Rick Warren won’t condemn law punishing homosexuality with death
The conservative pastor who delivered President Barack Obama’s inaugural convocation address won’t condemn a proposed Ugandan law that punishes homosexual acts with death.
His position is raising eyebrows, not the least of which was Newsweek, which noted his position Sunday. Warren has been supportive of a Ugandan pastor behind the legislation, Martin Ssempa, hosting him during visits to the United States at his Saddleback church.
Warren tried to distance himself from Ssempa in October, saying, “Martin Ssempa does not represent me, my wife Kay, Saddleback Church, nor the Global PEACE Plan strategy.”
But this month, asked on whether he opposed a measure under which homosexual acts are punishable by life in prison or sometimes death, Warren refused to condemn the proposal.
“The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator,” Warren remarked. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”
“As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support,” he said on Meet The Press. “I never take sides.”
Gay supporters aren’t taking buying his supposed neutrality.
“This is a guy who called abortion a “holocaust” and who certainly does what he can to stop it in this country and around the world,” wrote blogger Michaelangelo Signorile, who hosts a show on Sirius’ OutQ radio. “Surely, he believes, as a self-proclaimed moral leader, that one must speak up against injustice. That is, if he sees state executions of gay men as a true injustice at all — or at least one that is worth upsetting the apple carts he so neatly set up in Uganda.”
The African nation of Uganda is weighing a bill that would impose the death penalty on HIV positive men who have committed what it calls “aggravated homosexuality.”
As if that were not shocking enough, a U.S. author claims that a secretive group of American politicians appear to be a driving force in seeing the proposal become law.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, heavily supported by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, was first read in October, triggering a wave of condemnation. According to the gay blog Queerty, Joann Lockard, public affairs officer at the Kampala, Uganda embassy, said the law would “constitute a significant step backwards for the protection of human rights in Uganda.”