Rick Warren refuses to oppose Uganda’s “Kill Gays” bill
November 29th, 2009
Rick 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”.