On Wednesday, conservative Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren expressed regret for instructing his congregation to support Proposition 8, California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. During an interview with HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill, Warren attempted to downplay his endorsement of the provision, claiming that he intended to communicate his private support to church members and was not trying to take a “public” position on the issue. Warren expressed regret for ever backing the measure:
WARREN: I never made a single statement on Prop 8 until the week before. In my own church, some members say, “Where do we stand on this?” I released a video to my own members. It was posted all over like it was an advertisement. [...]
HILL: When your have a church of 20,000 people and you have a book that 32 million people have read and that 60 million people have accessed, to say, “I was just giving a message”—
WARREN: You’re exactly right, Marc, and I learned a lesson from that. What I learned from that is that anything I say privately is now public. And I actually learned from that mistake… Everyone took that to mean I was pontificating to the whole world.
HILL: If you could do it again, would you not have made that statement a week before Prop 8?
WARREN: I would not have. I would not have made that statement. Because I wanted to talk to my own people. As a duty, as a shepherd, I’m responsible for those who put themselves under my care. I’m not responsible for everybody else.
During the interview, Warren reiterated his opposition to same-sex couples — arguing that “It’s not a sin to love somebody, it might be a sin to have sex with them” — and suggested that he still backs the spirit of Proposition 8, just as he did in 2008. Then, Warren published his “private” video on his “News & Views” website for all of his followers to see and his comments were unsurprisingly picked up by the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow. The video is still preserved thanks to The American Prospect and RightWingWatch. Here again is that “private” video supposedly intended only for his 20,000 church members, in which Warren says, “If you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8″:
Warren seemed to back away from his endorsement in 2009, telling Larry King that he “never once even gave an endorsement” of the proposition. Now that a majority of Americans consistently support marriage equality, he regrets that people actually paid attention to his anti-gay views.