Anti-gay Evangelist Publicly Condemns Kill-the-Gays Bill
Sometimes it’s true that it is better to be late than never.
Yesterday, Joyce Meyer , of the Joyce Meyer Ministries, sent an email to her supporters and followers condemning Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. Meyer has followers the world over, including an office in Uganda, and has the messaging power of other huge evangelicals such as Joel Osteen and Rick Warren.
Meyer is certainly no friend of the gay community and has been outspoken about her objections to the “homosexual lifestyle.” Still, Meyers criticized efforts made in God’s name that would persecute other human beings.
From Meyer’s statement:
It is increasingly evident that the proposed “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” introduced in the Ugandan parliament is a profoundly offensive, dangerous and disturbing attack on the very foundation of individual liberties and human rights afforded not only to the good citizens of Uganda, but on the at-large global community.
If enacted, this hostile legislation will also further, and adversely, serve as a major setback in the global health efforts to combat Uganda’s AIDS epidemic and reduce the record-high infection rates among the country’s HIV population, an already at-risk community that could be further ostracized, threatened, and targeted as potential criminals.
The call to stop this bill is certainly welcome, especially given Meyer’s star power and influence. A more responsible preacher of God’s word, however, would have come out against this bill sooner, especially since it seems the bill may be going nowhere fast. Just last Monday, a group of 118 British Members of Parliament slammed the Ugandan government for entertaining passage of this legislation.
In a motion drafted in part by U.K. gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, the group of MPs called on the Ugandan government to drop the proposed legislation, claiming it violates the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights. The motion further calls upon the Ugandan parliament t to decriminalize “same-sex acts between consenting adults in private, and outlawing discrimination against gay people.”
Then there were reports filed Friday that members of a key panel in the Uganda legislature did not see passage of the bill happening.
“I think it is useless and will not achieve what it intends to achieve,” said Alex Ndeezi, a member of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee tasked with reviewing the bill before it can be presented to the house.
The panel’s chairman Stephen Tashyoba said the draft law was not a priority.
“As far as I am concerned, we really have more urgent matters to discuss like electoral reforms, which are already behind schedule,” he said.
I’m glad Meyer has finally stepped up and that lawmakers are responding to international pressure to kill this bill, but I’m afraid that the damage has been done.
It will be a victory if this bill does indeed fail, but anti-gay fervor has been whipped up by the bill’s author, David Bahati and Martin Ssempa as well countless news outlets and law enforcement agencies. People in countries all over Africa have of late been encouraged to report their fellow citizens suspected of being gay. In some cases, it seems that acts of violence have been condoned. Worse is the American involvement that has been instrumental in fomenting this homophobia.
Once this bill in Uganda is dead, the real challenge will be changing hearts and minds and teaching acceptance.