Rick Warren’s Anti-Gay, Anti-Condom AIDS Work in Africa Exposed

It’s not pretty.

In a must-read piece in The Daily Beast, Max Blumenthal notes that, “[Rick] Warren’s defense against charges of intolerance ultimately depends upon his ace card: his heavily publicized crusade against AIDS in Africa.”

Blumenthal looks deeper into Warren’s activities in Africa in the name of AIDS, his ties to anti-gay Anglican religious figures, and his tacit endorsement of condom-burning and anti-gay ‘witch hunts’ in Uganda.

Warren_2A couple of excerpts:

“But since the Warren inauguration controversy erupted, the nature of work against AIDS in Africa has gone unexamined. Warren has not been particularly forthcoming to those who have attempted to look into it. His website contains scant information about the results of his program. However, an investigation into Warren’s involvement in Africa reveals a web of alliances with right-wing clergymen who have sidelined science-based approaches to combating AIDS in favor of abstinence-only education…Warren’s man in Uganda is a charismatic pastor named Martin Ssempa. The head of the Makerere Community Church, a rapidly growing congregation, Ssempe enjoys close ties to his country’s First Lady, Janet Museveni, and is a favorite of the Bush White House. In the capitol of Kampala, Ssempa is known for his boisterous crusading. Ssempa’s stunts have included burning condoms in the name of Jesus and arranging the publication of names of homosexuals in cooperative local newspapers while lobbying for criminal penalties to imprison them.”


“With safe sex advocates on the run, Warren and Ssempa trained their sights on another social evil. In August 2007, Ssempa led hundreds of his followers through the streets of Kampala to demand that the government mete out harsh punishments against gays. ‘Arrest all homos,’ read placards. And: ‘A man cannot marry a man.’ Ssempa continued his crusade online, publishing the names of Ugandan gay rights activists on a website he created, along with photos and home addresses. ‘Homosexual promoters,’ he called them, suggesting they intended to seduce Uganda’s children into their lifestyle. Soon afterwards, two of President Yoweri Museveni’s top officials demanded the arrest of the gay activists named by Ssempa. Terrified, the activists immediately into hiding.”

This is what Rick Warren stands for, embraces, and he will be blessing our nation’s next presidency.

The Truth About Rick Warren in Africa [the daily beast]


  1. MWalker says

    The best suggestion I’ve heard yet for the Inaugural: When Warren speaks, queer people should turn their backs and have a kiss-in until he’s done. Grab someone of the same sex and have a mini make-out party while Fatso’s invoking the lord of bigotry. What a great statement that would be!

  2. peterparker says

    Rather than a kiss-in, I’d prefer to make so much noise that no one would be able to hear Rick Warren. Would it be possible to get large amounts of people close enough to the podium to drown out Warren’s words with boom boxes and air horns and bullhorns, etc…? I’ll be in D.C. for the inauguration so if you like my idea, get in touch.

  3. Obama's Homophobic Nation says

    Now don’t you feel a bit silly for shilling for Obama so stridently for the last year? The guy has little to no concern for the rights of the LGBTQ community, and his infrequent gratuitous statements of support were nothing more than an effort to pander to our vote realizing that in the last analysis he never would have to actually DO anything to earn it. Think Obama will end DOMA & DADT? I bet you a quarter he won’t. But I’m sure that won’t prevent you and other knee-jerk Obama supporter from rallying around him in 2012. It’s sad how easily the LGBTQ vote can be bought. Republican gays may be self-loathing but Democratic gays are a little self-deluded. Granted, Obama was a better choice over McCain/Palin; however, the hysteria and excitement for Obama was a tad over the top, and as gay and lesbians, we already are seeing that Obama is just another politician although more slick than the usual ones.

  4. PY2008 says

    Rick Warren… makes you wonder about Obama, doesn’t it? Just a political message of uniting conservatives and liberals, or a open handed slap in the face to gays?

  5. says

    But he taps his feet to “Come to My Window”…he can’t be anti-gay…?

    I’m very against this Warren invite and I do think it reflects badly on Obama, who warrants the strong criticism.

    But the people who keep asking if Obama supporters should be ashamed, etc., are ridiculous. NO ONE ever said, that I’ve heard, “Obama should be president because he is perfect and will never let me down and I’ll never disagree with him!” The man is going to screw some things up and be on the wrong side of some issues. He’s still far superior to [name of any Republican] and as much as I loved Hillary (I voted for her in the NY primary, then rooted for Obama shortly thereafter), can you honestly say you think she would never have done things that annoyed, offended or perplexed you?

    Face it: Obama was the best choice this year. And as with all best choices, there is unfortunately no ideal.

  6. CK says

    Memo to Warren: “a true Christian would not be conditional about the assistance in fighting AIDS. The fact that you and your homophobic cohorts have an agenda, throws your credibility of anything truly Christian right out the window! Have the balls to own up to the fact that you are a bigot and stop acting like a pious do-gooder!”

    I would not go as far as labeling Obama as homophobic, like some here that obviously are Obama haters, but I am not happy with the choice of Warren, I must say, it did just smack of political maneuvering… ‘get the right wing on board at all costs’. Not the actions of someone that is supposed to lead the Nation out of the hell of the last 8 years of bigotry and conservatism into a better place. The right need to be plainly shown that they are NOT running the show now.

  7. David D. says

    “Granted, Obama was a better choice over McCain/Palin…”


    As for Rick Warren, doesn’t this man have lepers’ feet to wash or something?

  8. says

    “Now don’t you feel a bit silly for shilling for Obama so stridently for the last year?”

    In a word, No. It’s amusing that a poster named “Obama’s Homophobic Nation,” who has written off the Obama presidency BEFORE it has started, accuses others of knee-jerk reactions.

    As Matthew points out, most of us who supported Obama did so with our eyes open. We didn’t see him as the Messiah. We didn’t think he was perfect. We plan to outspokenly criticize him when he fucks up. His judgment is choosing Warren was horrible. To predict the course of his presidency based on this choice is knee-jerk.

    I supported Obama for a number of reasons, many of them unrelated to gay issues. But if he fails on gay issues, he won’t hold my support. Giving him a chance to succeed, and pressuring him to succeed, is hardly delusional. It’s realism, and a whole lot more useful than hoping for Obama’s failure so that you can say “I told you so” and feel better about yourself.

  9. Jay says

    Surprise, surprise. And Jeremiah Wright was the worst pastor in American because…? I’m still baffled by the decision to invite Warren. I don’t believe Obama agrees with him. But the dude’s got an obvious blind spot when it comes to religious figures. He could have picked a tool like Joel Osteen or someone similarly MOR but still obviously evangelical if he really wanted to “reach across.”

  10. Derrick from Philly says

    Politics. Yes, Warren is a preaching piece of shit, but it’s politics.

    And I aint giving up on President Obama. I am a Democrat, and I’ve waited eight ugly f…kin’ years for the White House. Hell, I wouldn’t care if Barack invited some damn Iranian Ayatollah to speak.

    Now, if he puts Warren on the Supreme Court–then I’d have problems with President Slim Jim….until then…

    Let’s get on with it.

  11. Leland Frances says

    1. Inaugural Kiss In? The WORST kiss-in idea of all the inherently stupid kiss-in ideas.

    2. Sorry, Peter, and others, but Google pix of the size of the crowd at Clinton’s inaugural and you’ll see how MANY people would be required to make noise loud enough to be heard. St. Obama’s flock is expected to be even bigger.

    3. NO, I refuse to believe that Hillary would be so politically tone deaf, soinsensitive to the victims of Warren’s homohatred, that SHE’d give him a starring role in HER inauguration. After all, SHE never invited someone like Donnie “Gay are trying to kill our children” McClurkin to star in one of her primary fundraisers, then refuse to DISinvite him when gays, black and white, begged her to as you know who did.

    Yes, Obama MAY go on to actually DO something besides smile fuck us, but the POSSIBILITY does NOT negate the REALITY of this SECOND, even GREATER insult. The logical extension of that argument is immediately forgiving someone who just WILLFULLY ran over you with his car because he MIGHT do something good for you later.

    4. Someone, anyone, please tell me again why Amy’s Joiners remain impactED and are NOT using their skills to pull thousands together for a dignified but unmissable protest at the inaugural?

  12. Leland Frances says

    Cher Derrick, while obviously not being as open to giving him a THIRD chance as you, you hit upon my EXACT greater fear.

    Supreme Court appointments was my #1 reason for voting for ANY Dem running over the Repugs. While disappointed that Hillary to win, and despite my many reservations about Obama frequently detailed here before he got the nomination, I consoled myself with the belief that his likely Court nominees would be virtually identical ideologically to hers.

    But now I am SERIOUSLY afraid that might not become true. Who’s to say that he won’t apply the same kind of RETARDED, NAIVE litmus test to nominees as he did to choices [out of thousands] to pray at his inaugural. I can hear his similar silly justifications already: “We need to reach out and end polarization on the Court; be open to different viewpoints. Blah blah blah.”

    And who’s to say that the Senate would override him? After all, we’ve repeatedly seen from all but a handful of even liberal Dems that gay issues are NOT take as seriously as issues of gender and race. Remember the homohating cracker judge that Dianne Feinstein caused to be elevated to a federal position last year when the progressives both gay and straight were screaming “No”?

    Nevertheless, I genuinely HOPE you’re right.

    Personal PS, D, look for a special Eartha remembrance in this week’s “Washington Blade” by someone very close to me.

  13. SFshawn says

    No surprises here.
    Obama-Is already showing that he is a morally weak leader complicit with men who promote/encourage hatred/intolerence towards the vulnerable.
    Warren-Hateful,moneygrubbing,powerhungry,christian hypocrite who deserves to rot for denigrating his fellow human beings and promoting violence against us.
    Religious Zealots-The only sex education is abstinence-only education and yet teenage pregnancies continue on….
    Ssempa-Obvious closet case who is so afraid of himself he will literally kill his fellow man out of that fear.

  14. Lucas says

    Glad the choir of Obama praise is changing as the mist moves away and people see him for who he is. Trash. Rick Warren is disgusting. The idea that he is being inclusive by having Warren there at the Inauguration is as absurd as if he had chosen a few Klan members or Neo-Nazis to stand just to have representation of that asinine belief system.

    I can’t wait to see who he picks for the Supreme Court, since he seems so hell-bent on courting the evangelical vote. I pray he doesn’t have to make that decision before 2012. All that man will be thinking about is how to get reelected in four years.

  15. Foochy says

    Warren is one of many. Evangelical anti-gay proselytizing and “witch hunting” has long been a problem in the world of ecumenical relief services that inhabit most of the under-developed world, and unfortunately the HIV/AIDS epidemic (combined with lack of education and gripping poverty) has been the unwitting vehicle of this conservative religious explosion throughout Africa.

    The sadly ironic point to such rabid homophobia is that the main mode of HIV transmission in Africa is heterosexual. These homosexual witch hunts and condom burnings are a canard to divert the attention away from a more sinister agenda: the continued subversion to establishing the rule of law with Christian religious doctrine (which, when fully installed, supposedly will cure all the ills of said country — much better than clean water and a literacy program… or so I’ve been told by evangelicals).

  16. Nick says

    Thanks for the continued great reporting.

    It’s pointed out by another commenter that Obama has made a mistake and will not ever be on the right side all the time, but was our best option this year. Yes, I agree, but I think it is time we look beyond traditional politics in order to get our voices heard. The Democrats only have us because we have no option.

    A show of power from the 6 million money giving, voting gays might help our cause. I quit the DNC over this and unsubscribed from all the mainstream activism I’d been doing because I really feel these people are just not interested in us. I’m not sure what the answer is I am just convinced it’s not with either of the political parties in existence.

    I think 6 million people quiting the DNC and ceasing giving would be a powerful statement.

    After all if our votes are in swing that makes a big difference – Obama won by 9.5 million.

  17. Joe says

    I understand the outrage over Rick Warren but what I can’t understand and find dumbfounding is how much outrage is being paid to a three minute prayer at a ceremony that will have no impact whatsoever on policy, legislation or the direction of the Democratic Party while there is almost deafening silence over the appointment of Tim Kaine, an anti gay, anti marriage, anti civil unions, anti-choice southern social conservative only one degree separate from James Dobson, who WILL be in a position to deeply affect policy and the future direction of the Democratic Party.

    I’m irritated by the choice of Warren but I’m outraged over the choice of Kaine.

    I think the selection of Kaine should make those who thought the selection of Warren was “no big deal” think again. I am definitely starting to see a pattern here.

  18. FunMe says

    Yeah, let that BITCH / has been of Melissa E. know about this.

    She’ll tell you: “He bought my records. He likes me! He really likes me!”

    NO to homophobes.

    Why aren’t the gay organizations continuing the pressure to get rid of HOMOPHOBE Warren?

  19. says

    I think Melissa is too naive to know what hate can really be. She assumes that if someone hates her for who she is, that they will hate her to her face and reject her work product and everything about her. All up-front and real. But bigotry is much more insidious and far more devious than that. Bigoted hate — especially of the smiling evangelical and Mormon kind — can appear be exceedingly gracious, light, and even loving on the surface, but smoldering right underneath are the burning coals of righteousness than would sooner throw her into a lake of fire than give her a place at the table. Poor Melissa doesn’t realize that when they smile at her, they are standing outside the door. They are nowhere near the table.

  20. FunMe says

    If you are in Los Angeles THIS SATURDAY!, January 10, 2009
    2:00 PM – Action Fair
    6:00 PM – Live Performance of “Prop. 8: The Musical”


    As part of a national ‘Day of Protest’ against the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – which prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in any of the nation’s 50 states – thousands of LGBT Angelenos and their allies will gather at THE RESOLUTION, an action fair focusing on the fights for marriage equality and against DOMA. Members of the community will be given an opportunity to go booth to booth and perform direct actions such as signing a postcard to Obama, writing a letter to a congressperson, signing a petition, and much more. There will also be a museum setup at the fair featuring artifacts from LGBT history ranging from legal documents to the personal items of Harvey Milk.

  21. Michael R. says

    Not surprised. (infact, rolling my eyes behind my head)

    For those (like all 4 of us) who were NOT fawning like blubbering idiots over everything Obama, and just KNEW this man was nothing short of a famewhore who couldn’t give two licks about the LGBT community, this is the worst case of “told you so” I can think of. We knew we were right all along, yet it hurts all of us he was.

    No matter how much the deluded Pro Obama folks in the gay community try to (and will be) spinning this incident…the man invited the most prominent figure in the public eye who is against homosexuality to bless the biggest day of our nation in a veryyyy long time. Seriously, how could it BE any worse? (I think it would be just as bad with McCain/Palin but not any worse. You CAN’T get worse than this)

    So spin it all you want, but as this story started…it’s not pretty! (and we told you so!)

  22. Leland Frances says

    Dear Clown, er “FUN ME”:

    “Signing a postcard to Obama…a letter…a petition” is NOT “direct action”—it’s DISTRACTION from direct action; it’s self-DELUSION.

    Will all of you political virgins PLEASE pack up your card tables and your fantasies, go home, go online and order some books about REAL direct action such as that done in Montgomery with the bus boycott, all across the South with various sit-ins such as at segregated lunch counters, and, most relevantly, ACT UP, the gay movement that TRANSFORMED the way government and society treated people with AIDS.

    Until you learn and APPLY the lessons of those heroes, you’re all just jacking off in public which, like all masturbation, does no one any good but the wanker himself.

  23. Hamp says

    There was a time when no-one had the nerve to even mention AIDS. People like Elizabeth Taylor raised money to fight AIDS when just being seen at an AIDS fundraiser was a scandal. Nowadays, fighting AIDS in Africa is about as courageous as donating to Muscular Dystrophy. Now that they’re fighting a disease that’s killing innocent women and children in a country far, far away, everyone’s joined the fight. Where the fuck was Rick Warren and Bobby Shriver and Bono and all those other asshats when we needed their support here for gay men who were dropping dead right and left? Where were they when AIDS wards were overflowing and patients were left to die on cots in hallways in Los Angeles? Where were they when ACTUP was out demonstrating just to get any support for people with AIDS? Fuck them all. The fact that you’re opposed to the spread of AIDS in Africa is totally irrelevant to gay and lesbian rights.


    HAMP, why are you ranting about Bono? He’s a friend of the gays and he and his wife have been activists with environmental groups, Amnesty and development organizations for decades. I don’t like his music, but the guy is trying hard to make the world a better place.

  25. says

    Bono is only a friend as long as he tows the party line. Once you express a dissenting opinion from the angry horde, they burn effigies.

    Does anyone think that just maybe all this exposing of Warren’s obvious ugliness & bigotry will actually a GOOD thing in the long run?

    Its a pity when a group always stumping for tolerance can not ‘tolerant’ dissent from within — stomping around on Melissa E. CD’s like 5-year olds. I don’t care what anyone says, but that’s pretty damn funny to me.

  26. nic says

    i think that when someone is bereft of reason or wit, he says shit like, “i find it amusing,” or, “i think it funny,” or, “… that’s pretty damn funny to me”

  27. anon says

    Max Blumenthal (son of Clinton shill) isn’t exactly always the voice of reason or particularly adept reporter (and it’s a stretch to call him that). Apparently, because of Warren’s association with Ssempa, who’s the real villain here, we are to draw conclusions re Obama?? This is a bit of a stretch. By this reasoning, we are all guilty as sin.

  28. Sasha says

    This is what you get when you support a two party (one party) system…. But face it, so long as the Patriarchal faiths are widespread in this nation, voters will support it’s wickedness.

  29. hunskinlondon says

    Uganda stance, China stance and Warren-likes stance(s) in the USA and elsewhere show how much liberties are never truly granted but endangered whenever some bad wind blows their way. Gay defenders should try harder to understand their bashing in order to articulate a defense that really put them at peace with themselves(gay bashers) and us…maybe ultimately truly impossible. Showing ones disaproval of Warren by mooning and al just reinforce his conviction. What if gays were to become defenders of pro life positions that wont hurt them (against abortion for instance)? That would remove one more reason for the preachers to be against gays…and so on while defending the right to contract unions instead of aids and generating a realy more diverse gay culture. That won’t make the Warren-like dispappear but that will draw support from others unexpectedly.

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