Rick Warren refuses to oppose Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill

Timothy Kincaid

November 29th, 2009

rick warrenRick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, has a unique way of viewing a global ministry. Warren sees his mission as being of a scope that does not stop at national borders. He seeks Purpose Driven Nations to comprise his Purpose Driven World.

And Warren is not hesitant to interfere in international religious divisions or schisms. Though not Anglican, he has been a major player in providing American support to African Anglicans who are seeking to oust any affiliates from the Anglican Communion that make any accommodation for gay Christians.

Warren also likes to rub shoulders with the politically powerful. He is friends with presidents and the powerful around the globe. And one of the five steps in his Plan is “Equipping ethical leaders”, i.e. those who agree with Warren’s religious views.

And he’s no stranger to activism on behalf of legislation. Though he was not highly visible in supporting Proposition 8, he did not hesitate to instruct his flock – which does not stop at the walls of his church – to vote to take away the civil rights of their gay neighbors.

But Warren has now found the one exception to his political involvement. And that exception is the proposed Ugandan “Kill Gays” bill. Unlike virtually anything else that flickers across his attention, this piece of legislation just doesn’t rise to the level of requiring his involvement. That would be “interfering in the political process of other nations.”

Or maybe Rick Warren just doesn’t find it unethical on the part of leadership in Uganda to execute HIV positive gay people, incarcerate the rest for life, ban any form of activism that might object, and jail those family, friends, or acquaintances who fail to report their gay loved ones to the government.

On Meet the Press this morning he spoke a good game of loving gay people (while fighting against their rights). But though he declared that his “role is to love everybody” (which presumably would include gay Ugandans), this love seems not to stretch quite enough to oppose their execution and life-long incarceration.

And Newsweek’s Kate Dailey is noting Warren’s failure to respond to the situation in Uganda:

But Warren won’t go so far as to condemn the legislation itself. A request for a broader reaction to the proposed Ugandan anti-homosexual laws generated this response: “The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.” On Meet the Press this morning, he reiterated this neutral stance in a different context: “As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides.” Warren did say he believed that abortion was “a holocaust.” He knows as well as anyone that in a case of great wrong, taking sides is an important thing to do.

I would go further.

When you build the platform, put out the chairs, advertise the event, set up the audio system, introduce the speaker, and hand him the mic, it’s disingenuous to claim that you are not taking sides. Rick Warren was significantly responsible for building Martin Ssempa’s influence in Uganda, and releasing a statement that he had “severed contact with Mr. Ssempa” two years ago is not an adequate reaction to Ssempa’s efforts to incarcerate and kill gay people.

The truth is that while Rick Warren speaks of loving gay people, he doesn’t care if they are executed in Uganda for being gay. Or, at least, he doesn’t care enough to make the slightest effort to stop it.

I guess his life is “driven” by some other “purpose”.

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Joseph Nobles

November 29th, 2009

That’s an unusual justification for not saying anything, all right. It seems to me that the Holocaust was carried out by the political process of another nation. Does Rick Warren mean to tell us he has no opinion on the morality of the Holocaust?


November 29th, 2009

This supports my long-standing view that the only difference between the Scott Lively and Fred Phelps types and people like Rick Warren and James Dobson is their choice of words. I’m convinced that any one of those people would happily ship us off to the camps if given the opportunity.

Emily K

November 29th, 2009

It’s so obviously clear.

fetuses = human beings.
gay people = NOT human beings.

How is there any ambiguity in any of that, for ANYbody?


November 29th, 2009

However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.


In 2005, Time magazine reported that Warren had been asked by Rwandan President Paul Kagame to help his country become a “Purpose-Driven nation”.[1] To implement this, Warren has enlisted over 2,000 Saddleback Church members to go to Rwanda in small groups to initiate a national strategy, and the cooperation of 600 Rwandan churches. Business leaders and leaders of parliament in Rwanda are also involved.

That took five seconds on wikipedia, I’m sure with some actual research you can find tons of examples of him commenting or interfering in the political process of other nations.


November 29th, 2009

Perhaps Rick Warren does not want to interfere in a country that The Family has been working so diligently to mold in their image.

I wonder if Rick Warren is connected to The Family, and if he is taking his direction on Uganda from Sen. Inhofe.


November 29th, 2009

Note also that Warren’s “abstinence only/no condoms” AIDS/HIV outreach ministries in Africa have actually resulted in an increase in the rate of infections.


November 29th, 2009

I am so glad that this is in Newsweek. I hope the people who think Prick Warren is a good, godly, admirable man who means well see things differently very soon. I am looking at the long list of posts about denunciations of the Ugandan bill. But one of the main people who started the whole mess in the first place can’t see fit to apologize for the mess he created, let alone pick up a broom and help clean it up. This would lead most people to think he kinda meant for this to happen. May mainstream America see this man clearly for what he is!!!

@ Emily K and AJD: I totally agree.


November 29th, 2009

I’m sure nobody here is shocked to discover that evangelical christians would be overjoyed to see ALL gay people be executed. (I didn’t say ALL evangelical christians feel this way, so please keep your lectures to a minimum. Thanks.) Rick Warren is no exception to that “culture war” goal.

Conservative christians think they’re your daddy and think they know best about what’s good for your life and any rebellion against that on your part generates a homicidal anger that thier phoney smiles can’t quite hide.

I worked for an anti-gay ministry and know too well about the hatred that occasionally slips through the cracks to public view…. and if the stuff you SEE is that bad, imagine what they keep behing locked doors. For now.

Don’t trust them… don’t trust any of them, ever, about anything. They will smile in your face and tell you that Jesus loves you as they plot your extermination. Don’t ever be lulled into complacency by their message of “love.” They will “love” you to Jesus and them attack like sharks as soon as you don’t toe thier line.

Take it from one who’s been there and gotten as far away from them and thier evil hearts as possible.

Lynn David

November 29th, 2009

I’d say his friendship with Museveni means more to Rick Warren than his principles concerning human life.

Lynn David

November 29th, 2009

Check that….

I’d say the pride his friendship with the president of a country like Museveni gives to Rick Warren means more to him than his principles concerning human life.


November 30th, 2009

This man is President Obama’s friend. Speaking of which, has our “fierce advocate” said anything? Or does he not want to offend the Christianists in America (who will never vote for hm anyway)? His selection of Mr Warren at his inauguration was deliberate and was meant to send the message to gays in this country that has become all too clear almost one year into his presidency…


November 30th, 2009

What happens when the first person is executed in Uganda? Will Mr. Lively and Mr. Warren speak up then?

I wish these so-called religious people would just tell us homos exactly what they want us to do. It would be much easier if I truly knew whether they are 100 percent evil or only 99 percent.


November 30th, 2009

Well, some of us religious people will do everything we can to save every life that is threatened in Uganda.

Sometimes the church can really sicken me. But we must fight on…


November 30th, 2009

I can’t stand Rick Warren he is such a hypocrite. W

here is the Obama administration on this issue? In the dark as usual.


November 30th, 2009

“However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”

Could there be a more perfect example of someone hiding behind religion to rationalize their hatred of other people?

Rick Brentlinger

November 30th, 2009

Great post Timothy! I’ve linked to it on my Blog.

Rick Warren is a moral coward, intoxicated by fame.

Its difficult to avoid the conclusion that “pastor” Rick Warren’s agenda for U.S. gays is the same as Uganda’s, else he would vehemently oppose their “Kill Gays” legislation.

Rick Warren is an enemy of truth, decency and honor, hiding his hatred behind religion. What he practices is not Biblical Christianity.


November 30th, 2009

“However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of OTHER nations.”

I agree with Alex in regards to rationalizing; but I also noticed Warren said “other nations.” From this I take it he doesn’t want to interfere when nations create laws that agree with his religious (anti-gay) views. But he has no problem interfering in this country in matters that are “pro-gay”.

Basically it’s: if civil rights for LGBT are being granted then it is time to interfere; but if civil rights & lives of LGBT are being taken away there is no need to get involved.

“As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides.”

When you do not take a side while someone is being harmed you are taking the side of the one doing the harm.

Regan DuCasse

November 30th, 2009

I don’t think I’m exaggerating, even though people throw the word Nazi or some such around very easily.
But Scott Lively doesn’t seem to know any actual Jewish people invested in Holocaust history.
I have the privilege of working in a Holocaust archive and anti hate educational center. His book, only makes me want to throw up first, then throw his book at him.

Anyone well educated in the history of Adolph Hitler should remember the economic and political crisis Germany was in at the time. Hitler was considered someone somewhat on the fringe. An angry little man, very much exceptional in knowing how to tap the meaner angels of a civilized people.
He didn’t stay on the fringe for long. A country with rampant unemployment, distrust in corrupted leaders and runaway inflation is ripe for picking a convenient scapegoat to blame and running with it.

Uganda is just one place. But America is vulnerable too. Look at the appeal of blowhard, angry pundits. Look at how easily people point at a minority like gay people and blame them for everything and dismiss that gay people not only share in the crisis and have the same concerns and goals, but people really believe that gay people would destroy life as we know by sharing in what protects us all as well.

If you think the Constitution and Bill of Rights is enough of a bulwark, I’m beginning to think not, folks.

Glenn Beck and so on…the squeaky wheel, is getting WAY too much attention and high ratings.
It doesn’t take much. But our inflation, unemployment rate, system of government that’s overbearing on so many levels, and not effective enough in others pretty much makes it too bloated and widespread to be effective where it should most matter.

And here we are.
Every finger pointing at gay folks and liberals and feminists. The reductive way in which all these are blamed is familiar.

People are feeling victimized by gay people just breathing.
As we mourn the deaths of Jayson Mattison and Jorge Mercado, the opposition is in mourning and in fight mode over something that isn’t dead or even threatened in reality, but their minds perceive it as so.
Their Christian power and imposition against ONE group, ONE aspect of humanity at nearly the exclusion of all else that supposedly should matter to people of faith.

Rick Warren injected a virus into the weakest of immunities from it in Uganda. And now he prefers to sit far and away from the consequences.

What a dithering coward.
And he should be called out at every opportunity for what he really is.

Rob Lll

November 30th, 2009

Wait a minute, didn’t Rick Warren support the Iraq war? Without even debating the merits of that particular policy, how is invading and occupying another country NOT taking sides or “interfering” in its internal politics?

Ben in Oakland

November 30th, 2009

Sounds like the good rev can find no fault with anyone involved in this, and like some Pious Pilate, will wash his hands of the innocent blood.

Timothy had it right in his “Ask Amy” response. Heterosexism is largely a complete indifference by a majority of the heterosexual majority to the obvious: that there are now, and there always have been, people who were not ever and are not now or going to be heterosexual.

But the rev is not a stupid man, nor uninformed, and I’m fairly certain he is not indifferent. Dare I say there seems to be a certain type of dare I call them Christians who have convinced themselves that the being they dare call god hates gay people just as much as they do.

Talk about what you have claimed to learn from what you claim you have made your life’s study!

Someone said– I can’t remember who, but I suspect voltaire– that God created man in his own image. And man, being a gentleman, returned the compliment.

Fred Yontz

December 1st, 2009

I was disturbed enough when I heard the details of Rick Warren and the Uganda “Kill Gays” law that I e-mailed the President about this:

President Obama, I have looked upon you as a righteous, compassionate man, and as an African-American one who is particularly well suited to recognize and appreciate the evils of discrimination. Yet we — and I mean ardent and loyal supporters like me — see you being all friendly and cozy with Rick Warren, to the extent of having him speak at your inauguration. And that in spite of his support, or lack of condemnation, of the pending “Kill Gays” bill in Uganda.

He begs off, saying “However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.” I take that to mean that he would not have criticized or complained about Adolph’s final solution; that’s a political process of another nation. Can you call this a man of Christ? That implies that Christ would look the other way, and that is so demeaning of the central figure of Christianity.

I would expect — I would dearly hope — that if you’re the righteous man I think you are (and want you to be), you would loudly denounce the pending “Kill Gays” bill in Uganda, and would also take Rick Warren to task for his acquiescence, if not outright support, for this evil law. How could you maintain cordial relations with this supposed man of Christ, when he adopts such an anti-Christlike position on so evil and hateful discrimination? Would you be buddy-buddy with Rick Warren if he were preaching and pushing Jim Crow? Do you think the pending Ugandan law, and Rick Warren’s tacit support for it, are okay, or nothing you should take a position on out of expediency? Are you a man of principle, or more Bush-like than we ever suspected?

This is an issue on which I would like to have a response, and my preferred response would be your strong denunciation of the pending Uganda law, but if you’re too timid, or too political, or too Rick-Warren to speak out, then I would like a personal explanation of your position.


December 1st, 2009

Andrew M. Mwenda over at the Independent has written an excellent commentary on this abhorrent situation in Uganda:

Bahati: Don’t usurp God’s power


December 1st, 2009

To Rob Lll:

Yes, Rick Warren did/does support the war in Iraq:

Rick Warren:

Whether or not they found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is beside the point. Saddam and his sons were raping the country, literally. And we morally had to do something. If you have a Judeo-Christian heritage, you have to believe it when God says that evil cannot be compromised with. It has to be resisted, it has to be overcome.

This was from an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic:

The Rick Warren Interview: No Compromise With Evil


December 1st, 2009

No compromise with evil huh? So much for that..


December 1st, 2009

Given Rick Warren’s comments about the Iraq War, I can only conclude that he doesn’t view the Uganda bill as evil. Frankly, it’s an evangelical Christian’s wet dream.


December 7th, 2009

I just snapped off a letter to Warren whose megachurch is some ten minutes from me.

I go back a couple decades with this guy.

When he wanted to build his church in a little rural canyon area north of where he eventually plopped his monstrosity of a “campus”, he told me that God had told him to put it there.

At the time, I was heavily involved in local land use planning/decisions as a (dreaded) community organizer. I knew my stuff.

I told Warren in no uncertain terms that he had better go back and have a little chat with God because there was NO way his church would be built there.

And it wasn’t.

His members had NO qualms about contacting me and asserting their views then, and I have no qualms about asserting mine now.

It may well be time for a little gathering at his castle. If those attending his church cannot understand the implications of his actions and inactions, then perhaps they need a little coaching from the outside.

I could tell you what I think of this “preacher” (and by no means am I a non-believer; I am an Episcopalian that has felt his sting several times now), but that would serve little purpose.

Suffice it to say I don’t know what book he’s reading, but it ain’t the Good Book.

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