"It Would Be Hypocritical to Pretend Civility"

Rick Warren has canceled his planned repeat of 2008’s moderated forum between the two front-running presidential candidates, despite favorable circumstances:

“The forum was praised for its unique format and fairness,” Warren said Wednesday while announcing a decision not to hold the forum. “Also, the TV networks were eager to cover it again since it garnered one of the largest viewing audiences of that election. I talked with both campaigns about the possibility of doing it again, and they were both favorable to participating.”

Warren cites a pattern of incivility that has marked the campaigns of both Romney and Obama. Props to Warren for turning down what I assume would have been significant revenue from the TV rights, but I’m not sure I like his alternate plan:

“The constitution doesn’t just guarantee your freedom to worship; it guarantees you freedom from government intervention in you daily living out what you believe. That’s why we’ve chosen to host a civil forum on religious freedom in September instead of the presidential forum. It’s a fight for the constitution, not a personality.”

On the one hand, I’m a big fan of religious freedom, and Warren does plan to invite representatives from all three Abrahamic religions, but I don’t know that I buy into his belief in “widespread attempts to redefine the First Amendment”.