[For a more complete description of Rick Warren's speech at the Anaheim Angels April 17, 2005 Saddleback 25th anniversary celebration, see this Talk To Action story
As interviewed for an April 17, 2005 story by the ASSIST News Service, on Saddleback Church's 25th anniversary, held at Southern California's Anaheim Angels stadium, during which "Purpose Driven" author and founder of Saddleback Rick Warren unveiled his global P.E.A.C.E. Plan, Watergate scandal felon and former Nixon hatchetman turned evangelical leader Chuck Colson told ASSIST News that Richard Nixon would have loved Warren's P.E.A.C.E. Plan, and Colson stated that George W. Bush approved of the plan as well:
When asked if he thought that Nixon would support Warren's PEACE Plan, Colson replied, "I think he would love this. The whole idea that people taking the initiative to rebuild communities and do the good work in the community was something very close to Nixon's heart. It's also very close to George Bush's heart. I've gotten to know President Bush quite well and this is the kind of thing that he really just loves to see happen; people getting out to do the things that are needed and not waiting for the government to do it."
Colson went on, during the interview, to offer his personal endorsement of Warren's plan, praising the Saddleback Church pastor's effectiveness and shared vision, and Colson pledged to work with Warren:
"I am endorsing the PEACE Plan because I have huge admiration for Rick Warren. I think it he one of the great men of our age and he has the vision and capacity to bring into being the kind of things that I have worked my soul for this last 30 years...
"In the last six months, Rick and I have spent a lot of time talking with one another. We have the same vision, but he's got a bigger one and a great capacity to pull it off and we are going to work together...
Chuck Colson praise was not hollow; Colson and Rick Warren are currently collaborating in a video series on presenting "Worldview":
Christian leaders Chuck Colson and Rick Warren have joined together to produce a stimulating new study called Wide Angle: Framing Your Worldview.
Our worldview --the way we look at life--impacts everything we do. The moral choices we make; the way we spend our money; the kind of relationships we have; the priorities we set.
The question is : Is our worldview fully shaped by Christian truth? And do we know the best way to detect and counter the false values of our culture?
In this brand new DVD study series, Colson and Warren tackle some of the key issues of our day: truth vs. relativism, creationism vs. Darwinism, tolerance, terrorism, and so much more. You will learn about competing worldviews, the biblical basis for a Christian worldview, and its application to every facet of life.
Rick Warren's "worldview" is not at all moderate, as journalist Michelle Goldberg observed in a December 18, 2008 UK Guardian, A wolf in sheep's clothing,
"If nothing else, Rick Warren is a miracle worker in the realm of public relations. He is a man who compares legal abortion to the Holocaust and gay marriage to incest and paedophilia. He believes that Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and other non-Christians are going to spend eternity burning in hell. He doesn't believe in evolution. He recently dismissed the social gospel - the late 19th- and early 20th-century Protestant movement that led a religious crusade against poverty and inequality - as "Marxism in Christian clothing"
As the ASSIST News Service story described, the P.E.A.C.E. Plan amounted to "the church's commitment to a new reformation in Christianity and vision for a worldwide spiritual awakening in the 21st Century through the PEACE Plan that [Rick Warren] believes will mobilize one billion foot soldiers from the Christian church in missions by the year 2020."
Outlining his P.E.A.C.E. Plan before his audience, Rick Warren revealed a divinely inspired vision on what Warren says are the two biggest global problems, "spiritual emptiness" and "egocentric leadership". Warren has defined being "spiritually empty" as not being a born-again Christian, and "egocentric leadership" as a lack of leaders who model their behavior "after Jesus". Thus, the P.E.A.C.E. Plan amounted, principally, to a restatement of the traditional evangelical goal of Christianizing the world.
During his speech unveiling the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, Rick Warren told his audience that he had been instructed by God to seek more influence, power and fame, in order to better work for the good of the world.
The goal of addressing human needs, the problems of disease, poverty and illiteracy, were subsidiary components of pastor Warren's plan too but in some cases may be undermined by Warren's religious ideology. As journalist Max Blumenthal has investigated, in a recent story on Rick Warren's influence in the African country of Uganda, Rick Warren's Africa Problem Warren's heavily publicized crusade against AIDS may in fact be increasing, in Uganda, incidence of HIV infection in that country. As Blumenthal detailed in his story, Rick Warren's key allies in Uganda have aggressively promoted "abstinence only" sex education, worked to reduce the availability of condoms, and attacked gay rights.
In the first two years that Uganda moved away from the successful "ABC" approach to HIV/AIDS prevention ["abstain" (to sex outside of marriage),"be faithful" (monogamous), and "use condoms"] and towards the "abstinence only" approach favored by the American Christian right, which encourages sexual abstinence and marriage, and discourages the use of condoms, new HIV infections in Uganda nearly doubled, from 60,000 new HIV infections per year to 130,000 per year.
Warren also encouraged his 30,000 assembled Saddleback Church followers to follow Jesus with the passionate dedication shown by young German men and women "in brown shirts" who gathered in Munich stadium in 1939 and formed, before Adolf Hitler, a mass-formation with their bodies spelling out the message "Hitler, we are yours". Hitler's movement, Warren told the stadium crowd, "almost took the world."
Warren's celebration, as aspirational models for Christian activism, of the dedicated followers in arguably the bloodiest political movement of the 20th Century, whose leader played a central role instigating a world war that killed roughly 55 million people, contrasted sharply with non-violent models for Christian activism often held up by Mainline Christian Protestant denominations, such as Martin Luther King and Mohatma Gandhi.
[below: videos show Rick Warren's 'Hitler youth' exhortation to Saddleback church members, and the same anecdote as told in a talk by Warren and hosted on his official P.E.A.C.E. Plan website]
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