Rick Warren has been under some pressure to speak out on proposed anti-homosexuality legislation in Uganda.
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.
Friday, Warren tweeted that the "unjust law in Uganda is back in the news. I opposed it 3 yrs ago and I still do", and links to the video he made then.
I’m glad that Warren’s on board against the bill again in 2012. Sending out a 102-character tweet was the least he could do. And so he did it.
When all is said and done in this saga, there will be a recounting of the heros and villains and their names will be known for generations to come. Warren’s just a guy selling books and tweeting aphorisms when he could be speaking out forcefully against one of the great human rights crises of our day. He’s no Desmond Tutu, but I’m can’t say he’s in the company of villains either. Bonhoeffers are all too scarce when they’re needed most; it’s the Chamberlains who are much too common. And that’s Warren’s problem. He is much too common.