Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Quote of the Day: Andrew Sullivan on Rick Warren and Uganda's anti-gay legislation

I posted yesterday on the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" currently working its way through Uganda's Parliament. It's a despicable piece of legislation that, if enacted, would impose life imprisonment and even capital punishment for gays.

The legislator who intoduced the bill, David Bahati, is a member of "The Family," an American right-wing theocratic group closely connected to some high-ranking Republicans in Washington, while another man behind the bill is Martin Ssempa, a minister who wants to "kick sodomy out of Uganda" and who is closely connected to popular American evangelist Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life, among other books, and the man who, much to the chagrin of many of us, gave the invocation at Obama's inauguration.

Warren is refusing to take a position on the Ugandan legislation -- "As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides." -- but it's pretty clear where he stands, which is firmly against not just same-sex marriage but even basic human and civil rights for homosexuals, and his non-interference dodge here is simply disgusting. Here's Andrew Sullivan rightly tearing him to shreds:

This is an act of terror and murder against an already beleaguered minority, and Warren is an accessory to it. As a powerful figure in distributing AIDS funding in Uganda, he cannot bring himself to oppose a law that would condemn someone in a gay relationship to death, and imprison him or her for touching another human being, and inciting a wave of informing on family members and friends and acquaintances in order to terrify a sexual minority. This alleged man of God cannot speak out on this - except to protect his own p.r. His schtick of actually being the nice evangelical -- a schtick that got him to Obama's inauguration -- is a lie. If he cannot condemn this fascist act of violence against a tiny minority of vulnerable human beings, then his position in this struggle is clear enough.


He lies. He has taken sides, whenever possible, to stigmatize, demonize and now physically threaten the lives of gay people in his own country and abroad. And his silence on this issue means the deaths of others. Warren needs to come out and condemn this law as evil, which it is. And to stop hiding his own enmeshment with the most virulent forms of fundamentalist hatred under the veil of media-savvy benevolence.

Yes, this bestselling author, this hugely popular public figure, this "alleged man of God," is essentially a bigoted thug out to protect his clean image, off which he profits mightily, while fighting his battles through surrogates at home and abroad. This whole episode tells you pretty much all you need to know about him.

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