Monday, November 30, 2009

Spreading The Light...Uganda and America's Fundamentalists

Not so long ago, America's largest export used to be things that we had built with our own two hands. However, these days, we export ideologies more than products.

Our latest gift (/sarcasm off) to the developing countries of the world has been through the efforts of christian fundamentalists, who are again turning to African and Asian countries to find new believers and to advance their causes. A big goal of the American churchs, is to put gays back in the closet...or worse.

It has already been posted in comments on this blog how much the exgay movement in the U.K. owes its funding to American evangelicals here in the U.S. These churches sure seem to have inexhaustible funds to be able to support these oversees efforts AND resist marriage equality back home. Now there most recent efforts have put them in bed with some nasty bedfellows.

Many people may be aware of Uganda's recent drafting of a bill to criminalize homosexuality...ANYONE caught having sex would receive a minimum sentence of life imprisonment. In addition, if One partner has HIV or is under the age of 18, then the crime becomes "Aggravated Homosexuality" and could be punishable by death. The bill also requires Ugandans to report anyone they know to be homosexual to authorities within 24 hours of their finding out or risk up to three years in jail. The bill, backed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is working its way through Uganda's parliament.

You would expect tremendous rounds of international condemnation for such a law would you not? There have been many outspoken International voices against it. For example, Canada and France have flatly denounced the bill as a human rights violation. However, where is America in all this?...The tiniest voice of all. Joann Lockard, the United States Public Affairs officer is quoted as saying:

"If adopted, a bill further criminalising homosexuality would constitute a significant step backwards for the protection of human rights in Uganda. We urge states to take all necessary measures to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests, or detention."

And that's all folks....

I'm sure President Museveni is still stinging...not.

While America has not been silent in condemning their actions, neither has it been at the for front. And just why is America so curiously withdrawn on the issue?...Because American religious groups back this bill. While some of these religious groups do not outright support the bill, they support those who drafted it and work with them on various missionary projects in Africa...Which reeks of tacit support to me. Some of these groups are very close to our president. One such example is Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback church, who spoke at President Obama's inaugural speech. A recent Queerty article outlined the intentions of Catholics and Evangelicals alike to turn to other continents to shore up a membership that is slowly dwindling in the U.S.

This by itself would never concern me as its been happening for ages. What does however, is that organizations like Saddleback Church, that proclaim to spread the word of love, not only actively work to restrict civil rights for GLBTQ Americans, they ALSO have no problems getting into bed with governments that practice genocide...and all in the name of "morals".

Now...Rick warren really got the brunt of coverage from Queerty for his refusal to denounce Uganda's law. I think focusing on him is to miss the bigger issue. Surely he is not the only one to look to and you can bet that the Catholic church is lurking somewhere in the background in this sordid little affair.

Warren is quoted as saying:

"The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator," says Warren in a statement. "However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations."

Well Pastor Warren...You can't pursue freedom if you are spending you life inside a jail cell...or worse, dead. How are gay Ugandans freedoms being honored here?

But we are sure that was not the intention of your statement. Its the freedoms of Uganda's government to pass whatever law it choses that you reference. So then, why don't we next put foreign missionaries on the list of those worthy of life imprisonment or death and see how you fast you move to condemn Uganda's actions then.

This is not the Christianity I was raised to believe in. The Christianity I was raised with would have demanded action to defend those who can not defend themselves...even if you consider them a sinner. It called for mercy, not death. All faith leaders should be standing up to roundly condemn this law which hearkens back to the days of Nazi Germany. But I reckon, since it targets gays, they will remain silent.

How did this law come to exist in the first place? Partly because Uganda is looking for someone to blame for skyrocketting HIV rates and the gays make an easy target. The "blame the gays" tactic is as old as time and still sadly ignores the truths about how HIV is spread and who is actually affected by it. Nor will it stop them from accepting aid money from the U.S. to combat HIV by killing gays. So it will continue to be an epidemic in Uganda, even if all the Ugandan gays were rounded up and forever banished. However, we know that reasoning won't matter a bit to Ugandan leaders...nor to the Evangelicals that are looking to their country for new believers and support in their fights back home. It sounds like a case of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours"...just don't like it too much or I'll have to put your homo butt in jail.

So to sum up..We've funneled weapons to Afghan rebels in the old soviet days, we have propped up countless dictators around the world including Saddam Hussien and the Taliban when it suited us, and now we are tacitly supporting anti-gay genocide and promoting ignorance about the causes of HIV in countries that can ill afford that attitude. I thought we were supposed to lead by example?...not support the evils of the world.

For those who wish to follow this further I have found a anonymously posted blog supporting GLBTQ Ugandans that is written by a Ugandan. Read up at:


  1. Well, at least United States have a tiniest voice, while other countries that don't criminalize homosexuality per se (just because the West made them to amend those provisions to get some financial help or political weight) choose to stay silent and don't talk about "them damn gays" at all, like Russia that never commented on anything concerning GLBTQ rights.
    Moreover, in the XXI century there were several attempts to criminalize homosexuality once again in Russia, and this time to include lesbians who were never prosecuted before in this country. What is it? Going back, and this time doing even more damage? I still think that one day this may happen in my country, it can be illegal again to be gay. And after that people ask me why I decided to do everything to move away from this country as soon as possible to Canada?
    I see how Orthodox Church gains more and more power in Russia, how they make more people to come to their parishes, and I know the official position of this Church about gays: absolutely negative, up to encouraging people to kill gays (meanwhile, the problem of gay priests here is not something uncommon).

    What never ceases to amaze me is this almost sacred feeling of mission that church followers think they have to purify the society. OK, you think that gays are sinners, you think that God will punish them, you think that they will burn in hell. So? Who gave you the right to turn our lives into hell right here, on Earth, while we are still alive? Let God decide this, for crying out loud! You can hate us, but you can't dismiss one of seven deadly sins — killing another person. I really can't wrap my mind around this strange interpretations of the Scripture: you can't kill people, but sometimes you can. The text of those seven deadly sins doesn't say it, or am I wrong? But, of course, Church had to make an excuse to justify wars and their own witch-hunts. And I don't think that God actually sent a message to the Pope about that, the Pope just made a call all by himself. Twisting the Scripture in all possible ways is apparently acceptable when you're the guy sitting in Vatican. But God forbid we'll ever look at those "gay passages" from Bible in a different light. Double standards? Ah, duh.

    So, what they did when their argument turned out to be a wee bit weak? They started to spread lies, of course! Those gays not just fornicate amongst themselves, noooo, they also molest children and involve innocent people into their evil activities. Masterpiece! This alone will hold people against gays for many centuries to come. And no one cares if any of this is true. Because who are we to question Vatican, to question the Pope? Aren't we forgetting something? Like the fact that "the Pope" is not the same as "God"? Ah, duh, but again, who cares?

    And the myth that gays spread AIDS... well, let's do the math! How many gays are out there? About 6%. So, the rest of the population is 94%. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I actually do recall that straight people do fornicate with lots of people, they do cheat on their spouses, they do have a pretty wild life sometimes, especially in their twenties, and, I must add, they do it more actively and more openly, because being straight is not something people usually try to hide. So, what do we have? We have 94% of straight population that openly and frivolously fornicate & cheat all over the place (I'm not saying that everyone is doing this, of course not, but some significant part of them). On the other hand, we have 6% of gay population that in most parts of the world is being persecuted, hated, beaten & killed for being gay, so... not so much fun at fornication... And what, gays are those who spread HIV? Really?

    Today is December 1 (in Russia it already is), the World AIDS Day. I wonder what the statistics are about how many gays and how many straights have contracted this disease? Somehow I don't think that gays would be leading.

  2. This is the stype of situation that makes me feel bad, because theres almost nothing i can do, in fact i can´t think what i can do to help.

    (I´m not going to atack the church this time, although they deserve it)
    I´m so tired of these evangelical dudes, that mostly are in the "business" for the money, while poisoning the minds of thousands just to get their cash. Here in argentina we have a few, but they are not very well seen, and they are mostly laughable.

  3. Oh btw, Did you get my last email?, just wondering.

  4. The one thing about Rick Warren's speech that IRKED me the most is about the "moral choices?" Now please everyone out there in cyberland...PLEASE tell me when I made the choice to be gay??? PLEASE!!! I CERTAINLY do not recall making that decision. Being gay in this society has given me a lot of grief. Seriously..I would not wish it on my worst enemy!!! I am not saying that "being gay" is the is our hateful ignorant society.

    Gay kids are still committing suicide all over the world because they and their parents hear words like Rick Warren's. This man is a vile person!! Shame on you Rick are not a Christian!!! I wanna be a fly on the wall when you walk through those "pearly gates" and see God's reaction!!!

  5. You see this is what pisses me off the most about Christian fundamentalist missionaries.

    They could have gone to third world countries and dug wells and given people medicine. But they didn't. They went to dig wells and give people medicine and then they told them that they were being sinful and that unless they started doing what the christians said they would burn in hell.

    I have said it before and I will say it again but I wish these american fundamentalists would keep their money (and they have a lot of it) out of the rest of the world.

    Especially western Europe where crazy god groups find it hard to raise funding on their own soil.

  6. I am originally from Saudi Arabia and I feel for the gay Ugandans. The US has been my home for so many years that I really consider myself an American.

    But I do remember when I was a teenager and reading in the newspapers about an execution of a gay man.

    You could just imagine how terrifying that was for me.

    It's interesting that Saudi Arabia is usually criticized for its treatment of women but not is usually said about the LGBT community.

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