Unholy Cowardice

The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” –Revelation 3: 14b-16

I write concerning Rev. Rick Warren and unholy cowardice, for in the face the great evil of Uganda’s state-sponsored genocide, Rev. Warren has publicly pronounced his neutrality and remained silent. In his tepidity, he has become a foul taste in God’s mouth.

Rev. Warren tried to excuse his cowardice as unwillingness to “comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.” However, at best this is a new conviction as his corpus of writings and public appearances clearly demonstrate a willingness to engage the international scene when it suites his purposes.

As recently as December of 2008, Rev. Warren is publicly quoted on national television as supporting the assassination of President Ahmadinejad. Commenting and interfering in the political process of another nation does not get any clearer than this. Rev. Warren was willing to interfere with other nations in order to advocate for assassination, but he is unwilling to interfere with other nations in order to speak out against murder.

Nor has Rev. Warren’s international meddling been limited to the political sphere.

Rev. Warren has not shied away from such meddling in the past, so clearly the moral high ground he is trying to claim now is founded in cowardice. But what, exactly, is he afraid of?
There are two possibilities. The first, God forbid, is that Rev. Warren actually agree with the planned legislation in Uganda, which would make homosexuality a capital punishment and the reporting of homosexuals a state-mandated duty of citizens, and he are afraid of the political fallout of such a radical position. If this is the case, his support of a great evil is further condemned by his weakness of conviction. Consider the great cloud of witnesses of the Christian Faith who were martyred for the strength of their conviction; they were willing to die for what they believe, but Rev. Warren is not even willing to face political fallout for his beliefs.

The second and worse possibility is that Rev. Warren privately disagrees with the proposed actions of the Ugandan government, but is afraid to speak out against their actions lest he offend his followers and those close to him. If this is the case, then may God have mercy, for the prophets have taught us that God rains down judgment on those who allow injustice to stand. The greatest evils of modern history were delivered on the silver plate of silent acquiescence of those who might have spoken out but did not: the Holocaust, segregation and racism in the United States, and the genocide of Native Americans come to mind.

So Rev. Warren, which will it be? Will you be either cold or hot and renounce your tepidity? A person cannot be a Christian and a coward; the conviction of our faith in Jesus Christ compels us to speak out and stand by our beliefs even when there are consequences for doing so. As Christians, we cannot stand by and keep silence while great evil is underfoot.

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