Rick Warren’s Obama-Romney ‘Civil Forum’ canceled due to lack of civility

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Pastor Rick Warren has canceled his highly anticipated “Saddleback Civil Forum” with presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, citing a lack of civil discourse between the two campaigns. Warren will hold a forum on religious liberty instead, which may bring attention to the Obama administration’s birth control mandate less than two months before the presidential election.

Barack Obama with the Rev. Rick Warren at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. / Monica Almeida / The New York Times

“We created the civil forums to promote civility and personal respect between people with major differences,” Warren told The Orange County Register.

“The forums are meant to be a place where people of goodwill can seriously disagree on significant issues without being disagreeable or resorting to personal attack and name-calling. But that is not the climate of today’s campaign.

“I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don’t expect that tone to change before the election. … It would be hypocritical to pretend civility for one evening only to have the name-calling return the next day.”

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