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CNN Larry King Live

Chris Brown Pleads Not Guilty; Interview with Pastor Rick Warren

Aired April 06, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Rick Warren in his first TV interview since he gave the invocation at Barack Obama's inaugural -- does he have faith in the new president's policies?

Does he see the lord providing in these tough economic times?

The purpose driven pastor answers your questions.

But first, singer Chris Brown has pleaded not guilty.

Will he stand trial on shocking charges that he brutally beat his girlfriend, music star, Rihanna?

Or is a deal in the works?

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll have outstanding panels joining us to deal with the Chris Brown case.

But first, let's check in with our own -- our former own Jim Moret -- one of my favorite people, chief correspondent for "INSIDE EDITION." He's in Los Angeles. We're in New York tonight.

What happened at the arraignment, Jim?

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, not surprisingly, Chris Brown pleaded not guilty to the two felony counts. He looked rather nervous as he walked in. He was dressed in all black -- black shirt, black tie, sweater, tuxedo pants. He appeared very nervous, frankly. I was sitting about 15, 20 feet behind him. And it almost looked like he needed prompting from his lawyer, Mark Geragos, to enter his not guilty plea.

He -- I've been in many courtrooms and some people have -- have an air of -- of lightness about them. He did not. He looked very serious and a bit nervous, a bit out of sorts.

KING: Usually arraignments take a very short period of time, right?

MORET: Right. This -- and this was basically how do you answer to charge one?

Not guilty.

Charge two?

Not guilty.

What happens next, there's another hearing set for later this month. And at that hearing, they're going to determine when to set the preliminary hearing. But, frankly, I don't think we're ever going to get to that point. I don't think this will go to trial.

KING: Yes. There are stories that they're working already on some sort of deal.

MORET: There are. And you never really know it until they happen. But it would surprise me.

The best thing for Chris Brown to do, if he wants to get this behind him quickly, is to settle it quickly. That means to enter a plea to some charge, to take this out of the courtroom and just deal with the -- the penalty phase.

KING: Jim, we'll check back with you in a little while.

By the way, tuxedo pants?

MORET: Yes, well, he was dressed in all black. He was formally dressed for court.

What can I say?



KING: That's new for me.

Anyway, Jim Moret.

And we'll check back with him when we return with him in a couple of minutes.

Now let's meet our panel.

Judge Jeanine Pirro presides over the court reality show that bears her name, former prosecutor and D.A. for Westchester County. Joe -- by the way, as D.A. she started one of the first domestic violence units in the country.

Here in New York, as well, is Joe Tacopina, the well-known defense attorney.

In Los Angeles, Judge Lynn Toler, who presides over TV's "Divorce Court".

And in Irvine, California is Tanya Brown, the younger sister of the late Nicole Brown, murdered ex-wife of O.J. Simpson. She's a life coach and activist against relationship violence. A week after his alleged assault, Chris Brown issued a statement that said, in part: "Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired. I'm seeking in counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones and I'm committed, with God's help, to emerging a better person."

Judge Pirro, is this all going to go away?

JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO, FORMER D.A. AND PROSECUTOR: I think that, ultimately, when you have Mark Geragos on one side and you've got Rihanna saying she really wants it to go away but that she will cooperate if necessary, I think that there is a plea deal in the works. I think they're very close.

I think the unfortunate part of all of this is that Chris and Rihanna did get back together right after it happened, signaling a very bad message to young people that it's OK to get back to -- together with a guy who beats you.

But, at the end of the day, the district attorney filed these charges after they got together. The D.A. knew what he was coming up against. They've got everything they need to go forward. But I don't think that, ultimately, we'll ever see a trial.

KING: Joe, what would be the plea deal that would satisfy you as a defense attorney?


KING: Give me what (INAUDIBLE)?

TACOPINA: I mean, obviously, he's charged with a felony. If you could get this down to a misdemeanor and -- and some form of counseling or whatnot. There's all this domestic violence counseling. I mean that's what you looking for. And if someone could do it, Mark can pull it off.

You know, the D.A. has a problem here, though, because if the -- the victim, if Rihanna is not willing to testify, Larry, it's going to be nearly impossible for them to drag her. I'm sure they could compel her. But you don't make a victim a victim twice. And it's going to be hard for them to get her on the stand.

So I think this is -- I think there's zero percent chance this is going to trial.

KING: Jim Moret described what Chris Brown looked like and how he spoke in court today.

We've got a brief clip of that.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how do you plead to count one, a violation of Section 245(a)(1) of the penal code?



As to count two, a violation of Section 422 of the penal code criminal threats charge?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Thank you very much.


KING: OK. Judge Toler, what do you expect to happen with all of this?

JUDGE LYNN TOLER, PRESIDING JUDGE, "DIVORCE COURT": I think there's going to be a plea deal, as well.

But I do want to -- to say something. You don't have to have a victim to testify in a domestic violence case. Often, in my jurisdiction, where we had a no drop policy, even when the woman didn't want to go forward, you can go forward with the circumstantial evidence. You have the evidence of the injury. You have the telephone call made to the police. You have the police able to testify as to what they saw when they got there. They -- you have all kinds of things that you can do absent making the person who is the victim testify.

And I think a lot of jurisdictions do that in order to maintain the kind of ability to pursue cases even when women do go back.

KING: Now, Tonya Brown, Rihanna's attorney, Donald Etra, spoke with reporters outside the courtroom.

Watch and then I want you to comment.


QUESTION: Does she believe he's not guilty?

DONALD ETRA, RIHANNA'S ATTORNEY: Her position of the case is to -- to leave the matters of guilt or innocence to the judge, the district attorney and defense counsel.


QUESTION: Would she prefer a plea deal?

ETRA: She would prefer that the matter be resolved expeditiously and fairly.


KING: Now, Tonya Brown, how would you like to see this resolved? TANYA BROWN, YOUNGER SISTER OF NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON: I want people to take responsibility for their actions, Larry. I think it's imperative. We're talking about counseling. We're talking about advocacy.

Firmly, I believe that we need to get batterers into batterer treatment programs, anger management classes -- which are usually the ones that are mandated by the court of law -- do not address domestic violence prevention or battering. And Chris Brown needs battering treatment programs.

As far as Rihanna, I think she's putting the matters into -- into the higher authority. She's taking the -- the emotion off of herself and giving it to the people that can take care of her. And I mean she's a young girl. She doesn't -- she doesn't need to do what we all do. She's handing that over to -- over to the people who know how to do the job best.

KING: All right. Judge Pirro, you were shaking your head.

PIRRO: You know, we talk, Larry, a lot about anger management and we talk about classes for batterers. Here's the bottom line. Batterers beat woman because they can, because they think they can get away with it. They don't slip and beat up a cop or beat up a guy. They -- they're cowards. These men, in particular, think that they can get away with it.

KING: So nothing can be done for them, I mean...

PIRRO: Well, no. I think they've got to be punished just like they would be punished if they assaulted a stranger. I think for too long, we excused them by saying it's a domestic situation. And, by the way, Lynn Toler is absolutely right. The prosecution can go forward without her testimony and send this guy to jail.

TACOPINA: Yes. Not in this case, though, Larry. They can't go forward in this case because it sends a...

PIRRO: Sure they can.

TACOPINA: No, they can't because...

PIRRO: Sure they can.

TACOPINA: ...because they don't have the victim on tape calling the police. They have a hearsay witness calling 911 hearing things.

If she doesn't testify in this case -- there's absolutely no evidence, other than the physical evidence...

KING: But aren't the physical -- isn't the physical evidence...

TACOPINA: Yes, but who...

KING: ...impressive?

TACOPINA: But, Larry, she could have -- 20 different scenarios could be spun by the defense...


TACOPINA: ...if she's not going to be able to respond to it. Now, sure, they could bring a case. And sure, because of all the press attention to this case, a jury may convict because they -- they know what happened. This was a brutal assault, don't get me wrong.


KING: Hold it right there and we'll take up in a minute.

TACOPINA: But it's not in the best interests of the victim.

KING: What do you think about Chris Brown and Rihanna?

Go to, click on our blog and let us know. You blog and we'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His girlfriend, Rihanna...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is hard not to like Chris Brown...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A somber Chris Brown made his first court appearance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brown bills himself as the boy next door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brown now stands accused of viciously beating his...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He will hit you again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Details of the alleged assault that left Rihanna bruised and bloodied.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) harass, molest, threaten or use force or violence against...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two superstars used to headlines, but not like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Brown, how do you plead?

C. BROWN: Not guilty.


KING: We're back with the panel.

And, by the way, in an interview with Tyra Banks last December, Chris Brown said he had a family history of abuse. He said he witnessed his stepfather beat his mother.



TYRA BANKS, HOST: Do you ever talk to your mom about it?

C. BROWN: All time. Like, but you know what I'm saying, when a woman is in love, like (INAUDIBLE) they're always saying like how can you do that?

But I guess when a woman is in love, she -- you know, you don't look at it like that.

BANKS: Why don't you talk to -- to a lot of people right now that are going through that and what can you tell them when -- if their mother is going through some domestic violence you -- and they're scared and they don't want to get out of the bed like you and they don't know what to do and they feel helpless?

What can you tell them to give them some strength to (INAUDIBLE)...

C. BROWN: That's hard, because I went through the same problem. I think -- I think to just be -- they should just try to overcome it and pray, you know what I'm saying?

Because what I did, I prayed all the time. I had the bible under the pillow. So I was...




KING: Judge Toler, what's your reaction to that?

TOLER: My reaction to that is we are missing an opportunity if we don't speak about it now, which is the time to talk a girl -- to a girl about domestic violence is before she falls in love, when she's 13 and 14, to show the signs of things -- what you -- what you should be afraid of.

If you meet him on Monday and he can't do without you on Wednesday, that's not a good sign -- that over possessiveness.

He doesn't like who you talk to. He starts to monitor what you do -- then, again, another sign.

Go to his house. If his parents aren't right, if his mother is not -- is not well-respected, that's another sign.

And we need to talk to the girls before they fall in love.

T. BROWN: Exactly. KING: Tanya, do you...

TACOPINA: Larry, can I...

KING: Do you know any girls that would do that?

T. BROWN: Oh, yes. Yes. I mean, Larry, this is the demographic. Rihanna's age, the college age, the high school, the teens. I have to agree with -- with the lady that just spoke. And forgive me for not remembering your name.

We have to...

KING: Judge Toler.

T. BROWN: We have to prevent it. And in order to prevent it, we have to -- we have to reach out to these young kids on those hidden signs -- the constant phone calling, the checking up on you, why are you wearing that black dress? I told you I wanted you to wear the red dress. If I ever catch you wearing that dress, I can't be responsible for what I'm going to do.

I mean I've read it in my sister's diaries. I have read it in books that have been -- that have been written on domestic violence, on this issue.

There were other incidences prior to this beating that Rihanna endured a couple of months ago. There was either fighting verbally or there was name calling and criticisms. Very rare -- very rarely does it start out with the punch or the biting of an ear, such as Rihanna's case.

KING: All right. Joe, what's the toughest part about defending someone?

TACOPINA: Yes. Well, it's defending someone like this, Larry...

KING: Yes.

TACOPINA: the toughest part, I'll tell you, from my -- my Van der Sloot days is that he's presumed guilty. I mean there's no one -- there's not a human being alive who's walking this planet who's thinking, you know, I think Chris Brown is probably wrongly accused. And that's the toughest part.

And the D.A. has, obviously, that upper hand. Mark has got to deal with that.

But Mark -- you know, this is a case that really is ripe for resolution, because the victim wants it, the defense obviously wants it and counseling is important, yes. KING: Judge Pirro...


KING: ...while she thinks there's going to be something, doesn't want something, right? You act like you don't want a resolution.

PIRRO: Well, no. I -- I think the unfortunate part of this is that, you know, with celebrity and all the benefits that come with celebrity are certain obligations. And Rihanna is sending a message to young woman, unfortunately, that it's OK to get back together with a guy who beat you, that it's OK -- you know, that he's probably not going to hit you again.

And the discussion that we had a minute ago, it's not just about teaching young girls who are 13. It's about going back a generation and prosecuting the parents who are the man who was beating a mother in front of a child. Because violence is learned behavior, Larry. Children learn very early in life that violence is a way to resolve conflict that their lives and so they do it again. And that's where we've got to punish it.

KING: Our panel will be coming back.

But Jim Moret will return on how all of this will affect Chris Brown and Rihanna's career.

We'll be back in 60 seconds.


KING: Let's have some final words from the panel in a moment.

But we want to check in with Jim Moret for a couple of things.

What's the effect on Chris Brown's career?

MORET: Well, his career as he knew, I think, is over. He's not going to be a spokesperson for milk. He's not going to be a spokesperson for Juicy Fruit gum. Those days are gone.

He is going to have to reinvent himself. He's going to have to be the tough guy, as you will. You know, I mean, but he may -- he may go to jail. He may go to prison. So he's going to have to find a new -- a new Chris Brown to sell. He's not going to be selling to 13-year-old girls.

Rihanna may be hurt, as well. Don't forget, if you're a spokesperson for -- for products like Revlon or Cover Girl, these are companies that want to empower women. They don't want women to be victimized.

But I -- really quickly, Larry, I disagree with Joe. I think there's plenty of evidence here. She made a statement to police. You've got a photo of her after the incident. You had photos of her there that you're showing right now prior to this incident. And you've got a statement that was made, purportedly by Chris Brown, saying, now you've done it, now I'm going to kill you. That had to come from Rihanna.

There were only two people in that car. I don't think you need her testimony to go forward.

KING: And, Jim, how is this case resonating within the music industry?

MORET: Well, you know, the -- if, as a hip-hop artist, if you go -- if you're -- it depends on who your audience is. There are certain elements of the hip-hop community that will embrace going to prison. It helps your career.

But I don't think Rihanna is going to be helped by this. I don't think Chris Brown's old career, as he knew it, will survive. But he could -- he's only 19. He's got a lifetime ahead of him. He may re- invent himself.

KING: Tanya Brown, what do you think is going to -- thanks, Jim.

What do you think is going to happen, Tanya?

T. BROWN: I just want -- I want to make sure that everybody who has ever been hitten -- hit or beaten or hurt verbally or hit physically, it will happen again and again.

And I do have to agree that she is giving a bad message out there to our youth and to people who are her age. She's saying it's OK to be hit and it's OK to go back.

But at the same time, we all have to understand that she's a victim right now.

KING: The question I asked, Judge Toler, how do you think it's going to come out?

In a plea bargain?

TOLER: Oh, I think it's going to end in a plea bargain. But I think the thing that's most important to remember what we get out of this, it's something that senior Judge Ron Adrian told me. Domestic abuse is not an event, it is a process. And it is a process that often starts slowly. And it may not start with any hitting or pushing, but it is an emotional and psychological thing that often happens, constricts a woman and then allows this process to occur and end up in this kind of event.

KING: Joe, can -- can he resurrect?

TACOPINA: You know, I think Jim hit it right on the head -- not as the, you know, milk spokesperson, you know, boy next door guy. But, you know, he's a rapper. Let's remember that.

Going to jail isn't necessarily a bad thing for his career. I mean so -- so he can resurrect...

KING: What about...

TACOPINA: ...but in a different form.

KING: What about her, Judge Pirro?

PIRRO: You know what's interesting is that here she is, this beautiful young woman who is the face of Cover Girl and then we juxtapose that, the face of a woman who's been battered. I think that Rihanna has some work to do. And I think that's why we're seeing the two of them separated.

She's got to almost reinvent herself and say I am a strong woman, I am an empowered woman and I do speak for young women and I will be strong and protect not just other women, but myself, as well.

KING: Thank you all very much.

TACOPINA: Thanks, Larry.

KING: We'll have you back again.

This is not going away.

Pastor Rick Warren in his first TV interview since giving the invocation at Barack Obama's inaugural is our guest next.

Don't go away.


KING: No matter what you may think of Rick Warren's opinion on things, he's an extraordinary guy and always a great guest and it's always good to have him.

He's pastor of the Saddleback Church. He's the number one "New York Times" best-selling author of "The Purpose-Driven Life." He delivered the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration. He comes to us from Irvine, California.

How did you handle all the controversy that resulted about the president selecting you?

PASTOR RICK WARREN, DELIVERED PRAYER AT OBAMA'S INAUGURATION: Yes, you know, Larry, there was a story within a story that never got told. In the first place, I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay marriage activist. I never have been, never will be.

During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never -- never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.

The week before the -- the vote, somebody in my church said, Pastor Rick, what -- what do you think about this?

And I sent a note to my own members that said, I actually believe that marriage is -- really should be defined, that that definition should be -- say between a man and a woman.

And then all of a sudden out of it, they made me, you know, something that I really wasn't. And I actually -- there were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends -- the leaders that I knew -- and actually apologized to them. That never got out.

There were some things said that -- you know, everybody should have 10 percent grace when they say public statements. And I was asked a question that made it sound like I equated gay marriage with pedophilia or incest, which I absolutely do not believe. And I actually announced that.

All of the criticism came from people that didn't know me.

KING: Well...

WARREN: Not a single criticism came from any gay leader who knows me and knows that for years, we've been working together on AIDS issues and all these other things.

KING: All right. Do you, therefore, criticize or not comment on the Iowa court decision to permit gay marriage?

WARREN: Yes. I'm -- I'm totally oblivious to -- to what -- that's not even my agenda. My agenda is two things.

One, today is the 15th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. It's a national day of mourning, which I -- as you know, I've been heavily involved in -- in Rwanda and helping rebuild that nation and I'm very concerned about that.

And the second thing is, I'm interested in what the recession is doing to the spiritual climate of our nation. And as we start Easter week and Passover week, which is a really big week for those of us who are Jews or Christians, Passover and Easter, it's our biggest week of the year. And it actually was the -- the week that I started Saddleback Church 30 years ago this Easter Sunday.

KING: All right. I -- we'll get to that and we'll get to, certainly, the recession and faith in a minute.

But have -- by the way, have you talked to Obama since the inaugural?

WARREN: No, I haven't. I've talked to the White House staff several times. I haven't talked to him. All -- all I'm doing is trying to keep my head down on the things that I've got to do. And I'm -- I know I'm -- he's trying to keep his head down on all the things he's got to do. And we certainly need to pray for the president. I wouldn't want to be president during what's happening right now.

KING: What's your thoughts about how he's doing?

WARREN: I think he's doing as best as he can. I think he is a -- he's a good leader. Every leader makes mistakes.

So what? But he's doing the best he can. And I think that -- that the deck of cards he was given, no president has been given this in a long, long time, in terms of the crises that he's having to deal with. It is so complex. And it's not going to be solved overnight. And America has a very short attention span.

KING: Were you surprised he asked you to deliver the invocation?

WARREN: I was. I could have given you a list of 30 other guys I would have thought he would have asked.

KING: How did it happen?

Did he call you?

Did somebody call -- how did -- how did it -- how did the process take place?

WARREN: I had just finished a week in New York City, when we were launching our "Purpose-Driven Connection" magazine. And I was actually sitting on the plane on a runway. And my associate said, there's a cell phone call and it's -- it's the president-elect.

And sitting on the runway, he said, "Rick, I want you to do the inaugural -- the inaugural prayer."

And I, of course, said, well, anything I could do. I was surprised.

There were two back to back days there that were pretty amazing for me. The day before, I was invited to speak at the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's death at Ebenezer Baptist Church. And to me, he's been a hero all of my life. I have a picture and a signed letter of Martin Luther King hanging in my -- in my office with a picture of Gandhi next to it. And to be invited to speak at -- at Martin Luther King's memorial day service on the 40th anniversary and the 80th birthday of his -- of his life was a big deal.

And then to do the inauguration the next day was amazing.

KING: It's been quite a year, quite a time, quite an era for Rick Warren.

We'll be back with him in a moment. The decline and fall of Christian America -- does a new poll indicate that that is happening?

We'll get -- we'll get the thoughts of Rick Warren on that, right after this.


KING: We're back with Rick Warren.

He's in Irvine and we're in New York.

One other thing in the gay issue, while you said you were not an activist at all...


KING: Did you not encourage your flock to vote yes on Proposition 8?

WARREN: Oh, yes. You know, I don't think that the definition of marriage should be changed.

KING: So you did ask your people who worship with you to vote that way?

WARREN: Yes. I just never campaigned...

KING: ...because that's an active issue.

WARREN: I never campaigned for it. I never -- I'm not an anti-gay activist -- never have been. Never participated in a single event. I just simply made a note in a newsletter. And, of course, everything I write it's -- it's (INAUDIBLE).

KING: It's not high on your road of issues?

WARREN: No, no, it's very low. In fact, I am working with a number of gay organizations on issues that we care about, in saving lives.

KING: OK. Do you think Christianity is slipping in America? That's the front cover of "Newsweek," out today. Quite a loss occurring in the Christian community. There you see the headline.

WARREN: Well, I would say it's the best of times and the worst of times. First place, I don't think that all of the questions that are asked in surveys are always as objective as they could be. For instance, if you ask people, are you a Protestant -- and the number of Protestants has gone down dramatically in the last 30 years. I don't even call myself a Protestant.

So terminologies are changing. I don't think faith is changing that much. I think that during a recession three things happen, Larry. Three things go up when money goes down. Church attendance goes up, bar attendance goes up, and movie attendance goes up, because people are looking for three things when they're disappointed in materialism. They're looking for meaning, and that's why they start going to church. They're looking for connections in relationships, and that's why they go to bars. They're looking for relief, and that's why they go to movies.

We at Saddleback have been trying to -- actually have created three different programs that we're launching nationally for connection, for relieve and for meaning. At the same time, bad times are good times for churches in many ways, because people are much more open to spiritual truth than any other time. We're seeing spiritual awakening at our church.

KING: Aren't they at the same time saying, where is god? WARREN: Oh, I think people ask that question constantly. That's not a question of doubt. That's a question of seekers. It's the person who says, I'm not worried with anybody -- everybody has doubts. I have doubts. People have doubts all the time. I'll read things in the Bible and go, why did that happen? I wouldn't have done if it I had been god. You better be glad I'm not god. But there are a lot of things -- I learned a long time ago that I don't have to understand everything for me to benefit from it.

I don't understand how a car works but I drive it. I don't understand how digestion works but I eat.

KING: What do you say to people who have lost everything, they're out of work, they lose their home, foreclosures? God ain't going to come in tomorrow and help them.

WARREN: First place, I would say, god sees, god knows, god cares, god can help, god understands. I would say the greatest things in life aren't things. One of the things we need to learn is that when tough times come along, there are lessons we can learn that -- god whispers to us in our pleasure, but he shouts to us in our pain. Pain is god's megaphone.

Last Saturday, we had the largest single membership class in the 30-year history of Saddleback Church. There's so much spiritual hunger. I had, Larry, 2,400 people come to the class I've taught every month now for over 30 years. We usually have 100 to 200 new members. We had 2,400 people join our church in a single day. And I baptized 800 new believers. We baptize by putting people under water.

I was in the baptism pool for over five hours. That's never happened. While there are people who are hurting, people are also searching.

KING: The Obamas are searching, too, for a church, apparently in Washington. They don't have one. Do you think it's important for the public to see their leader go to church?

WARREN: I think it's important for the public to see our leaders having faith. I think it expresses a sense of humility that says, I recognize that I'm not the end all, be all. It's a good sense of humility and a declaration of dependence upon god. And there are -- I could recommend a dozen really good churches in Washington D.C. area. I have a lot of pastor friends of all different styles. You tell me the style you want and I'll tell you a good church in Washington, D.C.

KING: I'm sure they'll call you. Back with more of Rick Warren. Your emails, phone calls and blogs for Rick still ahead. Stay with us.

KING: We're with Rick Warren. An e-mail question from Mim in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "Are you a consultant to President Obama as Billy Graham was to previous presidents? Is that a role you would want?"

WARREN: No. In fact, I told the president that. I'm a friend and I'm a prayer partner, but I'm not a consultant. I'm not a pundit. And it's not my role to do that. My role is to help people in their personal lives. I have helped a lot of leaders, both locally and globally, with issues about family and issues about personal stress. That's a pastoral role. I'm a pastor, as you know, Larry. I'm not a politician and I'm not a pundit.

I care about each person individually, whether I happen to agree with them or not. We all have the same basic needs. We all want to be loved. We all want to have a place of service. We all want our lives to count. We all want to know our purpose in life. These are things that everybody deals with.

KING: Do you still give 90 percent away from what you take in?

WARREN: Yes, sure do.

KING: We have a phone call for Rick Warren from Orlando, Florida. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Pastor Warren, I have heard evangelicals believe that President Obama is the anti-Christ. Are you aware of this and if so, how do you feel about it?

WARREN: Well, of course, I don't agree with that. Thank you for the question. I don't agree with that. You can't label -- saying Evangelicals believe is like saying Americans believe. I can show you all levels of spectrum in terms of political views and indoctrinal views. They just have in common the connection to Jesus Christ. So I don't believe that and I don't even think most Evangelicals believe that. In fact, I'm certain they don't.

KING: Obama has traveled to Turkey, first president to visit a Muslim country. He had this to say about the United States and Islam in a speech to Turkish parliament. Watch. I'd like you to comment.


OBAMA: The United States is not and will never be at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical, not just in rolling back the violent ideologies that people of all faiths reject, but also to strengthen opportunity for all people.


KING: What do you think of that?

WARREN: You know, I think that's the exact right tone, Larry. There are 600,000 Buddhists in the world. There are 800,000 Hindus in the world. There are a billion Muslims in the world. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world. You have to get along together. That's why I speak with Jewish groups. I speak to Muslim groups.

We're all human beings. We have to work on issues we don't always agree on. I'm not really into what I call inter-faith dialogue. I think that's a lot of wasted time. I'm interested in what I call inter-faith projects. In other words, I'm not going to convince a lot of people who have other beliefs to change their beliefs and vice versa. But we can work together on issues like poverty, disease, illiteracy and things that -- problems common to all humanity.

This week, for instance, tomorrow night, I'm going to a Seder dinner with my dear friend Elie Spitz (ph), who is a local rabbi. We'll celebrate Passover together. And then later in the work, I'll do Easter, which is -- they're both all about redemption. My next door neighbor is Muslim. I traveled with him to the Middle East. We're dear, dear friends. And there's no reason -- what people don't seem to understand is that you don't have to agree with everybody in order to love them.

KING: Do you -- how many children have you brought to live with you from other countries?

WARREN: Well, in our home, we haven't had any. But we, of course, strongly -- have a strong adoption ministry in our church. We're right now working on a plan to take care of every -- a plan to actually empty the foster care needs of Orange County, which there's about 2,400 kids in need of foster care in our county. I have over 4,000 small groups. If each small group took responsibility for foster care of a child, they would do that.

In my own small group, we've had people who have adopted, families, children, from Africa and, of course, we are very involved in that. My wife's involved in that in our foundation called Acts of Mercy.

KING: Amazing. We'll be back with more of Rick Warren, the pastor of the Saddleback Church, author of the number one "New York Times" best selling book, "The Purpose Driven Life."

If you have questions or comments for Rick, head to our blog, We'll read some of them after this 60 second break.


KING: Before we get back with Rick Warren, get you up to date on our blogs; we learned that a Cessna has been stolen from a flight school. The United States' military has intercepted the aircraft. Jeanne Meserve has the details. What can you tell us, what's going on?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, officials wish they knew more about what was going on. This man, who is described by federal law enforcement sources as a naturalized Canadian citizen in his 20s, went to a flight school in Thunder Bay, Ontario, stole this airplane. He started going south, went across Lake Superior, came near Duluth.

He was intercepted by F-16s near the boarder between Wisconsin and the upper Michigan Peninsula. They have been trailing. He's continued south. He's gone over Madison, Wisconsin, where they evacuated the state Capitol because they were worried about he was up to. He then went past St. Louis and, at last report, was near the Missouri/Arkansas border.

They think he has one-half hour to one hour of fuel left on the aircraft. They don't know exactly what he's up to. The federal law enforcement official indicated that the Canadian authorities had come up with indications that he was an unhappy individual. And some officials have told me that because he has flown by any number of possible targets and has not done anything, like target them, they do not feel he is a terrorism risk. They're monitoring this very closely.

KING: Jeanne, hang right there. On the phone with us, Lieutenant Commander Gary Ross. He is a spokesman for NORAD. What can you tell us about what's going on, commander?

COMMANDER GARY ROSS, NORAD SPOKESMAN: Larry, the aircraft is still flying. It is approximately 16 miles west of Piedmont, Missouri, flying in a westerly direction at approximately 100 knots at 3, 800 feet. We continue to shadow the aircraft.

KING: This is a single engine plane?

ROSS: That's right. It's a single engine Cessna 172 aircraft that did have extended range tanks on it. So it can fly for seven hours. It was full of fuel when it did take off from Canada. And we think it's coming to the end of its fuel capacity here in the next hour or so.

KING: This is a very small plane, right?

ROSS: It is, Larry.

KING: What's the big fear?

ROSS: Well, you know, the big fear is, of course, the unknown. Frankly, we like to be in communications with all pilots and this pilot did not file a flight plan. As you said earlier, he -- the aircraft is reported as stolen, so, you know -- we don't know what his intent is.

KING: Would there be an occasion where you would shoot it down?

ROSS: If there was -- if it was deemed a threat to U.S. citizens or critical infrastructure, certainly all options are on the table. Right now, we don't see that as the case right now. So we continue to monitor it closely, as well as the U.S. Customs Border Protection Cessna aircraft that is also shadowing it as well.

KING: Thanks, commander. Jeanne Meserve, you'll stay on top of this I'm sure. Are you still there? You'll stay on top of this story.

MESERVE: You bet I will.

KING: That's Jeanne Meserve. We thank Lieutenant Commander Gary Ross. Your blog comments are next. Don't go away.



KING: A lot of comments on the below about tonight's show. Our correspondent David Theall is here with some of what you're saying about Pastor Warren.

DAVID THEALL, CNN BLOG CORRESPONDENT: Larry, we're hearing from people who are fans of the pastor's work and we're also hearing from people who are angry still at some of the positions that he has taken over the last couple years. Says this person, "Rick Warren saved my life, my marriage and my family with the 'purpose Driven Life.'" He thanks the pastor.

We heard from somebody who said this, "my son is gay, a veteran, and I resent people like Rick Warren using the Bible to tell my son who he can marry." That's just a little bit of some of what's happening on the blog tonight, Larry.

KING: Thank you so much, David. Rick, I guess that last comment doesn't shock you, does it?

WARREN: Well, it's not my opinion. As a pastor, I just have to do what the Bible tells me to do. And the way I interpret it, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. And that's good for society. That doesn't mean that people don't love each other. It just means that marriage is for a man and a woman.

You know, Larry, regardless of all these things we've just been listening to, whether it's terrorism or whether it's the economy, we really have to come together. And we have to figure out a way to work together, even though we have differences on the issues that really matter most. One of the things we're doing is our goal is to start what we're calling 10,000 connection groups across America, to just get people to sit down together and talk.

In each of the new issues of the magazine we're doing, we're providing material that causes discussions, causing people to discuss issues like, well, how do we get along together? And what is the purpose of connecting? What is real community all about? Where did we come from? Where are we going? What does it mean to be a part of a community?

I'm going to talk about some of these things on April 19th, Sunday evening. For 30 years, Larry, I have done an annual State of the Church Message for Saddleback Church. And this year, for the first time, we're actually going to webcast it nationally on our site. Anybody who wants to hear about that. I'm going to talk about what are we supposed to be doing in coming together during the recession on that April 19th --

KING: Sunday night, April 19th, and that's at what time?

WARREN: It will be Sunday evening, depending on what part of the country you live in. But you can go to and get all of the details about that. KING: All right. Phone lines are lighting up. We'll get to some more calls if we squeeze them in for Rick Warren right after this.


KING: Rick Warren, I've got an e-mail question for you from Curtis in Washington. "How have tough economic times affected your church ministries in terms of tithes and offerings and outreach programs?"

WARREN: Well, actually, we have a pretty generous church, and our giving has actually gone up, because we're encouraging people to give more to help those who are not helped. Six weeks ago, we passed out 12,000 grocery bags on a Sunday morning. I said, everybody fill them up and bring them back next week, and we're going to give them away to people who are less fortunate than us. And the next week about 10,000 of those bags came back.

We're going to do the same thing this weekend. Easter -- of course, we start on Thursday because I do 14 services for the nearly 50,000 people that will show up at Easter this year. It's our 30th Easter at Saddleback. And we're going to pass out about 40,000 to 50,000 grocery bags and say, everybody fill them up, and bring them back next week. So in tough times, we say, let's help others.

KING: Let's take a call from Tampa, Florida, hello. Tampa, are you there?

CALLER: Yes, sir.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Pastor Warren, you mentioned earlier that it's been 15 years since the genocide of Rwanda. My question is, with so many nations hurting financially, do you think it will make them reluctant to reach out to countries, such as Sudan, Congo and other nations that are currently suffering genocide?

KING: Good question.

WARREN: That's a great question. And the answer is absolutely. When people get into tough times, they tend to turn internally. We tend to think of ourselves, and we hold back. And, of course, when we've got so many thousands of people, 600,000 this month, 600,000 last month, 600,000 the year before, who lost their jobs. It's hard to think about other people when you're hurting.

But the answer is we have to do both. And the Bible says very clearly that when we take assumption of the responsibility for other people who are hurting worse than us, god takes care of us. And I believe that we need to not just save our way, but we need to give our way out of this recession. And it's a time for generosity, not a time for a scarcity mentality.

KING: By the way, this just in regarding the stolen Cessna from Canada. NORAD officials have told CNN the plane has landed on highway 60 in Missouri. The suspect is on the run. Again, the plane has landed. Nobody damaged. The suspect is on the run. "A.C. 360" will have more on this developing story.

We can deal directly with this as a pastor, Rick. Would you try to counsel this person?

WARREN: Well, clearly, he's a disturbed person. And we don't know all of the details, so I'm not going to do arm chair psychology on a guy I don't know why he did what he did. But the truth is, all of our motivations are formed by what I call a world view. And, in fact, Chuck Olson and I just did a series on this in the new magazine. But the world view is our perspective on life. And every behavior has a world view behind it.

And so if you want to understand somebody's behavior, whether he's flying a Cessna plane or killing other people because he lost his job, you need to get back to the world view. Chuck Olson's written a great book on this called "The Good Life." And I invited him out to California, and we made a series of videos that we're now hoping to get into these connection groups that help people understand why do we do what we do? Everything we do is based on a world view.

KING: Chuck still doing his prison ministries?

WARREN: Oh, yes, very involved in prison ministries all around the world. We're working with him on that.

KING: All right. Rick, your website again is what?

WARREN: And if they'd like to be a part of the State of the Church Message, it's going to be Sunday night, April 19th. And all of the details will be on that website.

KING: Great having you with us again. Thank you.

WARREN: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of "The Purpose Driven Life." Tomorrow night, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House. And another famous pastor, Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria. And Anderson Cooper is now, right now, with "A.C. 360."