Uganda, AIDS, God and gays: Rick Warren and a punch in the nose
Note from GLAAD
Nancy Wilson interrogates the recent anti-gay comments of megachurch pastor Rick Warren, highlighting why--coming from him--they are partiularly problematic.
California megachurch pastor Rick Warren is back on the circuit to sell his updated version of “The Purpose Driven Life,” his New York Times best-selling book. Warren is also back on the hot seat by telling Piers Morgan of CNN that being gay is a temptation like wanting to “punch a guy in the nose.” Is it any wonder that young people have lost faith in our churches and call them “hypocritical and judgmental?”
Warren’s remarks could be dismissed if the impact wasn’t so dire. His long-time HIV/AIDS work in Uganda is again at issue as the country’s anti-homosexual bill is back in Parliament. The revived bill would imprison lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and anyone who supports dignity and rights for LGBT people. Ugandan politicians say the death penalty might be removed to make the bill seem more acceptable. So, while Uganda is on the brink of genocide against LGBT people, Warren—one of America’s most influential pastors—is hawking his book instead of being a leader.
To be fair, Warren stepped up in December 2009, during the last threat of state-sponsored violence against LGBT people. He issued a heartfelt plea to Ugandan Christian leaders “to love our neighbors as ourselves.” He called the law “unjust, extreme and unchristian toward homosexuals.” He received strong pushback from Ugandan faith leaders and has not spoken about it publicly since.