Thursday, January 8, 2009

UGH, that does it! rick warren is officially on my sh*t list!

I can't say I've ever been a fan of Rick Warren. Sure, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt when he invited both Obama and Sen. Brownback to speak on AIDS at his church a while back. And I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt when I heard that he and his wife cared so much about the AIDS crisis in Africa that they tried to motivate their congregation to do something. But then Prop 8 came around and forced me to see Pastor Warren as just another gay-hating, ignorance-promoting, megalomanical head of a mega church who uses the pulpit to influence politics.

Which I'm pretty sure is a violation of his church's tax exempt status. But what do I know? I'm just a believer in the separation of church and state.

I'm pisssed that Obama chose Warren to do the invocation at the inauguration. I suppose that I get where Obama's coming from, but his attempt to reach across the aisle need not be through Warren, in my opinion. And, just to clarify, yes I am an Obama supporter, but despite the conservative myth about us, I will not blindly follow Obama. He's already made some decisions that I personally don't agree with (Hillary for Secretary of State? Why, oh why?). But then again, I never expected him to make my political wish list his presidential agenda.

So what exactly pushed me from being indifferent towards Rick Warren to being an all out hater? Well, this well-sourced article, which details exactly what AIDS work Rick Warren has been doing/supporting in Africa.

Here are some telling excerpts:

" 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. More disturbingly, Warren’s allies have rolled back key elements of one of the continent’s most successful initiative, the so-called ABC program in Uganda."

"Warren’s man in Uganda is a charismatic pastor named Martin Ssempa...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."

Ummm...yeah, because that is just what Africa needs to fight AIDS: more fear-mongering and stigmatization!

There's more, of course.

Despite the success of Uganda's ABC HIV prevention plan in reducing HIV incidence, "By 2005, billboards promoting condom use disappeared from the streets of Kampala, replaced by billboards promoting virginity. “Until recently, all HIV-related billboards were about condoms. Those of us calling for abstinence and faithfulness need billboards too,” Ssempa told the BBC at the time. A 2005 report by Human Rights Watch documented that educational material in Uganda’s secondary schools falsely claiming condoms had microscopic pores that could be penetrated by the HIV virus and noted the sudden nationwide shortage of condoms due to new restrictions imposed by on condom imports."

"Troubled by what he was witnessing in Africa, Rep. Tom Lantos led the new Democratic-controlled Congress to reform PEPFAR during a reauthorization process in February 2008. Lantos insisted that Congress lift the abstinence-only earmark imposed by Republicans in 2002, and begin to fund family planning elements like free condom distribution. His maneuver infuriated Warren, who immediately boarded a plane for Washington to join Christian right leaders...for an emergency press conference on the Capitol lawn. In his speech, Warren claimed that Lantos’ bill would spawn an increase in the sex trafficking of young women (and fund abortions, which was a lie). The bill died and PEPFAR was reauthorized in its flawed form."

And apparently undermining effective HIV prevention plans wasn't enough for Warren.  He had to attack the gays too.

"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."

"When Uganda’s Anglican bishops threatened to bolt from the Church of England because of its tolerant stance towards homosexuals, Warren parachuted into Kampala to confer international legitimacy on their protest. “The Church of England is wrong and I support the Church of Uganda on the boycott,” Warren proclaimed in March 2008. Declaring homosexuality an unnatural way of life, Warren flatly stated, “We shall not tolerate this aspect [homosexuality in the church] at all.”

So in short, Rick Warren's AIDS work in Africa has consisted of increased HIV incidence in Uganda and the public shaming of all gays. I'm sure those gay friends he allegedly has wouldn't appreciate that. And as someone who works in HIV prevention in the U.S. city with the highest infection rate (and who actually has, like, real gay friends), I'm especially offended by all he's done there.

I know for a fact that Saddleback Church has visited this blog before. So, if you're reading this...shame on you, Rick Warren!

(a Big FU would be closer to expressing how I feel, but I'm not going to go there)

Original Source: Rick Warren's Africa Problem by Max Blumenthal


Bilbo said...

And people wonder why I don't go to church any more...

MRF said...


I am a 24 year old African man, healthy, happy, focused & living a purpose driven life.
When I hear you say you are mad about anti-homosexual heroes, I pity you;
You have a choice on how to live your life. But u will never miss the consequences of living a frustrated life & worrying about where you will be when your flesh is gone, but only (your spirit) to suffer everlasting punishment for your disobedience to God’s Word.

Rick Warren's work has contributed tremendously to the reduction of AIDS infections in Africa & the world.
Thumbs up for Pr. Rick Warren, our African Hero Pr. Dr. Martin Ssempa & President G.W.Bush. These warriors with their partners have brought hope to the HIV stricken Africa.
Because of the incredible work of these men, I have secured safety from HIV/AIDS, homosexuality & other forms of sexual immorality that would frustrate my life, ruin my future & ultimately take me to hell.
If it was not for the Abstinence only education, I would be in my grave at this tender age. Condoms were a vain hope.

I can't entrust a condom with my precious life, imagine! I know I will enjoy sex with my precious woman that God created for me when we get wed.

Homosexuality is wrong. It is dishonoring your body, God & the life he has given you.
You may want to tell me you don’t believe God. Come on, Get to know Him & his Son Jesus Christ today, lest your arguments get disproved when it’s too late for you to make a wise decision of accepting Him. He is supreme over your life & destiny.
I don’t have to convince anyone about this, even animals know this well, Homosexuality is a crime especially in Africa - God's continent.
Let’s not give confused people (pro-homos)chance to misdirect & ruin our costly lives.
Allow the truth of God's Word (THE HOLY BIBLE) to guide your life; U will be happy I guarantee you!
Give your ear to people like Pr. Warren, Pr. Dr. Martin Ssempa & similar open eyed men; they will guide you right, because they are well aligned in the views of God about the life He has graciously given us.

Fighting HIV/AIDS without cracking down Homosexuality is like chasing a black dog in a night of darkness.

Join me as we pursue a happy sexually pure life.
Say no to Homosexuality set the captives free.

Ronald Favour Muganzi.
Makerere University,
Kampala Uganda

anOCgirl said...

bilbo: exactly.

mrf: actually, i am pretty happy with my life.

scientific research has proven that abstinence only education has done little to curb unintended pregnancies and STD transmission. if that's working out so well for you, why has Uganda not seen a decrease in HIV infections, as it did under ABC? you eliminated the C and HIV is still a problem. if condoms are so bad, how do you explain that?

also, homosexuality is not a choice. it is an innate biological characteristic. so if it's a crime to be exactly as god made you, then that's unfortunate. what's next? are you going to outlaw tall people too?

you said, "Fighting HIV/AIDS without cracking down Homosexuality is like chasing a black dog in a night of darkness." well, HIV transmission is primarily through heterosexual sex in Africa. are you going to crack down on straight people too? after all, it's only fair.