In March, American anti-gay activists traveled to Uganda for a conference that pledged to "wipe out" homosexuality. Seven months later, a draconian bill has been introduced that pledges to make good on this threat. The "Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009" is so severe that it is designed to shred the spirit and suffocate the soul of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Ugandans. If it passes, Uganda will become a predator state that actively hunts down GLBT people to destroy them.
Uganda already punished gay intimacy with life in prison. But, apparently that was not harsh enough, with this bill penalizing anyone who "attempts to commit the offence" with up to seven years in jail. Additionally, a person charged will be forced to undergo an invasive medical examination to determine their HIV status. If the detainees are found to be HIV+, they may be executed.
This barbaric legislation stifles free speech by threatening anyone who is accused of "promoting" homosexuality with five to seven year prison sentences. Snitching on gay friends and family members is strongly encouraged because "failure to disclose the 'offence' within 24 hours of knowledge makes somebody liable to a fine or imprisonment of up to three years."
Sadly, this witch-hunt has the blood stained fingerprints of leading American evangelicals. The Fellowship, (aka The Family) one of America's most powerful and secretive fundamentalist organization's, converted Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni to its anti-gay brand of Christianity, which is the "intellectual" impetus behind the anti-gay crackdown. The clandestine organization's leader, Doug Coe, calls Museveni The Fellowship's "key man" in Africa. Jeff Sharlet, author of "The Family", writes of the African strongman's conversion:
"So," Doug Coe told us, "my friend said to the president, 'why don't you come and pray with me in America? I have a good group of friends--senators, congressmen--who I like to pray with, and they'd like to pray with you.' And that president came to the Cedars (a religious retreat), and he met Jesus. And his name is Yoweri Museveni...And he is a good friend of the Family."
The Family, of course, recently made headlines because one of its key members, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) had sex with his best friends wife, while they were working together. Another member, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), used one of the Family's Washington properties to try to broker a deal to buy off the furious husband, who has since gone public with the Ensign scandal.
It is important for people to understand that The Fellowship and other anti-gay groups have long viewed Uganda as a laboratory to experiment with Christian theocracy. For example, fundamentalist organizations recently undermined successful HIV programs in Uganda by demanding abstinence only education, over condom use, which had been working to reduce infection rates.
This year's notorious Kampala conference was the opening salvo in a campaign to crush GLBT lives. The seminar featured Scott Lively, author of The Pink Swastika, who blames the holocaust on gay people.
The hate forum also featured Don Schmierer, a board member of the "ex-gay" organization Exodus International, and Caleb Lee Brundidge, who works with discredited ex-gay "reorientation coach" Richard Cohen. These American "ex-gay" activists clearly left their stamp on this evil legislation, giving Ugandan officials a way to justify the abuse because they can claim that "sinful" gays can choose to change.
"This legislation further recognizes the fact that same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic and that people who experience this mental disorder can and have changed to a heterosexual orientation," the bill said. "It also recognizes that because homosexuals are not born that way, but develop this disorder based on experiences and environmental conditions, it is preventable, especially among young people who are most vulnerable to recruitment into the homosexual lifestyle."
Following the infamous conference, a Kampala newspaper named local gay people, placing their lives in immediate danger. Now, the government may soon declare it open season on GLBT individuals.
In 1994, I brought Rev. Mel White down to speak at an event in Fort Lauderdale. In his address, the former Christian right ghostwriter proclaimed of his previous employers, "They want you dead."
The comment was at once riveting and alarmist to some in the crowd. Yet, the painful silence of anti-gay activists at home is making White appear downright prophetic. These Christian Colonialists invaded Uganda's politics and culture, and the result is that they have ruined the lives of its GLBT citizens. The Fellowship, Exodus and other American fundamentalist organizations, appear quite unbothered by the poisonous fruits of their labor.
Uganda is a proxy in their culture war and we are witnessing exactly what these fanatics might do if they did not have the United States Constitution blocking their pious path to power. Let the record show that their "key man" controlled Uganda when a religious terror campaign was waged against an innocent minority -- and these good Christians stood by and did not lift a finger to stop the horror.
This could indeed happen in this country. As Rev. White says, they want us dead. People tell me they think I am being alarmist but I believe that, given the chance, this is what the Christian Right wants for this country. This is why they must be opposed wherever they raise their ugly faces.
The silence of the Evangelicals on this issue is telling. I would ask how a supposedly Christian person could actively support the judicial murder of potentially thousands of people whose only "crime" is to be of a sexual orientation of which Lively and his ilk do not approve.
If I believed in a Hell, I would say that I hope Lively burns in it, but I do believe in karma and it will catch up with him.
posted by Merlyn, at
10/19/2009 3:29 AM
Far right-wing Christians could easily believe in murdering people. The Old Testament is filled with stories where God supposedly told his chosen to murder people, including infant children.
Of course, these types of nutcases project their wants and desires onto their God or onto the Bible. They never take personal responsibility for their views, despite the fact that there are many ways to interpret the Bible.
Fundamentalist Christians already relish their "torture fantasies" in which people who do not believe as they believe are tortured endlessly, for all eternity, in fire, all in the name of their loving God.
I fear for gays and lesbians in Uganda, but I am not surprised that extreme religious right-wingers can only find fertile ground in a backward third-world cesspool of a country.
They are truly pathetic, and if there is a God, they will stand before him one day and will get quite a surprise. I hope that I am there to see it.
posted by Chris L., at
10/19/2009 4:26 PM
It continues to amaze me that these nasty fundamentalist turds routinely state that one is not born homosexual without taking their disturbed rationalizations a step further by also deducing that one therefore cannot be born heterosexual. I call this what it is... HATE!!!!! And if someone uses god to justify oppression in front of my face in my country, they are going to get a fucking earful.
posted by ewe, at
10/19/2009 8:18 PM
I think what is going on in Uganda is very wrong. I would hope that all Christians would take a political stand against Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill. I would like to see Christian ministry leaders in America, and especially leaders of post/ex gay ministries, speak out against this bill. I have seen the most politically active Christian groups in the United States go absolutely bonkers when legislation is proposed that would be detrimental to our rights as Christians in a post-Christian society. Now, I would like to see these same Christians be just as passionate about a bill that would be detrimental to the rights of gays and lesbians in Uganda. If passed this law would not only further criminalize gay and lesbian people in Uganda, but would also criminalize Christians who fail to report anyone who has engaged in homosexual sex to Ugandan authorities for prosecution. This could create a very hostile environment for those wishing to minister the love and mercy of Jesus Christ to the gay and lesbian population of Uganda. If we want to love homosexuals as Jesus would we have to speak up about this potential human rights violation.
posted by Monica, at
10/30/2009 8:54 AM
Here is a blog about the events in Uganda written by an Exodus staff member. It should be read by everyone who thinks this organization sucks
posted by Monica, at
10/30/2009 7:53 PM
Monica, exodus board members went to Uganda and promoted the anti-gay attitudes that lead to this horrific legislation. The Ugandan politicians specifically quoted Exodus's claim that "gays don't need to be this way" as justification for this legislation. Exodus helped to bring this about, they have blood on their hands and their after the fact exclamations of "Oh my dear, we didn't want that" don't mean anything.
posted by Priya Lynn, at
11/02/2009 3:34 PM
Exodus helped cause the hysteria in Uganda. Now they want to slink away leaving a rail of destruction in its path.
What Exodus should do is send Alan chambers to Uganda to undo the damage. Blogging about this disaster after the fact is not enough. Randy Thomas should also fly up to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress to cut off funding for Uganda.
Ha. Randy Thomas is too busy ogling the packages of the male anatomy and Alan Chambers is so far off into delusion that he is far out of reality. The two of them are PATHETIC. Sorry to report that Frick and Frack are absolutely powerless with regards to this issue.
posted by ewe, at
11/03/2009 7:54 PM