Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent, Day 2: Rick Warren, Pastors, and Politics

Why the big noise, nations? Why the mean plots, peoples? Earth-leaders push for position,
Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks, The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers:
"Let's get free of God! Cast loose from Messiah!"
Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing. At first God's amused at their presumption; then gets good and angry. Furiously, God shuts them up:
"Don't you know there's a King in Zion? A coronation banquet is spread for him on the holy summit."
Psalm 2: 1-6, from The Message

Rick Warren, who along with other evangelical leaders, has been courting African religious leaders with a strong anti-glbt message, has recently stated that he will not denounce a bill in Uganda that is getting world-wide attention.  The proposed bill makes gay sex a crime, with the minimum punishment being life imprisonment and the possibility of the death penalty if one has gay sex and is HIV+.  Warren, who has attempted to distance himself with Rev. Martin SSempa, a Ungandan pastor who has strongly endorsed the bill who has also appeared at Saddleback Church several times, has yet to speak publicly against the bill, stating that ""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. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations."   Additionally, he added on Meet the Press, "As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides."

I am sorry, but as a disciple of Jesus and as a representative of His Church, we are always called to take sides in the face of injustice and oppression.  When a country is contemplating genocide of a minority population, it is a sin for the Church (and that means you and me) to take a "hands off" approach and sit idly by. 

As one student said in my United Methodist History/Doctrine/Polity class today, to do/say nothing in the face of injustice is to already take a side.

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