Monday, December 7, 2009

A hellfire sandwich

Recall the new Ugandan bill that will render homosexuality, or harboring, supporting, or not reporting homosexual Ugandans, punishable by death. It might even lead to the execution of HIV-positive people.


Some observers have wondered if Purpose Driven Life author and mega-evangelist Rick Warren has had a role in the globally controversial bill, especially because of Warren's close association with Ugandan anti-gay activist Martin Ssempa and, more broadly, because Warren has refused to denounce the anti-gay bill. To little notice, a charismatic network overseen by Warren's doctoral dissertation advisor, C. Peter Wagner, has played a major role in politically organizing and inspiring the Ugandan legislators who have spearheaded the anti-gay bill.

Someone please explain to me why Warren, Wagner, etc. cannot or should not be prosecuted for murder should this bill be implemented.

Sigh. The answer is that there is no institution or judicial body capable of doing so. The US, conveniently, is not a signatory to the ICC, and even if we were I doubt much would happen. If we can't even prosecute our war criminals--war being the form of international interaction most robustly understood and governed on a global and juridical level (commerce is an issue for another time)--we sure as hell aren't going to get anything done about rampantly homophobic pastors indirectly killing hundreds, thousands--I don't even know--of poor Africans.

The Talk to Action piece I linked above is further interesting for the following pieces of information:

Both Wagner and Warren have designed elaborate infrastructures for blurring the lines between church and state. Wagner describes his movement as the “New Apostolic Reformation” and openly espouses his goals of reorganizing and mobilizing the church to take Christian “dominion” over government and society. Warren’s movement is described as a “second reformation”...

Wagner is the Convening Apostle in a movement of charismatic "relational networks" which has extended its reach from the United States to Uganda, and worldwide. Under its umbrella of authority are virulently anti-gay apostles in the United States and Uganda including Lou Engle of TheCall, who led thousands of young people in a twelve hour November 1, 2008 stadium rally in support of California's anti-gay marriage Proposition Eight. The San Diego event closed with Engle, a member of Wagner's inner circle of "prophets," calling for Christian martyrs. [...]

In C. Peter Wagner's 2008 book "Dominion", he describes the process through which this brand of Christianity can take dominion over government and society, and claims that this can be accomplished within a democratic framework. Wagner clearly states that Rick Warren's global P.E.A.C.E. Plan is an example of "stage one":

"I think the P.E.A.C.E. plan fits most comfortably into Phase One, the "social action" phase of strategies for obeying God's cultural mandate. The Phase Two emphases on strategic-level spiritual warfare and associated activities have not been placed front and center. And crucial to Phase Three, as I am defining it, are such things as apostolic/prophetic government of the Church, the Church (including apostles) in the workplace, the great transfer of wealth, dominion theology and the 7-M mandate."

If Rick Warren is "phase one," what do Wagner's stages two and three entail ?

The "7-M" or Reclaiming the Seven Mountains mandate encourages believers to take over key societal sectors such as government, and a leading Ugandan spokesperson for the theocratic 7-M paradigm has played a major role organizing and inspiring politicians behind Uganda's Anti Homosexuality legislation.

There's much, much more in the piece (including all the in-text links that I got too lazy to reproduce). It's very much worth reading.

What I now want to know is how these people are any different from Wahhabi or Salafi Islamic fundamentalists seeking to take over various Muslim countries and impose an atavistic reading of sharia law, other than in their remarkable success at seeing their goals enacted in countries to which they have no real connection. Who in Uganda elected Peter Wagner?

I'm truly disgusted. I'm having a hard time viewing the success differentiating Warren/Wagner from the Taliban as due to much of anything other than that the Ws are rich white men working from the global center to impose their views on the periphery, and Islamic extremists are poor brown men working from the periphery toward the center.

So we're sandwiched. With a little luck, eventually we can all look forward to living in a hell modeled on someone's holy book.

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