News :: International

Pope Blesses Anti-Gay Uganda Leader

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Jan 2, 2013
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Earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI blessed the speaker of the Uganda Parliament after she lobbied for the country’s anti-gay bill, which originally called for the death penalty for some gay acts and has received widespread international criticism.

As Pink News and others reported, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who vowed to pass the controversial measure as a "Christmas gift," was at the Vatican on Dec. 13 to meet the Pope and to attend, of all things, a human rights conference. Kadaga also received a blessing during a mass.

"I think it is something that I will remember all my life. It’s a very great moment and I thank God for this opportunity," Kadaga said soon after she met the pope.

The measure is currently before Uganda’s parliament. The Associated Press reported that Kadaga is one of its biggest champions.

She has said that the country’s citizens "are demanding it" and that gay men and women pose a "serious threat" to Uganda’s children. Gay activists fired back at the politician in a petition in which they wrote, "Speaker, we cannot sit back while such (a) destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation. We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament ... so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation."

Pepe Julian Onziema, a leading Ugandan gay activist, told AP that the support for the anti-gay bill was frustrating. "It’s disappointing, but we are also going to seek a meeting with the speaker," Onziema said, adding that it was highly unlikely she would agree to such a gathering.

U.S. President Barack Obama has called the bill "odious."

Uganda’s penal code currently bans homosexuality but in 2009 the country’s ruling party said there needed to be stricter laws in order to "protect" Uganda’s children from the LGBT community.

U.S. Christian Involvement in Bill
One of the biggest supporters of the anti-gay bill is American pastor Scott Lively, who has visited Uganda several times in order to promote the measure. Many observers believe he co-wrote it and was the impetus behind it.

Despite his controversial past MassLive.com, a Western Massachusetts news site, reports that Lively is considering running for governor of Massachusetts. Lively said in early November that he most likely will launch a campaign for the 2014 election.

"I’m probably 90 percent sure that I’m going to do it, but I’m holding back that 10 percent," Lively said. He went on to say that he is not sure, however, if he will run as an independent Republican, or Democrat. "The third option is probably the least likely," and added that he is "greatly dismayed at the breakdown of family and morality" in Massachusetts.

"A lot of people were really happy with the idea," Lively said. "Really, the first step is determining whether the conservative activists will get involved. Because if they don’t, you really have no base and no chance."

The Christian evangelist is in the middle of a federal court lawsuit which claims that he committed crimes against humanity in Uganda. The Sexual Minorities Uganda, a gay rights group, is suing Lively. It claims the pastor’s ministry "stirred up anti-gay hysteria in the conservative, violence-riddled African nation by speaking there since 2002 on ways to sway gays ’back’ to heterosexuality," MassLive notes.

The lawsuit also says Lively conjured up violence against gay activists in the African country but the pastor is confident and says the plaintiffs cannot win.

"I’ve always said I wouldn’t run for public office because I wouldn’t want to take the abuse. But I’ve already taken the abuse," Lively said. "I had a much thinner skin when this all started."

One things’ for sure: Lively has been very vocal in his support for Uganda’s anti-gay bill. Once the measure was revised and the death penalty was dropped, he wrote a piece for the ultra-conservative website World Net Daily, in which he said that he believes "there may be room for tentative support in the Christian community in the West, even though it retains jail terms for offenders."

He goes on to list reasons why Christians should support the measure and cites the Bible because it "has always defined homosexuality as a crime." He goes on, "the fact is, Ugandan law is typical of most African law in that it tends to be very harsh in the letter, but very lenient in the application. I doubt very much that anyone arrested under the new law (if it passes) will receive anything close to the jail terms allowed for in the bill."

Gay activists in Uganda aren’t the only people who oppose Lively. Earlier this month straight blogger Al Stefanelli named him "douchebag of the year," and wrote, "Lively and Co. have been working for years for this award, and is one of the few United States citizens that have successfully lobbied for some of the most hate-filled, bigoted and despicable pieces of legislation against the LGBT community in a foreign country"

Ugandan Views of Homosexuality
In related news, Martin Ssempa, a Uganda pastor who has been a strong supporter of the country’s gay death penalty, responded to a local teen on Twitter. "I need help with diapers for many sodomy victims who are no longer continent," was Ssempa’s words of help for the confused teen. "Please consider a Xmas donation. Get biggest size."

Ssempa has also infamously told national audiences that one of the common sex acts among gay men is eating human feces.

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2013-01-02 12:19:29

    Well Popes blessed crusaders in the war on Muslim, and more than a few mafiosos. Suspect Franco and many another dictator also benefitted from the benediction of the church. If you are looking for advocacy for human rights, leadership in promoting human values and decency in the world... don’t look to Rome.


  • Parker, 2013-01-02 12:23:13

    Rarely am I rendered speechless but in this case I am. Everything about this situation is horrible. I...um...yeah...horrible.


  • Anonymous, 2013-01-02 22:05:44

    I am Catholic and am disgusted in the Popes " blessing"


  • Oh Jed said:, 2013-01-03 04:42:05

    Benny, Benny, Benny...rest in peace, soon. Amen.


  • puck, 2013-01-03 05:08:10

    So gays are a threat to children there yet all I hear are young women getting raped by packs of men. The heterosexual men are passing HIV to these women, yet gay men are blamed for it all? I would like to do a swap, one gay for one Lively!


  • sjenner, 2013-01-03 07:29:26

    Benedict, when still Ratzinger, wrote that gays must not be subject to unjust discrimination. I suppose we now know what comprises just discriminatio


  • stelmo, 2013-01-03 14:37:40

    A Nazi supporting a Fascist! So what else is new!


  • Jim2008, 2013-01-03 15:16:59

    Let’s remember that this Pope is also an x-Nazi so nothing he does in the realm of hate should surprise us as it is consistent with his immoral history. No matter how much the Vatican machine and his intellectual pretense (never mind the cross dressing) try to cover things over - the man was a Nazi and it is still in his blood and he still has the blood of millions on his hands. God loves us all and as long as we can all remember this we have nothing to fear.


  • Wayne M., 2013-01-05 10:49:57

    I am certainly no fan of the Pope. His intransigence, hypocrisy and dishonesty concerning the rights of women and LGBT people causes a lot of harm. His failure to ensure the Bishops and others responsible for the cover-up of child sexual abuse by priests is immoral in the extreme. However, we must be fair and honest in our criticism, not like our opponents in the religious right who use fear, lies and dishonestly to encourage hate against LGBT people and our community. While it is true that Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth, that does not mean he was a Nazi or that his family supported the Nazi movement. The fact is that joining the Hitler Youth was not a matter of choice (unlike our Scouting movement). It was required and any youth who resisted entering the Hitler Youth exposed themselves and their families to very brutal reprisals from the Nazi authorities. Ratzinger did join the Hitler Youth, but he and his family were definitely not supporters or sympathetic to the Nazis.


  • Jim2008, 2013-01-05 12:05:08

    Wayne, Thank you for your thoughtful comments and for your point on not submitting our dignity to the sloppy and sophist and pretenses of the religious right. One example of their twisted thinking is how they rewrite history and deduce Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson et al into good Christian men whose Christian ideals are the foundation of the USA. They of course miss the point that firstly these were scholars of the Enlightenment and if anything their God was truth and not Jesus. Their intellectual ideals were far more broad than reliance upon the Judaeo-Christian texts and their socio political goals were based on humanism in the context of pragmatic republicanism. Needless to say there were not perfect men but they were consistently anti-religion as a participant in the republic and that religion was a basic human right for man to exercise as he chose. In truth, neither you nor I (absent any evidence either one of us proffered) knows how Ratzinger and his family in their heart and social behavior committed themselves to the Nazi party. I am so outraged by the political structure and social consciousness in Uganda that would commit me to laborious prison sentence if not death - for telling my truth. I don’t think we need to include in the argument that this is a form of genocide. The article that provoked my response reports that Ratzinger supports in some material way the behavior of these Nazi like politicians. It made me think too how Ratzinger continually, in his own words and encouragement to his priests (religious police) continually isolates LGBT human beings to a lessor status, in a state of sin because of their human constitution, and deserving of moral isolation. How many times have we heard of pastors of parochial schools forcing children out of their schools when they find out that they have same sex parents? This is also the man who when asked about his thoughts on bringing in the disenchanted Roman Catholics who replied "prune the tree and it will grow". Doesn’t this sound like national socialism? Isn’t this what Hitler executed? Prune out the Jews, the fags, the blacks, the non-Arian elite and Germany will grow? I meant to be provocative because I wanted to force the question into a moral discussion of exactly what constitutes, in our modern age, moral responsibility. I do not know what was in Ratzinger’s heart or behavior when he joined the nazi youth. Nor could you conclude anything about me by my telling you I was a Boy Scout, altar boy, choir boy and the nephew of a RC archbishop. Nonetheless, I had a motivation for joining the Boy Scouts and it was not singular. Maybe I was hiding my feminism trying to prove that I was indeed a boy and I had a uniform and badges to prove it. Maybe I was a saint or a fiend? But, I did join and this is not worth nothing (double negative intended). Ratzinger did join the Nazi youth and that is worth some consideration. For all we know his going into the priesthood was his version of pedophilia - a safe place to hide your perversions. So while I do not want to speak with the tongue and mind of a sophist like the religious right..I appreciate your nudge towards balance but your conclusion and my added thoughts are both worthwhile. Thanks. Jim


  • sjenner, 2013-01-05 16:41:17

    Whether Ratzinger is an actual, card-carrying Nazi is beside the point. The issue, instead, is Ratzinger’s abuse of the Throne of St. Peter to formulate an emerging doctrine that condemns LGBT as effectively sub-human, unworthy of either dignity in this life or heaven in the next. Conceptually, there’s little difference between Ratzinger’s proto-doctrine and the Nazi’s idea of homosexuals as "untermensch," subhumans who disease, corrupt and destroy the body of society while despoiling it of its natural resources, civilization and ultimately, salvation. Ratzinger laid the cornerstone to his proto-doctrine in a 1986 letter to Bishops when, while acknowledging homosexuality as something not chosen, nonetheless condemned it as a "strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil." In other words, homosexuals are effectively born for evil, to commit evil--it’s innate to who we are, and it’s something that makes us fundamentally different from and dangerous to the rest of society. Accordingly, in that same letter, Ratzinger justified "violent malice" as a natural and expected reaction when LGBT advocate for "civil legislation to protect behaviour to which no one has any conceivable right." Little surprise, then, that Ratzinger has repeatedly condemned LGBT as "objectively disordered" and the "destruction of God’s creation." It’s in that sense that Ratzinger has sought to blame LGBT for everything from pedophilia to global warming. It’s also why Ratzinger has banned entirely orthodox and comfortably celibate homosexuals from being ordained as clergy--a sharp departure from 2,000 years of Catholic practice, and why he embraces the butchers, demagogues and tyrants who target us. (This also proves Ratzinger is less a traditionalist than a radical, right wing, reactionary conservative--not dissimilar in many regards to the Nazis, who wrapped themselves in German tradition and culture even while they shredded it from within.) Compare this to the Nazi position. In a seminal 1937 speech, Heinrich Himmler said "[t]here are those homosexuals who take the view: what I do is my business, a purely private matter. However, all things which take place in the sexual sphere are not the private affair of the individual, but signify the life and death of the nation [...]." This echoes Hitler’s earlier sentiment, justifying the eradication of homosexuals in view of his desire to have "every mother to be able to allow her son to join the SA, Party, and Hitler Youth without fear that he may become morally corrupted in their ranks." Hitler was also on record as believing that homosexuality was "an unnatural passion" that, if left unchecked, would "extend[] its contagious effects like an ineluctable law of nature to the best and most manly of characters, eliminating from the reproductive process precisely those men on whose offspring a nation depended." Ratzinger’s dangerous proto-doctrine, while more nuanced and wordier than its Nazi counterpart, is nonetheless logically consistent with it. Indeed, the parallels are deeply disturbing. (I would also argue that Ratzinger’s position is heretical, in contravention of Church’s official condemnations of predestinationism and Jansenism under the Papal Bulls Cum Occasione and Unigentius. But I won’t belabor that point.) Ratzinger is probably the single most dangerous voice to LGBT people, furnishing religious sanction to those who would as readily heard us into Death Camps as any Nazi. I will be glad when Ratzinger retires, however the Good Lord may accomplish it. I sincerely pray that his successor will reverse this dangerous trend in recent Church teachings. Otherwise, I believe it may be time for the U.S. to consider severing ties with the Curia as a dangerous and malicious organization, and fundamental threat to our constitutional values.


  • Jim2008, 2013-01-05 19:00:45

    Wow! SJenner you brilliantly substantiate the argument and your citations boldly but clearly raise concern. The institutional influence amongst the Curia and magisterium is sadly evident in many ways harmful to our LGBT population. No matter how many lofty words he uses, and how well he knows Augustine, he’s at heart a bad man. He can prune and blame all wants - none of it makes it true and worthy of wither scholarship or canonical inclusion. Thankfully he only alienates Europeans and now Latin Americans more toward inclusion and away from paying attention to this man. Sadly, Uganda and other homophobic political systems will seize his language and use it for great harm against the rights of man. This institution should be banned from the UN which codified the rights of man in 1948 and to which he arrogantly and pretentiously argues against - no doubt to protect his own erectile responses to men including his hot priest secretary. The research has shown that the more homophobic the venom the more erectile response to the gay porn. The one comfort one can take is that this man is not a representative of Jesus of Nazareth. The man - not post Easter fantasies of mark only copied by the others... Is a fascinating healer, teacher, mystic, and rebel against the established religion of the Temple. He preaches that salvation is not in the Temple but was to be found in you and me and even in those considered the low of low (e.g., the tax collectors known for their corruption). Jesus was killed because of his assault on the Temple. An honest translation of Mark reveals no evidence that he ever thought of himself as divine. He was smart and he did care and he had a special unique voice, which, while it has endured has been perverted by power hungry people from St. Paul and over the 2,000 years to the present. Jesus seems to have been a good man... A good Jew who never used the word Christ or never thought of anything but to Reform Judaism. So Ratzinger can pretend the authority of Jesus through apostolic succession or any other way he wants. For me, as a victim of his rhetoric, it helps me to remember he was a nazi. It may not work for you but it gives my inner voice - at least for now - some quiet to the self loathing within me, wired in by now, by Ratzinger and all his predecessors whoever they are. It helps my internal world remember not to let him in. It’s a protector but the pain from his and others for years is too much to bear at times. I just want to live a good gay life and be a good gay man so Ratzinger leave me alone and go play with yourself or have Fr. S please and then dream of your hitler youth days. Sorry - I guess I have a resentment, The reasoned arguments helps me so thank you very much.


  • Anonymous, 2013-01-17 23:58:30

    I smell a rat ;)


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