Appearing on Fox’s Hannity and Colmes last night to promote his new book, Pastor Rick Warren made a brief foray into foreign policy. Responding to Hannity’s assertion that “we need to take him [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] out,” Warren agreed, saying that stopping evil “is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers.”
Does Warren really consider it part of his ministry to sanctify the inch-deep theologizing-cum-warmongering of thugs like Sean Hannity? If so, who else does Warren think Jesus would bomb?
I contacted Pastor Warren’s office for clarification, specifically to find out where, exactly, the Bible says that “God puts government on earth to punish evildoers” like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They said they’d get back to me. I’ll update if and when they do. I suspect Warren was referring to Romans 13, in which the Apostle Paul admonished Christians to submit to governing authorities (Hear that Hannity? Submit!), and also addressed the power of civil government to punish criminals. This has nothing to do, as far as I know, with invading foreign countries and killing their leaders, which is the context in which Warren is speaking.
In any case, if this were a conversation between an Iranian TV host and an ayatollah in which they discussed scriptural justifications for “taking out” high ranking members of the U.S. government, you’d probably see Sean Hannity running the clip on his show — while slowly shaking his head in pious disapproval — as evidence of what crazy extremists those Iranians are. As it is, they’ll probably be running this on Iranian TV as evidence of what crazy extremists those Americans are.
HANNITY: Can you talk to rogue dictators? Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust, wants to wipe Israel off the map, is seeking nuclear weapons.
HANNITY: I think we need to take him out.
HANNITY: Am I advocating something dark, evil or something righteous?
WARREN: Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped. And I believe…
HANNITY: By force?
WARREN: Well, if necessary. In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. Not good-doers. Evildoers.
HANNITY: I’m just gotten, thanks to my wife, who you know, you know, been reading the Old Testament. Because as a good Catholic growing up, I studied more the New Testament.
WARREN: Just ignored that part.
HANNITY: I ignored the Old Testament. But what about King David? What about the — all the battles, all the conflict, you know, going back – - you know, Abraham — Adam and Eve and their children, going forward?
WARREN: The point is, there are some things worth dying for. There’s no doubt about that. And I would die for my family. I would die for my freedom. I would die for this country.
HANNITY: If somebody broke into your house, you would be justified to kill them?
WARREN: I would be justified to protect my family. Absolutely.
HANNITY: And if it took killing them?
HANNITY: But it’s not murder at that point?
WARREN: No. Murder is not self-defense.
Pastor Warren’s office called back to confirm that Warren was indeed referring to Romans 13. I responded, as I wrote in my post, that Romans 13 addresses the power of civil government to punish criminals, and has nothing to do with killing foreign leaders. Warren’s representative said she’d check on that and get back to me again.