The Sad Relationship Between American Evangelicals and Ugandan Homosexuals

In recent years, sub-Saharan Africa has not been a region known for a progressive outlook on human rights. And after what is termed the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” passes in Uganda later this year, that general impression certainly will not change. The bill would effectively make homosexuality a capital offense, with the crime of “aggravated homosexuality” (defined somewhat loosely as any homosexual acts committed by an authority figure or HIV positive man) being punishable by execution and the less serious “offense of homosexuality” (which is effectively having gay sex or being in such a relationship), which carries a sentence of life in prison. Furthermore, failure of any person to disclose the homosexuality of anyone they know could result in a life sentence. [1]

Thankfully, this bill is not guaranteed to pass. There is a great deal of international pressure on the President of Uganda to veto the bill, with the leaders of the UK, Canada, France, and the USA expressing explicit disapproval of the bill, with France and England both threatening to cut off aid to Uganda should the bill pass. Despite this pressure, the head of legislature is adamant about the bill, saying that he would ensure the bill’s passing before 2013 as a “Christmas gift” to the people of Uganda. [2]

Currently, Uganda does have anti-homosexuality provisions in place, and has since the country was under British colonial rule. The original law forbade any carnal knowledge “against the order of nature,” making such acts punishable by either law or 7 years in prison, depending on interpretation. The populace seems largely in favor of these laws as well. A 2007 poll indicated that 96% of the nation’s people felt that homosexuality should be rejected by society, ranking the country among the least tolerant nations in the world. [3]The national media also takes it upon itself to out and harass homosexuals, lest they lead their lives in peace. [4]

But why the increase in severity of punishment? Much like the original law, the recent anti-homosexuality efforts are the result of Western imperialism. In 2009, there was a convention in Uganda’s capital Kampala titled “Seminar on Exposing the Homosexual’s Agenda.” It was headed by a crew of American Evangelical Christian/Holocaust revisionists consisting of Stephen Langa, Scott Lively, and Dan Schmierer. Over the course of several days, the trio espoused their views that homosexuals were simultaneously taking over the world and destroying it by corrupting families and decaying society, a worldview expanded upon in Lively’s book, “The Pink Swastika.” Lively also met with Ugandan lawmakers to discuss legal efforts to curb homosexuality.

The trio, during their lectures, managed to almost invert history. The British established their ordinances criminalizing homosexuality as a way to enforce Western civilization. The homosexuality they saw amongst the Ugandan natives was a barbaric practice they saw as their duty to wipe out. Homophobia was introduced to the region as a Western import. After the seminars, however, public opinion changed. Homosexuality was now the product of an American conspiracy being brought to Africa, and the laws against it were a way of protecting the Ugandan people from the corruption of the West. This bizarre spin transformed the issue into one of a national crisis, a crisis entirely fabricated by a few American men with a twisted worldview. Although far from sanctioned by an y Western government, imperialism still manages to rear its ugly head in this day and age. [5]

1-http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/uganda-%E2%80%98anti-homosexuality%E2%80%99-bill-threatens-liberties-and-human-rights-de

2-http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20318436

3-http://pewglobal.org/files/pdf/258.pdf

4-http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/5326930.stm

5-http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v24n4/us-christian-right-attack-on-gays-in-africa.html

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