Pam Spaulding

FAIL: Rick Warren tries to take a neutral position on Uganda's 'execute gays' bill

Filed By Pam Spaulding | November 30, 2009 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Rick Warren

Pastor Rick Warren attempts to straddle a volatile issue -- Uganda's legislation that calls for the execution of gays -- and commits a double twist, backflip FAIL by saying "As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides." Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin:

Warren is not hesitant to interfere in international religious divisions or schisms. Though not Anglican, he has been a major player in providing American support to African Anglicans who are seeking to oust any affiliates from the Anglican Communion that make any accommodation for gay Christians.

...[He]'s no stranger to activism on behalf of legislation. Though he was not highly visible in supporting Proposition 8, he did not hesitate to instruct his flock - which does not stop at the walls of his church - to vote to take away the civil rights of their gay neighbors.

But Warren has now found the one exception to his political involvement. And that exception is the proposed Ugandan "Kill Gays" bill. Unlike virtually anything else that flickers across his attention, this piece of legislation just doesn't rise to the level of requiring his involvement. That would be "interfering in the political process of other nations."

Or maybe Rick Warren just doesn't find it unethical on the part of leadership in Uganda to execute HIV positive gay people, incarcerate the rest for life, ban any form of activism that might object, and jail those family, friends, or acquaintances who fail to report their gay loved ones to the government.

Yes, let's go to the videotape...

Warren's moral judgment here only points out that hypocrisy knows no bounds -- and this is the man who Barack Obama invited to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Pillar of loving Christianity, Rick Warren. Does the White House have any comment about this? Will someone ask Robert "I know nothing" Gibbs at the daily presser?

Oh wait -- the Obama administration has taken a position -- it agrees with Rick Warren!

And is it a coincidence that the Obama administration -- in which Warren has a fan at the very top -- has not spoken out loudly enough against what's happening in Uganda and that the man who doles out the AIDS dollars (our taxpayer dollars, need I remind) on behalf of the president to Uganda, PEPFAR chief Eric Goosby, says pretty much what Warren says? According to, Goosby says his job is "not to tell a country how to put forward their legislation."
Wow. Just. Wow.


Truth Wins Out calls for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to hold a hearing on PEPFAR funding to demand strict human rights, patient confidentiality and free speech controls are tied to PEPFAR aid, particularly since Goosby is not concerned.

Goosby appears to be both ignorant of HIV/AIDS in Uganda, and determined to use taxpayer dollars to undermine the very same education programs that PEPFAR was created to support:

1. HIV/AIDS in Uganda is primarily a heterosexual phenomenon; Goosby falsely contends that it is a homosexual phenomenon that threatens the "general population."
2. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill would criminalize key aspects of comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention education and imprison health-care workers who refuse to report sexually active gay patients to the police.

Goosby's use of federal funds to subsidize the punishment of HIV/AIDS education and health-care workers, and to push LGBT Ugandans deep underground, is inexcusable. And the silence of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, regarding her subordinates' support for violence in Uganda, is unacceptable.

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Warren is personally close to and supportive of Akinola, who campaigned for repressive anti-gay laws in Nigeria and whose brother bishops in Uganda are only gagging on the death penalty part of the laws but are fine with life imprisonment under conditions that will kill quickly anyways.

Warren is dangerous, and needs to have his mass murdered friend and ally Akinola tied to his neck like a millstone(Akinola incited the murders of 700 Muslims)

I cross-posted this comment, edited slightly, on Americablog Gay.

The Rick Warren inauguration debacle was one of my first indications (yes, I'm a slow learner) that the Obama Administration wasn't going to be all that I would have hoped for.

I had arrangements to go to the inauguration (just as one of the freezing masses) but, with the thought of that vile prick given such an honor, cancelled them in personal protest and went to Atlantic City instead. And I don't gamble and I don't like Atlantic City:)

This, of course, is obscenity of the highest level.
But I admit I am not surprised at anything the hate-mongering, money-grubbing, homophobic Christian Right says or does.
I put absolutely nothing past Rick Warren.
Advocating by "I don't get involved" the execution of human beings for normal human behavior and criminalizing a host of allied simple acts?
Sure. Why not? Sells well in Uganda and other countries of Africa in which Warren whores his influence.

I only wish I believed in the Hell in which this smarmy hater professes to believe so that he may rot there.
Unfortunately, Hell is a fantasy made up by simple Bronze Age people and perpetrated by Janus-faced snake oil salesmen like Warren.
Who, I'll bet anything, doesn't believe in it himself.
Or else he wouldn't condone murder, would he?

Don't forget that The Family is behind the anti-gay Ugandan push too - that's your friendly American politicians at work too!

I'd say his culpability lies deeper than just his inability to condemn what's going on here. He's been deeply involved for years in the movement to export abstinence-only education, something that we all know doesn't work but that conservatives like Warren are emotionally attached to.

He worked to get funding in the PEPFAR for abstinence-only, and to get Uganda to switch from its ABC (practice Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms) program, one of the few success stories in fighting AIDS in Africa, over to abstinence-only. Free condom availability was decreased, knowledge about the risk of condom-free sex was also decreased, condom usage decreased, and HIV is rising again.

The question with this proposed law is: why now? Sure, Westerners, like the Family, Scott Lively, and Rick Warren, have been going into Uganda over the past 10 years and trying to change their laws, but the only way they can have an affect on the culture in ways that foreign governments can't is if they're speaking to basic fears. The fact that the proposed legislation specifically condemns gay men with AIDS shows that the fear is at least partly coming from there.

Not to deny Uganda its own agency here. No matter how many people from the West try to influence their government, it's ultimately their decision to pass this law or not and Rick Warren's role, no matter how it's defined, is still that of an outside agitator and Uganda isn't a country just waiting for marching orders from the West.

All that you say is true Alex, but still... this is government sanctioned genocide. Period.

It is government sanctioned genocide of black gay people fomented by the WHITE religious right from America.

I'm sorry, I have problem with that and I don't give a damn about Uganda's agency. I would expect that the first black American President (who also said that he would be "a fierce advocate" for gays) would be able to use the bully pulpit to take a moral position on this, as his Administration did sign a non-binding bill decriminalizing homosexuality.

Yeah, I wouldn't count on Obama responding. Clinton gave a more general condemnation of homophobic violence abroad, and maybe she'll say something more specific, but, well, I think we've seen all we can expect from this administration.

Maybe you're right - I'm no expert on Uganda. But it sounds unlikely to me that Westerners just entered a gay-friendly or gay-neutral country, told people to be homophobic and write this law, and, like automatons, they did it. That's not the way the world works - Uganda's leaders can stand up for what's right. They have their own motivations.

Because, on the other side of this issue, several people are now saying that Uganda is responding to Western gay activists who are forcing homosexuality on their culture. They're both at least incomplete arguments, since I'm sure Uganda does not define its needs and motivations solely on the basis of what goes on in the West.

(Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "agency"? I meant it as: "Uganda has agency, therefore the country itself can take the blame for what happened here," not "Uganda has agency, therefore it can do what it wants and it's a sovereign action that we must respect.")

No doubt the wingnut right is taking notes in hopes they can get similiar legislation under a Palin administration enacted in the future.

Backlash is a bitch, and we in the west are seeing just the tip of the iceberg for now.

And what happens when some family sends a gay son or daughter on a "Christian Rendition FLight" to Uganda to suffer "God's will and retribution?