Fact Check

Rick Warren Changes Name to 'Muhammad Hussein Warren'

An article reporting that Pastor Rick Warren changed his name to "Muhammad Hussein Warren" came from a Christian-focused fake news site.

Published May 24, 2016

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church changed his name to "Muhammad Hussein Warren."

In late May 2016, an April 2015 article published by The End Times began to circulate on social media.  According to the article, Pastor Rick Warren changed his name to "Muhammad Hussein Warren" and released a book called The Purpose-Driven Mosque:

In an effort to foster deeper unity between biblically illiterate Christians and Muslims while also helping to promote his new book, The Purpose-Driven Mosque, Saddleback megachurch pastor and Chrislamic icon Rick Warren has formally changed his name to Muhammad Hussein Warren.

“It’s no big deal, really,” noted the newly christened Muhammad during an enthusiastically received address to the Islamic Society of North America. “I mean, what’s in a name? Rick, Muhammad…Allah, Yahweh…whatever. It’s all pretty much the same at the end of the day.”

“No biggie.”

“What really matters is peace, love and unity around God, whatever name you want to give Him,” Muhammad added as the scimitar polishing crowd of appreciative Muslims gathered to help promote his new book and mission erupted into cheers and shouts of “Allahu Akbar!”

“We can’t be slaves to old, dead traditions and stiff, dogmatic ideas about the actual name of God, nature of God, or word of God,” warned Muhammad several minutes later after an eruption of “Death to America!” chants finally died down a bit. “We have to be more open-minded and welcoming to one another’s ideas.”

An "About" page on The End Times ("Your trusted source for apocalyptic news, sports, politics, and fashion") explained that the site was created in response to the overwhelming number of fake news sites critical of Christian culture:

The End Times is a news satire and parody site presented from a Christian worldview perspective.

Most articles (well, all of ’em so far, actually) have been written by Scott Alan Buss of the Fire Breathing Christian blog.

The Big Idea that inspired us to launch The End Times is this:

For far too long, Christians have ceded the most culture-impacting realms of creation to the enemies of Christ. As a result, the arts have been overrun and dominated by anti-Christian worldviews that have used their cultural influence to lead us all deeper and deeper into darkness.

Comedy has become a cesspool. Satire and parody have become saturated in perversion. The lack of Christian worldview perspectives shining through God’s creation of humor has taken an incredible toll.

We’re here to help change that.

With The End Times, we aim to engage in the culture-shaping realms of satire and parody in a manner that not only makes people laugh, but prompts them to think critically and, more importantly, biblically, about the issues, causes and personalities shaping current events.

In that respect, The End Times article about Rick Warren's purported name change (and its other content) differed somewhat from that of other fake news sites. While "satirical" outlets generally bank on generating income through outraged clicks, The End Times maintains that their focus was to ensure the pool of fake articles is balanced to mock not only conservative Christians, but their liberal or non-religious counterparts, as well.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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