Rick Warren’s Support of Condom Burning January 9, 2009

Rick Warren’s Support of Condom Burning

Of the many stories about Pastor Rick Warren in the weeks before the inauguration, this one from The Daily Beast’s Max Blumenthal seems to have gone under-reported.

But since the Warren inauguration controversy erupted, the nature of work against AIDS in Africa has gone unexamined. Warren has not been particularly forthcoming to those who have attempted to look into it. His website contains scant information about the results of his program. However, 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.”

Warren’s man in Uganda is a charismatic pastor named Martin Ssempa. 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.

It gets worse and the rest of the article explains how Warren’s support of Ssempa has made the disease rate in Uganda spike up dramatically.

The treatment of gay people by Warren and the people he supports is what you’d expect: horrific and despicable.

It makes you wonder why so many Christians — including more moderate ones — look up to him. If this is leadership, it’s scary.

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  • This is the only good that can come from Obama choosing him – this glaring light that he can’t hide his vile acts from. Before he was picked, I didn’t know much about him – now I know what a bastard he is. The only way to defeat these people and their agendas is to expose their hateful bigotry.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Good point Rose. The more I read about Warren, the more I dislike him. I’d hope moderate Christians disown him. But I doubt it… Moderates tend to support extremists, rather than moderate their extreme tendencies.

  • What is a “moderate” Christian?

  • Ryan

    Burning Condoms? Wouldn’t that increase the number unwanted pregnancies and by extension increase the number of abortions? Extremists really dont think much do they?

  • Aj

    When Obama heard that Warren was helping the HIV/AIDS problem in Africa, I bet he didn’t think that he meant increasing the number of cases.

  • Burning Condoms? Wouldn’t that increase the number unwanted pregnancies and by extension increase the number of abortions? Extremists really dont think much do they?

    I don’t think that the people in Uganda have much access to abortion clinics.

    Burning condoms will do nothing but increase the number of children infected with HIV.

  • SASnSA

    Rational thought has been found to be detrimental to dogmatic belief systems. It has been proven to lead to a higher risk of atheism. It is strongly discouraged in both men and women as it has been found to aid in the prevention of pregnancy and disease necessary to teach the sinful the wrongness of their actions. If you or a friend are considering experimenting with rational thought, contact the Christian Coalition, Discovery Institute, or the Catholic League now and counselors will be with you shortly to properly re-indoctrinate you.

    This message has been brought to you by Christians against Thought.

  • J Myers

    What is a “moderate” Christian?

    As Sam Harris noted: one who betrays faith and reason equally.

  • Erp

    I think you’ll find the gay friendly churches don’t like Warren and quite a few of their ministers are fairly open about this. In addition the Episcopal Church in the US has a wing that probably don’t like him (and vice versa) because Warren has been siding with those trying to kick the Episcopal Church out of the international Anglican Communion (the Episcopal Church has female priests and bishops and, even worst, openly gay priests and one openly gay bishop; it has also in some dioceses blessed same-sex unions).

    The religious opponents have been suggesting having alternative invocations

  • Miko

    Knowing that Christians look up to the god portrayed in the Bible, I find it difficult to be surprised when I hear they look up to other despicable leaders as well.

    I don’t think that the people in Uganda have much access to abortion clinics.

    True, but clinics aren’t the only place you can have an abortion. Just the safest.

  • Emily

    While i don’t really think that burning condoms is going to have any adverse effects re: pregnancy and STDs (as i don’t think anyone’s gonna show up at a bonfire going, “Aw crap guys, you burned all the condoms? I NEEDED those!”), i’d be concerned about the fumes the latex would give off.

  • SarahH

    Rose already said it best, I think – the only good thing here is that this horrific story is coming out. I hope it spreads to all the mainstream networks.

    I really hope Obama hears and cares enough to make a point out of this and denounce Warren. This makes my blood boil.

  • @J Myers,

    Which begs the question.. what kind of Christian does not betray faith and reason?

  • Dan

    One of the people commenting on the article said he was a Ugandan and provided this link:


    Apparently the condoms were burned because they were fake or defective.

  • I called Bush’s refusal to send money to countries that would not follow what he said, (teach abstinence only or you get no money) murder and I say the same thing with this situation.

    It’s as if someone says he would like to send a bunch of young people into another country, while telling them there are weapons of mass destruction, and he knows this is a lie, but he doesn’t care, because a few dead kids doesn’t compare to the power he will acquire, those that die are just cannon-fodder and when looking at the big picture, their lives are worth losing….oh wait…I have heard this story before.

    This is pre-meditated murder!!!

  • phlebas


    Hemant, are you still okay with Obama picking this guy to be honored by giving the inaugural invocation?

  • Ex Partiot

    Warren is a pathetic human being, It appears that he is someone that missed the evolution train and was left standing at the station when reason, logic and common sense were passed out

  • Dillon

    It gets worse, if people are not sending condoms to Uganda, then they are also helping the disease rate in Uganda to spike up dramatically.

    The treatment of Warren and the people he supports, by gay people is what you’d expect: horrific and despicable.

    Bigotry is always horrific and despicable.

    Bigotry defined: A bigot is a person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own, and bigotry is the corresponding attitude or mindset. Bigot is often used as a pejorative term to describe a person who is obstinately devoted to prejudices, especially when these views are either challenged, or proven to be false or not universally applicable or acceptable.

    Sorry, Hemant Mehta

  • Hemant, are you still okay with Obama picking this guy to be honored by giving the inaugural invocation?

    It’s not that I’m ok with it.

    I just don’t think this will be that important in the big scheme of things. People won’t be talking about Rick Warren on Tuesday night.

  • I would not have guessed that condoms could burn…

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