A recent development in the Ugandan 'kill the gays' bill story once again shows how the religious right is permeated lies. Indeed, violating the Ninth Commandment--"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor"--seems to be the core belief of the religious right. (Not to mention the rest of the right, as well.)
In "Ugandan MP Defends 'Kill Gays' Bill", the Box Turtle Bulletin reports:
Ugandan Member of Parliament David Bahati, who introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Act into Parliament, appeared on the BBC's Focus On Africa program to talk about his handiwork. Bahati appears not to have gotten the memo about the death penalty being eliminated or the trial balloon of dropping the whole bill that was floated on the Uganda government's official Media Centre web site. Bahati remained firmly behind the bill, saying that it is all about responding to child sexual abuse:
David Bahati says the new offence of "aggravated homosexuality" is a penalty against "defilement" of under-18s. "There has been a distortion in the media that we are providing death for gays. That is not true," he said. "When a homosexual defiles a kid of less than 18 years old, we are providing a penalty for this."
This, of course, is an outright lie.
The story goes on to quote the bill in full, but most telling is this:
3. Aggravated homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the
....(f) offender is a serial offender, or....
So a second offense--potentially charged simultaneously with a first offense--was sufficient for the death penalty. And the man who wrote the law simply lied flat out about it.
Some paragon of virtue he is!
But that lie to the BBC was not an isolated one. Indeed, the entire rationale of the Uganda crusade to kill gays is permeated with the same vast array of lies that have been used in the US to attack gay rights since the 1970s. That it's unnatural, that gays are child-molesters, that gays are sick, that gays are a product of cultural decadence, etc., etc., etc. And, of course, those big lies bring innumerable smaller lies in their wake. Which is why it's no surprise that--as Rachel Maddow indicated on Thursday --Rick Warren lies so effortlessly where gay-related issues are concerned:
|As a benchmark, Maddow first reminded us that Warren had lied about supporting California's Prop 8:
On the issue of Prop 8 specifically, Mr. Warren made the mistake of trying to deny that he'd ever taken a position on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: No statement. No endorsement.
That ended up being awkward because of the whole "bearing false witness" thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Let me just say this really clearly, we support Proposition 8, and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. So, I urge you to support Proposition 8 and pass that word on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I think that counts as an endorsement. Rick Warren had not only been involved in Proposition 8, he had been involved on tape.
Well, now Rick Warren has been implicated in much worse antigay politics as Uganda-a nation in which he has been intensely involved-is now considering legislation that would imprison and even potentially execute people for the grave crime of being gay.
Uganda is the second nation in Africa that Rick Warren designated as a "purpose-driven" nation. Mr. Warren launched his national "Purpose-Driven Living" program in Uganda last March.
And so Rachel went on to talk about Warren's deep involvement with Uganda, and his influence over and connections with those pushing state murder for gays.
But my focus here is not overall evil, it's specifically about lying, and so we cut to the chase:
Because of all of that, because of his influence in that country and his intensive involvement there, when that country including the pastor Mr. Warren had invited to his church started pushing this outrageous legislation to kill people for being gay, it's natural that Rick Warren would be asked his opinion about it.
And about a week and a half ago, Mr. Warren gave his opinion on the subject to "Newsweek." He said, quote, "It is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations."
Well, now, finally, after a little bit of attention to this subject in this country, Rick Warren has finally decided to come out against the legislation-as if he had been against it all along.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: The potential law before your parliament is unjust, it's extreme, and it's unchristian toward homosexuals-requiring death penalty even in some cases. And if I'm reading the proposed bill correctly, this law would also imprison anyone convicted of homosexual practice. I urge you to speak up. The pastors of Uganda, speak out against this proposed law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So he does comment, after all! And he lied when he said that he doesn't comment.
The explanation, obviously, is pretty simple: He didn't want to ruffle any feathers, and so he stayed out of it as long as he could, but then when that no longer seemed tenable, he did a complete about face, directly contradicting his earlier lie.
And of course, like any good liar, he turns right around and tries to pretend that others have been lying about him--or at least "mischaraterizing" him, as Rachel then went on to note:
MADDOW: For opponents of this proposed law, Rick Warren's intervention here, his written statement and his video statement, will be filed under the better-late-than-never category-definitely under better. This will be very good news for people who are opposed to this law given his influence in that nation.
That said, Mr. Warren's statement today included the allegation that his role in all this had been somehow mischaracterized by the media, saying that lies have been told about him and this issue in media that have covered it.
As the person who's been doing the most media on this subject, at least on TV, as far as I can tell we have not said anything inaccurate about Rick Warren in our reporting. We triple-checked everything that we've said about him today, I don't think we've gotten one thing wrong about him.
If he feels differently, Pastor Warren, I would be happy to host you on this program to clarify anything. Unless you know something that we don't, I stand by our reporting.
In fact, Warren is still trying to have it both ways, as is clear from the text of statement to Ugandan ministers (which I received by email from his PR outfit):
As an American pastor, it is not my role to interfere with the politics of other nations, but it IS my role to speak out on moral issues. It is my role to shepherd other pastors who look to me for guidance, and it is my role to correct lies, errors and false reports when others associate my name with a law that I had nothing to do with, completely oppose and vigorously condemn. I am referring to the pending law under consideration by the Ugandan Parliament, known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
So, it's not my role to interfere, but here I go! That's really rich!
There was also this:
5. What did you do when you heard about the proposed Ugandan law?
I wrote to the most influential leader I knew in that country, the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, and shared my opposition and concern. He wrote me back, saying that he, too, was opposed to the death penalty for homosexuals. There are thousands of evil laws enacted around the world that kill people (For instance, last year, 146,000 Christians around the world were killed because of their faith.). In this case, I knew the Archbishop in Uganda, so I did what I could, but my influence in that nation has been greatly exaggerated by the media.
So, is Warren saying that 146,000 Christians were killed because of their faith in accord with "evil laws"? What laws, exactly would those be?
I called his PR organization, hoping to get some clarification. When they called me back, it was just sort of a "what is it exactly that you want to know?" kind of call. I talked to them a little about what I discovered myself below, just to push them a bit, and maybe they'll get back to me on Monday with something substantive. But on the face of it, this is simply a bald-faced lie, and there's really no way out.
While there certainly still is widespread religious persecution in the world (a reminder of why America's separation of church and state is a good thing), there is relatively little religious killing as a matter of course.
Open Doors is a decades-old organization identified as "Serving persecuted Christians worldwide." It produces an annual World Watch List of the 50 worst countries in terms of persecuting Christians world-wide, but its literature is remarkably free of any sorts of mass murders on the scale one would need to get anywhere near 146,000 martyrs--as I explained to Warren's PR flack, who at first seemed pleased that I was referring to this site.
They do have a page, Christian Martyrs, which informs us that "Hundreds of Christians Martyrs around the globe are dying for their faith." And while I ferverently believe that one person dying for their faith is one too many, there's an enormous difference between "hundreds" and "146,000," as I also pointed out to Warren's flack.
Furthermore, there are a number of people listed on their martyr page:
The Rodriguez Family
Three young children were left alone after Jose and Emilse Rodriguez were martyred for their faith.
In an attempt to warn her Christian community, Shakeela Bibi was killed by 15 Muslims.
Tapan Kumar Roy
Taposhi become a stronger Christian after witnessing her brother Tapan martyred by Muslim extremists for showing the Jesus Film.
While attending church on the last day of their honeymoon, Deepe was killed in bombing, and her husband Vikash was severely injured.
Necati, Tilmann, and Ugur
Three believers were working at a small Christian publishing house when a man walked in and stabbed them to death.
Needless to say, I'm not happy that any of these people were killed. But none, apparently, were killed because of bad laws, though bad laws may certainly have helped create the conditions that lead to their deaths--just as bad laws marking gays as second-class citizens certainly have helped create the conditions that lead to gay bashing and even murder.
So, in sum, what we have here is yet another lie from Rich Warren, this one, apparently meant to convey the deep conviction that it's really Christians who are the persecuted minority, not those elite-protected sodomites!
"We're the real victims, not them!" That's yet another one of the Big Lies of the religious right.
This whole incident is not an anomaly. This goes directly to the core of what the right is all about. Obama's a Kenyan-born Muslim terrorist, right? I'll say it again: That's what the right is all about. More posts on different aspects of the lying of the right as the weekend goes on.