Warren steps up on Uganda

Print More

After taking considerable flak for keeping his mouth shut on Uganda’s proposed anti-homosexuality act, Rick Warren has issued a strong statement and video opposing it, and calling upon Uganda’s clergy to do the same. Over on Religion Dispatches, Sarah Posner dismisses the statement as too late in coming and slippery on Warren’s own anti-homosexual connections in the country, but to my mind this is not the time to cavil. Such forthright opposition has not been expressed by either Canterbury or Rome. By comparison, Saddleback is standing tall.

It’s worth noting that Warren mentions that he expressed his “opposition and concern” to “the most influential leader” he knows in Uganda, the Anglican archbishop. Thus far, the Anglican church in the country has contented itself with opposing the bill’s death penalty provision (for repeat homosexual offenders), but otherwise has taken no official position. A few weeks ago, one Anglican bishop, Joseph Abura of the diocese of Karamoja, wrote an opinion piece endorsing the legislation in no uncertain terms:

Ugandan Parliament, the watch dog of our laws, please go ahead and
put the anti- Gay laws in place.

Under the circumstances, the bill needs all the opposition that can be mustered, belated or otherwise.

  • Yes, it’s nice to have Warren given a heartfelt, if dramatically belated, condemnation of the Ugandan proposal. Truth be told, Warren isn’t the only actor, nor likely the most important one, in Africa. And, it’s comically colonialist to assume that somehow sectarians in other countries blindly follow the lead of white guys in the US.
    Yet, I can’t help but think that Warren is most concerned about his third point of objection. He’s worried that this will jeopardize his (and other Christianists’) access to Federal funding for programs to mitigate HIV/Aids in Africa (not just Uganda). It should be obvious that Warren and his ilk are singularly incapable of actually having a positive influence on such vital health policy initiatives; and maybe after all this hullabaloo we’ll begin funding science-based programs instead of flushing money down the loo with faith-based nonsense.