Pastor Rick Warren has found himself in hot water over anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda, and the critique is totally warranted.  Warren has close ties to the country where he works primarily on the issue of AIDS and he has even dubbed Uganda  a “purpose driven nation”. But now, Warren’s main colleague there, a man named Martin Ssempe, is linked to a piece of legislation before the country’s Parliament that reads in part, “Those who engage in “aggravated homosexuality” — defined as repeated homosexual relations or sexual contact with others who are HIV/AIDS infected — will face the death penalty.”

Warren has been silent so far on the issue, saying only, “The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”

By refusing to “comment” or “interfere,” Warren is essentially refusing to condemn the law, which if enacted would be on par with any other genocide. Andrew Sullivan over at the Atlantic Monthly writes, “This is classic avoidance in an atmosphere of extreme danger. It is the same as the Catholic church’s disgraceful neutrality in Rwanda and Nazi Germany, as they saw a chance to enable others to wipe out a minority they wished could be wiped off the face of the earth.”

It seems Rick Warren has access to every media outlet in the world, from Meet the Press to the New York Times, why the silence on this issue?

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  • Donna

    The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, which is now before the Ugandan Parliament specifically criminalizes homosexuality, and punishes homosexuality with life imprisonment. Worse, “aggravated homosexuality” – including activity by “serial offenders” or those who are HIV positive – would merit the death penalty. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans are already persecuted under Penal Code Article 145a, which prohibits “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.” The new bill not only criminalizes the “promotion of homosexuality,” but states that any person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to a significant fine and imprisonment. This includes ministers, social workers and doctors.

    The President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, last week publicly articulated his support of the bill.

    Scott Lively, president of Abiding Truth Ministries (a national group operating out of Massachusetts) and a speaker at an ex-gay conference in Uganda last March, is advising Ugandans to “make the law more palatable to the international community.” But he believes Uganda should maintain its law against homosexuality “and that they should use that as a way to basically say, ‘No, you’re not going to be able to promote this behavior because it’s illegal behavior.’

    Scott Lively began his career with the Oregon Citizens Alliance in the late 80’s and was the architect of Ballot Measure 9, a constitutional amendment that would have branded gays and lesbians in Oregon, as ‘wrong, abnormal and perverse’. He wrote “The Pink Triangle’, a book that asserts that a great number of Nazi leaders were homosexual. He has exported his particularly virulent brand of homophobia to Africa. He cannot be dismissed. He is very good at what he does. I spent much of my time, in the early 1990’s, working against this man and his mission against the GLBT communities.

    According to the census of 2002, Christians made up about 84% of Uganda’s population. The Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of adherents (41.9%), followed by the Anglican Church of Uganda (35.9%). The next most reported religion of Uganda is Islam, with Muslims representing 12% of the population.

    How can you help?

    We need your help getting to both Roman Catholic and Anglican Church and Muslim leaders in this country, across the globe and especially in Uganda. There must be an international outcry against this bill.

    We need to get to Rick Warren, whose ministries have worked in Uganda and who has done some very good AIDS/HIV work. He needs to speak out against this bill.

    In addition, here are some folks who should understand our outrage.

    Jerry P. Lanier, US Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda
    P.O. Box 7007,
    Kampala, Uganda
    Tel: 256-414-259-791/2/3/5
    Fax: 256-414-259-794

    Perezi K. Kamunanwire, Ambassador to the US
    Tel: 1-202-726-4758
    Fax: 1-202-726-1727

    Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda
    Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the United Nations
    336 East 45 Street
    New York, NY 10017
    Tel: 1-212-949-0110
    Fax: 1-212-687-4517

    Please contact me if you believe that you can be of assistance in any way.

    Thank you.

    Donna Red Wing

  • Bob Klahn

    Does this qualify as a “blood libel”?

    Smearing the Catholic Church is not the way to gain their cooperation.

    Andrew Sullivan over at the Atlantic Monthly writes, “This is classic avoidance in an atmosphere of extreme danger. It is the same as the Catholic church’s disgraceful neutrality in Rwanda and Nazi Germany, as they saw a chance to enable others to wipe out a minority they wished could be wiped off the face of the earth.” …

    The Catholic Church saved more Jews in Nazi Germany than any other person or organization, and probably more than all others combined. And that was Church policy.

    * “Only the Church protested against the Hitlerian onslaught
    on liberty. Up till then I had not been interested in the
    Church, but today I feel a great admiration for the Church,
    which alone has had the courage to struggle for spiritual
    truth and moral liberty.”

    o Albert Einstein in Time Magazine 1940, quoted in Three
    Popes and the Jews by Pinchas E. Lapide (New York: Hawthorn,
    1967), p. 251.

    * “The repeated interventions of the Holy Father on behalf of
    Jewish Communities in Europe has evoked the profoundest
    sentiments of appreciation and gratitude from Jews throughout
    the world.” o Rabbi Maurice Perlzweig, Political director of
    the World Jewish Congress. Written February 18 1944 in a
    letter to Msgr. Amleto Cicognani, the apostolic delegate in
    Washington, D.C.

    * “In the most difficult hours of which we Jews of Romania
    have passed through, the generous assistance of the Holy
    See was decisive and salutary. It is not easy for us to find
    the right words to express the warmth and consolation we
    experienced because of the concern of the supreme pontiff,
    who offered a large sum to relieve the sufferings of deported
    Jews…. The Jews of Romania will never forget these facts of
    historic importance.”

    o /Rabbi Alexander Safran , chief rabbi of Romania/ note to
    Monsignor Andrea Cassulo, Papal Nuncio to Romania, April 7

    * “The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness
    and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal
    principles of religion, which form the very foundation of
    true civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and
    sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is
    living proof of Divine Providence in this world.”

    Rabbi Isaac Herzog, chief rabbi of the British Mandate of
    Palestine March 1945.

    * “The Church and the papacy have saved Jews as much and in
    as far as they could save Christians…. Six million of my
    co-religionists have been murdered by the Nazis, but there
    could have been many more victims, had it not been for the
    efficacious intervention of Pius XII.”

    o Dr. Raphael Cantoni, director of the Italian Jewish
    Assistance Committee, American Jewish Yearbook 1944-1945,

    * “What the Vatican did will be indelibly and eternally
    engraved in our hearts. Priests and even high prelates did
    things that will forever be an honor to Catholicism.”

    o Israel [Zolli], former Chief Rabbi of Rome, 1948.

    * “If the pope had spoken out, Hitler would probably have
    massacred more than six million Jews and perhaps ten times
    ten million Catholics, if he had the power to do so.”

    o Rabbi Marcus Melchior, Holocaust survivor and Chief Rabbi
    of Denmark, 1950.

    * “More than anyone else, we have had the opportunity to
    appreciate the great kindness, filled with compassion and
    magnanimity, that the Pope displayed during the terrible
    years of persecution and terror when it seemed that for us
    there was no longer an escape.”

    o Elio Toaff, Chief Rabbi of Rome, 1951.

    * “We share in the grief of humanity at the passing away of
    His Holiness Pope Pius XII. In a generation affected by wars
    and discords, he upheld the highest ideals of peace and
    compassion. When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the
    decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for
    the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice
    speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of
    daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace.”

    o /Golda Meir Israeli Prime Minister, message of condolence
    to the Vatican, sent 1958.

    * “With special gratitude we remember all he has done for the
    persecuted Jews during one of the darkest periods in their
    entire history.

    o Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress,
    message of condolence to the Vatican, sent 1958.

    * “In relation to the insane behavior of the Nazis, from
    overlords to self-styled cogs like Eichmann, he [Pius XII]
    did everything humanly possible to save lives and alleviate
    suffering among the Jews; that a formal statement would have
    provoked the Nazis to brutal retaliation, and would
    substantially have thwarted further Catholic action on behalf
    of Jews.”

    o Dr. Joseph Lichten, a Polish Jew who served as a diplomat
    and later an official of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League of
    B’nai B’rith in Rome. Written in his book A Question of
    Judgment (1963) (written in response to The Deputy play and
    available online in full

    * “The papal nuncio and the bishops intervened again and
    again on the instructions of the pope, and that as a result
    of these labors in the autumn and winter of 1944, there was
    practically no Catholic Church institution in Budapest where
    persecuted Jews did not find refuge.”

    o Jewish historian Jeno Levai, Hungarian Jewry and the
    Papacy: Pius XII Did Not Remain Silent (1965).

    * “Pius XI had good reason to make Pacelli (the future Pius
    XII) the architect of his anti-Nazi policy. Of the forty-four
    speeches which the Nuncio Pacelli had made on German soil
    between 1917 and 1929, at least forty contained attacks on
    Nazism or condemnations of Hitler’s doctrines. Pacelli, who
    never met the Fuhrer, called it “neo-Paganism.”

    o Pinchas E. Lapide, former Israeli diplomat and Orthodox
    Jewish Rabbi in /Three Popes and the Jews/ (New York:
    Hawthorn, 1967) p. 118.

    * “The Catholic Church, under the pontificate of Pope Pius
    XII was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but
    probably as many as 860,000, Jews from certain death at Nazi

    o Pinchas E. Lapide, Three Popes and the Jews (1967).

    * “No Pope in history has been thanked more heartily by
    Jews. Upon his death in 1958, several suggested in open
    letters that a Pope Pius XII forest of 860,000 trees be
    planted on the hills of Judea in order to fittingly honor the
    memory of the late Pontiff because the Catholic Church under
    the pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving the
    lives of as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi

    o Pinchas E. Lapide, Three Popes and the Jews (1967).

    * “I told [Pope Pius XII] that my first duty was to thank
    him, and through him the Catholic Church, on behalf of the
    Jewish public for all they had done in the various countries
    to rescue Jews. We are deeply grateful to the Catholic

    o /Moshe Sharett (who later became Israel’s first foreign
    minister and second prime minister)/

    * “Pius XII did not make his protest heard when the Roman
    Jews were carried away right under his nose”

    o Amos Luzzatto, president of Union of Italian Jewish
    Communities. (September 28, 1998). [3]

    * “Hitler distrusted the Holy See because it hid Jews. The
    Germans considered the Pope as an enemy.”

    o Jewish historian Richard Breitman, professor at American
    University in Washington, D.C. Statement made in Italian
    newspaper “Corriere della Sera” on June 29 2000

    * “My judgment cannot but be positive. Pope Pacelli was the
    only one who intervened to impede the deportation of Jews on
    16 October, and he did very much to hide and save thousands
    of us. It was no small matter that he ordered the opening of
    cloistered convents. Without him, many of our own would not
    be alive.” October 25.

    o Michael Tagliacozzo, Jewish historian and staff member at
    Beth Lohame Haghettaot (Center of Studies on the Shoah and
    Resistance). Beth Lohame Haghettaot in western Galilee in
    Israel is one of the world’s largest museums and centers of
    documentation on the Holocaust.

    * “The Talmud teaches that ‘whosoever preserves one life, it
    is accounted to him by Scripture as if he had preserved a
    whole world.’ More than any other twentieth-century leader,
    Pius XII fulfilled this Talmudic dictum, when the fate of
    European Jewry was at stake. No other pope had been so
    widely praised by Jews, and they were not mistaken. Their
    gratitude, as well as that of the entire generation of
    Holocaust survivors, testifies that Pius XII was, genuinely
    and profoundly, a righteous gentile.”

    o Rabbi David G. Dalin Ph.D. “Pius XII and the Jews.” Weekly
    Standard vol. 6 no. 23 (February 26, 2001.

    * “Never, in those tragic days, could I have foreseen, even
    in my wildest imaginings, that the man who, more than any
    other, had tried to alleviate human suffering, had spent
    himself day by day in his unceasing efforts for peace, would
    – twenty years later – be made the scapegoat for men trying
    to free themselves from their own responsibilities and from
    the collective guilt that obviously weights so heavily upon

    **rescuer John Patrick Carroll-Abbing, in his 1965 book

    * “During the Nazi occupation of Rome, three thousand Jews
    found refuge at one time at the pope’s summer residence at
    Castel Gandolfo. Amazingly, Castel Gandolfo is never
    mentioned or discussed in the anti-papal writings of many of
    the pope’s critics. Yet at no other site in Nazi-occupied
    Europe were as many Jews saved and sheltered for as long a
    period as at Castel Gandolfo during the Nazi occupation of
    Rome. Kosher food was provided for the Jews hidden there,
    where, as George Weigel has noted, Jewish children were born
    in the private apartments of Pius XII, which became a
    temporary obstetrical ward.”

    o Rabbi David G. Dalin Ph.D., July 29 interview with Dr.
    Thomas E. Woods.

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