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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for November, 2012

Franklin Graham Reacts

Jim Burroway

November 8th, 2012

Don’t blame him if God destroys America:

“Unless we’re willing to repent for our sins, we will stand in his judgment,” Graham said Wednesday, shortly after leaving a birthday party for his father, evangelist Billy Graham, in Montreat.

“I want to warn America: God is coming around. He will judge sin, and it won’t be pretty.”

In particular, Graham was referring to the re-election of Obama, a man he has accused of “waving his fist before God” by supporting abortion rights and same-sex marriage. Voters in four states Tuesday either passed laws legalizing gay unions or blocked moves to further restrict it.

…“We have God’s blessing as a nation. Scripture is clear. God blesses countries, but God also brings bedlam when countries turn their back on him. If we don’t obey his laws, he will withdraw his hand of protection.”

Soulforce Founder Mel White’s Open Letter to American Pastors on Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Jim Burroway

February 3rd, 2010

Soulforce founder Mel White, Interim Executive Director Bill Carpenter, and Board Chair Chuck Phelan have released this open letter to Jan and Paul Crouch and other American Evangelical pastors who broadcast in Uganda, calling on them to denounce the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before Parliament.

An Open Letter from Soulforce to Jan and Paul Crouch, founders of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and the Evangelical Christian broadcasters who are featured on Lighthouse Television, TBN’s affiliate in Uganda, including:  Matthew Crouch, Joyce Meyer,  Andrew Wommack,  Benny Hinn,  Kenneth Copeland,  Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, and Franklin Graham:

By now you are well aware of the anti-homosexual bill pending before the Parliament of Uganda. We urge you to denounce this bill.  Use your personal friendships with President and Mrs. Museveni, with MP David Bahati (your Christian colleague who proposed this bill), and with Stephen Langa, (the Ugandan Christian organizer behind the bill) to take a public and passionate stand against it.

The media are blaming the visit to Uganda by three of your colleagues for this despicable and truly un-Christian law.  In fact, for years you have used your Lighthouse Television programs, your radio broadcasts, and your massive public meetings to warn Ugandans of the so called “threat homosexuals pose to Bible-based values and the traditional African Family.”

In no small part you are already responsible for the current call by Ugandan leaders to enforce the old law condemning lesbian and gay Ugandans to up to 14 years in prison. This new law increases that sentence to life imprisonment and even death by hanging.  Denounce this new bill or the blood of lesbian and gay Ugandans will be on your hands.

It isn’t just the “liberal media” who are condemning the bill.  In mid-November, Exodus International, the ministry that promises to assist homosexuals in overcoming homosexuality, warned,  “If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue.” While Soulforce does not agree with Exodus that lesbian and gay people need to be “cured,” we wholeheartedly agree with their position on this hateful bill.

Warren Throckmorton, a member of the Clinical Advisory Board of the American Association of Christian Counselors warned that this legislation would make their mission “to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all” a difficult if not impossible task.

Your colleague, mega-church pastor Rick Warren, in a very public video appeal to his fellow clergy in Uganda, gives five reasons why Ugandan Christians should not support the bill: (1) it is “unjust, extreme and un-Christian; (2) it would “force pastors to report their pastoral conversations with homosexuals to authorities; (3) “…it would have a chilling effect on your ministry to the hurting… homosexuals who are HIV positive will be reluctant to seek or receive care, comfort and compassion from our churches out of fear of being reported; (4)  “All life, no matter how humble or broken, whether unborn or dying, is precious to God… It would be inconsistent to save some lives and wish death on others…” And (5) “the freedom to make moral choices, and our right to free expression, are gifts endowed by God.” Warren reminds the clergy that Uganda is a democratic country “…and in a democracy everyone has a right to speak up.” Warren concludes by urging them “to speak out against the proposed law.”

The People of Soulforce urge you to take Rick Warren seriously.  It is very possible that your silence on this matter will convince the people of Uganda that it is God’s will to condemn homosexuals to life imprisonment or even death by hanging. Your powerful media voices have made you superstars to Ugandans. We implore you to use your power to denounce this bill. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this time the Christian community became known for love and justice rather than fulfilling the stereotype of the “liberal media” as ‘hate-filled bigots?

You often ask others, “What would Jesus do?”  This is the perfect time to ask yourselves that question. 

The People of Soulforce

Mel White, Founder
Bill Carpenter, Interim Executive Director
Chuck Phelan, Board Chair    

 

ADDENDUM:           EXAMPLES OF OTHERS WHO CONDEMN THE BILL

This bill has been condemned by leaders of Western nations including the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia, and Great Britain and the President of the United States. The European Parliament passed a resolution against the bill and threatened to cut financial aid to Uganda if it is enacted. They described the bill as “state-legislated genocide.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urge Uganda to shelve the bill and decriminalize homosexuality.

The 16,000 members of the HIV Clinicians Society of South Africa and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS warned that excluding marginalised groups would compromise efforts to stop the spread of AIDS in Uganda where 5.4% of the adult population is infected with HIV.

The Sunday Times in South Africa warned Uganda that it is in danger of being “dragged back to the dark and evil days of Idi Amin.”

The New York Times stated unequivocally “that such barbarism (in the bill) is intolerable and will make Uganda an international pariah.” 

The Washington Post labeled the bill “ugly and ignorant”, “barbaric”, and “that it is even being considered puts Uganda beyond the pale of civilized nations.”

The Los Angeles Times warned that the bill would cause gay Ugandans to face an “impossible, insulting, historical, cruel and utterly false choice of having to choose between being gay and being African.”

The Anglican Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha said that the Bill “would become state-legislated genocide.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has said in a public interview that he did not see how any Anglican could support it: “Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers.”

The Vatican legal attaché to the United Nations stated that “Pope Benedict is opposed to ‘unjust discrimination’ against gay men and lesbians.”

ADDENDUM: 

AS IN THE US, PAUL CAMERON IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF THE HALF-TRUTH, HYPERBOLE AND LIES ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALS UPON WHICH THE BILL IS BASED

Stephen Langa, the March 2009 workshop organiser, specifically cited an unlicensed converstion therapist named Richard A. Cohen who states in a book that was given to Langa and other prominent Ugandans,

“Homosexuals are at least 12 times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals; homosexual teachers are at least 7 times more likely to molest a pupil; homosexual teachers are estimated to have committed at least 25 percent of pupil molestation; 40 percent of molestation assaults were made by those who engage in homosexuality.”

These statements were based on faulty studies performed by Paul Cameron who has been expelled from the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association.   Cohen, himself, confirmed the weaknesses of these studies, stating that when the book will be reprinted, these statistics will be removed.

ADDENDUM:   OUR SOURCES

Jeffrey Gettleman, writing for the New York Times,  January 4, 2010, reported on “Americans’ Role in Uganda Anti-Gay Push.” 

Erin Roach, posted on Baptist News, November 18, 2009, the news that “Exodus Opposes Uganda’s Proposed Anti-Gay Law.”

Baptist Press, December 13, 2009, announced that “Mega-Church Pastor Rick Warren Condemns Uganda Anti-Gay Bill.

The editors of Wikipedia have assembled the best history of this bill and the world’s response.

YouTube carries the complete video of Rick Warren’s Open Letter to the Clergy of Uganda.*

*We wish to express our thanks to the Rev. Rick Warren for taking this rather courageous step on behalf of the lesbian and gay people of Uganda.  Pastor Warren did everything in his power to avoid meeting with our gay and lesbian parents and their families in 2009 during the Soulforce American Family Outing.  We have tried on many occasions to help him understand the tragic consequences of his own teachings about homosexuality and homosexuals.  And though we continue hoping that he will meet with a Soulforce delegation to hear the scientific, historic, psychological and personal evidence that homosexuality is one of God’s gifts, we pause in our pursuit just long enough to give him thanks for reaching out to save the lives of our lesbian sisters and gay brothers in Uganda.  Thank you, Pastor Warren.  We are grateful!

Franklin Graham: “You Hate God and It’s Good That You Are Upset”

Timothy Kincaid

December 23rd, 2008

Billy Graham was for decades a spiritual leader with tremendous influence and the ear of every President since Harry Truman. And Billy Graham, while a Southern Baptist and theologically conservative, preached a gospel that was more good news and conciliation than it was a fiery denunciation of the world around him. But he’s now in his 90′s and happily enjoying his retirement from public life.

Franklin Graham, Billy’s son, is a different generation. In his mid 50′s, Franklin Graham entered his ministry in the era of Moral Majority, Christian Coalition, and Culure War. The younger Graham seems to express no desire to reach or understand those who differ, choosing instead to demonize and objectify those he sees as God’s (and therefore his) enemies.

Franklin Graham has now weighed in on those who are upset by the selection of Rick Warren for the Inaugural Invocation:

My advice to Rick is to stay true to your convictions, and don’t back up one step. I don’t think he will. When you have the far left and the gay advocates mad at you, you must be doing something right. I’m proud of Rick. He hasn’t backed down one bit and he shouldn’t.

And as for those “far left” people, he has this to say:

The people on the far left hate God, they hate his standards, and hate the name of his son. The people on the left are not going to support any relationship with people on the other side.

Not all of those who oppose homosexuality are motivated by animus, arrogance or contempt. Some, I’ve found, are truly troubled by conflict between how they would prefer to view sexual orientation and what they see as clear biblical commandments. And so I believe that we should be slow and cautious to identify others as “haters” or “bigots”.

But I have to say that I’m finding it impossible to read these comments by Franklin Graham without seeing overt hatred and bigotry in his words.