Ugandan church leaders are calling on California pastor Rick Warren to "biblically issue an apology for having wronged us."
In a recent letter, the group of 20 denominational leaders said the Purpose Driven Life author caused "distress" in their nation after he requested they speak out against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 currently awaiting approval in the Ugandan Parliament.
Photo: Uganda's Parliament building
"Your letter has caused great distress and the pastors are demanding that you issue a formal apology for insulting the people of Africa by your very inapropriate (sic) bully use of your church and purpose driven pulpits to coerse (sic) us into the 'evil' of Sodomy and Gaymorrah, (sic)" the group of pastors, calling themselves the Uganda National Pastors Task Force Against Homosexuality, said in a letter to Warren.
The rebuttal was spawned after the Saddleback Church founder issued a video statement on Dec. 11, calling the proposed bill "unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals." The billwould impose the death penalty for some homosexual acts and force pastors to report conversations about homosexual practices. Warren said the measure would also squelch " the freedom to make moral choices."
The task force, which was formed to respond to Warren, asserts that the bill has been widely misrepresented by homosexual activists and that its only purpose is to protect the traditional family unit by halting the spread of homosexual acceptance.
The pastors further condemn the argument that the bill infringes on the right to privacy.
"Not all things done in private are free of negative consequences on the public," the letter said. "Most harmful behavior occurs in private: corruption, bribery, abortion, murder, rape, etc. Many laws prohibit these private practices."
The letter stated that Warren, who works with the African pastors to help fight HIV/AIDS, could only oppose the bill because he is ill-informed about its details, quoting Warren's words as evidence.
"As you yourself have said, 'The Bible says evil has to be opposed. Evil has to be stopped,' the letter read. 'The Bible does not say negotiate with evil. It says stop it. Stop evil.' (12/2007)"
"Since homosexuality is evil, you cannot possibly be against a law that seeks to stop it unless you have misunderstood it," the pastors stated.
In addition to Warren, numerous Christian leaders have spoken out against the Ugandan bill, including Exodus International, known as one of the largest outreach ministries to homosexuals.
The Ugandan pastors representing the National Fellowship of Born again Churches, Uganda Joint Christian Council and the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda to name a few insist that the Western homosexual lobby has jaded Christians and caused them to fervently oppose the bill.
The pastors' further declare that America and Europe have addressed homosexuality "with kid-gloves as a minor, private issue," but now "these societies are waking up too late on realizing that the matter affects how their entire society is ran."
The group continued to defend the bill by insisting that requiring everyoneâ€"including pastors, teachers and parentsâ€"to report knowledge of homosexual acts is necessary because of the prevalence of sexual abuse in same-sex schools in Africa. The group noted that a similar law protecting young women has been in effect for 15 years.
The task force also insists that the death penalty provison would only apply to "aggravated homosexuality," which includes rape of a minor and/or a handicapped person.
Further in the letter, the group conceded to amending the bill by reducing the "aggravated homosexuality" sentence to 20 years. The pastors also amended the bill to include stipulations for churches to provide counseling and rehabilitation to those struggling with same-sex attraction.
Though the pastors said they would support the bill with some amendments, they also said they would not make homosexuality legal in Uganda.
"In a globalized world, this western takeover of institutions by homosexuals has turned into international promotion of homosexuality and of other vices like abortion and pornography in other countries, " the letter said. "Some members of Parliament in Uganda have looked at all these developments as a threat to strongly held family values in Uganda and everywhere and have sought to use their mandate as [the] people's representatives to seek remedies before it is too late."
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