Rick Warren issues statement to Uganda regarding Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009

This just in…

LETTER/VIDEO STATEMENT TO UGANDAN CHURCH LEADERS

By Dr. Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif.,

Regarding the Pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill Before the Ugandan Parliament

December 10, 2009

 

 

Dear fellow pastors in Uganda, 

I greet you in the name and love of Jesus Christ as I send this encyclical video (http://www.youtube.com/saddlebackchurch) to the pastors of the churches of Uganda with greetings from your fellow pastors around the world.  May grace and peace be with you this Christmas season.

We are all familiar with Edmund Burke’s insight, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” That is why I’m sharing my heart with you today. As an American pastor, it is not my role to interfere with the politics of other nations, but it IS my role to speak out on moral issues.  It is my role to shepherd other pastors who look to me for guidance, and it is my role to correct lies, errors and false reports when others associate my name with a law that I had nothing to do with, completely oppose and vigorously condemn.  I am referring to the pending law under consideration by the Ugandan Parliament, known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

As a pastor, I’ve found the most effective way to build consensus for social change is usually through direct quiet diplomacy and behind-the-scenes dialogue, rather than through media. But because I didn’t rush to make a public statement, some erroneously concluded that I supported this terrible bill, and some even claimed I was a sponsor of the bill. You in Uganda know that is untrue.

I am releasing this video to you and your congregations to correct these untruths and to urge you to make a positive difference at this critical point in your nation.     

While we can never deny or water down what God’s Word clearly teaches about sexuality, at the same time the church must stand to protect the dignity of all individuals – as Jesus did and commanded all of us to do.

Let me be clear that God’s Word states that all sex outside of marriage is not what God intends. Jesus reaffirmed what Moses wrote that marriage is intended to be between one man and one woman committed to each other for life. Jesus also taught us that the greatest commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Since God created all, and Jesus suffered and died for all, then we are to treat all with respect. The Great Commandment has been the centerpiece of my life and ministry for over 35 years.

Of course, there are thousands of evil laws enacted around the world and I cannot speak to pastors about every one of them, but I am taking the extraordinary step of speaking to you – the pastors of Uganda and spiritual leaders of your nation – for five reasons: 

First, the potential law is unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals, requiring the death penalty in some cases. If I am reading the proposed bill correctly, this law would also imprison anyone convicted of homosexual practice.

Second, the law would force pastors to report their pastoral conversations with homosexuals to authorities.

Third, it would have a chilling effect on your ministry to the hurting. As you know, in Africa, it is the churches that are bearing the primary burden of providing care for people infected with HIV/AIDS. If this bill passed, homosexuals who are HIV positive will be reluctant to seek or receive care, comfort and compassion from our churches out of fear of being reported. You and I know that the churches of Uganda are the truly caring communities where people receive hope and help, not condemnation.

Fourth, ALL life, no matter how humble or broken, whether unborn or dying, is precious to God. My wife, Kay, and I have devoted our lives and our ministry to saving the lives of people, including homosexuals, who are HIV positive. It would be inconsistent to save some lives and wish death on others. We’re not just pro-life. We are whole life

Finally, the freedom to make moral choices and our right to free expression are gifts endowed by God. Uganda is a democratic country with remarkable and wise people, and in a democracy everyone has a right to speak up.  For these reasons, I urge you, the pastors of Uganda, to speak out against the proposed law.

My role, and the role of the PEACE Plan, whether in Uganda or any other country, is always pastoral, not political.  I vigorously oppose anything that hinders the goals of the PEACE Plan: Promoting reconciliation, Equipping ethical leaders, Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick, and Educating the next generation, which includes the protection of children.

Please know that you and the people of Uganda are in my constant prayers. This Christmas season I pray you will experience the three purposes of Christmas as announced by the angel at the birth of Christ.  First, the angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy.”  Christmas is a time of celebration – Jesus is the Good News for the whole world. God came to earth to be with us! Next, the angel said, “For unto us is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!”  Christmas is a time for salvation. If we didn’t need a Savior, God would not have sent one. Finally, the angel said, “Peace on earth, good will toward men.” Christmas is a time for reconciliation. The message of Christmas is good cheer, good news and good will for the whole world.

It is my prayer that the churches and people of Uganda will experience all three of these this season. May God bless you; and may God bless the nation of Uganda.

Key Facts Concerning Recent Media and Blog Reports on Rick Warren’s Position on Uganda

1. Do you support the death penalty for homosexuals?

Absolutely not.  ALL life, no matter how humble or broken, whether unborn or dying, is precious to God. My wife, Kay, and I have devoted our lives and our ministry to saving the lives of people, including homosexuals, who are HIV positive. It would be inconsistent to save some lives and wish death on others. We’re not just pro-life. We are whole life

 

2. Do you support life imprisonment for homosexuality?

Of course not.  I oppose the criminalization of homosexuality. The freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God.  Since God gives us that freedom, we must protect it for all, even when we disagree with their choices. 

 

3. Are you a friend of the President of Uganda?

No. I’ve never met him, and never had any kind of communications with him or with any member of the Ugandan Parliament.

 

4. Didn’t the President of Uganda say he wanted his country to be Purpose Driven? 

No, he didn’t.  That was said by the President of Rwanda, not Uganda, at a national rally in Rwanda in 2005.  Years later, the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda made a similar comment so people are confusing Uganda with Rwanda, the country next to Uganda.  While we have just begun to train pastors in Uganda, we are very involved in Rwanda, creating a nationwide PEACE Plan at the invitation of the churches there. Over 1,000 Saddleback members have served on humanitarian projects in Rwanda.

 

5. What did you do when you heard about the proposed Ugandan law? 

I wrote to the most influential leader I knew in that country, the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, and shared my opposition and concern.  He wrote me back, saying that he, too, was opposed to the death penalty for homosexuals.  There are thousands of evil laws enacted around the world that kill people (For instance, last year, 146,000 Christians around the world were killed because of their faith.).  In this case, I knew the Archbishop in Uganda, so I did what I could, but my influence in that nation has been greatly exaggerated by the media.

 

6.  Is Uganda Pastor Martin Ssempa an associate who represents you? 

Not at all. At each of our Global Summits on AIDS (on World AIDS Day) we’ve invited speakers from a wide spectrum of religions, beliefs, political views and health care expertise. We’ve had believers and atheists; liberals and conservatives; gays and straights.  Ssempa was just one of over 200 speakers we’ve invited. At each Summit we make it clear that no speaker represents us, and that we don’t control, endorse or agree with all that is said.  Our desire is to encourage everyone to work together in ending HIV/AIDS and caring for those infected and affected. Ssempa was one of many speakers in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, when we learned that Ssempa’s beliefs and actions were vastly different than ours, we disassociated ourselves from him.

7. Did you say that homosexuality is not a human right?

Absolutely not.  What I said in an interview in Uganda was that there is no civil right to gay marriage guaranteed by the United States Constitution.  All Americans, and I believe all people, are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” as spoken by the United States Declaration of Independence.

8.  Do you know Scott Lively?

No, I do not know Scott Lively and have had no contact with him regarding Uganda or any other issue.  I would certainly not associate with anyone who denies the Holocaust, one of the greatest tragedies in human history.

9. Are you and Peter Wagner attempting to rid the world of homosexuals?

Absolutely not. Peter Wagner was a seminary professor of mine, but not my doctoral dissertation advisor.  I have not had contact with Peter Wagner for many years and am certainly not conspiring with him for any purpose.  Additionally, the event chronicled at Angels Stadium in 2005 has been grossly misrepresented.  I was simply arguing that Christians could have a tremendous effect for good in the world if they had the same dedication as the followers of Mao.  I would never argue that anyone should emulate or espouse the views of Mao, Hitler or Lenin.

 

-30-

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: A broadcast-quality, HD version of Dr. Rick Warren’s video message is available for download at www.RickWarrenNews.com.

 

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Finally. Why is it that so many public personages naively believe saying nothing will make a problem and misperceptions go away? They are violating PR 101.

  • Michael Bussee

    This is wonderful news. May God Bless Rick Warren and may God bless Uganda!

  • Pingback: Box Turtle Bulletin » Rick Warren “Vigorously Condemns” Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act

  • David Blakeslee

    Throughout history the Christian community has shown its ability to self-correct.

    Other movements should emulate this.

  • Michael Bussee

    I absolutely agree with Debbie and David! This is a day of very good news, for all of us here, for the thousands who have spoken out on Facebook, for everyone working hard and praying hard to see this Bill withdrawn — and especially, for Uganda.

    In light of this video statement, what mainline Christian group or leader is going to say, “I don’t agree with Rick Warren on this. I think the Bill should stand?” Pastor Warren has done a very good thing. I pray that Christians everywhere will follow his example.

  • Pingback: Rick Warren Graciously but Strongly Denounces Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill : Exodus International Blog

  • Elisha

    This statement by Pastor Warren is a shameful betrayal not only of Biblical moral standards, but of long-standing Christian tradition.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    This statement by Pastor Warren is a shameful betrayal not only of Biblical moral standards, but of long-standing Christian tradition.

    Elisha, that is simply an alien view, not in accordance with anything remotely Christian.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ditto, Debbie.

  • Michael Bussee

    On another thread, Eddy gave this excellent advice:

    Hopefully any discussions we have with Uganda will be tempered with Christian or religious attributes such as grace, mercy and humility rather than venom, vengeance and vindictiveness.

    I think Rick Warren’s statement is a perfect example of the “tempering” attributes that Eddy thought should be reflected in any statement of opposition to this Bill. During this Advent season, let’s follow Pastor Warren’s example, truly reflect the spirit of Christ and turn our backs on the “3 V’s”. :)

  • Mary

    Elisha,

    Since you believe this so strongly, I urge you to follow through and contact Rick Warren and others whom you believe are misrepresenting the bible and Christian teachings.

  • Leo Walla

    Don’t believe a word Warren says. I genuyinely do believe that he’s backpedaling only because of negative publicity. had there been no or verry little publicity he would have done nothing. After all he has endorsed and praised Martin Ssempa even though he fully knew what Ssempa was about and what his policies were. This is damage control, nothing more, Warren couldn’t care less about what happens to gays in Africa.

  • Michael Bussee

    Some on Facebook are claiming even if this bill is withdrawn that groups like Exodus would still support “forced therapy” — and that they would like to see this as part of whatever Bill might be enacted. I am pretty sure this is not true. Does anyone here know their official position on this matter?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Maybe Alan will come over and comment for Exodus, but I can say they certainly would not support forced therapy. Who would? That would be counterintuitive.

  • Michael Bussee

    Debbie: That’s what I would think. I don’t believe for a moment that they do. This is where official policy statements come in. They provide direction and structure. They make the positions and mission of an organization clearly known.

    They help the organization respond to false claims. They help the organization make decisions about what to do and what not to do. They provide a map.

    Should we go to a country that already criminalizes or is considering criminalization? How do you decide? Look to your policy to guide you. Make it clear beforehand that you do not support these things. Send the conference hosts a copy of your policy beforehand — and make it clear that this will be a big part of your message if you go.

    Same thing for a group or nations that support “compulsory treatment”. Send them your policy. Make it clear beforehand that you do not favor this idea.

    Is a gay rights group or media outlet mis-representing you, claiming that you DO support these things? Send them a copy of your Policy Statement. It really baffles me why Exodus would not have drafted such policies long ago…

    Why wouldn’t they? That seems counterintuitve, too.

  • Mary

    Forced therapy has to no effect on the individual. How many stories do we need to read?

  • Mary

    Intervention for drug abuse and other destructive behaviors has minimal effect – but can be positive.

  • Ryn

    I wish he’d decided to speak out BEFORE he got all of the negative PR over his silence, but at least he’s speaking now.

  • Lynn David

    For Warren’s little check box…

  • Lynn David

    Nice. And to be brutally honest, at this point this became a very safe statement for Rick Warren to make. We’ve had churches come out against the death penalty and word came that it would be written out, while a balloon was floated that therapy might be an ‘option.’ And now the Katureebe article would seem to be saying that the government is having second thoughts. Could it be that Rick Warren is privy to those thoughts and only then became an avenue to give Christian Ugandans a way to accept Museveni’s possible withdrawal of support from the Bahati bill?

  • Lynn David

    Oh…. he doesn’t know President Museveni.

    My bad….

  • Eddy

    Several commenters have suggested that it’s good that Rick Warren has finally spoken out. Actually, if we read the whole of the opening thread, we find:

    5. What did you do when you heard about the proposed Ugandan law?

    I wrote to the most influential leader I knew in that country, the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, and shared my opposition and concern. He wrote me back, saying that he, too, was opposed to the death penalty for homosexuals. There are thousands of evil laws enacted around the world that kill people (For instance, last year, 146,000 Christians around the world were killed because of their faith.). In this case, I knew the Archbishop in Uganda, so I did what I could, but my influence in that nation has been greatly exaggerated by the media.

    So, while we were over here wondering why he hadn’t made a ‘public statement’ or why he hadn’t ‘approached the media’ or ‘released a press statement’ or ‘chimed in on Warren’s blogsite’, Rick Warren wasn’t idle. He ‘wrote to the most influential leader I knew in that country, the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, and shared my opposition and concern.’ (We were discussing what to do and he was doing something.)

  • Michael Bussee

    A lot of people have been doing more than discussing. Warren, for example. :)

  • Lynn David

    As for who may have given Rick Warren the impetus…

    The Catalyst Behind Rick Warren’s About Face on Anti-Gay Ugandan Law

    Or maybe not….

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Lynn David: There were probably hundreds of people who contacted Larry Ross and Rick Warren. I am aware of several. The subtitle is laughable:

    RD speaks with filmmaker Lisa Darden who alerted Pastor Rick Warren to the dangers of remaining silent.

    Misleading is a kind word for it.

    I appreciate the hundreds of people who contacted the Warrens since October (before Rachel Maddow’s excellent coverage began) but I do not believe any one person was a “catalyst,” except Rick and Kay Warren.

  • Lynn David

    I guess I got Janet Museveni mixed up with her husband…. hey, I’m gay, I do that sorta thing! Janet Museveni gave a video presentation at Saddleback at the HIV/AIDS conference that Warren ran in 2005. And then in March of 2008:

    Dr. Warren met with First Lady Janet Museveni to discuss the PEACE Plan, an aggressive and progressive vision to promote reconciliation, equip servant leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick and educate the next generation.

  • Michael Bussee

    I know and love Lisa. I don’t think she is seeking or would want to take all the credit for this. For whatever doors she helped to open, thanks, Lisa. God Bless and Merry Christmas!

  • Lynn David

    Hence my “maybe not.”

    What she did have access to was Rick Warren’s publicist…. forget about Warren himself, now that’s power!!

    LOL!

  • Jayhuck

    Kudos to Rick!

  • Jayhuck

    Despite his irksome stand on gay marriage – and those are “inalienable” rights, right? :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Lynn David: I get ya. Being friends with and having direct access to a powerful perons’s publicist can be a powerful thing. :)

    Pastor Warren had been urged to do this for many weeks by hundreds of people and he had taken the stand that it was not his role to comment on the politics of another nation. But this, he said in the video, was part of his moral responsibility as a pastor.

    I haven’t had a chance to really talk to her at length about this, but from our very brief conversation ealier today, I know she felt very excited and very relieved that Pastor Warren had made this decision. She felt her conversations with the publicist had paid off. Like many prayers had been answered. Like someone had opened a door.

    Good for Lisa for using whatever access or influence she could muster.

  • Michael Bussee

    Regarding policy statements, I think Exodus should adopt this as it’s Official Policy immediately:

    I (we) oppose the criminalization of homosexuality. The freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God. Since God gives us that freedom, we must protect it for all, even when we disagree with their choices.

    Simple. Direct. And they don’t even have go to the trouble to create their own. I am sure Rick Warren would not mind if they stole his. :)

    Now, we just need something similar regarding forced therapy.

  • Lynn David

    I’m not like a lot of people, Michael, I seem to be misunderstood sometimes. I was putting out a whole load of sarcasm with that remark. I can be ratherr brutal….

  • PianoManKugie

    Better late than too late. Regardless of any reasons why he has chosen to speak publicly now. I am thankful to God for this.

  • Michael Bussee

    All I know is prayers were answered. :)

  • Tmthy

    That is great news, that Rick Warren is clear on where he stands at last.

    And am wondering, why are you guys asking Americans, the bill is not sponsored by any AMERICAN and from confidential information i have, the bill will pass as law, some changes have been made, which is fine and the Ugandan people and parliament is determined to deal with this evil of homosexuality like other evils, because as Obama is president, it is symbolic that it is Africa’s time to lead the world and there is no doubt that this is taking shape.

    Ladies and gentlemen, i would advise that you concentrate on the morality or politics of whatever it is in your countries and leave Uganda out of it. Please stop this colonisation, you can not claim it is a human right when it is undiginified act and the people of Uganda donot want it in their country. It is whoever is promoting this homosexual agenda that is violating the human right to life of the unborn child and the right for the people of uganda to choose what they want.

  • kaaront

    How about you guys defend defilers of girls and advocate that they scarp the imprisonment and deat penalty for them also, I smell alot of hypocrisy because of late there is somuch hate for the boy child, the boy who is abused must not be protected yet a girl his age is protected, what kind of injustice is this? Are we really talking about human rights or are we on a descrimination against boys campaign. Homosexuals are busy recruiting and abusing boys in Uganda, infecting tem with HIV and wasting thei future, i personally know some boys whose future has been shattered and their confidence trodden on, the would be great guys have been trampled down because some powerful man sodomised them and wasted them, lets be realistic and defend both boys and girls and stopbehaving like we have a hidden agenda to destroy the world.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Don’t you have any lesbians in Uganda? Are are your women invisible? Yes, we are all well aware that Uganda has many problems and that your corrupt government doesn’t address them well. Sexual deviancy is an equal opportunity sin.

  • Michael Bussee

    Kaaront: Why not protect ALL children against ALL predators? The gender or sexual orientation of the criminal should not matter. Why not just toughen the laws for ALL child molestors if child abuse is the problem?

  • Michael Bussee

    This just in from Alan Chambers, Predident of Exodus International, posted today on the FB group:

    I am NOT for forced therapy for gay and lesbian people. While no one chooses their attractions I do believe that it is everyone’s God given right to choose what you do with those attractions (consenting adults). I believe that those who are conflicted by their faith and feelings have the right to choose therapy and those who aren’t conflicted shouldn’t be forced into anything. Hope that clears up the question of where I stand on this.

    Sincere thanks to Alan for clarifying his position on this matter.

  • Eddy

    What amazes me is that Alan had to clarify in the first place. Forced Therapy has never been an Exodus hallmark; the only thing that ever came close was some parents who forced their kid to go to a ‘bootcamp’…and that was one of the many affiliate ministries, not Exodus itself. The people who questioned demonstrate how little they know of the real Exodus.

  • Michael Bussee

    In my opinion, that’s the whole point — and why Official Policies are so important. People have been mis-representing Exodus on these two issues — criminalization and forced therapy — for some time now.

    The confusion has been especially bad in recent months because Exodus Board member, Don Schmeirer, attended the Uganda Ex-gay Conference alongside Scott Lively — who does favor criminalization and compulsory therapy. That really gave the wrong impression about Exodus. The old “guilt by association” dynamic. Alan chose to clarify and I am glad he did.

    I already knew that Exodus was against these things since I have studied Exodus for many years now and have talked to Alan. Others may wrongly assume that Exodus must favor these tactics since Exodus believes that homosexual behavior is “sin” and because Exodus promotes “change” This assumption is simply not true.

    It does indeed demonstrate how ignornant many people are of the “real Exodus” — or how badly they want to make Exodus look bad. That is why an Official Policy Statement, clearly posted and readily accessible on their website, would do much to clarify what the “real Exodus” stands for — and it would also help to guide Exodus and Exodus affiliates as they make future decisions about where to speak, who to affiliate with, etc.

    Where does Exodus stand? How to find out for sure? Just check the Exodus website for their Official Policies on these matters. Why not do it?

  • Michael Bussee

    I also think Alan did it because some folks on Facebook have been making these false accusations, perhaps confusing him with folks like Lively. With over 10,000 people watching, Alan used the opportunity to make Exodus’ position clear to an international, interfaith audience. Folks expressed appreciation. Even one of his most vocal critics thanked him. (No, It wasn’t me) :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Lest I be accused of exagerating, I am sure not all 10,000 were watching. But it’s there and readily avaible to them if they have any doubts. :)

  • Eddy

    My biggest problem with ‘statements’ is that I just did some searching…couldn’t locate the policy statements for Ex-Gay Watch, BoxTurtle Bulletin, Human Rights Campaign, Beyond Ex-Gay.

    Secondly, where do you draw the line? How many statements will be demanded before we’re satisfie?. When they produced the anti-bullying statement, could we even envision the need for the statement you now request?

    Third, I think policy statements lack punch. Think back to the letter that Alan, Warren and a few others drafted. Much more effective than sending a signed copy of a policy statement. Or a policy statement with key points highlighted.

    They do have some value…there is a place for policy statements…but I really don’t think they are the be all/end all that some seem to think.

  • Michael Bussee

    .

    They do have some value…there is a place for policy statements…but I really don’t think they are the be all/end all that some seem to think.

    I agree. They are certainly not the be all/end all. You have to be guided by them and put them into action. They can’t so everything. But one thing they can do is help to answer false accusations like the ones that have been rampant since the ex-gay conference in Uganda.

    I think Alan wanted to make it very clear where Exodus stood on these issues — in the same manner that Rick Warren made his position clear. I think they were both very wise to do it now — and many people are thanking them for it.

  • Michael Bussee

    This today from Lisa Darden:

    Rick Warren’s statements were his and his alone…if my encouragement to Warren’s publicist or any of the many other people who encouraged the Warrens directly helped in anyway to nudge him in this direction- terrific! I cannot and DO NOT take any personal credit for affecting or influencing Rick Warrens decision to finally speak out against the anti-homosexuality bill.

  • Lynn David

    karoont…. How about you guys defend defilers of girls and advocate that they scarp the imprisonment and deat penalty for them also, I smell alot of hypocrisy because of late there is somuch hate for the boy child….

    We have no problem in that respect except that crime need not have anything to do with homosexuality. Besides, boys are protected:

    Mr Herman Kalule Kirumira, the area youth councillor appeared in Entebbe court early this week on charges of molesting the pupil but hearing of the case was pushed to May 4, reportedly to allow the presiding magistrate Steven Waidubba attend a workshop. The suspect has been charged with having unlawful carnal knowledge of a minor against the order of nature, an offence for which under the Ugandan law, one could face life imprisonment if convicted by court.

    Who said that boys were not protected under the law? Was it Ssempa? Langa? Others? It would seem that someone is trying to sell you a lie.

  • Eddy

    Michael,

    I guess on this one I’m the pessimist. I believe that ‘they’ will continue to make false accusations regardless of whether there’s a policy statement in place or not. They’ll simply change the tune. They’ll start to question or reinterpret the wording of the policy statement and then challenge whether Exodus is living up to their written policy.

    And I chuckled a bit about the notion of all of the questioning since this conference in Uganda thing. We both know that the questioning and the monitoring of Exodus preceded the Uganda conference by years. The Uganda conference simply provided some potent ammunition.

  • Michael Bussee

    I understand, but I remain optimistic that clearer policies would be a good thing.

  • Mary

    Karoont,

    In America we do not separate girls from boys when the issue of sexual molestation is the crime. Boys and girls are equally protected under the law. We do separate the act of pedophelia from homosexual acts and consider child sexual abuse to be child sexual abuse across the board. There is no double standard.

  • Michael Bussee

    We both know that the questioning and the monitoring of Exodus preceded the Uganda conference by years. The Uganda conference simply provided some potent ammunition.

    Forgot to say that I totally agree with this! I think they shot themselves squarely in the foot with both barrels.

    Here’s the policy: “Exodus and its affiliates strongly oppose the criminalization of and forced treatment for homosexuality.” Period. They have already said as much on various blogs and Facebook pages. Just take the next step. Post it, link it and leave it on the website. They have done this with other issues, like bullying. Let the critics question, spin or reinterpret that any way they want. I am not really concerned about the critics. Believe it or not, I am actually thinking about Exodus.

    This statement would help them and their affiliates to (1) make better decisions about who to affiliate with, (2) what conferences to attend, (3) what “research” or references to link on their website, and, yes, (4) how to respond to critics who claim they DO support these things.

    I know folks disagree with me on this, so I will let it rest for now. I believe Exodus will do this eventually — and not because anyone pressured them to do so. I think that the Uganda blunder has been a very painful lesson and that they have learned from it.

    Of course the critics will keep it up. That’s what critics do. But that should not prevent Exodus from doing it. No, it’s not the be all/end all, but in my opinion, it would be a step in the right direction.

  • Mary

    Did they (Exodus) oppose the sodomy laws in Texas? I don’t think so.

  • Eddy

    “Exodus and its affiliates strongly oppose the criminalization of and forced treatment for homosexuality.”

    We aren’t quite ‘there’ yet. For one thing, I’d replace the word ‘homosexuality’ with ‘homosexual behavior between consenting, non-vulnerable adults’.

    Also, there might be a slight sticky wicket with ‘and its affiliates’. Affiliates, when speaking on behalf of Exodus, are to honor it’s policies, mission statement, etc. but Exodus does not police them for speech or political activism in their own communities.

  • Michael Bussee

    Yes, I understand that — and I think it’s a big problem. Exodus affiliates must honor Exodus’ pollicies and mission statement, but only when speaking on behalf of Exodus.

    Otherwise, they can advocate and endorse almost anything else — including criminilization and forced therapy — things that Exodus itself may strongly oppose — as long as they are not speaking on Exodus’ behalf.

    Considering the seriousness of the Uganda blunder, it might be time to re-think the “loose-knit coalition model”. When they join the coalition, I believe that Exodus Board members and affiliates should all sign an agreement that they will uphold and promote the policies and mission of Exodus whether or not they are speaking on Exodus’ behalf.

    Anyway, that’s my strong opinion. I won’t harp on it any further. Exodus knows where I stand on this issue — and only Exodus can do something about it.

  • Michael Bussee

    I have decided on my New Years’ Resolution: Only complain to someone who can actually DO something about the situation. That should cut down on some of my blogging. :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Alan Chambers, yesterday, on Facebook:

    “I am NOT for forced therapy for gay and lesbian people. While no one chooses their attractions I do believe that it is everyone’s God given right to choose what you do with those attractions (consenting adults). I believe that those who are conflicted by their faith and feelings have the right to choose therapy and those who aren’t conflicted shouldn’t be forced into anything. Hope that clears up the question of where I stand on this.”

    Pastor Rick Warren, 12/10/09:

    “I oppose the criminalization of homosexuality. The freedom to make moral choices is endowed by God. Since God gives us that freedom, we must protect it for all, even when we disagree with their choices.”

    Alan Chambers, today, on Facebook:

    “Absolutely agree with Rick on this.”

    Personally, I never had a doubt that Exodus opposed forced therapy and the criminalization of homosexuality — but many people have been spreading that false acusation, especially since the Uganda situation came up. I am grateful to Alan and Exodus for making this very clear — and I take him at his word.

  • Michael Bussee

    I had not seen that statement from Exodus. It does seem rather somewhat confusing, but in it, Randy Thomas is quoted as saying:

    Where the creators of these laws missed the boat is that instead of denouncing sin and offering grace, they created a criminal law.

    The Exodus piece was written 6 years ago. Perhaps, with the passge of time and in light of the current events, Exodus is making it even clearer how they really feel now.

    I know I said I wouldn’t repeat myself (sorry), but this is an example of why an official policy statement — one that all Exodus members and affiliates agree to support and abide by, whether or not they are speaking on behalf of Exodus, could be helpful. It could help keep their message and their actions clear and consistent.

    I am choosing to believe that Alan Chambers, as Exodus’ President, is taking this opportunity to clarify that Exodus is in fact opposed to criminalization and forced treatment. I know some activists will be disappointed in me for saying this — but I believe him.

  • Lynn David

    Michael Bussee….. Considering the seriousness of the Uganda blunder, it might be time to re-think the “loose-knit coalition model”. When they join the coalition, I believe that Exodus Board members and affiliates should all sign an agreement that they will uphold and promote the policies and mission of Exodus whether or not they are speaking on Exodus’ behalf.

    If you believe the ‘cross-Atlantic airplane conversation‘ then Don Schmierer definitely considered that he was speaking for and doing the work of Exodus International while in Uganda.

    Mary…. Did they (Exodus) oppose the sodomy laws in Texas? I don’t think so.

    I’ve never quite been sure. This statement from Exodus was issued after Lawrence v. Texas was announced. In it both Chambers and Thomas seem to be lamenting the fact that no law could now be in force against homosexual conduct. Thomas completely muddles his thought by saying lawmakers should extend grace through their laws; what he meant I have no idea. Although he did say states have the right to make laws against homosexual activity (and yet it was Lawrence which said states could not do so). So…. I don’t know.

  • Michael Bussee

    This just in…Looks like the White House agrees with Rick Warren…News at 11…. :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Lynn David: I don’t know what to believe about the reported plane conversation, but I do believe Alan’s opposition to criminalization and forced therapy.

    That said, I’m still a bit incredulous that Exodus didn’t understand (1) what LIvely stood for or (2) that Don “didn’t know much about the conference” when he agreed to speak there or (3) that he thought he was the “only speaker” and (4) “was surprised to hear that Caleb Lee Brundidge of the International Healing Foundation and Dr. Scott Lively of Defend the Family International would be speaking as well.”

    I have spoken at a lot of conferences, and I always had a pretty good idea of the agenda, the schedule, the mission of the sponsoring organization, who else would be speaking, etc. Conference speakers need to be as well-informed as possible to avoid being pulled into something they might regret later.

    I would think this would be especially important when traveling to speak in another country — particularly one that already criminalizes homosexuality — considering that Exodus’ President and Vice President both oppose it

    I would still like to understand: Why didn’t he know much about the conference? Why would he assume that he was the only speaker? (I never have been the only speaker at a conference.) Didn’t the conference organizers tell him? Didn’t he ask?

    Perhaps it’s all true, but I really want to believe that Exodus and its Board members are sharper than that. If they really were that uniformed, I would imagine they have learned a lot since. I suppose we all have.

  • Lynn David

    Michael Bussee…. I have spoken at a lot of conferences, and I always had a pretty good idea of the agenda, the schedule, the mission of the sponsoring organization, who else would be speaking, etc. Conference speakers need to be as well-informed as possible to avoid being pulled into something they might regret later.

    I would think this would be especially important when traveling to speak in another country — particularly one that already criminalizes homosexuality — considering that Exodus’ President and Vice President both oppose it

    While Dr Throckmorton was among the first to state that, this fellow has said much the same, but at the same time calls out conservative Christians:

    I’d like to think that American Christian leaders have nothing to do with the direction that Uganda’s government is sliding towards, but I know it’s not true. For starters, I’ve been to Uganda and have lived and traveled extensively throughout Africa. Based on my experience, the level of influence that American pastors, evangelists, and missionaries have in predominately Christian countries in Africa is astronomical, especially when you consider how many African churches and ministries are dependent on American support. As difficult as it may be to believe, in most English speaking countries in Africa, American televangelists are like rock stars. The way the average Ugandan feels towards people like T.D. Jakes, Reinhard Bonnke, and Benny Hinn is what the average American feels towards people like—ironically—Bono. If I’m exaggerating, it’s only slightly.

    .

    Lest I be misunderstood, I’m not suggesting that the above-mentioned leaders are guilty of stoking anti-gay bigotry in Uganda. I use their names only to underscore the fact that, in most cases, American Christian leaders wield a greater influence over the pop-culture in African countries than they do in their own country. Even pastors of small to mid-sized congregations in the U.S. can go to countries like Uganda or Kenya or Nigeria and preach to tens of thousands of people at a time—and maybe even meet with the country’s leaders. It happens every day. American Christianity has enormous influence in Africa. With great influence comes great responsibility.

    .

    Let’s not forget that there was a man about 80 years ago that came to power on the platform of criminalizing consensual gay sex. His name was Hitler. There’s a reason why the Apostle Paul said to the Corinthian Church, “For what have I to do with judging those who are outside?” (I Corinthians 5:12) Paul must have known that when Christians try to legislate morality outside the confines of spiritual discipline within the Church, the result is usually an ugly monster that looks nothing like Christ. It’s time for American pastors, missionaries, and evangelists, along with our African brothers and sisters declare loudly to the world—not in our name!

    You’ll find a bit morre a tthe link, but it is mostly introductory.

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  • David Blakeslee

    So Heterosexuals have punished themselves for sexual sins too!

    The law is actually 200 years old (and adultery is a lot older than that) and it originally punished convicted adulterers with an hour standing on the gallows with a noose around the neck (that’d kill most lustful thoughts, I’d imagine), or 39 lashes or a year in jail or a fine of 100 pounds, which was probably a lot more then than it sounds now. Modernity being what it is, the penalty has been reduced to a $1,200 fine — and no time on the gallows — and it now may go by the boards entirely.

    Found here: http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/12/14/new-hampshire-to-legalize-adultery-gay-marriage-is-a-slippery-s/

  • David Blakeslee

    My point here is that sexual morality has long been codified in civil law.

  • Eddy

    David–

    That point wasn’t lost on me! :-)

  • Duffy Johnson

    I commend Pastor Warren for speaking out on this important issue, but I must take exception with his stand on gay marriage. It most certainly IS a civil right…how could it not be?? Will someone please explain to me how it is possibly ok to deny gays the right to legally marry, and then NOTcall it intolerant and discriminatory???

  • Eddy

    Duffy–

    This is an ongoing site…been around for years with (usually) ever changing topics (although we’ve been on non-stop Uganda for a month or so.) Anyway, we’ve discussed gay marriage before and I’m sure we’ll discuss it again. It does happen to be way off this topic and your tone suggests that you won’t be particularly open to opinions that differ from yours…so perhaps it would be best saved for another day.

    Ah, but if not, by using the seach button up near the right top of the page, you could likely tap into some past discussion on ‘gay marriage’. Most of the threads remain open regardless of how old they are. If you find one where the conversation intrigues you, feel free to comment there. Most people who were heavily involved in the conversation likely ‘subscribed’ to it, so they’d be notified that a new comment has come in.

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