It's not just the company (like Martin Ssempa) that he keeps--that much I had heard about. But he has this ability to rationalize away the real equivalencies between his support of those people and how he lives his own life:
Warren, in his effort to dispel criticism, has denied harboring homophobic sentiments. “I could give you a hundred gay friends,” he told MSNBC’s Ann Curry on December 18. “I have always treated them with respect. When they come and want to talk to me, I talk to them.”
But when Uganda’s Anglican bishops threatened to bolt from the Church of England because of its tolerant stance towards homosexuals, Warren parachuted into Kampala to confer international legitimacy on their protest. “The Church of England is wrong and I support the Church of Uganda on the boycott,” Warren proclaimed in March 2008. Declaring homosexuality an unnatural way of life, Warren flatly stated, “We shall not tolerate this aspect [homosexuality in the church] at all.”
In light of the activism of Ssempa for criminalization of homosexuality--"give you a hundred gay friends" as an example, devolves through lack of moderation into "give up a hundred gay people to be imprisoned, or hunted down to face physical violence." These people are not far removed--no, they are in many cases the same sort, who burn witches. If one truly has compassion for what happens to other people, how could this kind of rhetoric be supported? Also, the idea that people come to him and talk starts to lose meaning if he doesn't listen, hear, and understand.
I may have sounded a bit glib in my New Year's Day (well, New Year's wee morning hours) post calling the inaugural invocation a lousy "two frigging minutes." It is that--for that day, and in the larger context of the other events. But the scrutiny the pastor receives I suspect will not be diminished--I remark on this article having come across links to it on several blogs today. He's gotten attention, that's for sure.