Saddleback Church Receives Flack Over Video

Pastor Rick Warren speaking at a Faith Works event. Robb Hohmann/Courtesy

Unintentional stereotypes find their way into an online Sunday school lesson

Disgruntled families took to Twitter and Facebook on Monday to report a questionable scene lingering in an educational video produced by Saddleback Church. The content featured former kids pastor, Steve Adams, portraying the role of a stereotypical martial arts sensei, making boisterous noises followed by chaotic motions of his sword as fighting music echoed in the background. 

The video, uploaded by Saddleback Kids on YouTube, received a barrage of dislikes leading to its complete removal from the channel. Following the incident, Saddleback Church released a statement condemning the actions while ensuring the public that measures were being put in place to avoid a similar situation in the future.

“This is the very kind of cultural and racial insensitivity that we’re trying to eradicate in our church family,” said Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren on Twitter that Monday. “It’s unchristlike, demeaning, and it’s never appropriate to use a stereotype to teach.”

Rick had since discovered additional details about the video, revealing it was shot four years ago when tensions were lower in the community. Therefore, had the video been released during its intended time, it wouldn’t have garnered such negative attention and uproar from the public. 

Over the course of the day, Saddleback Church apologized to multiple users on social media, taking full responsibility for their actions and ensuring God was “not okay” with what happened. The church has since gone silent with no known plans to upload an edited version of the removed content. 

“There are no excuses,” said Saddleback Church in a Monday Twitter reply. “We’re so sorry but we hope our actions moving forward speak louder.” 

Saddleback Church has run into a similar issue in the past, and they plan to move forward by setting forth measures to prevent potential insensitive content from resurfacing.