Rick Warren

Pope Blesses Backer of Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill

You heard that right. Pope Benedict XVI met with Rebecca Kadaga, the Ugandan Speaker of the House, and gave her a blessing.

Uganda has been a target for western evangelicals who see that they’re losing the gay marriage battle in their own countries. Religious leaders and rightwing groups, including Rick Warren and the National Organization for Marriage, have gone to Uganda for years to spread anti-gay propaganda and bolster homophobia. These religious leaders position themselves as experts, telling Ugandans that gay people sodomize children, spread Aids, destroy marriage, break up families and pose an imminent threat to society—and then they feign shock when Ugandan leaders decide that the legal punishment most befitting these child-raping, society-crushing individuals is death.

In the meantime, gay, lesbian and transgender Ugandans face vigilante attacks daily, and are routinely raped, beaten, ostracized, tortured and murdered.

Do I have any Roman Catholic readers? If so, I encourage you to read Jill Filipovic’s whole piece here about the Church’s patriarchy problem. Even adjusting for her disinterest in the Bible’s take on ethics, doesn’t it seem like Filipovic has a number of solid points that Vatican leaders should really be considering?

"It Would Be Hypocritical to Pretend Civility"

Rick Warren has canceled his planned repeat of 2008’s moderated forum between the two front-running presidential candidates, despite favorable circumstances:

“The forum was praised for its unique format and fairness,” Warren said Wednesday while announcing a decision not to hold the forum. “Also, the TV networks were eager to cover it again since it garnered one of the largest viewing audiences of that election. I talked with both campaigns about the possibility of doing it again, and they were both favorable to participating.”

Warren cites a pattern of incivility that has marked the campaigns of both Romney and Obama. Props to Warren for turning down what I assume would have been significant revenue from the TV rights, but I’m not sure I like his alternate plan:

“The constitution doesn’t just guarantee your freedom to worship; it guarantees you freedom from government intervention in you daily living out what you believe. That’s why we’ve chosen to host a civil forum on religious freedom in September instead of the presidential forum. It’s a fight for the constitution, not a personality.”

On the one hand, I’m a big fan of religious freedom, and Warren does plan to invite representatives from all three Abrahamic religions, but I don’t know that I buy into his belief in “widespread attempts to redefine the First Amendment”.