Ugandan Pastors Demand Apology from Rick Warren
December 21st, 2009
In a letter sent sent to Warren, with copies provided to Christianity Today and Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton, the four pastors write on behalf of a task force which met in the offices of the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, who has been an ardent supporter of the bill. The pastors say that the bill has been “greatly misrepresented” and describes Warren’s opposition to the bill as “unwarrented abuse.”
This bill has been greatly misrepresented by some homosexual activists causing hysteria and we take this opportunity to give you the background, facts and response to the concerns you raised. A special meeting of 20 denominational heads met on Thursday 17th Dec in the offices of the minister of Ethics and Integrity, examined your letter and formed a joint task force to respond to you as well as help support the parliament in the passage of this bill. We are further distressed by your unwarranted abuse of our duly elected officials who are in the process of making laws in the fulfillment of their mission and make demand that you biblically issue an apology for having wronged us as demonstrated by the facts of this letter. [Emphasis in the original]
The letter is very similar to a separate letter sent to Christianity Today, complete with wholesale misrepresentations of what the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would actually provide. We have posted the full text of the bill online where you can see its provisions for yourself. They include:
- Expanding the definitions for homosexual acts, making conviction easier. Current law requires evidence of penetration. The new law would expand the definition of homosexual activity to “touch(ing) another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” Touching itself is defined as “touching—(a) with any part of the body; (b) with anything else; (c) through anything; and in particular includes touching amounting to penetration of any sexual organ. anus or mouth.
- Affirming Uganda’s lifetime imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality.
- Defining a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” for those who engage in sex with someone under the age of 18, who are HIV-positive, who is a “repeat offender” (so broadly defined as to include anyone who has had a relationship with more than one person, or who had sex with the same person more than once), or who had sex with a disabled person (consensual or not). The penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is death by hanging.
- Requiring anyone arrested on suspicion of homosexuality to undergo HIV testing to determine the individual’s qualification for prosecution of “aggravated homosexuality.”
- Criminalizing “attempted homosexuality” with imprisonment of seven years.
- Criminalizing all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda with fines and imprisonment of between five and seven years.
- Criminalizing the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment.
- Addding a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment of up to three years.
- Penalizing landlords and hotel owners with five to seven years imprisonment for renting to LGBT people.
- Adding an extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
- Voiding all international treaties, agreements and human rights obligations which conflict with this bill.
There is an additional ominous note in this letter that is not found in the previous letter published by Christianity Today. In describing the developments in Uganda which they say justify the draconian measure specified in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, they single out an individual Ugandan blogger, GayUganda:
This latest letter, which is reproduced on Warren Throckmorton’s web site, demands that Warren issues an apology and sets a deadline:
Your letter has caused great distress and the pastors are demanding that you issue a formal apology for insulting the people of Africa by your very inapropriate bully use of your church and purpose driven pulpits to coerse us into the “evil” of Sodomy and Gaymorrah. This is expected within seven days from this date.
The letter, at least as it is reproduced on Throckmorton’s web site, does not appear to be dated.