Editor's note: when I first wrote this piece Thursday night, the quote below from the press release was included. At some point in the editing process it was deleted and the article was posted without it. I discovered the mistake and have re-added the quote for context.
I got an e-mail this afternoon from Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out (TWO) containing a press release entitled, "TWO Praises Pastor Rick Warren for Speaking Out Against Anti-gay Uganda Bill".
In the press release reads: "We applaud Rick Warren for speaking out with force and clarity on a bill that would lead to the persecution and prosecution of gay and lesbian Ugandans," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. "Today, Warren showed true moral courage and stood for what is right and just. We urge other leading pastors and world leaders to stand up and condemn Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill."
WTF!? How insane is it to praise someone for speaking out against a proposed policy of genocide that was a direct result of his own words and actions in the first place? Moral courage?
Let's take look at Pastor Rick's moral courage in this clip from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show on Thursday night.
Warren has said that he does not interfere in the politics of other nations, yet he has been actively spreading his homophobic ministry in Uganda and has become so highly regarded and respected there that they were motivated to enact a genocidal policy that was in no small part motivated by Warren's work.
Pastor Rick is anything but praise worthy. He plays down his influence in Uganda, but one word from him and the proposed "Kill the Gays" legislation was quickly changed to "Convert the Gays". That's right, the Ugandan penal system will not be a Nazi death camp clone. If the reports coming out are true, it will more closely resemble a system straight out of George Orwell's "1984", where citizens convicted of the crime of nonconformity were sent off to re-eduction centers in order to make them more socially acceptable.
Nothing in Uganda's violent, bloody history indicates that its government is sophisticated enough or has the know-how to pull something like this off without some outside help.
Enter ex-gay guru Richard Cohen, author of "Coming Out Straight". Cohen's multimedia reparative therapy program is highly respected in Uganda, even though the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and countless other groups of medical professionals have repeatedly stated that sexual orientation cannot be changed and Cohen has no medical credentials whatsoever.
Pastor Rick's intervention in a potential LGBT holocaust is not so much a humanitarian act of Christian love, as it is a marketing strategy. He is currently the most influential preacher in the US. His entire snake oil empire would be lost if his words became the inspiration for genocide. He's doing what he always does when his past comes back to bite him in the ass, damage control.
For years we have been saying that hate speech can have deadly consequences. The situation in Uganda is proof of exactly that. You don't have to say the words "kill the gays" to people who are ready, willing and able to do it anyway. All you have to do is demonize them to the gullible and uneducated masses using your Bible-based bigotry and let them take it from there.
In a way, the Uganda story is actually a sign of LGBT progress. The radical Evangelical Christians understand that the tide is turning in our favor in the US and the rest of the western world, so they're focusing their efforts on under-developed, under-educated, third-world countries.
Wayne Besen and TWO have done our community a lot good over the years by exposing the myths behind the ex-gay movement, but this time they are way off base. Rick Warren is nothing more than a stereotypical, bible-thumping, venom-spewing, two-faced bigot. The only purpose driving his life is self promotion. The sparing of innocent lives is purely coincidental.
Wayne, you can do better than this.
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