One of the titanic social battles in recent history would certainly be the so-called Proposition 8 - a ballot proposition passed in California, USA, late last year which amended the State’s Constitution to restrict marriage to opposite-sex human couples.
Many Nigerians would find it hard to believe that such an apparently simple, fundamental issue could be the subject of an epic battle of wits, lawsuits and considerable blackmail. At the end of the day, over $83 million was raised and expended, making the social campaign one of the most expensive ever - apart from the US Presidential contest itself.
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Mega Church (and author of the best selling book: Purpose Driven Life), like many other evangelicals, had been part of those who supported the Proposition – a fact clearly documented even on Wikipaedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_8_(2008)). Many Christians were therefore disappointed to hear Rick Warren apologize recently on CNN that he ever supported the Proposition. He further futilely attempted to justify this position by claiming that his previous support had somehow been qualified.
Speaking with CNN’s Larry King on April 6, Rick Warren declared: "During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never -- never once even gave an endorse-ment in the two years Prop. 8 was going"
However, apart from the already cited Wikipedia article, OneNewsNow has a well-documented record of Warren’s support for Proposition 8. According to the news organization, “Just two weeks before the November 4 Prop. 8 vote, Pastor Warren issued a clear endorsement of the marriage amendment while speaking to church members.” Rick Warren was quoted as having 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.”
Concluding his emotional endorsement, Rick Warren said : "Now here's an interesting thing. There are about two percent of Americans [who] are homosexual or gay/lesbian people. We should not let two percent of the population determine to change a definition of marriage that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years…. This is not even just a Christian issue -- it's a humanitarian and human issue that God created marriage for the purpose of family, love, and procreation. So I urge you to support Proposition 8, and pass that word on. …..” (See the complete transcript at: www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=481280)
Rick Warren now denies having given such a clear and comprehensive support for the anti-gay marriage initiative. According to OneNewsNow, Pastor Warren has not responded to request for interview so he could clarify these clearly contradictory statements. www.onenewsnow.com/Church/Default.aspx?id=483576
And, as for the supposedly little measure of support he now claims he ever gave in support of the Proposition, Rick Warren has nothing but deep remorse. During the CNN interview, Warren said:
"There were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends -- the leaders that I knew -- and actually apologized to them.”
Dr. Jim Garlow, the senior pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in the San Diego admits he is confused and troubled by Pastor Warren's decision to apologize for supporting Prop. 8.
"Historically when institutions and individuals back away from convictional biblical truth, it is driven primarily by one single factor -- and that is the respectability of other people. In other words, much more caring about what other people think about them than what God thinks about them," he concludes.
Another Pastor, from Washington, DC, lamented that Rick Warren has done "tremendous damage" by his latest apology. According to Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr.,of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, Warren’s statements on CNN were very disappointing.
"This man … who I really respect with all my heart and love what he's doing in Africa, is falling into a trap that is emblematic of the problem that the entire church is facing in this generation," Jackson states. "And that is that we love the applause of men more than we love the work of God and the gospel. Jesus...told us that we are to honor God first, and that we are not to fear men but we're to fear God."
Gay-marriage supporters not giving up
The Anti-Proposition 8 crowd are headed back to their favourite and most potent arsenal – the Court, where they hope to have the people’s will, (as clearly demonstrated in Prop 8) overturned. A false report (on May 15) is actually making them to celebrate early victory, far too prematuredly.
However, they probably have pretty good reasons to be optimistic. Serious pressure, including carefully-planned blackmails and boycotts are being organized against specific individuals and companies who had supported the Proposition. Evidences, such as the new dance-steps of people like Rick Warren, show that the measures are working – sadly. Like San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom had boasted, "the door's wide open, it's going to happen, whether you like it or not".
Of course, like most other issues defining the end-time conflict, it is only the Lord who can tell on which side of the Rapture this ‘going to happen’ would happen!