On Sunday's Meet the Press, David Gregory presses Rick Warren on whether or not he would fight for Proposition 8 again if the ballot measure came up.
Said Warren: "Well, again, I'm not a politician. I didn't fight it in the lastissue. What was misunderstood is people, people on both sides tried tomake me the campaign leader. I only mentioned it one time, and Imentioned it to my own congregation when I was asked, 'What is ourposition on this?' and I made a video for our congregation. Well, thatwas dumb, because it immediately went everywhere and then all thesudden it looked like I was the big campaigner. And–but I wasn't. Ofcourse I have a position on it. As a pastor, I happen to believe whatthe Bible says. But I also believe that I understand the pain thatpeople feel from rejection. So I care about both angles."
Watch Warren on Meet the Press, and said Prop 8 speech, AFTER THE JUMP…
In related news, Warren's work in Africa, his ties to anti-gay Anglican religious figures, and his tacit endorsement of condom-burning and anti-gay 'witch hunts' in Uganda, which were exposed in January in a great article by Max Blumenthal at The Daily Beast, are being looked at again as Uganda's parliament considers a law that calls for the death penalty for those guilty of "aggravated homosexuality".
"A request for a broader reaction to theproposed Ugandan anti-homosexual laws generated this response: 'Thefundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and thefreedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator.However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America tocomment or interfere in the political process of other nations.' On Meet the Pressthis morning, he reiterated this neutral stance in a different context: 'As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides.'Warren did say he believed that abortion was 'a holocaust.' He knows aswell as anyone that in a case of great wrong, taking sides is animportant thing to do."
"A person commits aggravated homosexuality when the victim is a personwith disability or below the age of 18, or when the offender isHIV-positive.The bill thus equates aggravated homosexuality to aggravated defilementamong people of different sexes, which also carries the death sentence.The Bill, entitled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, also states thatanyone who commits the offence of homosexuality will be liable to lifeimprisonment.This was already the case under the current Penal Code Act.However, it gives a broader definition of the offence of homosexuality.A person charged with the offence will have to undergo a mandatorymedical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.The bill further states that anybody who 'attempts to commit theoffence' is liable to imprisonment for seven years.' The same appliesto anybody who 'aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage inacts of homosexuality' or anybody who keeps a house or room for thepurpose of homosexuality.The bill also proposes stiff sentences for people promotinghomosexuality.They risk a fine of sh100m or prison sentences of five to seven years.This applies to people who produce, publish or distribute pornographicmaterial for purposes of promoting homosexuality, fund or sponsorhomosexuality.Where the offender is a business or NGO, its certificate ofregistration will be cancelled and the director will be liable to sevenyears in prison.Failure to disclose the offence within 24 hours of knowledge makessomebody liable to a maximum sh5m fine or imprisonment of up to threeyears."
Mugisha, 25, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a coalition of local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex groups that will all be banned under the law, told the UK's Guardian in an article published this weekend: "The bill is haunting us. If this passes we will have to leave the country."
And Rick Warren isn't the only American right-winger with ties to those seeking to kill gays in Africa. Nevada Senator John Ensign, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) are a few of the politicians exposed in Jeff Sharlet's book, The Family. It details, among other things, the group's connection to anti-gay forces in Uganda.
Speaking yesterday on NPR’s Fresh Air,Jeff Sharlet – who wrote a best-selling book documenting the politicalinfluence of the family – noted that many U.S. politicians, straddlingboth sides of the political aisle, are involved with “The Family.”Sharlet spoke about how members of “The Family” have been quite activein Uganda, including Ugandan Parliamentarian David Bahati, who is amember of “The Family” and one of the legislators behind the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009.
“[Bahati]appears to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes theirUganda National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of studentleadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, intowhich The Family has poured millions of dollars working through a veryconvoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda,” saidSharlet.
Notonly that, but The Family has long considered Ugandan President YoweriMuseveni to be their key point man in Uganda, according to Sharlet. AndPresident Museveni, it turns out, is one of the biggest advocates forkilling gay people in Uganda. He also just met with a bunch of Ugandanyouth and urged them to resist the forces of homosexuality.
That’sa pretty direct, not to mention abhorrent, connection between U.S.evangelical political leadership and Ugandan human rights abusers. DoU.S. politicians like Congressmen Bart Stupak really want to have ontheir consciences the murder and imprisonment of gay people in Uganda?
Here's the transcript of the Terri Gross Fresh Air episode on The Family.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he "privately warned the Ugandan president on the sidelines of theCommonwealth summit this weekend against bringing in a law that wouldput homosexuals in jail for life."
Said Harper: "It was not discussed multilaterally; however I did raise itdirectly with the president of Uganda and indicated Canada's deepconcern, strong opposition and the fact we deplore these kinds ofmeasures," Harper told a news conference at the biennial CommonwealthHeads of Government Meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago onSunday. We find them inconsistent with frankly, I think anyreasonable understanding of human rights and I was very clear on thatwith the president of Uganda."
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has voiced his opposition as well.
Uganda has responded to criticism from world leaders over the proposed law: "The government yesterday responded strongly to internationalcriticism over the proposed anti-gay law, saying the process wouldcontinue uninterrupted. Speaker Edward Sekandi told Daily Monitor that it was necessary 'todo whatever we can to stop' homosexual liaisons in Uganda. 'We don’tsupport that practice,' Mr Sekandi said yesterday."
In related news, Truth Wins Out points out that Eric Goosby — chief coordinator for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has spoken out about U.S. taxpayer support for the program in Uganda, and the gross misuse of funds there, saying "My role is to be supportive and helpful to the patients who need theseservices. It is not to tell a country how to put forward theirlegislation. But I will engage them in conversation around my concernand knowledge of what this is going to do to that population, and ourability to stop the movement of the virus into the general population."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has thus far been silent on what is happening in Uganda.
Watch Warren on Meet the Press, and his Prop 8 speech, AFTER THE JUMP…
And here's that Prop 8 video, where Warren clearly "takes sides":