham organization also released statements urging North Carolina voters to back a state constitutional amendment on marriage and an appeal for support of "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day," after the company's president drew fire for defending traditional Christian doctrines on sex and marriage.

Meanwhile, former Graham-organization webmaster Steve Knight has said -- in a much-circulated Huffington Post essay -- that enough is enough. It's significant that Knight now works with a denomination on the religious left, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

"My concern is that here's how things like this continue to work," warned Knight. "Franklin Graham (or Franklin and his sister Anne Graham Lotz) have an agenda (in all ... of these cases, "traditional marriage"), they get a BGEA copywriter to draft the text, ... Franklin approves the copy and-or design, then Franklin drives out to Little Piney Cove (Billy's cabin home outside of Asheville, N.C.) and holds the piece of paper in front of Billy and asks, 'Daddy, can we publish this?' And Billy nods (or whatever he's capable of doing at this point in his life), and Franklin goes back and publishes this stuff with his good father's name all over it."

Veteran Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross has vehemently denied this and other claims that Graham has, in effect, become a puppet used and abused by Franklin Graham and others.

"In the years since his last public crusade, Billy Graham has been increasingly burdened by society's moral decline and the need for renewal in our culture and revival in the church," noted Ross, in the Christianity Today forum. "Because he considers the institution of marriage as the cornerstone of society, he is opposed to any redefinition of marriage -- which he sees not as a political issue but rather a matter of religious freedom."

Thus, Ross added, Graham personally approved the use of these quotations in which he is heard "challenging citizens -- particularly the faith community -- on how to vote, rather than for whom to vote."

Stalking the anti-Mormon voters of 2012

With the White House race nearing an end, it's time for America's political pundits to face that fact that millions of voters will in fact be worried about Mitt Romney's Mormon faith on Election Day. Many will be offended by what they believe are the intolerant, narrow teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on marriage. Others will be worried about Mormonism's history of opposing abortion rights.

"There really is a large group of people in America who won't vote for Mitt Romney for president because he is a Mormon," noted Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes, in a recent Institute on Religion and Democracy lecture.

"It's a very large group and there is a name for them -- liberals."

This isn't the God-and-politics story most media insiders wanted to talk about during the 2012 campaign, said Barnes, who also works as a commentator for Fox News. The religion hook this time around was supposed to be clashes between Romney and Trinitarian Christians who consider Mormonism, at best, a sect or, at the worst, a "theological cult" with its own prophet, scriptures and unorthodox doctrines on the nature of God and other eternal matters.

But a strange thing happened somewhere during the campaign. According to a number of political polls, the overwhelming majority of Christian conservatives quietly decided they could vote for the Republican nominee without endorsing his views on heaven, hell and the mysteries of the Godhead.

In one Gallup survey this past summer, potential voters were asked: "If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be a Mormon, would you vote for that person?" While 10 percent of Republicans answered "no," this negative stance toward Mormon candidates rose to 18 percent among self-declared "independents" and 24 percent among Democrats.

Another piece of pre-election research -- the American National Election Studies (.pdf), by a scholar at the University of Sydney -- found that anxieties among evangelical Protestants have actually declined somewhat in recent years, with 36 percent expressing an "aversion" to Mormon candidates in 2007 and 33 percent feeling the same way in 2012.

Meanwhile, anti-Mormon attitudes among non-religious voters rose from 21 percent in 2007 to 41 percent in 2012. Among voters who called themselves "liberals," this aversion to Mormons rose from 28 percent to 43 percent during that same period. Political and religious liberals, according to this study, are now 10 percent more likely than evangelical Protestants to harshly prejudge Mormon candidates.

The key for many Protestants is that, after decades of trying to Christianize American history, it has become very hard for them not to think of the president as a kind of "religious mascot" instead of as a politician, said the Rev. Russell D. Moore, speaking at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. A recording of this forum, entitled "The Mormon Moment: Religious Conviction and the 2012 Election," was later posted on the Internet.

"I heard someone in recent days say, 'I would never vote for anyone who is not an authentically professing evangelical Christian,' " said Moore, who leads the seminary's school of theology. "If that's the case, then as far as I can see, you have about three candidates in the last 100 years or so ... that you could possibly vote for: William Jennings Bryan, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush."

Instead of focusing on a shopping list of doctrines, religious voters will need to focus on a more practical question when they enter voting booths, said Moore. They should ask: "Between these two people -- President Obama and Gov. Romney -- who is going to do the best for the common good and in protecting the United States of America and all the other questions that we've got to keep in mind?"

Meanwhile, admitted Barnes, there are "small pockets" of evangelicals in the Bible Belt who remain convinced that members of their flocks must not compromise by voting for a Mormon. However, most religious conservatives have concluded that they fear Romney's faith less than they fear a second term for Barack Obama.

The experts also know that, "just as a matter of political geography, the few holdouts, if you want to call them that, tend to be in states where Mitt Romney probably doesn't need their votes," said Barnes. "He will carry states like Tennessee and South Carolina and Georgia … very easily."

Jail a new church-state option for bishops?

No one is surprised that the man who will soon lead the Archdiocese of Glascow opposes Scotland's plans to legalize same-sex marriage. Still, Archbishop-designate Philip Tartaglia raised eyebrows with his prediction of dire consequences if he kept defending church teachings on marriage and sex after the legislation went into effect.

"I could see myself going to jail possibly at some point over the next 15 years, if God spares me, if I speak out," the 61-year-old bishop told STV News.

The key, Tartaglia said later, is that the government could crack down on believers who try to publicly defend, or even follow, traditional religious doctrines that clash with doctrines approved by state authorities. "I am deeply concerned that today, defending the traditional meaning of marriage is almost considered 'hate speech' and branded intolerant," he told the Catholic News Agency.

Religious traditionalists in America will soon face similar issues on another issue, depending on what happens in courts. August 1 was the start date for the Health and Human Services mandate requiring most religious institutions to offer health-insurance plans that cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved forms of contraception, including the so-called "morning-after pills." Some religious organizations qualify for a one-year grace period before they must follow the policy or pay steep fines.

The key is that the HHS mandate only recognizes the conscience rights of an employer if it's a nonprofit that has the "inculcation of religious values as its purpose," primarily employs "persons who share its religious tenets" and primarily "serves persons who share its religious tenets." Critics say this means the government is protecting mere "freedom of worship," not the "free exercise of religion" found in the First Amendment.

"Consider Blessed Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity reaching out to the poorest of the poor without regard for their religious affiliation," said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lorio this June, during the American bishops' Fortnight For Freedom campaign. "The church seeks to affirm the dignity of those we serve not because they are Catholic but because we are Catholic. The faith we profess, including its moral teachings, impels us to reach out -- just as Jesus did -- to those in need and to help build a more just and peaceful society."

Meanwhile, the American bishops and other religious leaders will have to weigh their options, seeking ways to live out their faith convictions to as high a degree as possible while the HHS regulations are enforced. That was the subject addressed in the conservative Catholic journal "Voices" by Julianne Loesch Wiley, a veteran Catholic activist who has worked with a wide variety of causes, including Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, Pax (Peace) Center and "Prolifers for Survival," which opposed abortion and the nuclear arms race. The options include:

* Obey the mandate, while continuing to fight it. Wiley quipped: "I doubt that the American Cancer Society would pay to subsidize monthly cartons of Marlboros for their employees, EVEN UNDER PROTEST."

* Stop offering insurance and pay the resulting fines. This would require ministries to be scaled back or eliminated, while the government gained funds to provide the very services the church considers immoral. This is, she said, another name for "collaboration and submission."

* Avoid the conflict by shutting down, selling off or secularizing church-related hospitals, schools and charities that the government does not consider "religious employers" and, thus, worthy of exemptions. This amounts to "preemptive surrender" and gives the government "effective control of all human services, caring professions and charities."

* Refuse to cooperate, refuse to pay the fines and await "overt, forcible political repression." In other words, prepare for some bishops and their supporters to go to jail. Wiley argued that this is the only "tactically sound," "logically sound" and "morally sound" response. If this results in jail time, then that is a consequence believers in other eras have willing faced, she concluded. "Rejoice and be glad. Historically, prison has always been an excellent pulpit and a school of saints."

It's hard to imagine this standoff reaching such a dramatic conclusion, said Wiley, when asked to look ahead. If deprived of protection by the U.S. courts, it's likely some Catholic institutions will be willing to compromise and, thus, will cut church ties. Others will lose their licenses to operate or will be "broken on the wheel" of financial penalties and further regulations.

But no matter what happens, she said, history shows that something "faithfully Catholic" will survive.

"The smallest living thing," she said, "is more powerful than the most powerful dying thing."

Why Chuck Colson spent Easter in prison

It wasn't the typical Bible text for an Easter sermon, but the preacher knew what this congregation needed to hear. Never forget, he said, what Jesus proclaimed in his first sermon: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed."

This isn't the sermon that many believers hear on Easter, but it's the one that prisoners need to hear, said Chuck Colson back in 1992, facing a small chapel packed with men at a federal prison near Denver.

This was also the sermon the former Watergate conspirator kept preaching to flocks behind bars during the decades between his own stay in Alabama's Maxwell Prison in 1974 and his death on April 21 at the age of 80. Anyone who wants to understand what changed Colson from President Richard Nixon's trusted "hatchet man" into one of the age's best-known Christian apologists needs to understand this sermon.

You see, Colson told prisoners across America and around the world, it was radical to proclaim "freedom for the prisoners" during the Roman Empire. And today? Anyone who preaches this message "in one of those nice churches downtown" will get the same icy response that Jesus did.

"The rich and powerful people," he said, with a dramatic pause, will "run you out of town."

Never forget, shouted the former Marine, that Jesus died as a prisoner. Was there anyone in the room who had ever been strip-searched, beaten and mocked? Did anyone know what it felt like to have the legal authorities use muscle in an attempt to wrench a guilty plea -- to a lesser offence, of course -- out of a desperate prisoner?

"Has anything like that," he asked, with a knowing smile, "every happened to any of you?"

"Amen," said the prisoners. Some laughed, while others stared at the floor. Many waved clenched fists in the air to urge the preacher to keep going.

Colson kept going. Was there anyone in the chapel who been betrayed by a friend, perhaps even a friend turned around and provided evidence to the state? Was there anyone present who had been convicted of vague crimes?

In the end, of course, Jesus was executed -- between two thieves.

But that wasn't the end of the story, on that particular Easter morning in Colorado, or in any of the other Easter services the former White House powerbroker chose to spend behind bars after he founded Prison Fellowship in 1976.

"If you want to know what Easter is about, then there's no better place to find out than in the tombs of our society -- which is what our prisons are," he said. "On this, of all days, prison is the one place that Jesus would be. Believe me."

After Colson's death, most of the obituaries -- especially those produced in elite East Coast newsrooms -- focused on his Watergate role and, perhaps, on his pivotal work creating a new and powerful coalition of conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants. Working with a team of talented researchers and writers, Colson also produced shelves of influential books and commentaries that addressed almost every controversial issue in the American public life and politics.

Sadly, this all-politics DC Beltway perspective may draw attention away from Colson's trailblazing work in prisons, which ultimately created a network of more than 14,000 volunteers in more than 1,300 prisons nationwide and around the world. He also founded the Justice Fellowship organization, which has worked for the reformation of America's sprawling, bloated, crowded and, all too often, destructive prison system.

"That's where Chuck developed his social conscience. It was in prison, in all of those face-to-face encounters with those forgotten souls, " said Michael Cromartie, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was also Colson's first research assistant and aide after the creation of Prison Fellowship.

"Chuck was never happier than when he took off his jacket and loosened his tie in a dingy prison chapel somewhere, facing rows of men in metal folding chairs who had big, thick Bibles in their hands. ... He embraced as many as he could. He tried to learn their names and hear their stories. He tried to make a difference in there."

God, Allah and Rick Warren

At the Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, centuries of Islamic doctrine have literally been carved into the shrine's walls. Two quotations on the northwest wall will be of special interest to anyone interested in the latest whirlwind of controversy linked to evangelical superstar Rick Warren and his giant Saddleback Church.

The outer face inscription states, in part: "Praise be to God who has not taken a son and who does not have any partner in dominion. ..." On the inside, after a reference to Jesus, is written: "Peace be upon the day he was born, the day he dies and the day he is raised up alive. That is Jesus, son of Mary. ... It is not for God to take a son."

In other words, Islam proclaims a strict monotheism, while rejecting the Christian belief that God is One, yet has been revealed as God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Thus, it matters that fundamentalist critics are circulating excerpts from a recent Orange County Register report claiming that Warren and his megachurch have joined with nearby mosques to promote a "set of theological principles" -- called the King's Way -- proclaiming that "Christians and Muslims worship the same God."

Warren is never quoted affirming these crucial claims and the article also reports that leaders on both sides have agreed to cease evangelistic efforts to convert members of each other's flocks.

The preacher and bestselling author has attempted to distance himself from the online firestorm, which builds on longstanding claims by religious broadcaster Jack Van Impe that Warren has become a proponent of "Chrislam" -- an alleged attempt to blend Islam and Christianity.

Warren's defenders have, however, posted an interview transcript in which he has responded to these "Chrislam" allegations.

"Christians have a view of God that is unique," stressed Warren. "We believe God is a Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not three separate gods but one God. No other faith believes Jesus is God. The belief in God as a Trinity is the foundational difference between Christians and everyone else."

The Saddleback leader also denied that King's Way efforts to build a "bridge" of understanding and tolerance represents a change in his Southern Baptist congregation's commitment to evangelism.

"Building a bridge" to the Muslim community, said Warren, "has nothing to do with compromising your beliefs. It's all about your behavior and your attitude toward them. It's about genuinely loving people. ... Before people trust Jesus they must trust you. You cannot win your enemies to Christ, only your friends. ... Besides, it is Christ like to treat all people with dignity and listen to them with respect."

Meanwhile, the conservative "Apprising Ministries" website has posted what it claims is a piece of a King's Way document obtained by the Register from a source close to the interfaith effort.

In its section on God, this report claims that both sides -- backed with quotations from the Bible and the Koran -- agreed that "God is one," "God is the Creator," "God is different from the world," "God is good," "God loves," "God is just" and that "God's love encompasses God's judgment."

The problem, of course, is that Christians and Muslims, as well as Jews, have for centuries proclaimed that "God is one" -- while disagreeing on whether this oneness can be reconciled with Christianity's doctrine of the Trinity.

Contacted by email, Warren insisted that public discussions of an official King's Way doctrinal statement -- as opposed to a program by that name that promotes interfaith understanding -- caught him by surprise. "Neither I, nor my staff had ever seen such a document UNTIL the article mentioned it. It wasn't created or even seen by us. ... Saddleback church as a church was not involved," he said.

However, the bitter cyber-debates continue, similar to those surrounding Warren's efforts to promote dialogues with atheists, gay-rights leaders and President Barack Obama and his supporters on the Christian left.

Asked directly if he is "promoting Chrislam," Warren released this blunt reply.

"It's the lie that won't die," he said. "Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation. Period. If I didn't believe that, I'd get into much easier line of work! But I do believe that everybody needs Jesus and I am willing to put up with false statements and misunderstandings in order to get the Gospel out."