Since being publicly shamed into denouncing the African anti-LGBTQ laws he helped create, Pastor Rick Warren of the California-based Saddleback Church has quietly continued to expand the international reach of his conservative attacks on LGBTQ people and reproductive freedom. In an email to supporters this week, Warren announced that he will return to Africa yet again to host an “All-Africa Purpose Driven Church Leadership Training Conference” in Rwanda next year, and is calling for African evangelicals from around the continent to join him.
Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, PRA’s senior researcher and the author of American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism, says the U.S. conservative’s trip is significant, given his strong attempts to distance himself from the international outcry over African legislation such as the Ugandan “Kill the Gays” bill—which grew out of the U.S.-style culture war theology Warren has been spreading in Africa.
Warren’s influence in Rwanda is especially strong given his close ties to President Paul Kagame, who has been accused of numerous human rights violations by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and others. Warren sits on the Presidential Advisory Committee and has hosted Kagame as a guest of honor at Saddleback’s main campus in Lake Forest, CA.
“What will Rick Warren preach about LGBTQ persons this time?” Kaoma and PRA demand to know. ”Many of the African leaders at the forefront of persecuting LGBTQ people and criminalizing women’s bodily autonomy on the continent have been trained by right-wing U.S. evangelicals. This planned training for African religious leaders represents a grave threat to human rights on the African continent.”
In American Culture Warriors in Africa, Kaoma and PRA profile Warren (and many other American culture warriors involved in the effort overseas), saying:
Warren travels extensively in Africa as part of his HIV/AIDS ministry, taking his right-wing agenda with him. He has partnered with anti-LGBTI African Anglican bishops, including … Henry Luke Orombi, as well as Martin Ssempa, an aggressively anti-LGBTI pastor in Uganda.
In 2008, Warren announced a “Purpose Driven Living” campaign in Uganda. His website reported that the 2008 visit to Uganda “resulted in a self-sustaining, grass-roots coalition connecting government, business and church leaders in an unprecedented way.” … He also said of homosexuality that it is unnatural and “we shall not tolerate this aspect at all.” When Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced in 2009 (with its death penalty provision), Warren initially refused to oppose it. Under intense pressure, he eventually reversed his position.
More details on the book can be found here: PoliticalResearch.org/book-american-culture-warriors-in-africa
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