Controversial pastor Rick Warren ‘one of the world’s most influential people’
Rick Warren, the US evangelist pastor who spoke out against gay marriage, has been included in Time magazine’s latest list of the world’s most influential people.
He is the founder and senior pastor at Saddleback Church in California, the eighth largest church in the US.
His name was listed under the Heroes and Icons heading, alongside Michelle Obama and Tiger Woods.
The preacher was chosen by Barack Obama to deliver the Invocation at the Presidential Inauguration, provoking fury from the Left.
He has previously been outspoken in his opposition to abortion, stem-cell research and euthanasia, calling them “non-negotiable”.
Last month, he was accused of lying after he said he had never supported Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.
Appearing on Larry King Live, he said: “In the first place, I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay-marriage activist. I never have been, never will be.
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“During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never – never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.
“The week before the vote, somebody in my church said, ‘Pastor Rick, what do you think about this?’ And I sent a note to my own members that said, I actually believe that marriage is – really should be defined, that that definition should be – say between a man and a woman.
“And then all of a sudden out of it, they made me, you know, something that I really wasn’t. And I actually… there were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends – the leaders that I knew – and actually apologised to them. That never got out . . . .”
However, critics accused him of lying, citing a video in which he strongly stated he agreed with Proposition 8.
In a video released just before the Proposition 8 vote, Warren said: “Now let me say this really clearly: we support Proposition 8 – and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues I come out very clear.”
In 2004, the preacher sent a letter to his congregation stating that gay marriage was one of his five non-negotiable issues before the presidential election.