First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Sorry for the melodrama, but today it truly fits. Reading around to all the blogs yesterday I came across an article on Pam's House Blend that talks about a topic that I mentioned here, earlier this week...Uganda and how America has a hand in whats happening there. The article from The Blend detailed a conversation between the author, Maura Hennessey, and a friend discussing the Ugandan bill that will result in imprisonment and/or death for Ugandan gays. While I can't agree with all of the articles sentiments, it does make some interesting observations about future implications if America continues to remain silent about Uganda's "final solution".
I don't know what people think when they read about Uganda and what may soon take place there. I'm sure that for some people it will all be too far away for them to care. While others may watch with a feeling of helplessness. But we need to care about what happens here, and Iraq, and in other countries where killing gays equates to righteous enactment of the law. America helped make this happen and while it is only a pebble dropping into the greater ocean...those ripples will return to us and no one is on ground high enough to escape that.
In giving the reasons for America's silence on the issue the conversation quotes:
.....that the US could not afford to point the finger as it had not only tolerated the export of evangelical intolerance but had encouraged it as an official foreign policy from the era of Ronald Reagan onward, resulting in the deplorable rule of Fujimori in Peru and various Guatemalan right wing movements as well as a creeping infestation of the Mexican Government.
In that era, it was all about combating communism and ending the influence of left-wing clerics supporting "Liberation Theology" The US was actively involved in brokering what kind of religions would be supported in South American nations in order to attain a foreign policy goal. Were the US to condemn Uganda strongly now, the States might be embarrassed as other instances of US expansion of the rule of their First Amendment "The Freedom to Worship Jesus in Whatever Right Wing Evangelical Fashion That A Person Might Choose" would eventually come up and prove to be a liability to American political interests south of the Rio Grande.
So the churches and every politician who support them by working to manipulate the governments of other countries might have to answer some embarrassingly tough questions?...Tough. Maybe then we would get the message that using our beliefs as a justification to destabilize governments we don't agree with, eliminates the merits of those beliefs because are not practicing what we are preaching.
But more practically, how can this affect us? How can laws in one African nation return to haunt us in America?
She continued "I heard that people are upset by the comparison of the gays to Africans(Black Americans). They should be. Gays are not the Nuevos Negros, they are the Nuevos Judíos (new Jews). Sooner or later, the killings will begin, and not only in Uganda. And then, what do we do? Who will invade Nigeria, Columbia, Guatemala, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia as the Churches see the US and Europe do nothing to stop Uganda? American churches will block any move to intervene and are just waiting for things to get worse in the States to begin such laws there. The danger is from the American's own house, and their Lesbianas y Hombres Homosexuales are blind or worse, indifferent. It may not happen there(in the States) but the Churches will try it there. We could win in Uganda, now, if we were to act, but if we don't, it will be most of the world against the gays and insisting on the right to destroy them if we do nothing, and that only in a few short years."
In short, she summarised, America created this movement, a colonialisation of religion masquerading as anti-colonialism. It exported this parasitic infestation of other nations' foreign policy disguised as self-determination by a single American political party and their right wing religious allies. Either American strongly denounces BOTH the policy and their own churches that largely manipulated its enactment, or the US gays and Lesbians can watch, "probably on television in the bars" the foreshadowing of their own possible future as the hangings are broadcast and the casualty numbers rise.
Now, this quote has a strong anti-American tone and ideas that belong strictly to the person who made it...but it does offer some really good points.
The logic goes thus...Uganda passes this bill and begins to arrest a few of its gay citizens, because you know they already have a list and they've checked it more than twice. America's response is tepid, fearing that its own connections to the evangelical groups tied to this bill will come to light. Then, other nations, seeing that response, decide that the time is right to make scapegoats out of their own gays and begin to consider their own laws. So, it spreads...not to every country...but to those already ideologically primed to make this move. We then have a huge human rights crisis on multiple fronts.
Meanwhile...back in the States the our hypothetical Evangelicals begin considering that the time has come to move beyond simply blocking rights, to actually moving to remove existing ones. They may begin by placing pressure on politicians in office, and up for election, threatening them and questioning their personal faith in public forums(they've already promised to do this and its printed in their manifesto) unless they comply with what they brand as "the will of the people". We've already created precedence for mob rule at the voting booth through voting on the marriage rights of GLBTQ people....which some courts have allowed to stand as "constitutional".
I need to say emphatically that I don't believe that America's gays and lesbians "are blind or worse". We are watching and we do care...but we also need everyone to speak up....that's the only way our lawmakers get scared enough to take action that they should take anyway, out of sheer conscience....there should be an outcry against this just as there was for the genocide in Darfur.
While I don't believe that the GLBTQ community is indifferent, I DO believe that there is a lack of focus on the bigger picture. We bicker over what year to push forward for marriage equality in California, question why we should support causes that don't directly affect us as individuals, question why our sexuality should be discussed while lawmakers enact laws based on that same sexuality, and generally refuse to acknowledge that there are people out that gunning for us. That as we allow one group of people to fall under the blade...so also do we slowly erode the ground we stand on and while it may not give way today...as with all such things, it may happen suddenly and without warning.
How to help? Fire off a few emails and let our elected officials know what we believe in.
Follow this link to send an Email to President Obama and our elected representatives:
Contact the United Nations at www.un.org or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org