Citing the negative climate of the current presidential race, Pastor Rick Warren on Wednesday canceled the Civil Forum with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney originally scheduled to be held this week at his Southern California megachurch, the Orange County Register reports.
Warren's forum four years ago at Saddle Back Church in Lake Forest, Calif., with Obama and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was widely praised, but the pastor and best-selling author said the tenor of this year's campaign runs counter to the spirit of the event.
"We created the Civil Forums to promote civility and personal respect between people with major differences," Warren said in an announcement Wednesday. "The forums are meant to be a place where people of good-will 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."