While any attempt to reduce the spread of AIDS and HIV should be welcome, this is the absolute wrong way to approach matters. In fact, it criminalizes homosexuality and treats homosexuals. Some Americans have gotten into the fray, including pastor Rick Warren, who happened to conduct President Barack Obama's invocation during his inauguration in January.
The conservative pastor who delivered President Barack Obama's inaugural convocation address won't condemn a proposed Ugandan law that punishes homosexual acts with death.Warren weasels out of having to take a stand on the death penalty and the treatment of homosexuals.
His position is raising eyebrows, not the least of which was Newsweek, which noted his position Sunday. Warren has been supportive of a Ugandan pastor behind the legislation, Martin Ssempa, hosting him during visits to the United States at his Saddleback church.
Warren tried to distance himself from Ssempa in October, saying, "Martin Ssempa does not represent me, my wife Kay, Saddleback Church, nor the Global PEACE Plan strategy."
But this month, asked on whether he opposed a measure under which homosexual acts are punishable by life in prison or sometimes death, Warren refused to condemn the proposal.
"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," Warren remarked. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations."
There are quite a few disturbing provisions within the proposed legislation:
Under current Ugandan law, homosexuality is a crime punishable by life in prison. The proposed law would not just condemn HIV positive gay men and "repeat offenders" to death, it would also jail for three years anyone who knows a gay man but refuses to report them to authorities. Further, anyone who defends in public the rights of gays and lesbians would be subjected to a seven year prison term.This is an affront to anyone concerned about human rights.
At the same time, NPR and other sources are linking a group known as the Family to the Ugandan legislative effort. I'm not sure there is any concrete evidence on this group's operation and role, but NPR and others are allowing a writer, Jeff Sharet, to spread his theory which details the group's role in the conservative movement in the US in support of his book sales.