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Pastor Rick Warren on the Economy, Election

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 11, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Pastor Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life," and the leader of Saddleback Church, made headlines this year when he invited both John McCain and Barack Obama to his church's stage for a presidential forum.

Now, even though the election is over, he remains involved in national issues. And just today, Pastor Warren spent the day spreading his message of hope during our tough economic downturn.

And for the first time since the election, Pastor Rick Warren, he joins us back on "Hannity & Colmes."

Pastor, good to sigh you, my friend.

PASTOR RICK WARREN, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: Good to see you, Sean and Alan.

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with Pastor Rick Warren

HANNITY: All right. Now I want to ask you this because we — all the talk that we've had about the economy. Now, before this economic, quote, "slowdown," collapse. I don't believe it's a collapse. I believe there is an ebb and flow to the economy. But that's when John McCain lost his momentum.

Barack Obama says spread the wealth around. Barack Obama, you know, 40 percent of people who don't pay income taxes are going to get a check. That — that, to me, is welfare.

So, with your message of Christianity, and you always want to help people, should it be coerced like that by the government? Or is that — is that destroying, I believe, wealth creation?

WARREN: Yes. Well, that's the — the answer to getting us out of this economic crisis, no doubt about it, is wealth creation, Sean. We — we tend to go to one of the two extremes. The pendulum goes back and forth. You know, America tends to have an economic crisis about every 20 years.

In the 1930s, we decided that markets didn't work and we needed big government. And then in the '70s we decided that government didn't work. We needed free markets. And now we see this trend going back the other way. But the truth is there are two pendulums.

On one side is what I call wealth monopolization, which is some of the excesses of Wall Street. When you've got a guy who creates $200 million, he makes $200 million in a week and really didn't create anything for the society, there's a real problem there.

But then we swing it over to the other, which is wealth redistribution.

HANNITY: Yes.

WARREN: The answer is neither wealth redistribution nor wealth monopolization. It's wealth creation. The answer is jobs.

HANNITY: And I — and I agree with you. By the way, in the "Purpose Driven Life," which is the second best-selling book in the world, you know, compared to the Bible. So congratulations. You give 90 percent of that money to charity.

WARREN: Yes.

HANNITY: And I think there's something about, I think God wants all of us to work. You talk about a purpose. And you talk about finding your purpose in life.

If the government takes care of your every need, you know, cradle to grave, you're not going to feel that stress. You're not going to feel that pressure to dig down deep with — inside yourself and find out what talents God gave you, bring them to fruition to serve other people while also creating a living for yourself. I think capitalism.

WARREN: Sean...

HANNITY: Go ahead. I know I'm getting long-winded. I'm sorry.

WARREN: Well, Sean, this — this economic crisis is a number of different things. There's an international component to it. There's an economic financial component to it. There's a personal and social component, and there's a spiritual component to it.

One of the big components that people don't talk about is that America has given up on the idea of living within its means.

HANNITY: Go to this personal component thing because, in other words, we're all built with a purpose, "Purpose Driven Life."

WARREN: Yes.

HANNITY: And we all have a responsibility to serve others. That's all biblical. And, yet, if we're catered to by the government, we're less inclined. There's not an incentive to do that, right?

WARREN: Well, I don't see — what I'd rather do is instead of the government taxing us and giving the money away to worthy causes. I'd rather let to have the government let us keep it and then you'd learn to give it away yourself, because then you get the credit and then you get the character development and then you get the heart of generosity.

If the government takes it from you and gives it away instead of me giving it away myself, I don't get the personal development. What we need to go back to today are these issues — hi Alan.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Look, I want to ask you about a couple of other things. We've covered a lot of ground here. But I was reading — or some members of your congregation were very disappointed in particularly — particular gay member of your congregation that you had come out in favor of Proposition 8.

She said, you know, "What do I do? Do I go inside the congregation or I do stand outside the Saddleback Church and protest?" And she was conflicted about that.

So I'm kind of curious because you normally have not taken strong political positions. What's your — you know, how do you deal with your congregation who may be disappointed here?

WARREN: Alan — Alan, I absolutely believe in loving everybody, giving respect to everybody, and giving everybody the freedom of choice. I just am opposed to redefining marriage. For 5,000 years that term, marriage, has represented a man and a woman. And so, even some of gay leaders like Al Rantel, KABC, and others, have said why would we redefine marriage?

COLMES: They want — should they have the same domestic rights? Should they have the same legal rights as anybody? Or should they be allowed to live in partnerships?

WARREN: I am not...

COLMES: Go ahead.

WARREN: I absolutely believe that people should show respect to everybody, regardless of their lifestyle, regardless of their beliefs, religious beliefs or any other kind of belief.

I think we live in a pluralistic society where we have to get along with each other and show common grace to each other. But I just didn't believe in redefining marriage.

COLMES: There are some legal issues involved.

Let me ask you about the election. Obama received five more points among evangelicals than John Kerry did. You know, if the past, it's been about abortion and gay rights, as we just talked about. But now there are issues that are also moral issues, things like Darfur, things like the environment.

Do you understand why that maybe there's a shift here in terms of the way evangelicals are voting because of these issues?

WARREN: Actually, I think, Alan, in this particular election, the economy trumped literally everything else. People were worried about the bread and butter issues.

And there are many people who would disagree with now President-elect Obama on some of his social issue things who did choose to vote for him, simply because he was actually campaigning like Reagan. We're going to give 95 percent of America a tax cut. That didn't sound like a traditional Democrat.

COLMES: Well, that may have been — may have helped him. Do you think your forum with both candidates had any effect on what happened during this election?

WARREN: I don't know.

COLMES: That's an honest answer.

WARREN: I'm going to — I'm going to keep my day job. But I sure enjoyed doing it. As I told you they're both good friends of mine. They're as opposite as night and day, but I happen to like them both.

COLMES: Do you see a shift in the way people are voting, based on current events, whether it's the economy or some of the other issues we mentioned? Are evangelicals changing the way they're voting in America?

WARREN: I don't think evangelicals have changed on any of their core issues at all, not at all. But I do think that, in this particular election, that the economy came up at the top.

People are nervous. You know, our 401(k)s have become 201(k)s. And they're saying what are we going to do about this?

COLMES: Pastor, we always appreciate having you you on. Thank you so much for your time tonight.

HANNITY: Thank you, Pastor.

COLMES: Appreciate it very much.

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