Rick Warren Denounces the Uganda Anti-Gay Bill

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Pastor Rick Warren, who has taken some grief for not speaking out against the insane level of homophobia in Uganda, has issued a video plea that asks ministers to reject a proposed law that demands the death penalty (!) in some cases for gays. I've just read it quickly, and it is a humane document. I know Rick Warren a little, and I know that, while we don't agree on issues of gay rights, he is a gentle person who doesn't want to see the innocent hurt. Here's an excerpt from his message:

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...
 
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 affect 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.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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