American Evangelicals are apparently shocked that their anti-gay activism in Uganda — which mostly involves telling Ugandans that gay men sodomize boys and that homosexuals have a nefarious plot to destroy society as we know it — has actually been taken seriously by Ugandans, who, in order to stop purported child rape and total social annihilation, have bandied about the idea of executing gay people.
Last March, three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here in Uganda’s capital to give a series of talks.
The theme of the event, according to Stephen Langa, its Ugandan organizer, was “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda” — and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family.
For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”
Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive, saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.
Now how in the world would anti-gay propaganda focusing on how gay people are going to rape your children and destroy your society ever result in severe criminal penalties for being gay? It’s a mystery!
Except, of course, that the Evangelicals who are now crying foul actually helped to draft the bill:
Mr. Lively and Mr. Brundidge have made similar remarks in interviews or statements issued by their organizations. But the Ugandan organizers of the conference admit helping draft the bill, and Mr. Lively has acknowledged meeting with Ugandan lawmakers to discuss it. He even wrote on his blog in March that someone had likened their campaign to “a nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda.” Later, when confronted with criticism, Mr. Lively said he was very disappointed that the legislation was so harsh.
…because less harsh criminalization of homosexuality would be ok? (Don’t answer that).
This is a tried-and-true pattern among religious radicals. They set a fire, fan the flames and then feign shock when something burns down. They do the same thing when it comes to the murder of abortion providers: They select their targets, accuse them of cold-blooded baby-killing and perpetuating a Holocaust, compare them to Hitler, put them on “Wanted Dead or Alive” lists, hand out their home and business addresses, post their pictures online, and then act just shocked when someone shoots them.
I’m not buying it. Do I think that all (or even most) Evangelical Christians want gay people executed? Of course not. But the movement leaders know exactly what they are doing. And if their intent wasn’t to have gay people executed by the state, it certainly was at least to have them socially marginalized, hated or perhaps jailed — all of which, we well know, does end up with gay people on the receiving end of violence and vigilantism that too often ends lives.
So perhaps the goal wasn’t for the state to kill or harm gay people. But the goal was certainly for someone to do it.
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