I’ve railed at length multiple times about Uganda, and its execrable taste in right-wing ‘mores’ – this is at least somewhat cheerful news:
Uganda’s parliament has adjourned without debating a controversial bill which includes the death penalty for some homosexual acts.
It had been reported that a vote could be held on Friday.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been condemned by Western leaders and human rights groups, some of whom are celebrating “victory”.
The bill, first introduced in 2009, could still be brought up when the new parliament meets later this year.
Uganda is a largely conservative society and many people condemn homosexuality both as un-African and un-Christian.
But in recent years, some gay rights groups have been set up in the country.
Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda but the bill would increase the penalty for those convicted to life in prison.
Those found guilty of of “aggravated homosexuality” – defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a “serial offender” – would face the death penalty.
Anyone failing to report to the authorities a person they knew to be homosexual would also be liable to prosecution.
Internet campaign group Avaaz said the bill’s lack of progress was a “victory for all Ugandans and people across the world who value human rights”.
“We must now ensure this heinous bill can never return to parliament again,” said Avaaz campaign director Alice Jay.
Gay rights campaigner David Kato was killed in January
Maria Burnett of Human Rights Watch said it would still be a very long fight to stop the Ugandan legislation as “the issue has not gone away”.
“The international pressure over the last year and a half has been very important to show that Uganda cannot act in isolation from the international community,” she said.
US President Barack Obama has condemned the bill and donors have urged Uganda’s government to ensure the measures never become law.
But David Bahati, the MP who introduced the private member’s bill, said he would try to re-introduce it when the next parliament convened after February’s elections, and said it had achieved his goal of sparking debate.
“We have made important steps in raising the issue and that will continue,” he was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
In January, David Kato, a campaigner who led condemnation of the bill, was murdered not long after suing a paper that outed him as gay. Police denied the killing was because of his sexuality.
Three months before the murder, Uganda’s Rolling Stone newspaper had published the photographs of several people it said were gay, with the headline “Hang them.”
It’s quite frightening, really. That anyone would even countenance such nonsense in the 21st century is almost unbelievable (qualifying word is ‘unbelievable’ – I do so wish it were). So who was it exactly who brought this utter bullshit with them? Yep, you guessed it in one: American evangelicals:
Uganda is a country where American-style evangelical Christianity is exploding, and there are close links between many American anti-gay preachers, politicians, and activists, and their Ugandan counterparts. As Jeff Sharlet has reported, Bahati, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill’s sponsor, is the secretary of the Ugandan branch of The Family, the secretive American evangelical organization whose members include Sens. James Inhofe, Jim DeMint, and Tom Coburn. Martin Ssempa, a Pentecostal preacher who has championed the bill, was a protégé of Rick Warren and, during the Bush administration, a recipient of at least $90,000 of American aid earmarked for abstinence promotion. Another major anti-gay activist, Stephen Langa, the head of Uganda’s Family Life Network, is an affiliate of the Phoenix-based group Disciple Nations Alliance.
Wait – ‘abstinence ‘promotion’? Doesn’t that have an 80% plus failure rate? As for Disciple Nations Alliance…well, follow the link and make your own judgment. And Rick Warren? Don’t even get me started on this asshole.
The point is not that American Christians urged their Ugandan counterparts to try to institute the death penalty for homosexuality—they didn’t. After much public pressure, Warren has spoken out against the bill, and the Disciple Nations Alliance issued a somewhat lukewarm objection, noting “concerns” but insisting on the right of sovereign nations “to establish their own laws.”
Actually, the real point, is that that silly book of fables I term the ‘wholly bibble’ does indeed advocate (and strongly, too) the death penalty for any and all sexual transgressions.
Yet the ideology underlying the bill comes from American conservatives. It is Americans who have elaborated a vision of homosexuality as a satanic global conspiracy bent on destroying society’s foundations, akin to the Jewish octopus in classic anti-Semitic narratives. According to Warren Throckmorton, an evangelical psychology professor once associated with the ex-gay movement, when Uganda’s anti-gay activists speak about homosexuality, they cite materials by Scott Lively and Paul Cameron, two of the fiercest American opponents of the so-called homosexual agenda.
Since America (and other Western countries) are slowly but assuredly losing interest in the Byzantine and labyrinthine totentanz of the priests, it’s a matter of course that the snake oil peddlers set up their grift in underdeveloped countries.
Religion – dividing people and fanning the fires of ignorance and xenophobia since…well, since the written word.
So let’s get this out in the open. Fuck these people. This attitude of ‘gee whiz, everyone has an opinion, why be so intolerant’ is just a blind eye turned to the nutcases who foster these horrors. In the case of American fuckagelicals, it obviously severely (and horribly) impacts some poor gay folks in Uganda whose only crime is that they prefer someone of their gender. And as long as the American culture brownnoses these crazy ass fairy beggars the way it does, there will be more tragedies, not less.
Till the next post, then.