...saw his meeting with her as something other than an opportunity to point her to Jesus.
In case you don't know, Melissa Etheridge is yet another performer who sees herself as heroic for having yielded herself to degrading passions, and as a martyr for not having succeeded in forcing everyone to approve of her perversion... yet.
If she is to be believed, Warren used his encounter with her mainly to try to make her like him, Rick Warren. Warren assured her that he's a fan, he affirms equal rights for gays, he's conflicted, he's sorry for what he said about her perversion... you know, talking about her perversion like it's a perversion or something.
Now, just in case I'm ever considered for such a situation, I don't want the "against" case to be unnecessarily weak. So let me be plain: I do unhesitatingly mention homosexuality and "gay" "marriage" in the same breath as pederasty and bestiality. Ethically, it's a "duh."
Homosexual advocates hate this argument because it's irrefutable: if you redefine "marriage" to include two same-sexers indulging in serial perversion, there is no rational, consistent case to be made against any redefinition of marriage, including incest, polygamy, a man and five women (or men or goats) — or a man and his favorite five-iron.
Here's the whole problem with the Etheridge-mindset. They want to exclude practicing Christians from public life, while denying that that is what they're doing. They're not opposed to Christianity, they say; they're opposed to homophobia — that undefined word that ends up working out to mean "admitting out loud that homosexuality is always and definitionally immoral."
They just don't get the difference between worshiping God and trying to be God. If you're opting for the latter, then of course they're right. Anything goes, literally anything. Define perversion as morality, sum up 2+2 as 2304985 - whatever. You're God. You get to call it. It's a perk.
But if there is an infinite-personal God, He gets to do the defining. And He defines homosexuality, bestiality, rape, and such things as always and everywhere immoral, no matter how much the perp "feels in his heart of hearts" that it is the right thing to do. Because if there is such a God, then it is He, and not mankind, who is the measure of all things.
So, while I'm waxing prolix, I'll anticipate the snippy snipe certain types would want to throw at me. "What would you have done, in Warren's shoes? Told Etheridge she was going to Hell?"
I'll answer straight up — after one disclaimer.
Disclaimer: As I've often said, I do not equate my big talk from the safety of my keyboard with actual Daring Deeds Done. Talk is talk, action is action, the two are not synonyms. God knows I have failed and buckled and chickened-out far too often to feel proud and boasty about what a wonderful job I would have done if I were in ____'s shoes.
Straight-up answer: What I hope I would have done is seen it as maybe the only time Melissa Etheridge has been in the same room / on the same line as a preacher of the Gospel, ever. What I hope I would have done is told her that she and I are in the same boat. We're sinners, lost and hopeless. Her sin-of-choice is a sexual perversion; but I've played host (even if only mentally) to enough sinful passions and schemes to send me to the deepest Hell forever and ever, justly and righteously. We are different peas from the same pod.
I hope I would have told Etheridge that I believed Jesus, the whole package. That I believed He was who He said He was - God in human flesh, come to save sinners like her and me. That I believed He was right in affirming the Word of God that condemns her darling passions as surely as it condemns mine.
Further, I hope I'd have told Etheridge that I believed Jesus was truthful in saying that He was the way, the truth and the life, and that no one could have a relationship with the Father except through Him. That the only hope and chance for her and me is that Jesus pays for our sins, and secures forgiveness and hope and deliverance for us.
And finally I hope I'd have told her that, believing in Jesus as I do, I take his word as non-negotiable. That if He said homosexuality was fine, I would too. But since He says murder, theft, homosexuality, adultery and such things are sinful, so must I. Because I believe Jesus, and He's Lord. Not me.
And because being a Christian isn't a process of negotiation.
That's what I hope I would have said.
And I think Warren, had he been more concerned about her soul than his popularity, might have said something like that.
If she's reporting the conversation accurately.