Pastor Rick Warren commemorates 10 years of 'The Purpose Driven Life'

Pastor Rick Warren on impact of his book over the last decade


This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 28, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Pastor Rick Warren is considered to be one of the most influential religious leaders in the country. His book "The Purpose Driven Life" has been read by more than 60 million people worldwide. It is currently being re-released to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

I sat down with the pastor to talk about the book and even asked him to share his opinion of President Obama. Take a look.


HANNITY: And joining us now, the pastor of Saddleback Church and the author of "The Purpose Driven Life," Rick Warren. How are you?

RICK WARREN, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: Good to see you, Sean. It's been a long time.

HANNITY: It's 32 million copies, the survey was done that "The Purpose Driven Life" was read by what, 20 percent of America.

WARREN: Twenty percent of America, that's 60 million people.

HANNITY: And you gave 90 percent of the proceeds to charity?


HANNITY: That's rare. It's usually the opposite way.

WARREN: I could have gone out and bought an island, have people serve me drinks with little umbrellas in them for the rest of my life, but when you write a book and the first sentence is it's not about you, the money is not for you either.

HANNITY: I'm not going to spend a lot of time on politics. Let me ask you then, do you think -- five years ago, if I said to you, after 30- some-odd states, California, I believe twice you told me before we came on the air, voted against gay marriage, but this year it changed.


HANNITY: Would you have thought five years ago that would happen? Would you have thought in five years that Colorado would legalize marijuana for recreational use, and what does it tell you about American society? Some people think this is evidence that America is morally is changing, and the culture is shifting and changing.

WARREN: There's no doubt about that. Each generation the morals do shift and change. We can see that in a lot of different areas. A lot of it also has to do with how things are framed. You see, if you take an issue and frame it as a rights issue, everybody believes in free rights, OK?

Honestly, I think what we have to look at is, are we looking to the government to bring moral recovery to the nation? The answer is you better not. That's never happened. It doesn't happen. If there's going to be a moral recovery in America, it's not going to happen by laws. If I actually thought that you could change people's behavior by making laws, I'd become a politician.

HANNITY: Thomas Payne in "Common Sense" said government in its best state is but a necessary evil, in the worst state an intolerable one." Said that if the guides of conscious were obeyed there would be no need for any other lawmaker. America, Our founders and framers, adopted limited government. That's changed. People look to the government to be their answer.

WARREN: Because trust has gone down. The greater the trust in a relationship -- t's true in a marriage, an organization, in a government, in our nation. The greater the trust, the fewer rules you need. The less trust you have, the more you start having to say, let's make a law for that one, for that one.

What happens, like in an organization, or a corporation, somebody gets off base, so they make a law to rein it in, and 90 percent of the other people weren't even going to bother them, but now they're hindered by the law. You get more and more regulations for the few people.

HANNITY: You don't seem concerned to me. I would have thought you might have been. For example, I knew Jerry Falwell, the moral majority.


HANNITY: I would have thought you would be more concerned that maybe America has lost touch in some ways.

WARREN: Absolutely, I do believe that. I absolutely do believe that. In fact, a Jewish philosopher of a previous generation called it the cut flower syndrome. What it is, flowers are beautiful, but if you cut them, you put them in a vase, they're going to stay beautiful for a period of time, but eventually they're going to fade, because you cut them off from the roots.

As America is cut off from its moral and spiritual and ethical roots, we're now seeing the flower fades. I actually had a debate with this in people's halls in Tiananmen Square with the communist government a number of years ago. I said you want the economic success of the west without the moral and ethical underpinnings. Capitalism works because there's a Judeo-Christian basis underneath it that says treat people well, with integrity, take care of people and things like that. If you take that out, you just take raw greed, you get what happened in Russia. You trade one for another.

HANNITY: For example, if somebody is a virgin till they're married they're considered odd, people in greater numbers live together.

WARREN: Right.

HANNITY: Abortion on demand is settled, at least according to the polls -- you add gay marriage, drug legalization. You're a pastor. Those are things you disagree with, right?

WARREN: Absolutely, I disagree with. What I don't agree with is that the way to stop them is law. I tell you why, because by the time something gets into the water, it's already downstream. Politics is always downstream from culture. When you start making a law to stop this, stop that, it's already in the culture.

HANNITY: You met President Obama back in 2008. I know you don't like to get in politics. Just say you don't want to answer if you don't want to answer. What do you think of him, how he's governed?

WARREN: I think every leader disappoints. There are certain things that President Obama's done I'm deeply disappointed in. I'll just leave it at that.


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