BETHKE: Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice is to ridicule God's people. They did it to John the Baptist. I love the church, I love the Bible and yes I believe in sin. But if Jesus came to your church, would they actually let him in?
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TAPPER: So what is your reaction to this line of criticism from people who like faith...
R. WARREN: Sure.
TAPPER: ...but don't like religion?
R. WARREN: Sure. Well first place let me give a little personal grip. I think it's disingenuous that magazines like Newsweek know that their circulation goes up at Christmas and Easter if they put a spiritual issue on the cover, then it's always bait and switch. They never tell the stories, never tell the stories of what the good -- what good the church is doing. Never. Does the church have problems? Of course it does. Like every other institution that's made up of human beings so there's sin, failure, mistakes, stuff we would disavow. Of course.
But there's a general tendency throughout our society to distrust leadership and institutions. Not just the church, but government...
TAPPER: Sure. Corporations.
R. WARREN: ...corporations and academics.
R. WARREN: The media. Everything like that. So this is a general trend. It's -- it's like, this is news? This is worthy of putting on the cover?
TAPPER: Mitt Romney will almost certainly be the Republican nominee. And if that happens, which it looks like it will, he'll be the first member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to be the nominee. A lot of evangelicals have been talking about whether or not Mormons are Christians. Are Mormon's Christians?
R. WARREN: Well the -- the key sticking point for evangelicals and actually for many, is the issue of the trinity. That's the historic doctrine of the church that God is three in one. Not there Gods, one God in Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Mormonism denies that. That's a sticking point for a lot of Catholic Christians, Evangelical Christians, Pentecostal Christians because they don't -- they don't believe that. Now they'll use the same terminology, but they don't believe in the historic doctrine of the trinity. And people have tried to make it other issues, but that's really one of the fundamental differences.
TAPPER: When you gave the -- when you gave the invocation at President Obama's inauguration you said the following. "And as we face these difficult days ahead..."
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R. WARREN: May we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.
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How are we doing? What's the state of the nation spiritually?
R. WARREN: The coarsening of our culture and the loss of civility in our civilization is one of the things that concerns me most about our nation. We don't know how to disagree without being disagreeable. The fact is, you can -- you can walk hand-in-hand without seeing eye-to-eye. And what we need in our country is unity, not uniformity.
So I'm coming from that viewpoint in that we must return civility to our civilization in order to get on. But the reason I do that is because of the deeper reason, there's a spiritual root to my reason for civility. If you don't have a spiritual root for that reason, then you're going to be -- go for the expedient and that is we need to win.