Best-selling author Rick Warren, the megachurch pastor at Saddleback Church in California, is under increasing pressure to end his recent silence on Uganda’s punitive Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
In a Washington Post commentary, the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, stated:
California megachurch pastor Rick Warren is back on the circuit to sell his updated version of “The Purpose Driven Life,” his New York Times best-selling book. Warren is also back on the hot seat by telling Piers Morgan of CNN that being gay is a temptation like wanting to “punch a guy in the nose.” Is it any wonder that young people have lost faith in our churches and call them “hypocritical and judgmental?”
Warren’s remarks could be dismissed if the impact wasn’t so dire. His long-time HIV/AIDS work in Uganda is again at issue as the country’s anti-homosexual bill is back in Parliament. The revived bill would imprison lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and anyone who supports dignity and rights for LGBT people. Ugandan politicians say the death penalty might be removed to make the bill seem more acceptable. So, while Uganda is on the brink of genocide against LGBT people, Warren—one of America’s most influential pastors—is hawking his book instead of being a leader.
To be fair, Warren stepped up in December 2009, during the last threat of state-sponsored violence against LGBT people. He issued a heartfelt plea to Ugandan Christian leaders “to love our neighbors as ourselves.” He called the law “unjust, extreme and unchristian toward homosexuals.” He received strong pushback from Ugandan faith leaders and has not spoken about it publicly since.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Warren, like many other conservative Christian preachers, insists that homosexuality is a choice.
Believing that makes it so much easier to believe that homosexuality is a sin — a bad choice — rather than believing that LGBT people are made that way by God, in God’s image, just as straight people are.
But that belief implies that people wake up in the morning and decide whether they will be straight or gay that day. Those who make a bad decision, from Warren’s point of view, decide to punch someone in the nose or to be gay. Those who make a good decision, again from Warren’s viewpoint, decide to refrain from punching someone in the nose and to be heterosexual.
But Pastor Warren, even if you believe something like that, couldn’t you please remind your Ugandan brethren that they should love their gay neighbors as themselves, as God commands — not throw them in jail?
- Over a million speak out against Uganda’s anti-gay bill (76crimes.com)
- World AIDS Day: Christians, your anti-gay stance boosts AIDS (76crimes.com)
- Rick Warren: same-sex attraction is like violent impulses and “arsenic” (dailykos.com)
- Rick Warren: Being Gay Is Like ‘Punching A Guy In The Nose’ Or Consuming Arsenic (thinkprogress.org)
- Citibank, Barclays go gentle on Uganda anti-gay bill (76crimes.com)
- How outrageous is Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ bill? (76crimes.com)
- Paris ‘die-in’ targets Ugandan anti-gay bill (76crimes.com)