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Rick Warren’s civil forum canceledcomment (0)

August 30, 2012

Saddleback Church pastor and “The Purpose-Driven Life” author Rick Warren announced Aug. 22 that a civil forum planned with President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been canceled.

Warren, who held a similar event in 2008 featuring then-candidate Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, said he pulled the plug this year because he believes discourse between the two campaigns has become so uncivil that a polite exchange for two hours would seem hypocritical.

“The forums are meant to be a place where people of goodwill can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attack and name-calling, but that is not the climate of today’s campaign,” Warren said, according to the Orange County Register. 

Warren announced plans for the forum in a conference call with reporters July 16. He said he had been in touch with senior officials from both campaigns who expressed their interest in participating, though no formal agreement had taken place.

The following day Politico quoted unnamed campaign officials as saying there would be no joint appearances by Obama and Romney before presidential debates that begin Oct. 3.

Warren, who said in July that 5,000 tickets would be available and distributed by lottery, announced alternate plans for an interfaith civil forum on religious freedom in September featuring “the leading Catholic ... Jewish ... and Muslim voice(s) in America” and said one thing they all have in common is “mutual concern for protecting religious freedom for everyone.”

The 2008 civil forum on the presidency produced one of the most memorable moments of that campaign. 

Asked for his perspective about when life begins, Obama said answering the question definitively was “above my pay grade.” McCain answered unequivocally “at the moment of conception,” solidifying his support among pro-life conservatives.  


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