I’m really not sure what it says about our current state of affairs that I’m moderately pleased and a little surprised that Tom Coburn and Rick Warren have now both spoken out against a law authorizing the execution of homosexuals in Uganda, but that is where we are, I suppose. I guess I should just be happy it was a twofer with Warren, as he denounced the law and invoked Burke.
Comments are closed.
Just Some Fuckhead
Maybe with Coburn and Warren’s help, the penalty can be reduced to castration instead of death.
“We only meant to harass, stigmatize and discriminate against them. We didn’t mean to KILL them.”
Kind of similar to my reaction to GIngrich’s liking of Obama’s Nobel speech. When the default condition is Hitler! Lenin! Marx! Chamberlain! anything else starts sounding reasonable.
@Just Some Fuckhead: they’re already responding to pressure; according to Bloomberg (via Maddow), the penalty is going to be dropped to ‘only’ 7 years.
Of course, the penalty for failing to narc on gay people is still in there…
Would they have ever bothered if Rachel Maddow had not exposed them on her show? Somehow I doubt it.
It’ll be progress when it’s James Inhofe as far as C-Street goes. And I would bet in a parallel universe where Rick Warren never spoke at the inauguration he would not have made his statement of opposition. Good for Coburn though, I doubt this has a lot of upside for him.
@Tom Hilton: I read some speculation, maybe through Andrew’s blog, that the plan might have been to start with excecution and then basically negotiate down to lesser (and still ridiculous) penalties.
My thoughts exactly.
Except they only did it because they were shamed into it.
So nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed.
Rick Warren is still a highly-respected douchebag who has not changed his stance on gays one iota. Same for Coburn.
So be ‘moderately pleased’ but I’m not sure what for.
Speaking of the soft bigotry of low expectations (at least, I think this fits into that meme), this is a bit OT on the Uganda/Wingnut Kill the Fags thing but pretty illuminating of our Village and the Village Media anyway:
It is my opinion that there are two reasons for these denouncements.
1) They were exposed as the hateful bigots that they are and are trying to salvage their reps before someone accuses them of wanting to execute Dick Cheney’s daughter.
2) Last I heard is looks like the law is going to pass, so they’ve already gotten what they want. Now they just need to avoid looking bad for getting it.
The really striking thing about Rick Warren’s statement was how much it seemed to be about defending his image even as he was purportedly addressing Ugandan pastors.
I didn’t say surprising, just striking.
@Persia: sounds plausible to me.
@feebog: agreed. One more illustration of just how indispensible she is.
Yeah, and it only took them a couple of weeks of Maddow exposure to do it. Warren and Inhofe can die in house fires for all I care. If any good comes from this, Maddow deserves the credit.
It took media making things uncomfortable for the two “fine, upstanding Christians” for them to speak up. If not for that, I doubt they would have even given it a thought.
It’s comforting to know the lowest common denominator isn’t zero.
However, it is worth noting that if Congress actually makes a move – even a token move – to hinder or just verbally object to the Ugandan legalization of gay murder, Coburn will likely be first in line to whine in protest.
Warren probably not so much, since his constituency isn’t entirely made up of the douche bigot residents of Oklahomo.
No, just the douche bags who make up his congregation and who buy his books and keep him in Hawaiian shirts and donuts.
I don’t care about Warren’s motives– it’s even possible that he’s doing what he believes is the morally correct thing. But the politics is pretty straightforward– Warren (who is not a dummy) values his position as “conservative Christian who isn’t bat-shit crazy.” He understands that he does, in fact, have enemies to his right– and that understanding is a good thing.
I agree with what seems to be the consensus here: Warren in particular is tangentially connected with the C-Street nutjobs that helped push this law into existence, and now he wants to wipe his fingerprints off it.
I couldn’t agree more. The oleaginous bastard looked incredibly nervous as he read that speech–and he muffed it rhetorically speaking–he was forced to give it to protect his reputation and the entire focus of his speech was on himself and, to a lesser extent, on massaging the egos of his ugandan friends.
I thought one of the most interesting things he said, though,was to point out that the law itself would criminalize pastors speaking to members of the congregation who were homosexual (and, of course, Warren’s church refuses to have overt gay members) or who wanted to have a pastoral relationship with a gay person. Considering that warren and those guys also push the idea that people can “convert” out of gayness its hard to square the criminal penalties assigned to everyone for interacting with gay people. And he does hit this point hard in talking about how impossible it would be to have a serious AIDS outreach if its impossible to talk to people who are HIV positive because they also fall under the gay ban. Of course I think HIV in uganda is primarily a heterosexual disease and one of the chief issues is rampant promiscuity and extra marital sexual practices of Ugandan men, which Warren managed to fairly harshly condemn by implication in the talk. In fact, he put all extra marital sex into the same category with gay sex which very much suprised me and which won’t win him any friends in the African context.
Something I was wondering was whether a straight on “execute the gays” law in Uganda would make Ugandan gays more able to emigrate to other countries, or not? Someone should start asking Warren whether his church will sponsor Ugandan christian gays when they have to flee to the US. I’d enjoy seeing what color purple his face would turn.
I think there is upside for Coburn on this. We forget that most gay white males (ie – the gay people who steer donations to candidates) are Republicans. Guys like Charlie Crist and Larry Craig and Ken Mehlman and Mark Foley. They are Republicans despite the party’s outright bigotry towards them.
But sometimes things go a little too far and the Rs need to score some easy points to be only 99% anti-gay bigots (what could be easier than opposing a law proposed by black people in Africa?!)
I really can’t stress this enough: gay people are no more uniformly a part of the rainbow coalition than white men are. The ones who are out and proud in big cities, sure. But a huge percentage of gay men, in particular, keep their identity a secret and don’t live in the Castro. And, due to the general lack of family support that gay people received a generation ago, they tend to oppose public spending – other than on HIV – because they felt like they had to make it on their own.
It’s difficult for heterosexual people to fathom how a gay person could be a Republican, but we need to break that down and stop assuming gay people are necessarily our partners in progressive politics – despite our support for gay rights.
Public shaming works.
Lets just get the MSM to do more of it.
ummm….aimai…..i hate to be the one to point this out to you…but…erm….Ugandans are black.
christiansracists are not going to support gay black men….they hate gay WHITE men.
Bruce (formerly Steve S.)
Is that all it takes to get a pat on the back from Andrew Sullivan? Denounce a horrific law?
The statement attributed to Coburn opposes the law not on moral grounds but because he perceives it to be counterproductive in the fight against HIV. I’d be more impressed with an unequivocal statement about the law’s moral repugnancy.
Um. I get your point, and don’t necessarily disagree with your claim that a lot of gay, white men are conservative leaning, but I’m just wondering who this “our” you speak of consists of?
Last time I checked there wasn’t a special facility on BJ for addressing posts to straight people only…
We installed it when you were getting gay married.
Wow. Talk about a clunky and ungrammatical sentence.
Hmmm. Not much better.
Thankyou. Married bliss is very much like non-married life…
… which, I hasten to add, is a good thing.
Problem as a Ugandan priest on Maddow said is that they are two faced because they are only telling Americans that they are against the law. They’re not going back to Uganda and saying it’s wrong.
They don’t want the state to kill the gays. They want straight people so afraid for their children that they kill gays vigilante style. We already have police departments in this country that use gay panic as an excuse for beating gays, I don’t see why that won’t continue to be a valid excuse for straight people to just kill any one gay.
@El Tiburon: Remember, Rick Warren presents a “middle ground” in our culture wars. He was selected to speak at the inauguration over more divisive religious leaders. Why the fuck can’t we find one religious leader that isn’t a raging homicidal homophobe?
@MattF: Rick Warren doesn’t believe a word of it. If you read up on it, he was knee-deep in this and knew about it from the get go, refused to take a stance initially, and only after days/weeks decided to go on record against killing gays.
His mentor and his friend were both involved in this bill. Knowing that and given what he stated at a conference in Uganda not long before the bill was proposed (that no tolerance of gays is acceptable) makes me inclined to think that he would have zero problem killing gays.
I’m not quite getting why some people seem to think it was a bad thing that we were able to shame Warren and Coburn into denouncing this law. Isn’t it a good thing that we were able to make it clear to them that this shit is not acceptable to the point where they felt it necessary to make a public announcement?
Yes, it’s true, they didn’t have their own private moral epiphany. That’s fine — they can hate gay people in their heads until the day their heads explode for all I care. All I care about is that they’re put on notice that this stuff is not going to slide under the radar and we will be keeping an eye on them.
“I get your point, and don’t necessarily disagree with your claim that a lot of gay, white men are conservative leaning, but I’m just wondering who this “our” you speak of consists of?
Last time I checked there wasn’t a special facility on BJ for addressing posts to straight people only…”
Very Dave Chappellesque to pull out the “you people” on me.
“our partners in progressive politics” -> the generic group of people who support oh, I don’t know, human rights, access to such sundry things as clean air, water and health care, an end to foreign wars and corporate welfare, and equal opportunities for success for everyone in the country.
There is an assumption that because Republicans are anti-gay bigots and because the progressive interest in human rights is aligned with the gay interest in gay rights, that gay people as a group are aligned with progressives on the issues above. For example, I think the general perception is that gay people are at least as liberal as Jews are. And when there was a rumor that some old Jews in Florida might vote for McCain, it became a national story. But the percentage of Republican gay vote went way up in 2008 and nobody noticed.
I find it interesting because the domestic rights of Jews aren’t in danger, but Jews remain liberal as a group. On the other hand, gay rights are at risk – at the hands of Republicans everywhere – yet they do not uniformly vote for the only party that has ever brought any advances in gay rights at the state or national level.
So once we have gay marriage in every state (or every state that matters) and federal recognition of many rights, I think you’ll find many gay people on the other side of the fence, supporting the elimination of children’s health insurance so that we can fight more wards.
In other words: Right now, we have a unifying issue where our interests are aligned. In the future, gay people will not in general be partners with people who have progressive beliefs.
You got married recently? Belated congratulations!
Coburn finds it useful to oppose this because too much of the Christian effort to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa is basically a cover for conversion efforts, and this type of outrageous, sanctioned murder, even of Teh Gheys, is bad for fund raising and might piss of more sensible allies who have been enabling those efforts.
Coburn is also a prominent backer of abstinence programs for birth control (the only method he will abide) and to inhibit the spread of HIV. Being associated with this bill could also hinder those efforts, especially in obtaining funds from this side of the world.
More souls to Jeebus, by any means necessary, and for their purposes, outright murder of homosexuals isn’t furthering the cause. Coburn isn’t the least bit courageous or heroic, about this or anything else. He is a liar of epic proportions, and a pragmatic one to boot. He literally could not care any less whether gay people live or die anywhere on earth, so long as he can further the cause of theocracy.
Partly because the mainstream media, most likely out of sheer butt-ignorance, continue to present extremists like Warren, Pat Robertson and William Donohue as spokespeople for religion generally.