Rick Warren Superstar

Just about everything that can be said has been said about pastor Rick Warren's performance this past weekend with underlings John McCain and Barack Obama. Except this: by getting all moving cameras in the Free World fixed on his Saddleback Church, Warren officially propelled himself past two other evangelicals with a long history of publicity mongering around these parts.

You knew the granddaddy of 'em all, Robert H. Schuller, who has since handed the Crystal Cathedral's reins to his lifelong understudy Robert A. Schuller, was running out of star power when the best he could muster up for a Sunday show was Steve Allen's widow, Jayne Meadows.

Greg Laurie, who routinely grabs the media spotlight for his annual Harvest Crusade — making him the most recognizable Christian leader at Angels Stadium besides Mike Scioscia — seemed guaranteed to get a bump in secular coverage this weekend past due to the death of his son, Christopher Laurie, in a car crash on the 91 freeway last month. The big story was going to be Pastor Greg trying to maintaining his composure while sermonizing on keeping the faith amid family tragedy.

Then along came Warren's Thrilla in Lake Forest to hog up all the weekend air time.


Though this year's Crusade ran all weekend, the Laurie story was relegated to the front page of Monday's edition of the Orange County Register. Do you know who reads the Monday edition of the Orange County Register? Freshmen in desperate need of a last-minute current event for first period civics, Harbor Boulevard hookers in need of a wrap because cops confiscated their clothes, and Leisure World tweety birds taking steady aim at their cage lining. That's it, people.

So skull caps off to Pastor Rick, the reigning champ of Orange County evangelical Christiandom or Christianhood or Christ-on-a-Bikeness or whatever you call it – at least until Aliso Viejo faith healer Benny Hinn resurrects Christopher Reeve and makes him walk again.

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