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Unpublicized religion: ‘Sex tourism of the Christian Right’

Rick Warren, author and pastor of Saddleback Church
Rick Warren, author and pastor of Saddleback Church

Multinational battles over LGBT rights — opposed by many conservative Christians and supported by progressive faith leaders — came in at No. 9 on a list of 13 under-publicized stories about religion in 2012. The list, published on the Religion Dispatches website, was compiled by Peter Laarman, executive director of Progressive Christians Uniting.  Here’s what he says about No. 9:

Sex Tourism of the Christian Right

The clever tag is Jeff Sharlet’s, not mine. Our Christian theocrats may have taken a licking at the polls here at home, but they remain remarkably successful in taking their pelvic politics overseas via international “mission” activities.

Albert Ogle
The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle

Rev. Albert Ogle enjoys a bird’s-eye view of this from his perch at a small foundation that tries to defend and empower gay people internationally. Big-time Christian agencies like World Vision and big-name evangelicals like Rick Warren have been moderating their homophobia on these shores, but they wear a very different face in the Global South.

This raises an interesting tax policy question, inasmuch as tax-favored nonprofits engage in activities that directly contravene the stated U.S. foreign policy goal of supporting LGBT rights. It also exposes the fallacy of the widespread assumption that militant homophobia in Africa, Asia, and Latin America merely expresses the “traditional values” of those cultures. In fact, much of the new anti-gay ugliness carries a Made-in-the-USA label.

Read the full list here: “Undercover-ed Religion: 13 Stories That Went Missing in 2012”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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