The attention-driven Warren

The power play we saw at Saddleback proves that when it comes to self-regard the difference between preachers and politicians is a matter of style, but not degree.

Topics: 2008 Elections, War Room, Rick Warren,

“It’s not about you.”

That is the first line of Rick Warren’s mega-selling, self-help, orthodoxy-lite book, “The Purpose-Driven Life.” Funny, but that forum Saturday night with the two major presidential nominees sure looked like it was a lot about Rick Warren.

Warren talked about how both men are his friends. He often spent longer on questions than he needed to. He made a big fuss taking photos, first, with him and Obama, then with Obama and McCain, and then just with McCain.

It was more than a glory-shot moment for Warren. It was his evangelical moonshot.

And the message as he bounded around in his moon boots? Move over James Dobson and the rest of you haters: The mantle of Billy Graham and Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell has been passed to a new generation of leaders, and that new generation is me.



Anybody who thinks this new generation of evangelical preachers cares about nothing more than serving God is really deluding himself. (There are plenty of missions to go work on where television sets and book agents are nowhere to be found.) And just because their images are softened by jeans and patterned shirts, or they dial back the amount of scriptural references in their sermons while increasing the tempo for the music numbers that pepper their services, doesn’t mean they abhor power and attention. In fact, some of them seem to crave it as much, if not more, than the politicians that, sadly and increasingly, they feel entitled to grill in public forums.

I guess in a literal sense Warren means it when he says it isn’t about you. It’s about him.

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>