Video: At Last! Rick Warren Finally Condemns Uganda's "Kill the Gays" Law -- A Law Written By His Friends


When Sarah Posner of Religion Dispatches called Pastor Rick Warren for comment on Uganda's homicidal anti-gay law, Warren's spokesman issued a statement from the pastor saying that he had no position or comment on the proposed law. But with criticism mounting, Warren recorded a video in which he decries the Ugandan legislation.

In a video message addressed to "the pastors of the churches of Uganda," Warren says of the law, that he "completely oppose[s]" and "vigorously condemn[s]" it. He goes on to say, "[T]he potential law before your parliament is unjust, it's extreme, and it's un-Christian toward homosexuals..."

Warren is pastor of Saddleback Church, an evangelical megachurch in California, and author of the best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life.

As Bruce Wilson reported for AlterNet, the Ugandan proposal calls for the execution of people engaged in certain acts of gay sex, as well as for anyone with HIV who has sex of any kind. The bill also calls for life imprisonment for "homosexuals" -- a punishment already available to prosecutors under current Ugandan law.

Advocates of the legislation include Anglican Archbishop Henry Orombi, who, Posner reports, was instrumental in bringing Warren to Uganda to anoint the African country as a "purpose-driven nation," and Pastor Martin Ssempa, a former ally of Warren's with whom the California preacher says he severed ties two years ago.

Warren associate C. Peter Wagner, who served as Warren's advisor on the latter's doctoral thesis, is also affiliated with the Ugandan churchmen pushing for the law, according to a report by Political Research Associates, a watchdog group. And Warren himself has been involved in pushing California's anti-gay Proposition 8 ballot measure, which he later denied doing, despite the video evidence.

While mainstream media soft-pedaled or ignored Warren's connection to the Ugandans pushing the "kill the gays" law, Posner, Wilson, PRA and Truth Wins Out, an LGBT group that seeks to bust the "ex-gay" myth, stayed on the story, apparently causing Warren to relent and issue today's video.

However, Warren couldn't help but take a swipe at Posner, PRA, Rachel Maddow and others who have been badgering him to make what could be life-saving statement about the law. "[B]ecause I didn't rush to make a public statement, some erroneously concluded that I supported this terrible bill," Warren tells the Ugandan pastors. "And some even claimed that I was a sponsor of the bill." In opening sentences of the video, Warren complains of "lies and errors and false reports" by those who linked his name to the Ugandan clerics who have advanced the bill.

At RD, Posner notes that it took Warren more than a month after the first reports of the anti-gay bill circulated in the U.S. to get around to condemning the bill. (On Thanksgiving weekend, Warren appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press," and neither spoke about the bill -- nor was he asked about it.)

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