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U.S. Anti-Gay Influence Exposed in Uganda

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by Kilian Melloy
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American Evangelicals Set "A Fire They Can’t Quench"

But the three evangelicals who spoke in Kampala last spring say they had no intention of sparking an attempt to put Ugandan gays to death. "I feel duped," Schmierer told The New York Times. According to Schmierer, he was asked to talk about "parenting skills" and how parents might cope with the news that their child was gay. "That’s horrible, absolutely horrible," Schmierer said of the proposal to punish gays with death. "Some of the nicest people I have ever met are gay people."

Lively, in the meantime, has admitted to talking with Ugandan lawmakers about the bill, though he has also spoken out against the extremity of its proposed punishments, which also includes a sentence of up to seven years in prison for those who fail to report gays to the authorities.

But some see the bill as an almost predictable result of the Americans’ involvement. Even before the evangelical message that homosexuality is a "choice" fell on Ugandan ears, the nation’s gays endured persecution and threats--as well as violence-spawning myths such as the belief that rape can be employed in a "correctional" manner to "convert" gays to heterosexuality.

"Now we really have to go undercover," Stosh Mugisha, a transman and GLBT equality activist, told the Times. Mugisha was born female, but lives as a man; he says that he was subjected to "correctional rape" by a man who did not "cure" him of either his gender identification or of his attraction to women, but who did transmit HIV to him. In the aftermath of the bill, such vigilante actions--or criminal activities justified by anti-gay sentiment--might, some fear, intensify.

"What these people have done is set the fire they can’t quench," Rev. Kapya Kaoma told the Times. Kaoma, who hails from Zambia, attended the conference last March and heard the three Americans speak. He has also investigated the link between American evangelicals and homophobia in Africa. The Americans’ rhetoric only made a bad situation worse, Kaoma indicated, saying that the visitors had "underestimated the homophobia in Uganda."

Worse, the American speakers did not have a firm grasp on "what it means to Africans when you speak about a certain group trying to destroy their children and their families," Kaoma said. "When you speak like that, Africans will fight to the death."

Next page: Homophobia as Neocolonialism



Comments

  • Anonymous, 2010-01-05 10:33:50

    What an American-centered view of the situation! This article makes it sound like, without the anti-gay Americans’ visit & conferences, these Ugandans never would have come up with this anti-gay sentiment on their own. Like they’re a bunch of idiots with no original thoughts; blank slates just waiting to be indoctrinated by the white man. What a completely condescending view of Africans! The truth is, many Africans, all over the continent - without the proselytizing of the American evangelicals, have such views. Why not analyze this fact? Why do you always make it about YOU, America?? Get over yourselves!


  • Anonymous, 2010-01-05 12:16:01

    I’ll give you a suggestion for healing prayer. Why don’t we pray for those people who "choose" to try to hurt and oppress those who are even remotely different from them, because now these homophobes who fabricate arguments just to get rid of that bothersome feeling that comes from knowing that some straight people do accept homosexuals have gone to a new low. And I may be speaking of a monumentous portionnof our population, unfortunately, but it still has to be said. So you homophobes that might be reading this right now, educate yourself, for understanding breeds acceptance. It is scientifically PROVEN that biology plays a part in sexual orientation. Don’t believe, inbred beliefs still overpowering logic? Google it.


  • Anonymous, 2010-01-05 17:16:33

    I need to speak out as a Christian Gay man. For the main part of my life, I hid away, and tried to be what everyone wanted me to be ... straight. It was a "bad time". Drugs, alcohol, depression was my escape. Then in 1988, I accepted myself as the Gay man God created me to be. My life changed! I was, and have been, constantly blessed with a most wonderful life, and awesome miracles. God created Gays for God’s reason. Curb the overpopulation of the world, find loving parents for children abandoned by straights. We need to trust in God’s plan. The greatest "gift" any Gay person can give their straight brothers and sisters is the TRUTH ... that you were born Gay! From there, it is between them and God to fight. We needn’t debate our existence. God created us, and God will stand by us. When the truth is finally proven scientifically, that being Gay is biological, not chosen, then all who have spread the "words" of hate, fear, and hurt will be held accountable. They already are...WHAT ONE SOWS, SO SHALL THEY REAP. Join me in the prayer, "that these people will be enlightened as to WHY they are presently reaping what they are". Perhaps only then will they be able to walk in an other’s shoes, rather than throw their own at them. Steve Leong Hawaii


  • Anonymous, 2010-01-06 05:20:53

    The American evangelicals who have exported to Africa their vitriol and causing the subsequent terror upon a segment of the Uganda populace is actually no different from what Al Qaeda is doing in northern Africa and the Middle East. Each is spreading their poison to the susceptible masses. The American evangicals (including those American politicians involved) should be prosecuted as terrorists for what they are doing!!


  • Anonymous, 2010-01-06 21:17:43

    stay home and sort out the problems in your own country , stop spreading hate against gays , people like this are hateful , i suppose they also call themselves christians ??:( !!!!!


  • Anonymous, 2010-07-06 20:56:09

    It is not so funny to see this man smiling and obese while people are being murdered for being truthful about their expression of self.The lynching of homosexuals in any African country is the same spirit of wickedness which plagued The United States during our "100 years war" from approxiamately 1968 to 1968. It is sick, satanic, and wrong. You really think what you call evil is going to be solved by committing evil?


  • Anonymous, 2010-07-07 08:31:37

    Correction:1868-1968


  • Anonymous, 2010-07-07 15:52:40

    Anonymous wrote, 2010-01-05 10:33:50 "What an American-centered view of the situation! This article makes it sound like, without the anti-gay Americans’ visit & conferences, these Ugandans never would have come up with this anti-gay sentiment on their own. Like they’re a bunch of idiots with no original thoughts; blank slates just waiting to be indoctrinated by the white man. What a completely condescending view of Africans! The truth is, many Africans, all over the continent - without the proselytizing of the American evangelicals, have such views. Why not analyze this fact? Why do you always make it about YOU, America?? Get over yourselves!" Anonymous, it is not at all clear where you are coming from, but it appears suspiciously like you are trying to exonerate the damage caused by misguided, meddling and homophobic American Evangelical Missionaries. In a sense, you are right, homophobia is unfortunately rampant in Africa (as it is in much of the world. The difference is, that in Africa, stigmatization all to frequently leads to a bloodbath as it did in Rwanda, The Congo, Darfur ... just to name a few places in the news lately. The fact is that many in Africa spend their entire lives in fear of being lynched for one reason or another, often based on superstition. Into this mix come a bunch of bigots who have hijacked Christianity as a smokescreen to "legitimize" homophobia. Maybe some of them even wish death to gays & lesbians, although possibly not. However, they have become the catalyst in a culture that they understand little and treat as fertile ground to attempt a (second) cultural colonization. Whether they intended to incite the death penalty for gays & lesbians or not, is a moot point. The fact is that this is the result of their meddling. I wonder how many of these homophobic bigots are also "pro-life" ... if so, how do they reconcile the death of adult sentient humans with their activism in support of right to life of a recently conceived embryo that has little or no sentience?!?


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