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Anti-gay Evangelist Publicly Condemns Kill-the-Gays Bill

April 13, 2010 Leave a comment

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.

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LGBT Violence on Uprise in Africa

April 12, 2010 2 comments

I have been less than prolific on El Castillo in the past few weeks. So, to my devoted reader, I say hello again.

I’ll be expanding on my absence in future posts, but suffice it to say that my schedule is getting back to normal and there should be more to fill your google reader or your inbox or whatever portal you use to read this blog.

On with the business of the day. I have been writing some on the treatment of gays in Africa, specifically with regards to what’s happening in Uganda. I will be writing alot more about this in the weeks to come.

There was more news today about violence directed at gay men in the west African country of Senegal. Madieye Diallo, a gay activist who had recently succumbed to AIDS and had been buried, was exhumed from his grave site not long after his funeral. His body was then mutilated and then dumped at the doorstep of his parents.

The event has driven some gay Senegalese into hiding.

‘I locked myself inside my room and didn’t come out for days,’ says a 31-year-old gay friend of Diallo’s who is ill with HIV, ‘I’m afraid of what will happen to me after I die. Will my parents be able to bury me?’

A wave of intense homophobia is washing across Africa, where homosexuality is already illegal in at least 37 countries.

In the last year alone, gay men have been arrested in Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. In Uganda, lawmakers are considering a bill that would sentence homosexuals to life in prison and include capital punishment for ‘repeat offenders.’ And in South Africa, the only country that recognizes gay rights, gangs have carried out so-called “corrective” rapes on lesbians.

Though it is officially illegal to be gay in Senegal, the country has long had a “clandestine gay community” and has generally been tolerated.

This wave of violence against LGBT people in Africa has spread across the continent and it has been helped along with support from various media outlets in that country that have made known their sympathy for draconian laws that outlaw homosexuality.

It is also due in no small part to the support of conservative American evangelicals who have taken their fight against gays and lesbians to Africa. For the leaders of this movement, they see Africa as the one place where they can make inroads with their message of hate and violence. Take, for example, their support for the Ugandan anti-gays bill that would imprison gay men and women as well those who associate with them. This involvement from American evangelicals has spurred recent actions from folks like Martin Ssempa and Ugandan legislator David Bahati, both of whom have done their fair share of fomenting a violent anti-gay fervor.

To be sure, what is happening in Africa has international repercussions. Still, there is a basic level of decency that all humans should be afforded, if no other time than in death. This alone should be enough to drive folks into action to help put an end to this kind of violence.

I’ll have more about what’s happening in Uganda in future posts.

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