Rick Warren, What Were You Thinking? – UPDATED

by Karoli on July 26, 2011 · 586 comments

This tweet is appalling. Odious. Have you fallen down the rabbit hole so far you have forgotten Matthew 25:31-46? Here, let me quote it for you, and for readers who may not be familiar with it:

From the New International Version:


31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Debunkery

Let’s get this out of the way first: What you said is untrue. Had you said 50% don’t pay income tax, you’d have at least been partly right, because tax preferences currently benefit lower and middle class taxpayers to some extent via the EIC, the child care credit, and other tax subsidies.

But to say they don’t pay taxes? That’s flatly untrue. Everyone who drives a car pays taxes when they fill up their tank. Everyone who buys toilet paper pays sales taxes here in California. Everyone who works has FICA/FUTA taxes withheld and paid. Everyone. Rich, poor, or middle. And as a percentage of income, those taxes are a whole lot more than the ones you defend as “already paying taxes”, especially when the taxes they do pay means they have to ration meals, or medications, or go without in order to feed their children.

Here’s a partial list of entities who paid no taxes. This is who you defend: General Electric, Bank of America, Boeing, Wells Fargo Bank, Goldman Sachs, Exxon-Mobil, Koch Industries, BP, and more. And for that privilege, some outsourced jobs to other countries, others just downsized, and still others decided they’d overwork their younger employees and let the older ones go while they still could.

Here’s someone else you’re defending: Hedge fund managers who bet that this country will go into default and arrange to make some money from that. Did you know they flow through income to themselves as capital gains at a 15% rate, which is lower than a married self-employed person who owns a home making $80,000 per year makes?

Did you mean to do that?

…the least of these…

Irreconcilable Differences

A visit to Pastors.com, Mr. Warren, speaks quite differently from your twitter stream, although I note there are other voices besides yours, and yours tends to put that formulaic spin on otherwise dry topics that have little to do with people and more to do with organizations. Still, since you are associated with the site, could you please tell me how you reconcile a post entitled “The Jesus Model of Ministry” with that tweet? Or perhaps you should give a bit more attention to this sermon series promoted on the Saddleback site about making changes in a Jesus-like fashion?

Or maybe you should just watch Lawrence O’Donnell explain what Jesus might do or say with regard to our country’s current attitude toward those struggling day-to-day.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The good news? Grace is yours to claim, but first I’d hope you would choose to confess to those you hurt and ask their forgiveness. It’s the Christian thing to do.

Update

This morning, I received this tweet from Mr. Warren and noticed a few more in his timeline that appeared to show a change of heart. I appreciate the acknowledgement, and hope that Mr. Warren will rethink his views on those who are less privileged in the US.

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