Pastor Rick: Austerity For Thee But Not For Me

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It's Easter and I'm trying to be nice. But as I recall, Jesus knocked down the moneychangers in the temple, so there's divine precedence, right? On This Week with Jake Tapper, here's the smarmy megachurch pastor, Rick Warren, who's already preparing for a possible change in administration (we last saw him preachifying at President Obama's inauguration) by spreading the blame around for the country's economic mess.

This man of God, the one preaching about "instant gratification" on the part of people who bought things, doesn't have a word to say about the crooks who tricked them into it. And he doesn't mention the wars and tax cuts for the rich that are the main drivers of our national debt. Nor does he mention his own $14 million net worth, because someone might quote Luke 18:22-23 to him:

Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

I'm tired of these Prosperity Gospel snakes perverting the things that were so powerful about the person they claim to follow, trying to turn Jesus into some kind of Heavenly CEO. Oh, and Happy Easter!

Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren told me that the poor economy has continued to impact his congregation, saying, “Most people would not think they’re better off economically than they were four years ago.”

While he says his church has worked to provide aid and counseling services to those in need, Warren said there is “spiritual cause” to the country’s economic and debt woes.
“The biggest problem for all of our economic problems is our inability to delay gratification,” Warren said, with individuals and the government following the attitude of, “I want it and I want it now, and I’m going to buy it even if I can’t afford it.”

TAPPER: The economy has been a very difficult thing for a lot of your parishioners, a lot people throughout the country. How do you counsel parishioners who come to you, congregants who come to you, struggling to make ends meet?

WARREN: Well, we definitely have seen our benevolence going up this last year. We fed about 70,000 different people through Saddleback Church in our food bank. Just here in Orange County. I have 11 percent of my people out of work right now. So we’re doing everything from job training to helping people learn how to do interviews, to trying to talk about how to create secondary incomes. We do all kinds of practical things. We offer out of our church PEACE center immigration services, legal services, job training, counseling, financial counseling…

WARREN: But regardless of all the problems that we see out there, I think they all have at their root a spiritual cause. And we have overspent… We have not been a responsible — we’ve bought things we didn’t need with money we didn’t have to impress people we didn’t even like. And now we’re paying the piper. And you cannot ignore the principles of finance that are in God’s word, and they are in the Book of Proverbs. It’s quite clear, they’re principles of business, principles of economics that are actually in the Bible.

WARREN: And when you ignore these things, then we’re going to get deeper and deeper into debt, and then we can’t blame God for that… The biggest problem for all of our economic problems is our inability to delay gratification. I want it and I want it now, and I’m going to buy it even if I can’t afford it. And not only have people done that, the government’s done it…

TAPPER: You said in December that no American could say that they’re better off than they were four years ago. You still think that that’s true?

WARREN: Well, I don’t think so, not economically. There may be a portion. But I have my ear to the ground. I’m on a lot of social media, and I do a lot of speaking nationally, and of course I have a congregation that’s very large. It talks to me all the time. Most people would not think they’re better off economically than they were four years ago.

TAPPER: And who do you hold responsible for that?

WARREN: I hold everybody responsible for that. I hold the people who got themselves in debt. I hold the government that got themselves in debt. I hold multiple administrations. It’s not the fault of any one person. There’s plenty enough blame to be passed around.

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