Rick Warren is an author, megachurch pastor and well-known figure in both faith and social service circles. Additionally, he's an active Twitter user. The revered reverend regularly takes to his micro-blog to share his thoughts on faith, service to the poor and plenty more. It was one of his political Tweets, though, that had the blogosphere buzzing yesterday. According to NewportBeachPatch:
Political blogs are all atwitter about a tweet sent from the account of Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, implying opposition to higher taxes for the rich.
"HALF of America pays NO taxes. Zero," Warren tweeted. "So they're happy for tax rates to be raised on the other half that DOES pay taxes."
It didn't take long for bloggers and journalists to respond to the politically-charged Tweet. Yesterday, Politico covered Warren's take on taxes and the message's subsequent deletion. While Politico was diplomatic in its article, the left-leaning blog Wonkette engaged in name calling and flew off the handle with the following response:
Evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren, whom you may remember as the official evangelical homophobe schlub selected to give the invocation at Obama’s inauguration, thought fit to weigh in on the debt ceiling debate. How does Jesus feel about taxes, Rick?
After Warren deleted the controversial Tweet, he then posted a response to another Twitter user, @Karoli. He wrote, "@Karoli You are 100% right! It did sound mean," likely referring to the tone of his initial message about tax rates.
Another Twitter user (@lshadgett) whose public name is Lane Shadgett and who describes himself as "a screenwriter in Hollywood, a political junkie, a Pittsburgh sports enthusiast, and a very bad surfer," sent the following Tweet:
Warren's first Tweet was likely a response to President Barack Obama's speech on Monday. The Huffington Post provides a recap:
Obama's speech on the debt ceiling called into question the Republican Party's insistence that a new debt ceiling deal simply cut spending, not increase revenue through new taxes. The President framed the plan as a choice to ask lower income or fixed income Americans to sacrifice before corporations and wealthier taxpayers do.
One wonders why Warren removed the Tweet. It probably would have been more appropriate for him to simply address it and apologize -- if he felt such a move was necessary. Or, simply own the Tweet and move on. Perhaps Warren's public stance as a non-partisan pastor of sorts (he moderated a debate between John McCain and Obama back in 2008) impacted his decision to delete the message. Regardless of the motivation, the Tweet's removal leaves people, like Shadgett, questioning his actions.
(h/t The Huffington Post)