Saturday, December 20, 2008

Anti-Semitic, Misogynistic, and Homophobic: Now Do You Care About Rick Warren?

Here's an important new article about the Rick Warren tag that puts a whole lot more light on this ugly subject. I strongly recommend it. Here's an outtake:

"Yet this is symbolism with real-world consequences and concrete implications. First of all, it reifies the image that Warren has been assiduously constructing for himself as 'America’s Pastor,' a post-partisan and benevolent figure with a quasi-official role atop the nation’s civic life. When it comes to his public persona, Warren is something of a magician. He has convinced much of the media and many influential Democrats that he represents a new, more centrist breed of evangelical with a broader agenda than the old religious right. This is, in many ways, deceptive. Yes, Warren has done a lot of work on AIDS in Africa, but he supports the same types of destructive, abstinence-only policies as the Bush administration. One of his proteg├ęs, Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, has been a major force in moving that country away from its lifesaving safer-sex programs. He’s been known to burn condoms at Makerere University, the prestigious school in Uganda’s capital, and in his Pentecostal services, marked by much sobbing and speaking in tongues, he offers the promise of faith healing to his desperate congregants, a particularly cruel ruse in a country ravaged by HIV.

"The truth is that the primary difference between Warren and, say, James Dobson is the former’s penchant for Hawaiian shirts. Warren compares abortion to the Holocaust, gay marriage to pedophilia and incest, and social gospel Christians as 'closet Marxists.' He doesn’t believe in evolution. He has won plaudits from some journalists for his honesty in forthrightly admitting that he believes that Jews are going to hell, but even if one sees such candor is a virtue, the underlying conviction hardly qualifies him as an ecumenical peacemaker. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, Warren himself described his differences with Dobson as 'mainly a matter of tone,' and was unable to come up with a theological issue on which they disagree.

"If Democrats collaborate in positioning Warren as the centrist alternative to the religious right, they consign vast numbers of people, including many of the party’s most dedicated supporters, to the fringe. 'It does strengthen Warren as kind of a new Billy Graham figure,' says the Reverend Dan Schultz, a United Church of Christ pastor and the founder of the progressive religious blog Street Prophets. That has especial relevance for Warren’s role in Africa, where a very conservative kind of evangelical Christianity is exploding, bringing with it virulently anti-gay politics. 'What I have heard is that it will help Warren overseas,' Schultz says of Warren’s role in the inauguration. “He’s big into work in Africa. This will give him a lot of clout over there. Part of the reason this is kind of insulting for me is that Warren has supported some pretty awful people in Africa, including people who think homosexuals should be jailed.”
[Emphasis added throughout.]


Aaron Timothy said...

Amazing, really amazing, you guys want to force Africa to adopt what you have, when Pastor Ssempa speaks out you criminalize it. You talk about his burning of condoms, and do not mention the government of Uganda that had burnt the same.
Do you actually realise that since you guys came with your condom agenda, HIV/AIDS has been rising and when when we did not have them we were well off with percentages going down from 30 to 6%?
Look at countries like Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe with high condom presence but instead have very high HIV rates all over the world, Can't you do your research before you comment?

PICO said...

Hi Aaron,

Thank you for your comment, and for your visit. However, my subject and that of the author to whom you respond is not Ssempa, and it is not HIV/AIDS. It is the theology of Rick Warren.

Nothing in the scientific literature supports your view that the rates of HIV/AIDS were dropping before the introduction of condoms.

If you have a concern about that policy, please take it up with the appropriate authorities.