Where Are The Religious Leaders?
November 27th, 2012
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.
Trinity Broadcasting Network Settles Harassment Lawsuit
March 30th, 2010
The Orange County Register reports that the Trinity Broadcasting Network has settled a lawsuit brought by a former employee who alleged he was harassed for being gay. Brian Dugger, a former broadcast engineer, alleged that Paul Crouch Jr taunted Dugger with gay porn, said TBN was no place for fairies and declared that “Brian has a man-gina.” Teri Sforza has more details:
Dugger began working as a broadcast engineer for Trinity in Nashville in 1993, and grew “exceedingly close” to Paul Crouch Jr.’s daddy, Paul Crouch, the suit said. When TBN headquarters moved to Southern California, the senior Crouch insisted that Dugger come, too; but once here, the senior Crouch became less involved with the station, while wife Jan and son Paul Crouch Jr. took the reins.
That’s when things began to get difficult for Dugger, the suit said.
Soon after his transfer to Tustin in 2001, Dugger was told not to dress so gay or to wear jewelry, to act more straight and to pay attention to girls, it said. “Brian has a man-gina!” Paul Crouch Jr. allegedly taunted Dugger (in front of a live video camera and a crowd of TBN workers). The junior Crouch (that’s him at right) also sent Dugger explicit pictures of genitalia – male, female and transsexual – as well as explicit images of copulating couples and other pornography, the suit said.
Dugger filed suit for harassment and demanded $1.9 million in punitive damages; $650,000 in general and special damages (lost wages and benefits, emotional distress); as well as statutory damages. Dugger’s attorney said he could not discuss the terms of the settlement.
This is not the first time the Crouch’s empire became enmeshed with gay-related harassment. In 1998, the senior Paul Crouch reportedly paid the princely sum of $425,000 to silence allegations of a gay affair with an employee. Crouch’s attorney’s also went to the Orange County Superior Court to try to prevent the LA times from printing the story. Crouch denied the employee’s allegations.