Obsessing Over Other Peoples’ Sex Interests

Why would Christian “pastors” from America—such as Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundridge and Don Schmiere—have felt “called by god” in March 2009 to fly off to the African nation of Uganda to stir up harsh hatred against some peoples’ sex attraction?  The obsession of these guys on the matter of “curing” homosexuality has nothing to do with spiritual integrity.  No one concentrates on anything that does not stimulate them in some matter, so their “god-inspired” purpose to go to Uganda to advise on matter of homosexual attraction makes for very queer missionary work.

To begin with, Uganda is not especially noted for its advanced humanitarianism, and add to this the history of religious missionary intrusions almost everywhere show that the “work” has been accompanied far too often by aggravating any misery rather than alleviating it.  Provoking and contributing to hostility is not the ticket to heaven, but the aforementioned pastors were eager to work with the Ugandan “faith” leaders to “help stop the homosexualization of the nation.”   The inference would be funny if it were not so tragically absurd.  But Pastor Lively said in an interview with Alan Colmes that he, Lively, had been invited to Uganda because, he alleged, the Ugandan politicians were concerned that American and European gays were trying to export homosexuality to their paradisiacal country. 

Such an opportunity could not be ignored: the Ugandan nation already had harsh penalties for persons who were biologically wired with same-sex attraction so it was a matter of making hay where the sun was shining.  By October 2009 in Uganda a new bill was proposed by David Bahati, a core member of The Family and organizer of the Uganda National Prayer Breakfast, allowing the government to execute HIV-positive men.  Bahati was convinced this extreme and hateful indulgence was the best manner to serve god.  The visiting and obliging fundamentalist pastors simply helped stoke the fire. 

Back in the United States, there was a flare of indignation among politicians and some religious bigwigs.  President Obama was officially appalled, saying at The Family sponsored National Prayer Breakfast that such proposed legislation to execute HIV-positive persons was “odious.”  Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, dared to denounce it at the same Prayer Breakfast.  By Christmas time 2009 even good old evangelical super-pastor Rick Warren sent out a video to Ugandan pastors denouncing the proposed legislation as “extreme,” “unjust,” and “un-Christian.”  Unfortunately, Warren’s spiel wasn’t so much inspired by any genuine concern over the treatment of gays, but at accusations that he had helped sponsor the bill.  Perhaps the accusations were triggered out of a misunderstanding–Warren’s Saddleback mega-Church in Lake Forest, California (affiliated with Southern Baptist convention)  had hosted a Ugandan pastor who did indeed support the proposed genocide legislation.

It is always rather interesting to watch religious leaders squirm around things to protect their self-made holy image.  Not to malign Warren as example, but he was quick to declare his neutrality in commenting on what he called a “political process.”  In a Newsweek interview Warren declared, “The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts from God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”

But is sidestepping the issue of promoting genocide to be so easily excused?  Is that just a political issue?  Is that avoidance the procedure we are to accept as moral leadership?  Is the “I never take sides” statement by Warren in a “Meet the Press” interview the example of Christianity’s high intellectualism? 

Funny, isn’t it, how hate and intolerance and ignorance can be excused with religious loftiness.

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