Rick Warren To Address Anti-Gay, "Jewish" Breakaway Anglicans. Again.
In March 2008 Purpose Driven Life author and global evangelist Rick Warren, pastor of the 20,000 member Saddleback Church in Southern California, traveled to Africa and, as AllAfrica.com reported in a March 29 story, addressed the schismatic 'global South' Anglicans of GAFCON, headed by African Archbishops Peter Akinola and Henry Orombi; ' "Dr Warren said that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right. "We shall not tolerate this aspect at all." ' Then, in early April 2009, Warren was caught lying about his endorsement of Proposition Eight, an anti-gay marriage resolution on the ballot in California during the November 2008 election. Now, as detailed in an April 23, 2009 story published by Christian Today, Rick Warren plans to meet this summer, in June, with a new breakaway American Episcopalian faction that has aligned with the GAFCON Anglicans.
Belying Orombi's and Akinola's dire portraits, preliminary data from the US Center For Vital Statistics indicates that after four years of legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts, the first US state to legalize same sex marriage, the state will probably retain it's traditional leading role as holding the first or second spot in the little-discussed but culturally significant contest to be the US state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation.
American state-level divorce rate data radically contradicts Orombi's general forecast; divorce rates in the United States are higher, on average, in US states that are hostile to gay marriage - though the reasons probably have little to do, directly at least, with sexual preference. As Carnegie Mellon University professor Richard Florida has outlined in his "Rise of The Creative Class" hypothesis, gay-friendly cities and regions tend to be tolerant of ethnic, cultural, and sexual diversity: so, they attract the best talent and prosper, while intolerant areas stagnate or economically decline.
Perhaps the most absurdly histrionic prediction, on the expected outcome of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, came from Massachusetts Democratic State Representative Emile J. Goguen who was quoted by the "Traditional Values Coalition" website as stating, "It's like a rolling ball of snow. It gets bigger and bigger. You allow it in Massachusetts, it'll spread to God knows where." Ron Crews, President of The Massachusetts Family Institute, as quoted in the Washington Times, March 10, 2004, made a similar prediction; "We can look at those places where same-sex marriage has been legalized to see what the future looks like."
Meanwhile, under Henry Orombi, who represents almost a quarter of the schismatic Global South Anglicans, the Church of Uganda plans to distribute ten million abbreviated copies of a Japanese Manga-style comic book that one authority on conspiracy theory and hate-speech has described as a "training manual for the next pogrom."
Unlike the strain of anti-Jewish hatred in evidence during the Nazi era in Germany however, the GAFCON Anglicans do not appear intent on de-Judaizing Christianity. Rather, while demonizing ethnic Jews they themselves are claiming to being Jewish. During the summer 2008 GAFCON Conference held in Jerusalem, leaders of the Orombi and Akinola dominated 37 million-plus strong faction of Anglicanism, almost a majority of the global Anglican Communion, were taught that Anglicans are 'Jews' who constitute 'true Israel.'
In an April 30, 2006 op-ed in Time Magazine, Rick Warren literally lionized Peter Akinola and compared the Archbishop to Nelson Mandela, writing,
New African, Asian and Latin American church leaders like Akinola, 61, are bright, biblical, courageous and willing to point out the inconsistencies, weaknesses and theological drift in Western churches.
Along with Akinola, Henry Orombi is known for his verbal attacks on gays in Uganda where a mounting campaign of both private and government sponsored anti-gay propaganda correlates with growing police and vigilante harassment, imprisonment, torture, and occasionally even assassination, of gay Ugandans. In a story titled Uganda's Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign Is Now In Full Swing , journalist and activist Jim Burroway, author of Box Turtle Bulletin describes the mounting antigay persecution in Uganda, driven by actions such as the publication of specific identifying information on Ugandans who are gay (or accused of being gay) - "This is what we have long feared: names, identifying features, places of employment, residences, boyfriends and girlfriends, and other unfounded charges and illicit gossip intended to destroy their reputations and worse."
Burroway has extensively chronicled antigay persecution in Uganda (see stories linked at the end of this post), which has largely escaped mainstream media notice despite the fact that Purpose Driven Life author and evangelist Rick Warren has declared Uganda to be an official "Purpose Driven" nation. As described by journalist Max Blumenthal, in Rick Warren's Africa Problem, one of the items that seems to be unofficially on the "Purpose Driven" agenda, along with the aggressive promotion of the disproved "abstinence-only" approach to AIDS reduction, is incitement of antigay vigilante activity (see 2nd paragraph):
an investigation into Warren's involvement in Africa reveals a web of alliances with right-wing clergymen who have sidelined science-based approaches to combating AIDS in favor of abstinence-only education. More disturbingly, Warren's allies have rolled back key elements of one of the continent's most successful initiative, the so-called ABC program in Uganda. Stephen Lewis, the United Nations special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, told the New York Times their activism is resulting in great damage and undoubtedly will cause significant numbers of infections which should never have occurred.
In tandem, the Ugandan Ministry of Education is distributing to Ugandan school children hundreds of thousands of the viciously anti-Jewish comic book Manga Messiah. But Henry Orombi's Church of Uganda is planning an even more ambitious mass distribution of a scaled-down (lower cost) printing of the Manga rendition of the New Testament which one expert on conspiracy theory and hate speech, Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, has called a "training manual for the next pogrom against Jews."
Virtually all of Uganda's ethnic Jews were driven out during the reign of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. The two styles of hatred, against gays and Jews, are not unrelated as Rabbi Eric Yoffie observed in a widely noted November 2005 speech in which Yoffie, leader of the Union of Reform Judaism, stated, "We cannot forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933 one of the first things that he did was ban gay organizations... Yes, we can disagree about gay marriage. But there is no excuse for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hellfires of anti-gay bigotry." Yoffie's warning was not merely academic.
There are significant theological changes underway within the block of the approximately 40 million Anglicans of the GAFCON faction led by Orombi and Akinola. For example, GAFCON 2008, which was held in Jerusalem a few months after Rick Warren endorsed the schismatic Anglican block, held a workshop at which attendees learned they were 'Jews' and represented 'true Israel.'
At a conference workshop entitled "The gospel and the UK's cultural context", as described in notes written up by the Rev. Tim Davies and currently published at GAFCON's official web site, in the "Resources" section under the heading "Church Planting and Evangelism", GAFCON attendees were taught that Anglicans are actually "Jews" who, collectively, represent "true Israel". It is an oft-repeated accusation that anti-Semitism in Christianity is coming from the the left, but in this case we see quite the opposite. GAFCON's Anglicans seem to have moved to an openly anti-Jewish form of Replacement Theology.
As Rev Davies wrote,
"The issue we face in the UK is that there is already a network of "established" churches across the country. This makes our situation, ironically, closer to the New Testament than perhaps in other parts of the world, as there are two groups in most places: "Jews" (established confessing YHWHists, synagogue in the 1st Century, Anglican church in the 21st Century) and Gentiles (people who aren't religious in any real way, but are vaguely aware of these other religious types who've been a fact of life for a very long time. In lots of places that means opposition from the religious people and indifference from the Gentiles.)"
Although GAFCON's leaders claim to their faction represents Anglican theological orthodoxy, the position that Anglicans are actual 'Jews' and represent 'true Israel' is not characteristic of traditional Anglicanism and their theological stream, in which Christians lay claim to Jewish identity, includes one of the most viciously anti-Jewish forms of Christianity in existence, Christian Identity.
Although some evangelical Christians have sought to minimize the significance of rifts within the Anglican communion, or even parody the issue, nonetheless churches continue to break away from the American Episcopal Church, to align with Anglican church leaders from the global south including Archbishops Orombi and Akinola who, together, represent over 1/3 of the world's roughly 80 million Anglicans.
Akinola and Orombi are closely tied, as journalist Frederick Clarkson explains in a 2006 Talk To Action overview of ongoing efforts to destabilize the American Episcopal Church, Episcopal Newspaper Exposes Rightwing Agencies", to well funded and organized rightwing efforts that for years have been attacking liberal American mainline Protestant denominations:
The Washington Window, the newspaper of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington has joined a growing number of publications inside and outside mainline Christianity that have published exposes of the efforts of rightist agencies to destabilize the historic mainline Protestant churches in the U.S.
Footnote: originally, in this story, I wrote 'According to a September 2, 2007, UPI story, Nigerian Anglican Bishop Isaac Orama, under the jurisdiction of Akinola, declared that "Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman. Those who practice them are insane, satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God's purpose for man." ' - I've since learned that the Nigerian journalist who reported the purported, controversial Orama quote, which was published through UPI syndicated new networks, subsequently stated that he invented the quote. Nonetheless, the Nigerian news agency which originally fed the story, and alleged quote, to UPI hasn't retracted its version.
[coverage of recent 2009 antigay developments in Uganda, from Jim Burroway's Box Turtle Bulletin]
Apr 24: Uganda Anti-Gay Activists March, “Storm Parliament”
Apr 2: Exodus Maintains Month-Long Silence Amid Ugandan Gov’t Calls For LGBT Arrests
Mar 30: Uganda Situation Continues To Deteriorate; Exodus Washes Their Hands
Mar 25: More on Uganda Anti-Gay Vigilante Incitement
Mar 16: Commentary: When Good Men Do Nothing
Mar 12: Ex-Exodus Minister Condemns Uganda Conference
Mar 9: EU Group Condemns Ugandan Conference
Mar 6: Exodus Board Member Participates In Uganda Conference Calling For Forcing Gays Into Conversion Therapy
Rick Warren To Address Anti-Gay, "Jewish" Breakaway Anglicans. Again. | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)
Rick Warren To Address Anti-Gay, "Jewish" Breakaway Anglicans. Again. | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)