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With all the controversy following Rick Warren and his role in the inauguration I thought sharing this article would help shed some light on one of the constant lines of defense Warren uses (and I'm sad to say the Obama team). This is of course, his work with AIDS in Africa.

The article by Max Blumenthal exposes the true nature of this work, and makes it clear it was no 'Kumbaya' mission aimed at helping ALL affected by the disease in Africa.

Well the truth is out, and it turns out a large portion of this work was aligning himself with right-wing religious leaders who proposed ONLY teaching Abstinence (Sound familiar?).

Warren's main man in Uganda is Martin Ssempa, from Blumenthal's article:

The head of the Makerere Community Church, a rapidly growing congregation, Ssempe enjoys close ties to his country’s First Lady, Janet Museveni, and is a favorite of the Bush White House. In the capitol of Kampala, Ssempa is known for his boisterous crusading. Ssempa’s stunts have included burning condoms in the name of Jesus and arranging the publication of names of homosexuals in cooperative local newspapers while lobbying for criminal penalties to imprison them.

That should be enough to show us that the work Warren did in Africa is hardly something we can all agree on, or praise him for, but it gets better, a witchhunt for homosexual activists was also at play here:

With safe sex advocates on the run, Warren and Ssempa trained their sights on another social evil. In August 2007, Ssempa led hundreds of his followers through the streets of Kampala to demand that the government mete out harsh punishments against gays. "Arrest all homos," read placards. And: "A man cannot marry a man." Ssempa continued his crusade online, publishing the names of Ugandan gay rights activists on a website he created, along with photos and home addresses. "Homosexual promoters," he called them, suggesting they intended to seduce Uganda’s children into their lifestyle. Soon afterwards, two of President Yoweri Museveni’s top officials demanded the arrest of the gay activists named by Ssempa. Terrified, the activists immediately into hiding.

There is also more in the article about the Ugandan First Lady's efforts to instill abstinence only conditions to U.S aid in Uganda, which was happily done with the help of Congressional Republicans. It's worth a read and sheds a whole new light on this issue.

I think this is worth discussion at least.

Originally posted to rigso on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 08:40 AM PST.

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