Yesterday, in a rare interview, I met with Doug Coe, considered by many to be the spiritual leader of the Fellowship Foundation. Coe is listed by Time Magazine as one of the top 25 most influential evangelicals. Coe's organization, the Fellowship Foundation has been accused of supporting Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The Fellowship Foundation also organizes the National Prayer Breakfast and related activities. I attended several related functions on Wednesday prior to the Thursday morning event. All my contacts with the Foundation yesterday were uniform in opposing the specific tenets of the legislation as well as the spirit and intent of the bill.
Mr. Coe told me in the interview that he believes Jesus loves all people regardless of sexual orientation. He and other Fellowship leaders told me that imposing the death penalty and criminalization of homosexuality is contrary to the principles of love and compassion that Jesus taught and lived and upon whose life and teachings the Fellowship is based. Furthermore, the National Prayer Breakfast movement's mission is to build bridges of understanding between all people, religions and beliefs.
Mr. Coe also confirmed to me that his good friend and associate Bob Hunter is authorized to speak for the Foundation on this issue. Hunter has been outspoken in opposition to the bill. Hunter has a long time relationship with Uganda and has publicly called on David Bahati to withdraw the bill. Yesterday, Hunter was quoted in the New York Times and confirmed to me that "about 30 Family members, all Americans, active in Africa recently conveyed their dismay about the legislation to Ugandan politicians, including Mr. Bahati."
This opposition seems entirely consistent with the events I attended here yesterday. For instance, the welcome card for the African Breakfast described this "value of a small group"
With the Spirit of Jesus at the center, this ancient idea of gathering together meets a long-felt spiritual need of men and women at all levels of society in our modern world. People find acceptance, understanding, confidence, and hope for the future through a deepening relationship with God and in discovering the secret of true brotherhood with their fellow men and women. The primary goal of a small group is to build trust, fellowship, and closer bonds of friendship through the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
As noted repeatedly by all I talked to here yesterday, including some Ugandans present, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is completely inconsistent with this statement.
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About Dr. Warren Throckmorton
Warren Throckmorton, PhD is Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at Grove City College (PA). He co-founded the Golden Rule Pledge which advocates bullying prevention in evangelical churches. His academic articles have been published by journals of the American Psychological Association and he is past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. He is the author with fellow Grove City College professor, Michael Coulter, of the book, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President. Over 200 newspapers have published his columns. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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