Prompted by the recent revival of Uganda’s so-called “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” Saddleback Church’s Rick Warren has once again sent out his 2009 “encyclical video” (interesting phrase, that) to his fellow pastors in Uganda:
We can never deny or water down what God’s word clearly teaches about sexuality. At the same time, the Church must stand to protect the dignity of all individuals, just as Jesus did and commanded all of us to do. . . . Since God created all, and Jesus suffered and died for all, then we are to treat all with respect.
The bill has long been opposed by Christian groups including the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, Exodus International, and Courage. In a letter to Uganda’s president, Exodus International wrote: ”The Christian church . . . must be permitted to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all. We believe that this legislation would make this mission a difficult if not impossible task to carry out.”
The Family Research Council has been widely accused of supporting the bill because they lobbied against a resolution in the U.S. Congress that would have condemned it. FRC has defended its decision, stating the lobbying aimed merely ”to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.” They further stated, “FRC does not support the Uganda bill, and does not support the death penalty for homosexuality – nor any other penalty which would have the effect of inhibiting compassionate pastoral, psychological, and medical care and treatment for those who experience same-sex attractions or who engage in homosexual conduct.”
There’s much to disagree with in that FRC statement, as its issuers know. One may think homosexual conduct moral. One may think it immoral and still reserve doubts about the practice of reparative therapy to which the statement alludes. In any case, there is no reason to magnify already significant disagreements with libelous claims that American Christians have favored Uganda’s bill. They haven’t, and the suggestion that they have only harms the cause of truth and makes it all the more difficult to speak to one another about our moral disagreements.