This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," December 3, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And here we are, just a few weeks away from Christmas, and, as thousands prepare to celebrate it, well, it seems that few know the true meaning of the holiday. But one man who does understand what Christmas is all about is our good friend, Pastor Rick Warren.
In his brand-new book, "The Purpose of Christmas," the Saddleback pastor explains how Christmas is a time for celebration, salvation, reconciliation. And he challenges all of us to make this holiday season one that will change our lives forever. Pastor Rick Warren.
PASTOR RICK WARREN, AUTHOR, "THE PURPOSE OF CHRISTMAS": Good to see you, Sean.
HANNITY: I love "The Purpose Driven Life." It is — it's impacting my life a lot.
WARREN: Thank you.
HANNITY: And this is a great book.
WARREN: Thank you.
HANNITY: We forget. We were all out shopping, and New York goes crazy with turkey and ham. And do we stop and think about what Christmas is about?
WARREN: You know, it's kind of like with Thanksgiving, on Thanksgiving we do just everything except give thanks. We eat, we watch football, we have a good time with family. Almost nobody gives thanks to God at Thanksgiving, unless there's a short prayer before we eat.
HANNITY: Can I ask you, are you as normal as what you're describing, or are you — because you're a pastor. You — you probably are better at this than, say, I am. I need to do better.
WARREN: In the book, I talked about it. I said, Christmas is the time for celebration, so I'm not against decorating, putting on lights, buying gifts. In fact, the whole reason we give gifts is the wise men gave gifts to Jesus at the first Christmas, and that started the gift-giving process.
WARREN: But we've got to remember why Jesus came to earth.
HANNITY: Well, and it was for the salvation of man's soul and reconciliation to God.
WARREN: You know...
HANNITY: Do I have to forgive Alan for Christmas?
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Would be a nice start.
HANNITY: Can I say something? You know, he got everything he wanted this year.
WARREN: Do you have a little (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right here?
HANNITY: He got Barack Obama elected. It's absolutely, you know...
WARREN: You know what? I'm — I'm bound to be a bridge builder, and I'm here for a reconciliation, because America does not want to see you guys split up.
HANNITY: Well, he's — and he abandoned me. Blame him.
COLMES: Thank you. If you can bring us back together, then you really are gifted.
HANNITY: OK. He wants to wait for me (ph).
COLMES: No, no, no.
HANNITY: But in all honesty, as a Christian, you know what? You know what — I used took a few days' vacation, I think, sometime around Christmas. And when you stop, you begin to realize, you know what? We go at a pretty fast pace.
HANNITY: And we don't really stand back and reflect a lot. And this book makes you reflect and think of the real purpose and meaning of life and things.
WARREN: Well, part of it is, one of the ideas I try to get across is, opening God's Christmas gift to you.
If you gave me a Christmas gift, and I never opened it, and a year later, you go, "Hey, Rick, did you like my gift?"
And I go, "Oh, Sean, I'm really glad you gave it to me. Unfortunately, I was too busy to open it." What kind of friend are you?
And first, I missed the benefit of the gift. And second, you're kind of a little ticked off because I didn't open it.
God has given us a gift in Jesus Christ. And people don't understand: it's for our benefit. One of the things that says, "For unto you is born this day a savior." They say, "Well, I don't need a savior." Believe me: if you didn't need one, God wouldn't have sent it. Because — because he wouldn't have wasted the time. And Jesus meets every one of our deepest needs. And what we need to do is accept his gift of a pastor-given (ph), purposeful living home in heaven.
COLMES: Pastor, did you just say "peed off"?
WARREN: "Peed off?" No, I didn't. I might have.
COLMES: All right. Let me ask you: you talk about, OK, so you think everybody needs a savior.
WARREN: I do.
COLMES: Well, what about those people who don't — you know, I happen to be Jewish. Not everybody — and Jesus, by the way, I have a lot in common with. Same religion.
COLMES: So not everybody necessarily goes that route.
WARREN: The thing is, Alan, I believe Jesus Christ came for everybody. I don't think he came for Christians. The Bible says take this good news to the whole world.
I don't care whether you're Baptist, Buddhist, Mormon, Methodist, Jewish, Muslim, or no religion at all. Jesus Christ still loves you. You still matter to God.
COLMES: True, and I think that's a wonderful message. But if you don't accept Jesus, if you're not something who goes that route religiously...
COLMES: ... can you find your way to heaven? Can you still be — go to the same place when it's all said and done?
WARREN: I'm not the authority on that, but I believe Jesus is. And everybody's betting their life on something. Jesus said, "I am the way." I'm betting that he's not a liar. I'm betting that he told the truth.
COLMES: What about — what does it say for all those people who do not accept Christ as their personal savior?
WARREN: I'm saying that this is the perfect time to open their life, to give it a chance. I'd say give him a 60-day trial.
COLMES: Like the Book of the Month Club.
WARREN: Give him a trial. See if he'll change your life. I dare you to try trusting Jesus for 60 days. Or your money guaranteed back.
COLMES: Really? You're going to give me the money back?
WARREN: Absolutely. Direct to me, Sean Hannity, FOX News Channel.
COLMES: But seriously, because I wonder. I mean, do you look differently upon those people like me who are not Christians but still don't believe...?
WARREN: I do not look differently on them. I think God...
HANNITY: He likes you more than I like you. He loves you. He tells you every time he's here.
COLMES: He's a good American.
WARREN: We're all created in the image of God. There's no doubt about that. There's not a person on earth that God doesn't love, but God wants us to learn to love him back.
And to me, God says, "I've given you this gift of grace, which means you don't earn your way to heaven. You don't work your way to heaven. You simply receive my gift."
And — and that means we need to unwrap the gift that God has given us, and your past can be forgiven. You can have a purpose for living, and you can have a home in heaven.
COLMES: Can you do all those things in other religions, too?
WARREN: I don't know how you would possibly do that. God didn't send 100 Jesuses; he didn't send 1,000. He sent one.
COLMES: Barack Obama has not been sworn in yet, but already, he's getting a national holiday. Perry County, Alabama, commission, they passed a resolution last week making the second Monday in November Barack Obama Day, and all county offices will be closed in celebration of the president- elect.
We now continue with Rick Warren. By the way, it's national if it takes an act of Congress to undo it, apparently. But good idea or bad idea?
WARREN: Well, you know what? I don't know that we've ever had a precedent where you set a holiday for somebody who's alive. You usually honor people...
COLMES: Well, I mean, local municipality.
WARREN: We usually honor people who have passed on. But, you know, I have to say I understand — well, no, I couldn't possibly understand the depth of joy in the African- American community...
WARREN: ... for a significant barrier being broken.
COLMES: And this county is 70 percent African-American.
WARREN: Even those who voted against President-elect Obama have to certainly understand the historical nature of that.
COLMES: I want to ask you about an event you just did. You gave a Medal of Peace award George W. Bush. Now, I acknowledge, he's done a lot of great work on the HIV/AIDS issue. That's what you honored him on.
WARREN: That's exactly what we honored him for.
COLMES: But to give a peace award to a guy who started two wars...
COLMES: ... neither of which are completed yet.
COLMES: Some people might see that a little askance.
WARREN: Well, the Peace Award was not about peace in domestic — or foreign policy. It was about — it's presented by the Peace Coalition, to promote reconciliation, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, educate the next generation.
So the Peace Award was given to represent expertise or excellence in one of those five areas. And nobody has done more, Alan, for global health. Even President Clinton and President-elect Obama both gave tributes in this area.
COLMES: I understand that, but calling it a Peace Award, may be a misnomer, given the fact he may not be considered the best person under that sobriquet.
WARREN: It was named peace because it's given by the Peace Coalition.
COLMES: Right. Do you ever fear, taking a political position, that it may turn off people who may not — may otherwise be — you know, take to you in a way?
WARREN: Yes. That's why I don't take political positions. For instance, that particular global simulcast was actually bipartisan. You know, we had Tony Blair giving a tribute and lots of people, Ban Ki-moon and Bono and all kinds of people.
COLMES: Was there any fallout? Now you did that forum with John McCain and Barack Obama.
COLMES: And any fallout from that? Do you think that had any kind...
WARREN: Yes, both sides didn't like me.
COLMES: Really? Did you have words with both candidates afterwards? Were they both displeased?
WARREN: No, no, no. Actually, I thought they both did a good job. You know, the thing I loved about that, the civil forum is that they both spoke one hour each without ever condemning the other person and still got their point across.
HANNITY: I thought it was a great forum, by the way, and — I really do. I'm not — it was — very different personalities. I think that I would have preferred John McCain won.
I want to ask you a question, because Alan brought up the question of peace. Do we define "peace" as the absence of conflict, the absence of war? Does evil exist? Do we need to defeat evil? Is it a good thing if you — if you beat back the forces of fascism and Nazism?
HANNITY: I think it is.
WARREN: Absolutely. I'm not looking for peace on earth, though, through a political solution, Sean. I'm a pastor.
The Bible talks about three kinds of peace. Because the Bible says at Christmas, "peace on earth, goodwill toward men."
HANNITY: That's a prayer. That's...
WARREN: Which is a prayer. And of course, we want civility. We want peace on earth. There is peace with God. There's the peace of God. And there's peace with each other.
There's never going to be peace in the world until there's peace in nations. There's never going to be peace in nations till there's peace in communities and families and in individual lives.
HANNITY: But is it — but we're born in a fallen condition.
COLMES: We are?
HANNITY: I mean, so human beings are imperfect.
HANNITY: All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. OK, so with that understanding, there's always going to be human evil. The question is, can you eradicate it. In other words, the whole issue came up. Can you — can you talk to rogue dictators.
Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust, wants to wipe Israel off the map, is seeking nuclear weapons.
HANNITY: I think we need to take him out.
HANNITY: Am I advocating something dark, evil or something righteous?
WARREN: Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. It has to just be stopped. And I believe...
HANNITY: By force?
WARREN: Well, if necessary. In fact, that is the legitimate role of government. The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. Not good-doers. Evildoers.
HANNITY: I'm just gotten, thanks to my wife, who you know, you know, been reading the Old Testament. Because as a good Catholic growing up, I studied more the New Testament. WARREN: Just ignored that part.
HANNITY: I ignored the Old Testament. But what about King David? What about the — all the battles, all the conflict, you know, going back - - you know, Abraham — Adam and Eve and their children, going forward?
WARREN: The point is, there are some things worth dying for. There's no doubt about that. And I would die for my family. I would die for my freedom. I would die for this country.
HANNITY: If somebody broke into your house, you would be justified to kill them?
WARREN: I would be justified to protect my family. Absolutely.
HANNITY: And if it took killing them?
HANNITY: But it's not murder at that point?
WARREN: No. Murder is not self-defense.
WARREN: And the Bible also says that governments can do things that I'm not supposed to do as an individual. God has authorized — God has not put the law in my hands. He's put the law in the government's hands.
HANNITY: But he's also put the law in your heart, so you know right from wrong. And you know, the apostles understood things because Jesus — Jesus revealed it to their hearts. So don't we have to become like the apostles and understand in our heart what's right and wrong?
WARREN: Well, ultimately, the heart of the issue is an issue of the heart. And that's why I'm a pastor, not a politician. Because I think only — only God can change hearts. And only God can take the evil out. I don't think you can legislate the evil out of people.
HANNITY: The Latin for repentance is "change of heart."
WARREN: You know, you're doing your homework.
HANNITY: A little bit. I'm not near you. I'm just a humble, you know, little host here.
COLMES: You're humble?
HANNITY: All right. Yes, as a matter of fact.
COLMES: Just checking.
HANNITY: I get on my knees every morning, and I ask God for patience to deal with you.
WARREN: You know, I love being on this show.
COLMES: Apparently, God's not listening.
HANNITY: That's insulting — I'll accept your apology in a moment.
WARREN: Peace on earth. Good will toward men.
COLMES: I've got my mediator.
HANNITY: Good to see you. And it's a great book, by the way.
WARREN: Thank you.
HANNITY: And it's a great Christmas gift.
WARREN: Thank you, Alan.
COLMES: Thank you.
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