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Where Are The Religious Leaders?

Jim Burroway

November 27th, 2012

American liberals are upset that Ugandan Pres is leading his nation in repentance--afraid of a modern example of a nation prospered by God?With Uganda poised to pass what would become one of the most draconian anti-gay laws in the world, human rights advocates, LGBT activists, and diplomats from around the globe are lobbying members of the Ugandan government to set aside the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. But there is one set of voices that is conspicuously silent: church leaders. So far, the only religious voices to speak up about it are those who favor its passage, including Scott Lively and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. The Family “Research” Council’s Tony Perkins, while not addressing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill directly, praised Uganda over the weekend as “a modern example of a nation prospered by God.” (Perkins had previously lied about what the bill would do if enacted and lobbied Congress against a resolution condemning the bill.)

So far, those are among the few religious leaders speaking up about the bill, all of them supporting it directly or indirectly. And so far, major religious leaders against the bill have been conspicuous by their silence. The HRC called on them to speak up in a press release last week:

“American faith leaders know that calling for the death penalty – or even calling for imprisonment of - an entire community is not in line with Christian values,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “American Christian faith leaders with ties to Uganda, like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes, must reach out to their influential Ugandan friends to ensure that the human rights of Ugandans are not put up to a vote.”

American Christian faith leaders have been active in Uganda for decades and have significant ties to Ugandan political leaders and faith leaders. Such influential American faith leaders, including Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and voices from the Trinity Broadcasting Network, have a moral obligation to urge their Ugandan friends and allies to condemn the bill. Many of these American faith leaders have shown a commitment to fighting the HIV/AIDs epidemic in Uganda and know passage of this bill would curtail these efforts. Public statements and private conversations by these American faith leaders, if they are done immediately, could save the lives of thousands of Ugandans.

Rick Warren last addressed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in late 2009, when he condemned the bill. Three years is an eternity in politics, and he has been silent since then. Silence will only mean that Scott Lively and Tony Perkins is speaking for them.

Comments

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Dave H
November 27th, 2012 | LINK

“American Christian faith leaders with ties to Uganda, like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes, must reach out to their influential Ugandan friends to ensure that the human rights of Ugandans are not put up to a vote.”

REALLY?!?!? I know Chad Griffin is new in his role as President of HRC, but he can’t be this naive. “American Christian faith leaders” like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes actively support efforts in this country to put our rights up for a vote (and have them taken away), so why would anyone think they would they try to influence their friends in Uganda not to?

Ben in Oakland
November 27th, 2012 | LINK

Though things are certainly better in this country than they were as far as “religious leaders” go, much the same question can still be asked.

here the hell are they?

Steve
November 27th, 2012 | LINK

Yeah, this is pure nativity. Did anyone really expect anything else? Christians will always be Christians

Lord_Byron
November 27th, 2012 | LINK

Since when is Uganda a prosperous nation? I really wish these bigoted fundies would stop with the god bs.

Richard Rush
November 27th, 2012 | LINK

People like to believe the problem is only with the Crackerjack Christians (CCs), but to a large degree it’s also with the so-called moderates who help enable and give some credibility to the CCs. If a moderate believes in just the basics (that God exists, inspired the Bible, hears prayers, and has a son who died for their sins, was resurrected in three days, then rose into heaven, etc., etc.) then they are giving credibility to about 85% of the beliefs. The CCs then just carry it all over the top. I think the CCs have as much of a case for taking the Bible literally as moderates do for twisting it every which way to make it say what they want it to say. I, of course, believe it’s all superstitious nonsense.

Actually, I think a substantial number of moderate Christians do speak out, BUT they don’t do it in the name of God. So that leaves the impression that only the CCs are speaking for God.

Timothy Kincaid
November 27th, 2012 | LINK

“American Christian faith leaders” like Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes actively support efforts in this country to put our rights up for a vote (and have them taken away), so why would anyone think they would they try to influence their friends in Uganda not to?

Because Rick Warren has already done so. It was three years ago, but it wasn’t “never”.

It’s easy to assume that those who oppose our rights are evil ogres living in a cave and that there is no limit to their hatred. In fact, I regularly see such thought trotted out. But this is simplistic and hurts our ability to find commonality.

We should recognize that many of the fears that we have about those we label “enemy” are no more accurate than their fears about us.

Timothy Kincaid
November 27th, 2012 | LINK

Yeah, this is pure nativity.

Well it is Christmas, after all.

Timothy Kincaid
November 27th, 2012 | LINK

Actually, I think a substantial number of moderate Christians do speak out, BUT they don’t do it in the name of God. So that leaves the impression that only the CCs are speaking for God.

I think you are mistaken.

I challenge you to look a bit and you’ll see that at event after event, small town council meetings, Minnesota State Fair, whatever it is there are people there wearing collars and calling for equality in the name of God.

It’s just that these voices NEVER make it onto the news. They just aren’t as interesting as the screaming lunatics spewing hate and, besides, it just doesn’t fit nicely into the predetermined boxes that the media loves to fit people in.

No one says, “gay marriage is the topic so lets get a pro-gay preacher and an anti-gay preacher”. Instead they say “let’s get a gay activist and an anti-gay preacher”. And it leaves the impression that all gay people are anti-religious and all religious people are anti-gay.

customartist
November 28th, 2012 | LINK

Tell Obama:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

He has some newly found cred.

Ian Streeter
November 29th, 2012 | LINK

Where indeed? Where is the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen? He has close links with Uganda’s Anglicans, and benefits from their support in his church politicking. Yet, despite a number of requests, he can’t bring himself to make any comment on the this legislation.

customartist
November 29th, 2012 | LINK

Rick Warren has been on CBS & CNN diverting attention from Uganda by selling his book. No mention of Uganda.

CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/feedback/show/?s=generalcomments&hdln=4

CBS: 212-975-3247
(betw. 10:00-11:30 a.m. specifically)

Whitehouse:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

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