Monday, December 14, 2009

Rick Warren Condems Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill

In a surprising turn from his previous stance of neutrality, Rick Warren has come out forcefully against Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would sentence those convicted of the "crime" of homosexuality to life in prison or death.

In his words:

"We are all familiar with Edmund Burke’s insight, 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.' That is why I’m sharing my heart with you today. As an American pastor, it is not my role to interfere with the politics of other nations, but it IS my role to speak out on moral issues. It is my role to shepherd other pastors who look to me for guidance, and it is my role to correct lies, errors and false reports when others associate my name with a law that I had nothing to do with, completely oppose and vigorously condemn. I am referring to the pending law under consideration by the Ugandan Parliament, known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill....

[T]he potential law is unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals, requiring the death penalty in some cases. If I am reading the proposed bill correctly, this law would also imprison anyone convicted of homosexual practice....

If this bill passed, homosexuals who are HIV positive will be reluctant to seek or receive care, comfort and compassion from our churches out of fear of being reported. You and I know that the churches of Uganda are the truly caring communities where people receive hope and help, not condemnation....

My wife, Kay, and I have devoted our lives and our ministry to saving the lives of people, including homosexuals, who are HIV positive. It would be inconsistent to save some lives and wish death on others. We’re not just pro-life. We are whole life...."

Rick Warren "completely oppose[s] and vigorously condemn[s]" this law. I, of course, have profound theological differences with Warren. Nonetheless, by issuing a clear, unconditional statement of opposition and condemnation against Uganda's law, he did the right thing here. Regardless as to why he waited so long to condemn this bill, I am grateful that he did so.

He holds a lot of power and influence. Rather than his belated statement being evidence that he will only be morally courageous when he is criticized for not taking action, let's hope that this is the beginning of a more compassionate evangelical Christianity. One that uses its power to care for the sick and eradicate global poverty instead of its current pointless mission of Opposing Everything Gay.

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