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Can Pastor Rick Warren continue his AIDS work in Africa and still deny equality for LGBT people?

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CNN’s Piers Morgan recently spoke to Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren about his work fighting the spread of AIDS and his position on sexual orientation. In the course of the interview, Warren compared being gay to punching another person in the face, saying that both are things that some people want to do sometimes, but that we should refrain from acting on those feelings. Morgan argued with Warren, who claimed that he could accept that some people are “born gay,” saying that if Warren truly believed that some people are naturally gay that it would follow that he should support equal rights for them. Warren repeatedly insists that he differentiates between attractions and actions, saying that we do not choose our attractions, but do choose whether or not to act on those attractions.

Warren and his wife, Kay, have come under fire in the past for maintaining their positive work against AIDS, especially in Africa, while simultaneously maintaining the regressive position that gay men and lesbians should not be true to their sexual orientation. In 2009, Warren condemned Uganda’s anti-LGBT “Kill the Gays” bill when it was first introduced, but only after he was pressured to do so. He has not made any statement on the bill currently being debated in the Ugandan Legislature.

Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill must be denounced by both religious and political leaders as a gross invasion of privacy and violation of human rights. Regardless of Rick Warren’s beliefs on whether or not individuals “should” act on their sexual orientation, no human being should be punished, whether by death or jail, for being gay.

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