Uganda’s Constitutional Court has scrapped the anti-gay law that said people could go to jail for life just for who they love.
There’s so much more work to be done, this is just the start. Just today, Uganda’s Uganda’s Attorney General appealed the ruling. But for now, brave Ugandans who fought this law could use a big “congrats”! Will you share this news and sign a card sending love to Ugandan groups?
It might seem strange that the mastermind behind Uganda’s controversial “Kill the Gays” law happens to be Scott Lively, an American evangelical from Massachusetts. While the Ugandan Supreme Court may have struck down the horrific law, the pastor, anti-gay activist and one-time Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate is finally facing justice for it.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has officially signed into law a measure that makes some “homosexual acts” punishable by life in prison. While homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, the new law toughens punishments for LGBT people and same-sex affection pretty much across the board.
At the public signing of the bill Monday, a defiant Museveni declared that he would not allow the West to impose its values on Uganda.
“We have been disappointed for a long time by the conduct of the West, the way you conduct yourselves there,” he told CNN’s Zain Verjee in Entebbe. “Our disappointment is now exacerbated because we are sorry to see that you live the way you live, but we keep quiet about it. Now you say ‘you must also live like us’ – that’s where we say no.”
The Obama administration has settled on an action plan in response to Uganda’s recently-passed Anti-Homosexuality Act, which makes homosexuality punishable by life in prison.
These are considered the most forceful steps the Obama administration has taken in response to the situation in Uganda since it began considering the issue at all. Serious cuts will be made across the board and will attempt to open a dialogue with Ugandan officials as well as the other countries where anti-LGBT discrimination is legal.
Money will be shifted away from the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, a group that has publicly come out in support of the anti-gay law and has received millions of dollars in grants from the United States to help fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Some $2.3 million will continue to go to the IRCU to continue treatment for some 50,000 current patients, but an additional $6.4 million intended for the IRCU will go to other organizations.
Second, because the law makes “promoting homosexuality” illegal, a U.S. funded study to help identify populations at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS has been suspended. The study, which was going to be conducted by a Ugandan university and the Center for Disease Control, has been suspended out of fear that both staff and survey respondents could be put in danger.
Third, because any LGBT person or LGBT ally who now enters Uganda is at risk, money intended for tourism programs will be redirected. …
And finally, the Department of Defense had several events scheduled in the country later this spring and those will be moved to other locations. “Certain near-term invitational travel” for Ugandan military and police personnel has also been suspended or canceled.
Lots of information to take in all at once, and it sounds like it will mostly be helpful. Thoughts?
President Obama warned Sunday that a harsh new anti-gay law in Uganda would “complicate our valued relationship” with the east African country, which receives hundreds of millions of dollars a year in U.S. aid.
In a last-ditch effort to derail the measure, national security advisor Susan Rice called Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni over the weekend and urged him not to sign the measure. The law includes a provision of life in prison for “aggravated homosexuality.”
But amid news reports that Museveni was intent on pressing forward, Obama said Sunday that the move would be “a step backward for all Ugandans” and would reflect poorly on the country’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people.
“As we have conveyed to President Museveni, enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda,” Obama said in a written statement released Sunday. “At a time when, tragically, we are seeing an increase in reports of violence and harassment targeting members of the LGBT community from Russia to Nigeria, I salute all those in Uganda and around the world who remain committed to respecting the human rights and fundamental human dignity of all persons.”
In his first term, Obama dispatched 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help hunt down the leaders of the brutally violent Lord’s Resistance Army in and around Uganda. In addition, the U.S. gave more than $256 million in foreign assistance to Uganda last year.
Obama did not say specifically what changes might come as a result of the decision. But an administration official said Sunday that, if Uganda enacts the legislation, the White House would “conduct a review” of the country’s relationship with the U.S.
John Oliver celebrates recent LGBT rights milestones in the United States before covering oppressive anti-gay laws in Uganda. (Also, the US involvement in inspiring and funding those laws.) Ugandan LGBTI rights advocate Pepe Julian Onziema sits down with John to discuss the situation in his home country.
Recently some one accused me of being angry at Christianity. I thought on that for a second and decided that I most certainly was. I am not angry at Christianity as a faith per se, but I am angry with a certain culture Christianity has bred here in America and abroad.
A certain amount of anger is healthy and beneficial. I believe Christians and the Bible call it “righteous indignation."
I will preface this entry with this: I care about Christians. I even care about the Christian faith. It is a faith I grew up loving, being dedicated to, and giving my life to. It was my identity, and is still the identity of my closest friends and dearest family.
With that said, I have the unique perspective of an individual removed from said faith now looking in and seeing the harsh damage that can be done in its name and with its authority. Once the veil of piety is removed, things become very clear.
Recently, due to the push of gender equality and the rights of all humans regardless of orientation, there has been an influx of Christian leaders speaking out in favor of traditional gender roles and traditional families. I have sat back and watched as some of them stated their deep seated beliefs eloquently, and I have watched as some stated the same beliefs abusively and with flippant and abrasive language (using words like "sissy” to describe men who aren’t “masculine enough”, for example).
When I hear so called ministers share the “gospel” in such an abrasive way, I immediately speak up against it and remind people that, if they want their Christian faith to not fall into the category of “obsolete,” then it would behoove them to speak up against it as well.
There is a mentality within Christianity that can produce a militant type of faith. A faith that says “We have to be loud, abrasive, rude, abusive, and shocking to get our point across. We have to "stand up” for our faith lest we become the persecuted minority! We have to fight against societal pressures and be a separate people!“ It is the type of faith that is fueled by fear of insignificance and anger, and not love. The type of faith that would rather be "right” than be compassionate. It is the type of faith that I have no problem being intolerant of.
I am intolerant of abusive Christianity.
Rewind to a conversation I had with someone in which the person (who did not believe gay people should have the same right to marry as straight people) said, “as soon as someone is being violent toward gay people, I will stand along side you and agree that that isn’t right.”
My response to that is: “What do you classify as violent? Does a gay person have to be punched in the face for you to stand up and say something? Is the violation of their rights and and the societal shame your faith imposes upon them not enough violence?”
What will it take for my Christian friends to set their beliefs aside and care about their fellow humans over their theology? What is it about Christianity that causes people to rank its dogma and doctrines above truly loving their fellow man? What is it about Christianity that produces such an “us versus them” mentality that results in Christians opposing their gay neighbors instead of loving and supporting their gay neighbors?
I know the standard answers to all of those questions already, as I grew up Fundamentalist Christian and have repeated them over and over again in my head. Still, the answers are not as important as the simple act of looking at the LGBT community and saying “I affirm you regardless of my beliefs. I affirm you because you are human, because you are my brother and my sister, and because I love and accept you." Nothing is as important as that in this debate.
The truth of the matter is this: The belief system that claims gay people are unnatural and that gay people are sinners, is the same belief system that is fueling the extreme persecution, abuse, and death of LGBT people globally. When you say, "I don’t agree with their lifestyle,” you are making it about a choice (which is wrong), and not about who they actually are as people. You are taking a person and reducing them down to their sexuality, and not seeing them for who they are as an individual. This type of thinking is the type of thinking that gets written into anti-gay laws in Uganda, where gay people are believed to be a societal flaw and less than human. When you say “being gay isn’t natural,” you align yourself with the forces who use that mentality to hurt your fellow man. When you reduce humans to unnatural societal flaws, you get all manners of persecution, death, discrimination, and hatred.
I recently read an article about a gay man being burned alive in Uganda this week. I sobbed as I saw the pictures of mobs around his corpse, looking on in satisfaction. The only thing I could think of is the mentality that fueled the fires that killed this human being. In the award winning documentary “God Loves Uganda,” activist and journalist Roger Ross Williams, uncovers the influences (both theologically and financially) of American evangelicals and their missionaries, in the creation of the anti-gay bill and the large persecution and hatred of the LGBT community.
It breaks my heart that Christianity is used in such an extremely deadly way. It breaks my heart even more to know that my friends support the ministry that was behind such blatant misuse of the gospel. Would they still support them if they knew the consequences of their anti-gay preaching?
So when you wonder why I care so much, it is because every thing you believe and preach has consequences. You may not be lighting the flame and setting a man on fire, but your words fuel a different sort of flame. Your words, when they align themselves with the words of those doing the persecuting, become just as deadly and just as powerful.
We may not see it here in America the way it is panning out in places like Russia and Uganda, but the harsh reality is, it is the mentality that matters.
Remove the belief that being gay is an abomination, and you will see the rotten fruit that hateful tree produces disappear.