Rick Warren Praised African Archbishop Who Advocates Imprisoning Gays

In a February 2006 communique, Peter Akinola, the archbishop of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), set forth his diocese’s official positions on various issues being debated by the Nigerian government, including this:
So, to sum up, Rick Warren believes that a homophobe so filled with hate that he advocates imprisoning gay people who love each other and choose to get married is a “model for Christians around the world.”

The Bill against Homosexuality: The Church commends the law-makers for their prompt reaction to outlaw same-sex relationships in Nigeria and calls for the bill to be passed since the idea expressed in the bill is the moral position of Nigerians regarding human sexuality.

The legislation in question punishes both parties in same-sex marriage with five years in prison. It also criminalized references to gay relationships in the media:

7. Prohibition of Registration of Gay Clubs and Societies and Publicity of same sex sexual relationship
(1) Registration of Gay Clubs, Societies and organizations by whatever name they are called in institutions from secondary to the tertiary level or other institutions in particular and, in Nigeria generally, by government agencies is hereby prohibited.
(2) Publicity, procession and public show of same-sex amorous relationship through the electronic or print media physically, directly, indirectly or otherwise are prohibited in Nigeria.
(3) Any person who is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly in public and in private is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a term of 5 years imprisonment.

Two months later, Rick Warren — who is set to deliver the invocation at the inauguration of Pres. Barack Obama next month — lavished praise on Bishop Akinola — comparing him both to a lion and Nelson Mandela — in Time Magazine:

Akinola has the strength of a lion, useful in confronting Third World fundamentalism and First World relativism … I believe he, like Mandela, is a man of peace and his leadership is a model for Christians around the world.

So, to sum up, Rick Warren believes that a homophobe so filled with hate that he advocates imprisoning gay people who love each other and choose to get married is a “model for Christians around the world.”

But Bishop Akinola’s advocacy of imprisoning gays and references to gays in the Nigerian media was too extreme even for the Bush administration:

“The proposed [and later enacted] legislation was formally challenged by the United States State Department as a breach of Nigeria’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

In March 2006, Bruce Wilson at talktoaction.org found striking similarities between the Nigerian law and the Nazi Party’s gay ban that paved the way for the gay holocaust in Europe during World War II:

The Nazis took power in January 1933 on a platform of law and order, “traditional values,” and an ideology of racial purity that included virulent antisemitism and the persecution of unwanted social groups. Among its first steps to create the “New Order,” the regime shut down homosexual gathering places, organizations, and publications in a broad attack on “public indecency.” The Nazi assault on homosexuality had begun. – From “The Nazi Persecution Of Homosexuals 1933-1945”

In March 2008, in reaction to a decision by homophobic African Anglican bishops to boycott a conclave called by the mother church in England over the Church of England’s pro-gay stances, The Monitor, a newspaper in Africa, quoted Warren as saying that homosexual behavior is not a natural way of life and so not a human right:

WARREN: “We shall not tolerate this aspect at all.”

With the steady drip of revelations of Warren’s extremist views, it is becoming increasingly clear that Warren was not fully vetted by the Obama transition team. Let’s hope Obama will admit to this rookie mistake and disinvite Warren as soon as possible.

H/t: Huffington Post.


  • Fred
    December 26, 2008 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Pres. Elect Obama is not going to “disinvite” Rick Warren. Warren is a very influential, successful pastor of one of the country’s largest churches. Warren has a long-established track record of reaching out to various groups who don’t normally come under the evangelical rubric. He has reached out to lesbians and gays in the past. He has reached out to Muslims, Jews, and atheists. Rick Warren is a well-known, respected pastor and his selection to participate in Obama’s inauguration is entirely appropriate.

    The few detractors who are whining about this selection need to look at the bigger picture. Pres. elect Obama will not be just the President of the Gays. He is REQUIRED to represent the entire country—that means that he must be the President of evangelical Americans, conservatives, progressives, people of all races, all socioeconomic backgrounds, etc. LGBT folks have no special, exclusive claim over Obama’s presidency. In fact, Barack Obama is not exactly the most ardent supporter of gay rights, and he never claimed to be.

    Rick Warren is not an extremist. He is slightly right of center on gay issues, and has, in fact, taken a lot of criticism from other evangelicals and Christians for not being more resistant to gay marriage and civil unions. Warren deserves credit for taking an open, inclusive stance, given his Baptist heritage and his role as a pastor.

    Militant LGBT folks need to stop beating this dead horse. Obama is going to represent all Americans, and most likely will take a moderate, balanced stance on gay issues. He is not the Martin Luther King of the gays. Get over it and find ways to be more constructive rather than clinging to unrealistic and unfounded expectations.

  • December 26, 2008 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

    People who believe, as Warren does, that humans lived side by side with dinosaurs back in the Flinstone Era are extremists.

  • Robert
    December 26, 2008 - 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Stop using the word “homophobe” as you obviously have no idea what it means. To be against same-sex marriage does NOT make you a homophobe.

  • December 27, 2008 - 6:03 am | Permalink

    Ah excuse me … are you even paying attention to what Warren has said in the past?

    He has used every last bit of influence he has to bash gays at every chance he could get…

    He is a bigot in the finest definition of the word and this is why he should not be in the inauguration any more then David Duke or Lewis Farahkahn should.

  • Dic
    December 27, 2008 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Rick Warren praised the arch-bishop for confronting Muslim fundamentalists. There was nothing in his comments that praised the man for his anti-gay stance. There is no reason to think that Warren was even aware of the extremity of the Nigerian law. When Sarah Palin was linked to the New Apostolic Reformation cult, she refused to comment on her relationship with Mary Glazier, Thomas Muthee, and other NAR people, or clarify her own positions vis-a-vis the NAR. That made her association with them, as tenuous as it may have been, a legitimate issue of concern. But Rick Warren has spoken about homosexuality, and has a long track record of reaching out to others outside the evangelical community and seeking dialogue rather than confrontation. He believes that gay sex is a sin, but he does not want to kill or harass gay people.

    All the Liberal blather about Warren is the worst, most foolish thing that the Liberal blogosphere can do right now. Moderate-leaning evangelicals were warming to Obama and turning off on the Religious Right – and now absolutist fools who’ll settle for nothing less than a completely secularized America with no trace of religion are lambasting a black evangelical president that they in fact helped elect for not marginalizing the majority of Americans during his inauguration! I think the anti-Warrenites really want to reinvigorate the Religious Right so they’ll have things to write about. Shut up about Warren and let the Religious Right fade away – and let Obama be president of all Americans!

  • December 27, 2008 - 8:41 am | Permalink

    Wrong, Dic. Warren’s piece in Time Magazine was in support of the archbishop’s stance on gay rights. He threw in the Muslim thing as a bonus ass-kiss.

    If anybody has needlessly re-energized the religious right in the past few weeks it is Barack Obama. His impulse to elevate one of them may have been good (I personally don’t think so), but the choice of Warren, one of their most prominent spokesmen — a bigot and virulent enemy of women’s and gay rights — was inappropriate because it has elevated Warren to the national stage at the very moment we’re fighting him on Prop 8 in California.

    And Robert, being opposed to two people getting married because they are gay is the very definition of homophobia, which means “unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.”

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