Austin Hill

Breaking News: Pastor Rick Warren may be about to receive a bunch of gift cards.

The press release just arrived in my inbox this weekend. A gay marriage advocacy group, livid over Warren’s support of Proposition 8 in California, and even more livid over Warren’s selection to provide the invocation at President-elect Obama’s inauguration, has embarked on a campaign to send Dunkin Donuts gift cards to the Pastor.

Why donuts? Because in a recent interview where he was questioned about being afraid of homosexuals, Warren made it clear that he is not afraid of homosexuals, that he has always remained open to dialog with homosexuals, and that he treats them with the respect that they are due. He also stated that “when the protesters came (presumably he meant that they came to his church facility), we served them water and donuts…”

So the plan is to now “protest” Rick Warren by returning the favor of donuts. And at Dunkin Donuts one can apparently customize a gift card with personal photos, so the objective is for Warren to receive gift cards baring the images of gay and lesbian couples and families. Now, stimulating the economy via the donut sector is fine by me. However, things could get ugly if certain other activist groups try to make good on their plans to hit Warren in the face with donuts when he bows to pray at the inauguration (as has been discussed on certain blog sites).

But while Warren is being attacked by liberal America because he thinks marriage is a distinct relationship between one man and one woman, he has also been criticized by many moderate and conservative Americans because of his willingness to pray at Obama’s inauguration.

And let me be clear. I’ve never met Rick Warren, and I don’t belong to his church. Earlier this decade I interviewed him a few times about the release of his wildly popular book “The Purpose Driven Life,” and he’s a great interview guest. He’s energetic, well informed, witty, substantive. In many ways he’s a media host’s ideal guest - - and that’s a compliment.

But I was disheartened by the harsh criticism of Warren this past week, from listeners of my talk show at Washington, DC’s 630 WMAL. Even among callers to the show who identified themselves as “socially conservative,” the critique of Warren was often very negative. The rationale behind this criticism generally went like this: A) The professed social policy views of Obama and Warren are incompatible with each other; B) By agreeing to pray at Obama’s inauguration, Warren is necessarily endorsing Obama and his views.; and therefore C) Warren’s decision to participate in the inauguration is motivated by his own hypocrisy and self-interest.

Austin Hill

Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.