39 responses

  1. Joe G.
    December 10, 2009

    I just listened to this. It seems, at least for someone with his theological beliefs, pretty clear that he rejects the law as it stands. At least at first glance.

    What are your thoughts about this?

  2. GMRinSAN
    December 10, 2009

    Well, it’s about time. One wonders if he ever would have taken the time to record such a message had there not been such an outcry often aimed directly at him.

    Am I the only one who thinks Rick is morphing, physically, into Jerry Falwell? My God, the resemblance now is striking.

  3. Timothy Kincaid
    December 10, 2009

    I welcome this clear denunciation of the bill and am especially pleased that Warren has taken steps which may actually be effective in building opposition.

    Further, his rejection of not only the death penalty and the restrictions on ministers but also of “imprison[ing] anyone convicted of homosexual practice” – and, more importantly – doing so in terms of morality and Christianity, may be the best possible response.

  4. GMRinSAN
    December 10, 2009

    Yes, I agree. I should append that this is very welcome news. In the spirit of Christmas, I can say that I appreciate his words – they seem heartfelt.

  5. Priya Lynn
    December 10, 2009

    I’d be a lot more impressed if he hadn’t needed to be goaded into taking this stand. He previously claimed it was not his business to interfere in the affairs of another country, that as a Christian he doesn’t take sides, and that as no one had stood up for the alledged 146000 christians murdered he had no reason to stand up for gays. Its pretty clear he didn’t do this because he wanted to, because he thought it was the right thing, he did it because he realized not doing so made him look like a hypocrite. I think if his lack of opposition didn’t reflect badly on him he was happy to see this bill go forward.

  6. wackadoodle
    December 10, 2009

    This statement, in its forcefullness and clarity, is what we’ve been waiting for. I’ve been wating for clarity like this since last February when I first warned of the then-planned anti-gay conference in Kampala.

    And I’m still waiting for the day people like Rick Warren start opposing gays being executed BEFORE their hounded by the media about it.

    I don’t believe a single word he says. He’s proven he views us as inferior people not worthy of the same rights as decent straights.

  7. Richard Rush
    December 10, 2009

    Warren’s forceful denunciation of the bill is certainly gratifying. But still, I have to believe it came in response to the publicised uproar, because otherwise, why did he initially express indifference by saying it was none of his business to interfere in another nation’s affairs. So, other than the uproar, what changed that would now make it his business?

    I think the main purpose driving Warren’s life is promoting, and expanding his Christian business.

    And as far as his heartfelt delivery is concerned, that’s just part of the charismatic skill-set needed to become a successful entrepreneur in the religion industry.

  8. GreenEyedLilo
    December 10, 2009

    I’m very cynical about his motives, but I am more than okay with the end result. The people responsible for the anti-homosexuality bill might listen to him. If LGBT lives are saved whether it’s because a lot of people had an attack of conscience or because Rick Warren wanted to sell more books, it’s a good thing either way.

  9. Debbie Thurman
    December 10, 2009

    Glad to see Warren finally step up and do the right thing. It should have come much sooner, but better late than never, I guess.

    Why can’t people see that doing nothing does not make a problem go away? It really makes it worse by implying tacit consent to what is wrong. Warren is a bigger-than-life figure, so he absolutely has a duty to speak out forthrightly on occasions such as this.

    As for the Falwell comparison? Maybe it was his fear of being perceived as a buffoon if he opened his mouth that gave him too much pause here. The two men actually had a lot of respect for each other.

  10. CPT_Doom
    December 10, 2009

    Color me totally unimpressed. Anyone who was truly a Christian leader would not have gotten involved with this anti-gay hate mob to start with, never mind sitting quietly by while the law was debated and came very near being passed. The only reason that Warren is addressing the matter now is that his carefully crafted public image is being tarred. It’s all about him, always has been and always will be.

  11. Priya Lynn
    December 10, 2009

    I agree, CPT_Doom.

  12. Priya Lynn
    December 10, 2009

    I should add that while he’s doing it for the wrong reasons, its better than his not doing it at all.

  13. cowboy
    December 10, 2009

    Do you think Rachael Maddow, TIME magazine, etc used the research found here on BTB?

  14. TampaZeke
    December 10, 2009

    It doesn’t get any better than this?

    Are you kidding me?

    How about having him denounce the bill a week or two ago when he was asked POINT BLANK to do so? How about NOT waiting until the DAY AFTER Uganda agreed to drop the death penalty and life imprisonment from the bill to ask them to drop life imprisonment and the death penalty from the bill? How about taking some responsibility for the words, funding, teaching, actions and encouragement that HE personally gave to the people and the groups who, with that teaching and financial support, drafted this hateful bill in the first place.

    Really, I think you’re setting your standards awfully low if you fell that it doesn’t get any better than this.

  15. Ryn
    December 10, 2009

    Well, I’m glad that he finally decided to say something publicly, what I’m not so glad about is that he’s now pretty much claiming on Twitter that his quiet efforts are what killed the death penalty part of the bill.

    He spent a week and a half getting absolutely horrible press while keeping his mouth shut and now he’s trying to revise history so that his followers see him as the hero on this.

    I’m a conservative Christian, and I’m pretty appalled at the way that conservative Christian “leaders” who pretend to the media that they speak for people like me have handled this whole fiasco. Opposing the bill should be a no-brainer, not something that should take a week and a half of nearly constant bad press to be dragged out of you.

  16. Lindoro Almaviva
    December 10, 2009

    Forgive me for not being impressed.

    * This has been going on since February. That is 10 months…

    * Passage of this bill is seen as a shoe-in; even in watered down version, it will still persecute and prosecute LGBT people and the ones who support them.

    So you mean to tell me that now we are rejoiced that this pharisee speaks against this bill? You mean to tell me that the last 10 months, when he could have been talking to his friends over there and making public denouncements and talking about this to make sure that NO VERSION of the bill passed, you mean to tell me that we should not be talking about this? You mean to tell me that during this time of inaction, when Ugandans were emboldened to think that they had his support and the support of all the people who all of a sudden believe this is an internal matter, we should just sweep it under the rug because Rick Warren has spoken?

    Forgive me for not being impressed…

  17. John
    December 10, 2009

    Well it’s a helluva lot more than I’ve seen from the Catholic Holy See or Anglican See of Canterbury…

  18. JY
    December 10, 2009

    Others have said it well: His motives and his integrity as suspect. Why did he not speak out right away about an unambiguous atrocity (oh, but it involved the executing of homos)? And why he did turn up and make a really tacky appearance at an AIDS thrift shop in West Hollywood after it was publicized that he and his wife didn’t give a rip when AIDS was a “gay disease” (again, he was cool with letting homos die)?

    But I agree that this is still good, and the slimeball is at least using his influence to actually make the world a better place.

    I still profoundly distrust him — mind you, this guy spoke out, on tape, in support of Prop 8 and then claimed he didn’t — but this is a step in the right direction, and certainly vastly more meaningful than his thrift shop charade.

  19. grantdale
    December 10, 2009

    It is a sad day when the basic human rights of anyone are dependent on a thoroughly untrustworthy American evangelical reversing and denying his previous positions.

    The reasons why Warren has said this now are transparently obvious. The statement is completed by a manipulative and cynical version of events, right up to the boundary of having the same effect as outright lies.

    Good, he had said it.

    But beyond that, how shall we address the greedy and corrupting influence of people like Rick Warren? Human rights cannot depend on them, nor rely on a constant appeal to their own base motives.

  20. Jim Burroway
    December 10, 2009

    TampaZeke,

    You’re asking for the impossible. Nobody has a time machine to go back in time. Obviously, he can’t do that. So let’s stop asking for the impossible and demand the possible. He responded to one demand for the possible.

    Lindoro Almaviva,

    If you think anyone has said we can all pack up and go home, then I suggest you improve your reading comprehension.

    We were the very first in the U.S. to sound the warning bells last February — and through the early going we were extremely frustrated that almost NOBODY — including LGBT activists and allies — paid attention until the past month or so. So yes, I wish we had a whole passel of time machines to hand out to just about everyone, friends and foe alike.

    But one thing you can count on: BTB was the first to the story, and we’ll be there until it’s over — if it’s ever over. We stuck to it when nobody else was paying attention (at least nobody outside of us, Ex-Gay Watch, and Truth Wins Out), and we’ll continue to stick with this until this bill is withdrawn, defeated, or revoked, however long that takes.

    But given the relatively watered down responses we’ve gotten from Exodus, Don Schmierer, Richard Cohen — and the agitation Scott Lively continues to throw on the situation — as well as the continued silence from the Worldwide Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic Church (40% of Ugandans are Catholic) — Rick Warren has gone where no other conservative evangelical has gone so far. And that deserves recognition.

  21. Timothy Kincaid
    December 10, 2009

    Jim,

    I’m going to pat ourselves on the back a bit. I truly believe that had BTB not kept a constant and thorough reporting on the situation, then there would have been very little response by anyone at all.

    This site has the repository of the facts and we first exposed the American influence in the bill which gave local media the hook to report it. And we took proactive steps along the way to try and get those responsible to own up.

    I also want to give credit to Dr. Throckmorton who also was instrumental in reporting the story and in getting some of the parties to engage.

    Had the few of us not kept after this story, there would have been no statement by Rick Warren or the Vatican or any other religious bodies in the US. There would have perhaps been brief coverage with some shaking of the head and sad frown and on we would go to the next crisis.

    If this bill is eventually shelved, which is possible, or even if it passes in the watered down form, I think that we can state with honesty that our efforts have led to saving lives.

    It isn’t often that one can honestly say that you’ve saved a life, and if nothing we try here at BTB ever leads to any other improvement in the world, this situation alone will still have been worth all of our efforts.

  22. Lynn David
    December 10, 2009

    Nice. And to be brutally honest, at this point this became a very safe statement for Rick Warren to make. We’ve had churches come out against the death penalty and word came that it would be written out, while a balloon was floated that therapy might be an ‘option.’ And now the Katureebe article would seem to be saying that the government is having second thoughts. Could it be that Rick Warren is privy to those thoughts and only then became an avenue to give Christian Ugandans a way to accept Museveni’s possible withdrawal of support from the Bahati bill?

  23. Lynn David
    December 10, 2009

    Ok…. my bad Rick Warren says he doesn’t know Museveni.

    As for who may have given Rick Warren the impetus…

    The Catalyst Behind Rick Warren’s About Face on Anti-Gay Ugandan Law

  24. Lynn David
    December 10, 2009

    It was the man behind the man… Warren’s publicist!

    I guess I got Janet Museveni mixed up with her husband. Janet Museveni gave a video presentation at Saddleback at the HIV/AIDS conference that Warren ran in 2005. And then in March of 2008:

    Dr. Warren met with First Lady Janet Museveni to discuss the PEACE Plan, an aggressive and progressive vision to promote reconciliation, equip servant leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick and educate the next generation.

  25. John
    December 10, 2009

    There is an even bigger positive in Rick Warren’s statement. It shows that these right wing evangelicals can actually be shamed into doing the right thing around issues of violence and bigotry toward gay people.

    Rick Warren’s position was becoming increasingly untenable and he needed to do something to salvage his reputation. Killing this bill will help gay people in Uganda, and being able to make Rick Warren and others bend under withering criticism will help gay people in the US as well as overseas.

  26. Mortanius
    December 11, 2009

    I’m glad it actually went to his Ugandan contacts and not merely something espoused here in the states. Though I look at it as the typical “It’s better to ask forgiveness than ask permission”. He should have done the right thing, the Christian thing, from the beginning, instead of helping the ball get rolling on this bill. I believe it has too much force behind it and all these “family members” and “pastors” “denouncing” it now is too little, too late. I hope I am wrong.

  27. Debbie Thurman
    December 11, 2009

    FYI, Warren is reported to have appeared in Washington, D.C. a few years ago with Janet Museveni to lobby PEPFAR for abstinence funding. They got $1 billion. I’ll get the source, if anybody wants it.

  28. Priya Lynn
    December 11, 2009

    Lynn and John – very interesting.

  29. anteros
    December 12, 2009

    Thanks BTB! Thanks for everything.

    Yesterday’s Saturday Monitor briefly mentioned Rick Warren’s response in this article:

    http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/news/Donors_lodge_formal_protest_against_anti-gay_Bill_printer.shtml

    They interpreted it as him having “caved in to public pressure”. I wish he would respond to that by emailing the monitor (letters at monitor dot co dot ug)

    Yesterday’s Saturday Monitor also had a front page photo of a lesbian couple (one had her eyes blocked out, the other bravely opted to have her name and face revealed) and a two page story on how difficult this Bill has made their lives. A small column on “facts about homosexuality was inserted, but I dont recall any salient points in the column.

    There was also a supportive article on tolerance towards homosexuals in the lifestyle section of the same paper.

    Things are getting better! Thanks a lot BTB.

  30. david
    December 13, 2009

    Debbie, could you get the source Rick Warren meeting with Janet Museveni

  31. werdna
    December 14, 2009

    @david-
    Not sure what Debbie’s source is but Max Blumenthal’s article “Rick Warren’s Africa Problem” reports Janet Museveni’s visit to DC like this:

    …[In 2001] Janet Museveni flew to Washington at the height of a heated congressional debate over PEPFAR. She carried in her hand a prepared message to distribute to Republicans. Abstinence was the golden bullet in her country’s fight against AIDS, she assured conservative lawmakers, denying the empirically proven success of her husband’s condom distribution program. Like magic, the Republican-dominated Congress authorized over $200 million for Uganda, but only for the exclusive promotion of abstinence education.

    Not sure if Warren was involved with her visit at this point, but he’s frequently identified as a “close friend” of Janet Museveni. The only source I’ve found for Debbie’s claim (Warren and Museveni working together to get $1 billion for abstinence) is Debbie’s own blog, and to be honest, that figure seems incorrect.

  32. werdna
    December 14, 2009

    P.S., upon re-reading, I realized that Debbie may not be suggesting that Uganda got $1 billion for abstinence-only programs (which isn’t true) but that she’s likely referring to the $1 billion (out of $15 billion) of the original PEPFAR funding that was earmarked for these kinds of programs for all PEPFAR aid recipients. Janet Museveni was directly involved in lobbying Republican lawmakers for funds being directed to abstinence programs (in 2002, not 2001 as I mistakenly wrote in the Blumenthal quote above). I still don’t know of any connection to Warren in Museveni’s 2002 lobbying trip to the US, though. I’d be interested to see a report that confirms a connection.

    It’s worth noting that the original requirements for how PEPFAR funds should be directed were modified when the program was re-authorized in 2008. The direct commitment of funds to abstinence-only programs was softened to require that half of prevention funds be directed to “activities promoting abstinence, delay of sexual debut, monogamy, fidelity, and partner reduction”. The majority of PEPFAR funding continues to be directed toward treatment and care for people with HIV.

  33. David
    December 14, 2009

    @werdna, any pictures of museveni meeting with rick warren or the c street family, would blow this open

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