Rick Warren Condemns Uganda Anti-Gay Bill After Faith, LGBT Groups Call for Response

A number of organizations are raising international awareness on the debate concerning Uganda’s proposed death penalty for homosexuals, and have called on Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren to once again speak out on the issue – which he did on Friday via Twitter.


Conflicting accounts stemming from Uganda have reported on where the African nation stands in its review of an anti-homosexuality bill that has been condemned by many Western countries.

Uganda is one of the only places in the world where engaging in homosexual activity is considered a crime, punishable by fines and jail time, with some government members pushing to make same-sex acts a capital punishment offense.

Some reports stated that Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga had announced that the capital punishment proposal would be dropped as a “Christmas gift” to gay rights advocates, but others have said that it still remains unclear what the Uganda government will actually decide.

Pastor Rick Warren, whose work fighting AIDS has taken him around the continent and has given him the opportunity to visit and work in Uganda many times, posted on Friday a Twitter message reading: “An unjust law in Uganda is back in the news. I opposed it 3 yrs ago and I still do,” which was also shared with The Christian Post by Kristin Cole, a spokesperson for Warren.

In his statement three years ago, Warren stated that it was not his role to interfere with the politics of other countries, but that he still has a duty to speak out on moral issues. He said the bill was “unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals.”

As to why he hadn’t made the statement when the bill first started making rounds in Uganda’s parliament, he said that “some erroneously concluded that I supported this terrible bill, and some even claimed I was a sponsor of the bill. He added, “I oppose the criminalization of homosexuality.”

Before Warren’s Twitter response, a number of groups had called on him to address the issue before his followers. His book, The Purpose Driven Life, is one of the most popular Christian books ever written with millions of copies sold worldwide. Saddleback Church hosts over 20,000 people for services on a weekly basis, and Warren’s Twitter has over 800,000 followers.

Faithful America, an online community of citizens motivated by various faiths who speak up on social and political issues, shared with The Christian Post that over 13,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Pastor Warren to take a more prominent stand against the proposed death penalty provision tied to Uganda’s anti-gay bill.

“Rick Warren, it’s time for you to again speak out against the Ugandan legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by life in prison or even the death penalty,” the petition urges. “Your history of associating with anti-gay extremists in Uganda means you have a moral obligation to work tirelessly to prevent this bill from becoming law.”

GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) also shared a blog post where it addressed the danger of the anti-gay bill passing in Uganda, and although the organization acknowledged that Warren spoke out against it in 2009, it asked that he and other evangelical Christian leaders talk to their followers about the issue once more.

“Why have Rick Warren and other evangelical leaders remained silent? As the bill awaits an imminent parliamentary vote, there is no time for contemplation; direct and decided speech against this bill is the only option as the international community looks to safeguard the LGBT community in Uganda,” GLAAD wrote.

Uganda is expected to make a final decision on the anti-gay bill and the proposed death penalty by the end of the year, although no firm date has been set as of yet.

The Uganda government did not respond to emails sent by The Christian Post to clarify where the bill currently stands.

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by Gary Wilkerson

My father, David Wilkerson, taught me a lesson when I was a little boy and I
believe it is the most important lesson I have ever learned. “Gary,” he
said, “you can have as much of Jesus as you want.”

Every one of you reading this article can have as much of Jesus as you want!
God does not just randomly say, “I’m picking you and not you.”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be
satisfied (filled)” (Matthew 5:6, ESV). This verse is speaking of the man or
woman who says, “I want all that Jesus has to offer. I am going to be
ravenous in my spiritual hunger to get everything He has to give.”

The Bible says that God is looking for men and women whose hearts are
completely His that He might show Himself strong. “For the eyes of the Lord
run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of
those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV).

God does not want 10 percent or 75 percent of His church to be consecrated, to
live a set-apart, sacred life. He wants 100 percent of His body, His believers,
to be sold out wholeheartedly.

It is not God who is holding back the anointing of His Spirit, it is our lack
of response to what He is pouring out. God has rent the heavens and come down
and manifest His Holy Spirit in these last days. The man or woman who responds
to what God is willing to give will rise up and say, “In this last hour I
choose to be filled with God’s Spirit. I choose to live a consecrated life. I
will not be dissuaded from this; I will not be held back. Nothing can keep me
from the destiny that God has for me of being on fire for Him, totally filled
with His Spirit.”

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“Sovereign Choices” – V’yeishev (He continued living)

V’yeishev (He continued living)

Genesis 37:1-40:23
Amos 2:6-3:8

“Sovereign Choices”


Sometimes during the course of Torah reflection, the Lord will use whatever the weekly parashah is to really force you to consider where you stand before Him. V’yeishev is just one of those readings, as the circumstances of life and the choices we have to make are brought right to the surface of our attention. Once again, the lives of our spiritual forbearers epitomize much of the perpetual struggle that humanity has had with its Creator.

In V’yeishev we see the emergence of Judah and Joseph, as the leaders of their generation, come to light. How they individually handled personal trials is vividly contrasted. For the Believer writing this reflective commentary, presently immersed in a very difficult trial himself (2003), the timing of this portion for reflection has been critical for making the right choice. The example of the Patriarch Joseph is a particularly encouraging one to emulate.

As Believers in the Messiah of Israel, who must continue to endure in the Lord, we are each given daily opportunities to make choices. We have many of the same options given to Judah and Joseph, as (1) we can either choose to follow our carnal inclinations, or (2) we can choose to let God work out all the details. Of course, we know that the former path is the natural way for the world and those who lack the indwelling presence of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). The second path requires faith in a Sovereign Creator, who we trust will work things out according to His perfect plan for our lives.

Years ago, in my early days in the faith, the writings of Paul helped me with some decisions I was making, which could only be prompted and executed by the Spirit of the Most High within me:

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him [Isaiah 40:13]? But we have the mind of Messiah” (1 Corinthians 2:12-16).

Joseph’s Choices

As I look at the life of Joseph, I am reminded that for some reason he made what appeared to be some very spiritual and faithful decisions, as God was preparing him for the saving work he was going to accomplish for his brothers. Why was he able to make such godly choices during his testings with his brothers (Genesis 37:18-36), while employed (Genesis 39:1-18), or incarcerated in the bowels of Egypt (Genesis 39:19-23)? Was it because of the visions he received as a youth (Genesis 37:1-17)? Without a doubt Joseph’s dreams had an impact on his choices (cf. Genesis 40), as the Psalmist further articulates,

“He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him” (Psalm 105:17-19).

It appears that from this statement “the word” that Joseph received in his dreams had a powerful impact on his future. In fact, it is evident from his actions and reactions to unprovoked abuse that he was able to choose a path of righteousness. But did you notice the additional mention of the trials or afflictions that he endured? If you look up the Hebrew verb tzaraf (@rc), you will find out that “This word describes the purifying process of a refiner, who heats metal, takes away the dross, and is left with a pure substance” (AMG, 970). You might ask this simple question: Why would God choose to refine Joseph with so many trials over the years until the “word” given to him came about? Perhaps the adage seen in Proverbs 3:12 was at work?

“For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights” (cf. Hebrews 12:6).

Just as the Psalmist declares, and Proverbs and Hebrews clarify, it is obvious that God loved Joseph and had a redemptive role for him to play during his life. So, a discipline delivered because of love was necessary for Joseph to fulfill his calling. Of course at this point, you almost want to throw your hands up in the air and scream, “Why? Why? Why?” Then you are reminded of this very basic truth:

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

As students and beneficiaries of Torah reflection, we must be reminded that we are the clay and He is the Potter (cf. Isaiah 29:16; Romans 9:21). Let us all humbly admit that we will be works in progress before we are able to see our Lord face-to-face.

The Right Choice

Even though God may be in ultimate control of things, reality demands that we still have to make decisions that will affect our lives, just as Joseph did in his day. If we are aware of the common struggle between our carnal inclinations, and the Spirit that indwells us, then we are in good company. This is something that the saints have always battled. The blessing is that we know we are in the war, and are hopefully making choices which relinquish our will to the will of the Holy One.

Have you ever had an encounter with the Most High? It may have been a dream like Joseph’s, a voice from the Heavenly realm, or perhaps even a vision from God. Hopefully, this is a part of your testimony—because if it is, then you have the same opportunity that Joseph had to make the right choices. You can reflect upon whatever your encounter was, and remember that at some point in time, the Creator revealed Himself to you in a very unique way. You can recall that He is ultimately in control of the created order, and that He is going to accomplish His tasks.

Knowing these things, what you will learn over time is that if you can choose correctly to submit to His will, making the right spiritual choices, whatever is going on in the circumstances of life will be remedied in a more proficient manner. But if you make a choice based on your carnal proclivities, you may not only impede His speed in rectifying the situation, but you could also become encumbered by the consequences of your preferred, natural choice.

For this seeker, as V’yeishev’s instruction has come forth, the choice to let the Lord work out the details of my challenges is relatively easy. Of course this requires patience, one of the fruits of the Spirit that often needs to be exercised more frequently (Galatians 5:22-23). In a like manner, you can imagine how Joseph was also called to wait upon the Lord. And from the testimony of this and other passages in the Scriptures, his faith and patience were strong enough to wait for Him to move. It is encouraging to note that this challenge is not unique to Joseph or anyone of us. In fact, James the Just gives us great advice as he begins his epistle:

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:2-5).

Endurance can be seen as the result of a faith tempered by time and patience. Look at the results of the trials of life. How do completion and lacking in nothing sound as rewards for making the right choices during times of testing? Consistent study and meditation upon God’s Word should equip you with the wisdom you need to make the right choices, and in the Father’s wisdom, His sovereign choices will be completed in the right time. Joseph waited and trusted. May we, in like manner, choose to follow his example!

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by David Wilkerson


If you can go about your daily life facing all sorts of interruptions and
demands, and yet not spend ten minutes in God’s presence, your love is dying.

Think about it: If you love someone exclusively above all others, you will make
that person feel he is the most important being on earth. Everything else will
pale in comparison to him.

Is this not how you first loved your spouse when you were courting? If she
called while you were busy, you dropped everything just to talk to her. If
anyone intruded on your time alone together, you resented it. Everything else
took second place in your efforts to develop the love between you.

Many Christians today go for weeks, even months, without spending quality time
with Jesus. How can they love Jesus with a whole heart when they neglect Him
for days on end?

In Song of Solomon, the bride could not sleep because her beloved “. . . had
withdrawn himself . . .” (Song of Solomon 5:6). This woman arose in the middle
of the night, saying, “My soul failed . . . I sought him, but I could not find
him; I called him, but he gave me no answer” (same verse). So she quickly ran
into the streets, looking everywhere for her lover, crying out, “Have you seen
my beloved?”

Why was this such a serious matter to her? Because, as she said, “This is my
beloved, and this is my friend” (verse 16). “I am sick of love [faint with
desire for him]” (verse 8). She could not be without her beloved.

How does Jesus feel when He spreads the table and anxiously awaits our company,
yet we never show up? The Bible calls us His bride, His beloved, His one great
love. It says we were created for fellowship with Him. So, what kind of
rejection must He feel when we continually put others before Him?

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by David Wilkerson


What holds your heart right now? Does your soul yearn for Jesus, or for the
things of this world?

A woman on our mailing list wrote this distressing note: “My husband was once
on fire for God. For years he gave himself faithfully to the Lord’s work but
today he’s all wrapped up in a new pursuit. He no longer has any time for the
Lord. I worry for him, because he’s grown so cold.”

Jesus told a parable about this very kind of legitimate pursuit. A wealthy man
sent his servant to invite all his friends to a great feast he was holding.
But, Scripture says, the man’s friends “all with one consent began to make
excuse” (Luke 14:18).

One friend told the servant, “I just bought a piece of land, sight unseen, and
I have to inspect it. Please tell your master I won’t be able to come.” The
next friend told the servant, “I just bought a yoke of oxen and I haven’t had
time to test them. Tell your master I can’t come, because I have to go into the
field to plow with them.” Yet another friend told the servant, “I just got
married and I’m about to take my honeymoon. I don’t have time to come to the

This man had invited all his friends to enjoy an intimate time of fellowship
with him. He had made all the arrangements for their comfort and convenience.
The table had been set and everything had been prepared, but no one came.
Everyone was simply too busy or preoccupied.

Each person had a good, legitimate reason for not coming. After all, they were
not avoiding their friend so that they could go partying or bar-hopping. On the
contrary, the Bible commends everything these people were doing: Buying and
selling can provide security for one’s family, and testing a major purchase is
a sound business practice. Finally, marriage is a blessing that the Scriptures

Yet, how did this wealthy man react? Scripture says, “The lord said unto the
servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that
my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that none of those men which were
bidden shall taste of my supper” (verses 23-24).

Jesus makes a very clear point in this parable: Each of these good, legitimate
things becomes sinful when it takes priority over the Lord.

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Happy Hanukkah – Starting Saturday Night 12-8-2012


 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

Renewed Efforts to Stone Jesus

 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”

 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”

 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’?  If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believethat the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.

John 10:22-39


by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]


“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first
love” (Revelation 2:4).

I believe this warning to the Ephesian church is intended for every Christian
living in these last days. Simply put, the Lord is telling us, “It’s not enough
for you to be a caring, giving, diligent servant who grieves over sin and
preaches truth. It’s not enough for you to uphold moral standards, endure
suffering for My sake, or even be burned at the stake for your faith. This is
all part of taking up My cross.

“You can do all these things in My name, but if your affection for Me does not
increase in the process of doing them, if I am not becoming more and more the
one great delight of your heart, then you have left your first love. If your
affection for Me is no longer a matter of great concern to you, then I have
something against you.”

Consider David’s words: “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon
earth that I desire beside thee” (Psalm 73:25). These are strong words, yet
David is not saying, “I don’t have human love.” Rather, he is saying, “There is
no one I love exclusively in my heart as I love my Lord. I desire Him above all

David also writes, “O God . . . my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth
for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (63:1). “As the hart
[deer] panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My
soul thirsteth for God, for the living God” (42:1-2).

David says, “I thirst deeply for the Lord, the way a deer thirsts after it has
been chased. A deer will go past the point of exhaustion to find the water it

Likewise, Jesus is telling the Ephesian Christians, “You no longer seek Me as
the deer seeks. I am no longer the chief object of your desire. You may be
willing to do things for Me, but I’m not at the center of your heart anymore!”

Go back to your first love today. Ask Jesus for grace and strength to begin
again to guard your affection for Him!

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by Gary Wilkerson

I have a lot of respect for Barnabas, a gentle, loving man whose name meant
encouragement. Barnabas had been traveling with Paul evangelizing and planting
churches, but a conflict arose. We read in Acts 15:36-41 that Paul and Barnabas
stopped working together over a young man named John Mark.

Paul felt that John Mark had hurt their ministry by unexpectedly departing and
leaving them short-handed. Barnabas wanted to be kind to John Mark and give him
another chance, but Paul said no.

Barnabas was a man of a different spirit. When the whole world was willing to
reject somebody who seemed like a failure, he did not react in that way.
Barnabas stood up to Paul and said, “I’m not going to reject that young
man.” That is boldness — that’s a different spirit!

When Saul was pouring out accusations against the church, imprisoning
Christ’s followers and putting them to death, who went to him? And when Saul
had an experience from heaven (Acts 9), who went to him? It was Barnabas, the
Son of Encouragement. Barnabas had the boldness in his heart and the different
spirit inside him to say, “I don’t care if this is a false rumor, it is
worth the risk to see if Saul really got saved.”

Barnabas is an example of a man of a different spirit. This spirit has nothing
to do with whether you are a Type A personality. You can be a quiet person,
mellow and calm, and still have what Barnabas had. And most of  all, you can
have what Jesus had.

It does not matter if you are young or old, male or female, for God is no
respecter of persons. The Holy Spirit is longing to fall upon you. You may be
reading this today and inside you are saying, “What are you talking about,
having a different spirit? My spirit is a spirit of alcohol or drugs; my spirit
is a spirit of desperation. I’m lost!”

You know what? God has His eyes on you. God has ordained that you read this
because He is calling on you to rise up and be a person of a different spirit.
Not the spirit of this world, not the spirit of sin, not the spirit of
alcoholism or drugs, but the spirit of God. The spirit of Christ, the Son of
God, can transform your life and make you into a person of a different spirit.

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A Salute to those Who Saw Victory – Vayeshev “And he dwelt”

Vayeshev “And he dwelt”

Genesis 37:1-40:23

Amos 2:6-3:8

Acts 7:9-16, Hebrews 11

A Salute to those Who Saw Victory

A few weeks ago Americans observed a day known as Veterans Day. On this day we honor the men and women who have given of their service and even their lives to fight for both this country, and for the cause of freedom overseas. Many of these men and women in recent years had their lives changed forever when they came home, not to crowds of admirers who stood with appreciation for a job well done, but rather crowds of people who spit upon them, yelled obscenities at them and held signs of hate and slander.

What does the above paragraph have to do with this week’s or for that matter any week’s Torah portion? I believe it has everything to do with it.

In a few days we will observe the Feast of Hanukkah. To me, Hanukkah and Veterans Day go hand in hand. The similarities are amazing.

In the Torah as well as the balance of scripture we read about men and women who went forth and performed deeds far beyond their natural abilities. Some of them even gave their very lives for the causes they fought for. Like Joseph this week, many of them were known to their families as heretics or worse. But no matter what life would throw at them, they held fast to the course they felt God had called them to. In the end, some would see the rewards of their labors. However for many it would not be until after their deaths that their work would be appreciated and honored. Just think back to the prophets for a moment as an example of this. Even today, some who gave their all have not been fully honored. Consider One we know as Messiah, or even the disciples who followed Him. Consider the people of Hebrews 11.

Just as many veterans returned to America to unfriendly and down-right mean crowds, most of Christianity has repeated history regarding the men and women of faith who lived before the time of Yeshua. Yes, they may be used for a Bible story now and then, but have these people truly been honored as they should? I think not. I have even heard people say that though these people lived a life of faith, because they did not live to know who Yeshua was that they are forever separated from God and will burn in torment. I have heard some who thought that Joseph was not living by faith when he stored the grain, but was missing God by doing this. Of course you and I are appalled by thoughts like this, but nevertheless there are people who think this way.

I, for one believe it is time for these great people of scripture to be honored for the battles they fought and won so that we today may enjoy a freedom in Messiah unparalleled through the centuries.

As we look at Hanukkah this year, let us take our eyes off replacement commercialization that has been attached to this time. Let us not be so caught up in the lights, oil and food that we forget the reason for this season. Let us take time to talk about and teach our children about the great men and women who have gone before us. Let us remember that it is because of their lives and sacrifices that we have the scripture today. Let us remember that if it were not for a band of brothers called the Maccabees that there would not have been a Jewish virgin alive in a small town called Nazareth to give birth to the One we call upon for our redemption.

December is a month of challenges to many of us who follow the Torah. It is a month that we are called to make choices and to take a stand for truth. Maybe with Hanukkah being observed at the first of the month, far separate from other holidays with pagan roots it will give us a clear time to reflect on the price many have paid for truth in the past. We will be able to gain strength and renewed conviction from their lives. In the end, who knows, maybe many of us will one day join their ranks as the people who took a chance at being a heretic, so they could one day be an humble hero!

Have a blessed Hanukkah.

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Berkeley students seek Christmas ban on Salvation Army bell ringers

The student government at the University of California-Berkeley (CAL) passed a resolution last month that would ban Salvation Army bell ringers and their iconic red kettles from campus this Christmas because of the Christian organization’s alleged bias against homosexuality.

The resolution, cleared on November 14, accuses the charity of openly discriminating against gay individuals.

“Salvation Army church services, including charity services, are available only to people ‘who accept and abide by the Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline,’ which excludes homosexuality,” reads the bill, SB 176.

In the resolution, the student body also demands school administrators revoke the Salvation Army’s permit, which currently allows them to collect donations on the Berkeley campus.

“Allowing the Salvation Army to collect donations on campus is a form of financial assistance that empowers the organization to spend the money it raises here in order to discriminate and advocate discrimination against queer people,” it adds.

In a statement to Campus Reform, the Salvation Army adamantly denied these charges, saying the allegations are based solely on “internet rumors.”

“The notion that we require those we help to ‘accept and abide by the Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline which excludes homosexuality’ to receive assistance is totally false,” wrote Kathy Lovin, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army.

She added that “the only requirement for service from The Salvation Army is demonstrated need and our ability to meet it.”

According to the bill, the student government also wants to formally express “disapproval of the presence of Salvation Army donation containers on campus” because “queer students…may take offense to the presence of collection containers operated by a discriminator religious organization in their places of living.”

A CAL spokesperson told Campus Reform that school officials are reviewing the matter, but declined to state whether the charity would be banned from campus.

The bill was authored by an openly gay student, Matthew Enger. He could not be reached for comment by Campus Reform.

On his public twitter account, however, he has hurled similar attacks at other organizations for supporting traditional marriage, writing that the Boy Scouts “can go f**k themselves” for refusing to admit homosexuals into their organization.

Enger has also used the popular social media platform to profess that he “hates the Republican Party,” later adding he hopes all conservatives leave the country.

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