Mar 15, 2010

Preaching Hate in Uganda

Within the next century, when historians are able to accurately (or at least with some amount of objectivity) label these decades, they may be able to deem them "The Second Dark Ages", or, more ironically, the "Evangelical Enlightenment". There exists today such a religious fervor in fiery American evangelicals that they cannot help but spread the love. They have learned, perhaps, that a direct brand of Old Testament intolerance may not work in America, so they have taken it elsewhere to places like Uganda, where vitriol against homosexuals can be openly, freely, and violently expressed. "The gay movement is an evil institution. The goal of the gay movement is to defeat the marriage-based society," says Scott Lively, an American evangelical working to stir up anti-gay sentiment in the country. As the video suggests, outright homophobia is at an all-time high in Uganda (and, I imagine, other places in the world where there is a strong evangelical presence). A recently introduced Anti-Homosexuality Bill would require "some" homosexuals to be put to death - how they will be able to decide who will be executed, we may never know - and the bill is supported by American and Ugandan evangelicals alike. Take, for example, Ugandan minister Martin Ssempa, who is the local figurehead for this seemingly grassroots movement to rid the country of "sodomy". The video pretty much speaks for itself, but let's hope that the rhetoric that demagogues like Ssempa spews does not stir up the kind of biblical wrath in Uganda over homosexuality that, well, the Bible advocates.

Now, for those who think this borders on being ludicrous, it does, especially if one considers that, not only does Martin Ssempa accuse gays of gaining sexual gratification from eating feces, but also that Mr. Lively readily equates homosexuality with Nazism (His book is entitled The Pink Swastika. I do not believe I have to create a straw man here. What lengths would I have to go to in order to mischaracterize their argument? How much more depraved an accusation would I have to make in order to top coprophagia and Nazism? I can't argue in any fashion that any of this is mainstream Christianity, for it is not, but we are also not discussing the American political stage either, where statements are often simultaneously grandiose and tame at the same time. The greatest difference is in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which outright proposes the execution of a person for confessing an alternative sexual preference to their own, based entirely on the writings of men - certainly men - who believed that spitting on a wound may cure it. Thankfully, there has been a great outcry from mainstream Christian leaders, such as Ugandan Anglican minister Canon Gideon Byamugisha, who says that passing the bill would amount to "state legislated genocide".

The denouncement of the bill is heartening. However, what should be focused on in this matter is not that some have taken a stance against the bill but that a stance need be taken at all, or that the bill even exists. How much longer can such ignorance be disseminated to the people for petty religious gain? The ostensible purpose of the sentiment in Uganda is not to rid the world of homosexuality but to manipulate people into confessing the Christian faith based on simple knee-jerk reactionism. Thankfully, the bill has been revised to omit the death penalty for homosexuals, and yet the bill itself still remains. This is a depressing and altogether horrifying development in two thousand and ten, and I sincerely hope the bill gets shut down altogether.

Source: Ugandan church leader brands anti-gay bill 'genocide'


  1. You should link to this post on Facebook. It's quite good. Enlightening and frightening. Also eloquent.

  2. It's pretty scary in Uganda. I just read Unknown Soldier, the best comic book I've read in a while. It's set in Uganda. Look into Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).