Acts and Consequences

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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13 comments for “Acts and Consequences

  1. Nicole T.
    January 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I remember as kids my friends would prank or tease each other in some manner and if shit went down (I.E. Someone running and crying to mom or dad), of course the immediate reaction of the perpetrators denying they meant anything bad to happen because the wrath of another parent becoming a messenger to THEIR parents became the personification of the ultimate judgment: “I’m telling!”

    For some reason, I just can’t wrap my mind around doing something that I know is wrong and then denying any involvement with whatever negative resolution comes after. I haven’t attempted anything like that since I was a kid. Maybe I learned my lesson back then. Reading a story like this just makes me want to know how these people grew up since I get the distinct feeling they likely had a moment where they were stepping on bugs and pretending they were a deity.

    Thanks for the post Jill.

  2. Sheelzebub
    January 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I don’t believe for one minute that these evangelicals never intended for LGBT people to be harmed. This is just more CYA, like what we see when (as you pointed out) abortion providers and clinic workers are assaulted, harassed, and murdered.

    That these people could act so hatefully and still have credibility here is just sickening.

  3. Evrybdy44
    January 4, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I want to thank you for using such clarifying terms as “radical” evangelicals and saying you don’t believe all people agree with this who are religious. These people’s agendas are detestable to most people with half a freaking brain!!!! People like this need to be stopped. Their hearts are hateful. Jesus never taught that. They should really read that New Testament again.

  4. Bitter Scribe
    January 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    For some reason, I just can’t wrap my mind around doing something that I know is wrong and then denying any involvement with whatever negative resolution comes after.

    The key phrase here is “that I know is wrong.” The people we’re talking about are so blinded by hatred that anything resembling a normal sense of right and wrong got squelched long ago.

  5. January 4, 2010 at 5:10 pm


    The article is informative, but the photos that accompany it are of trans Ugandans, and their captions discuss plans for transitioning. Obviously trans people — all people — suffer in a homophobic environment, but nowhere else does the article mention the bill’s ramifications for trans people. Do we need another reminder that trans and gay should not be conflated?

  6. Politicalguineapig
    January 4, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Bitterscribe: Jesus was a nice guy, God ain’t. And until asshats like these get a lightning bolt to the head, I will continue believing that God endorses this stuff. (I’d like to be religious, but then crap like this comes up.)

  7. Georgia
    January 4, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Great post.

  8. Cactus Wren
    January 5, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Scott Lively? Have I run across that name before?

    (googlegoogle wikiwikiwikiwiki)

    Why, yes. Yes, I have.

  9. ellen
    January 5, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Also, one of the people who has been in Uganda is that lovely pastor, Rick Warren – yes, he who spoke at Obama’s inauguration and the same Rick Warren who compared homosexuals to pedaphiles.

  10. grant
    January 5, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Good article! The Christian religion really has a bad record when dealing with pretty much anyone that isn’t Christian. It seems likely that the aggressive recruitment strategy’s and the encouragement to take on fundamentalist perception are to blame, perhaps not so much radicalism, if these people had radical thinkers they would stop taking this fucking fairy tale so literally and allow a more substantial cognitive evolution take place.

    Cheers & love the blog!

  11. William
    January 5, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Hmm….Raping children, having a hidden agenda to take over major institutions, attempting alter society through dishonesty so that it better fits your own idiosyncrasies…

    Has anyone else noticed how all the fevered warnings about The Homosexual Agenda tend to look…well…more or less exactly like the actual activites of the people who try so hard to warn us?

  12. Politicalguineapig
    January 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    *Snorts* William, I am so glad I wasn’t drinking anything when I read that. Most of these people seem to be projecting like mad..

  13. H
    January 11, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Oh no.

    For what it’s worth, I’m a fairly strict Christian and this definitely disgusts me. Person = child of God = should not be killed for disagreement. I don’t condone homosexuality, but good grief this is ludicrous. Has anyone ever taught these quacks about polite disagreement? Or, “judge not, lest ye be judged”?

    It’s a natural extension of the government-uber-alles strategy that started in the early 1900s and unfortunately continues to this day on both sides of the political divide. I can understand, in a kind of way, the twisty, warped, evil, tyrannical logic that leads people to rabble-rouse as a substitute for direct action. But that just means that in addition to being tyrannical scum, they are cowardly scum, because they aren’t even brave enough to be bigoted creeps with their own personal selves in their own backyard.

    On the other hand, radicals in America are so used to not being listened to that they frequently say really outrageous things. I can see these guys being surprised that people would actually listen to them and follow their suggestions. Which just makes them ignorant, cowardly, tyrannical scum, but there is a slim possibility that they were honestly surprised to be taken seriously (what can I say? I’m an optimist at heart).

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