The man pushing a law in Uganda—which is likely to pass—that would result in the execution of Ugandan gays and lesbians is deeply involved with the American evangelical movement, American social conservatives, and just so happens to be one of Saddleback pastor Rick Warren's BFFs.
And for those who may not yet be familiar with this proposed law, here is a snippet that explains it better than I can:
The Ugandan penal code already criminalizes sexual relations "against the order of nature," a characterization that is frequently used to prosecute gays. Under the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, homosexual relations are specifically targeted. Anyone in a position of authority who is aware of a gay or lesbian individual has 24 hours to inform police or face jail time. Individuals found to engage in efforts to sexually stimulate another for the purpose of homosexual relations, or found touching another for that purpose, will face life in prison. Those who engage in "aggravated homosexuality" -- defined as repeated homosexual relations or sexual contact with others who are HIV/AIDS infected -- will face the death penalty.
For this mother of a gay son, this is beyond my comprehension. I am filled with so much fear and loathing, I am ready to burst. The deafening silence of so many of these so-called men of God has told me all I need to know. Dehumanizing, demonizing, and legislating our gay and lesbian children into a permanent state of second-class citizenship is simply not enough for these putrid people. Their deafening silence tells me that what will soon be happening to gays and lesbians in Uganda should this law pass is exactly what they'd like to see happen to gay and lesbians everywhere. Why else would they not be joining the loud protestations from around the world?
And if one needs any more proof that the American religious right is happy about this law, one need look no farther than Rick Warren ---- yes, that Rick Warren ---- the one invited to give the invocation at President Obama's inauguration. He was recently asked about the proposed Ugandan antihomosexual laws and surprisingly he couldn't really muster much of anything but a watered down mishmash response claiming to be neutral on the subject. Now that's a real feat for an opinionated, sanctimonious blowhard like him:
Warren won't go so far as to condemn the legislation itself. A request for a broader reaction to the proposed Ugandan anti-homosexual laws generated this response: "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. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations." On Meet the Press this morning, he reiterated this neutral stance in a different context: "As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides."
Andrew Sullivan weighs in with a post titled "Rick Warren, Silent Enabler Of Hatred":
Just as he publicly inveighed in favor of stripping gay couples of civil equality in California, and then pretended he didn't, now he distances himself from Ssempe (ed note: the man pushing the law in Uganda), while refusing to condemn this law reminiscent of early attempts to wipe out minorities in Serbia, Nazi Germany, and Rwanda. This is classic avoidance in an atmosphere of extreme danger. It is the same as the Catholic church's disgraceful neutrality in Rwanda and Nazi Germany, as they saw a chance to enable others to wipe out a minority they wished could be wiped off the face of the earth.
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.