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77 Responses

  1. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 February 7, 2012 at 2:04 am |

    as well as the influx of extremist Christian Right agitators from the United States.

    Really? You’ve got to be kidding. Who would believe such a thing!

  2. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 7, 2012 at 2:08 am |

    Um, hi, whomever you are. It’s well-documented in the blog archives of Right Wing Watch, Box Turtle Bulletin, and Warren Throckmorton. American pastors like Scott Lively were part of the original conference convened in Kampala where this bill was born. All pastors involved with the New Apostolic Movement are involved. Oh, and a hugely influential political Christian right group called the Family was there from the first meetings. Jeff Sharlet wrote two bestselling books about it. See for yourself. Google is your friend, etc.

  3. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 7, 2012 at 2:12 am |

    Also, the accuracy of Jeff Sharlet’s accounts was never disputed by the Family, for the record. His extensive research covered the organization’s archives. He also conducted interviews conducted in Uganda and with many associated with the Family, past and present. It’s really not a conspiracy against Christians. So sorry.

  4. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 7, 2012 at 2:14 am |

    Ack, sorry, last comment jumbled up, should read:

    Also, the accuracy of Jeff Sharlet’s accounts was never disputed by the Family, for the record. His extensive research covered the organization’s archives. He also conducted interviews in Uganda and spoke with many associates of the Family, past and present. It’s really not a conspiracy against Christians. So sorry. It’s just, the ones behind this shit are pretty fucking evil.

  5. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen February 7, 2012 at 2:31 am |

    Uganda seems to be focused on everything except fixing its economy. Hmm, I wonder where I’ve heard that narrative before…

  6. Kasha Jacqueline
    Kasha Jacqueline February 7, 2012 at 2:49 am |

    Thanks Jill for your support.However I would appreciate if you stop undermining other LGBT organisations in Uganda.Without them SMUG wouldnt be in place since they formed SMUG.SMUG is a coalition of these organisations.

    Kasha

  7. Astrid
    Astrid February 7, 2012 at 4:37 am |

    It’s horrible that this bill is back, and that the extremist Christian Right in the U.S. supports it. And, indeed, t he Ugandan govt should have more urgetn things to pay attention to, like their economy.

  8. Norma
    Norma February 7, 2012 at 4:47 am |

    Ugandan activists in the country are indicating that they need diplomatic help, but that this should not include lost aid. The Obama administration must put the safety of LGBTQ Ugandans first.

    Where can we read commentary from Ugandan activists about what kind of diplomatic assistance they’re looking for?

    International pressure on other SSA countries (Malawi, Cameroon, Nigeria, etc.) has had extremely poor results, arguably only making bad legislation worse. How does the US government put pressure on Uganda without playing into the hands of conservatives there who say that LGBT rights are an imperialist/immoral Western project?

  9. EllaT
    EllaT February 7, 2012 at 5:08 am |

    This is just so awful. We need to stop it.
    The biggest problem with this is that by focusing on a minority group, politicians can get out of dealing with real problems like the economy (as Echo Zen said). It’s the easy way out. And it’s happened so many times before. During the plague epidemics people blamed the jewish people. During the interbellum, when Germany was severely impoverished, Hitler blamed the jewish, gay and gypsy people. Right wing politicians in the US (and other countries) hate poor people so they won’t have to look at WHY these people are poor. There’s just so many examples…

  10. piny
    piny February 7, 2012 at 7:55 am |

    Rachel Maddow also devoted several segments on her show to what was going on–this bill is the result of a lot of anti-gay activism on the part of homophobic fundamentalist groups from the US.

    Their position is basically, “Well, golly, when we told Ugandans that gay people were diseased, delusional, sex-addicted serial child molesters looking to recruit Ugandan kids out of their own classrooms, we certainly didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt!” But they don’t deny that they campaigned against homosexuality, and the materials they disseminated are really homophobic. You can, I guess, debate their intentions, but this kind of rhetoric is dangerous; we all know that.

    And, uh, the Ugandans give them the credit for opening their eyes to the social evil that is homosexuality; the bill’s original sponsor, David Bahati, sung the praises of ex-gay activist Richard Cohen and his book.

  11. Marksman2010
    Marksman2010 February 7, 2012 at 8:53 am |

    Um, hi, whomever you are. It’s well-documented in the blog archives of Right Wing Watch, Box Turtle Bulletin, and Warren Throckmorton.

    Facepalm.

    Um, hi, whomever you are. It’s well-documented in the Feministe archives that members frequently use sarcasm when commenting on certain kinds of stories.

  12. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 7, 2012 at 9:30 am |

    Where can we read commentary from Ugandan activists about what kind of diplomatic assistance they’re looking for?

    Mainly, they are asking for international support, but nothing that takes away things like food and development aid. Frank Mugisha has written about this. It’s been a recurring theme on the Facebook pages of a couple of organizations, and it’s something I’ve had echoed in personal emails with people representing other organizations. And people I’ve talked to who have many more contacts than I do are saying the same thing about what activists are telling them. Beyond that, I have not seen a program outlined about what kind of diplomatic assistance, exactly. The thing is, the United States will diplomatically assist in some way, and has in the past, and it mainly has to be reminded to do the least amount of harm possible.

    How does the US government put pressure on Uganda without playing into the hands of conservatives there who say that LGBT rights are an imperialist/immoral Western project?

    This is already happening. It’s being reported that some MPs are trying to push the legislation through as quickly as possible right now as a result of Clinton’s December speech about LGBTQ human rights, which didn’t even name Uganda. I mean, the sense that LGBTQ rights are an imperialist Western project is widespread, and not limited to conservatives. It’s widely believed that “homosexuality” as such is a Western “import” to Uganda. And it’s a sentiment that is widespread throughout sub-Saharan Africa. I don’t think it’s possible to control this belief altogether. It’s already what people believe. I think the thing that would make it worse is any policy that would have punitive results for poor people, like stopping food and development aid. The thing is – yeah, any diplomatic pressure has to be done behind the scenes. It’s not going to go well if the US announces a punitive policy aimed at Uganda to the world.

    I am not good at creating good policy ideas, as it usually seems to me that there aren’t any good ones that are available at all. But I think a main thing would be to defer to activist groups in Uganda and what they are saying. And SMUG, for example, has gotten a lot of international recognition, as have US-based activists from the region. I hope and expect that there is communication behind the scenes about what doing the least amount of harm would entail. The thing is, everyone in Uganda has to be very careful about what they say publicly for safety reasons, and it’s very risky to go on record about this.

    All that said, the US is ramping up military aid to Uganda and shows no signs of stopping any time soon. This is a crucial area in which US policy contradicts expressed policy ideals. Museveni cares deeply about military aid, but it’s not something that has as much of an individual impact on poor people as, for example, food security policy. I would think discussions about weapons “aid” would need to figure prominently in what the US is doing. The thing is, drones and a few military “consultants” are the stated US strategy for helping Uganda defeat the Lord’s Resistance Army. But what was supposed to be a limited project has morphed into massive amounts of military assistance.

    Finally, a couple of South African activists I know are calling for international divestment campaigns against Uganda, not unlike the one against South Africa that helped put an end to apartheid. But Uganda is not South Africa, and I think the potential backlash against LGBTQ people in the country makes divestment very dangerous. I have wondered if it would be possible to target specific industries with divestment, like arms trade, sports, maybe tourism – but not industries that would devastate poor people, like coffee. But any discussions of that sort of thing would need Ugandan feedback to figure prominently behind the scenes, and I’m not aware of any such conversations happening publicly, in any case.

  13. BentleyOwen
    BentleyOwen February 7, 2012 at 9:32 am |

    This is exactly what colonialism was all about: listening to oppressed minorities and dissidents, opposing laws that would hurt them, acknowledging and denouncing the people from your own country who have made life worse for them. You should be wearing a safari suit.

  14. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 7, 2012 at 9:53 am |

    Um, hi, whomever you are. It’s well-documented in the Feministe archives that members frequently use sarcasm when commenting on certain kinds of stories.

    It’s also well-documented in the feministe archives that far-right extremists come by with drive-bys quite a lot. And if you’re not familiar with fundamentalists getting offended because someone says something negative about them, well… I don’t even know what to say. But, like, I don’t participate a lot in comments, and I’ve never run across you in particular, so I’m not sure how I was expected to discern your enlightened sarcasm from a real fundamentalist.

  15. Many many linky « Dissent of a Woman
    Many many linky « Dissent of a Woman February 7, 2012 at 9:53 am |

    […] Uganda is back with their “Kill the Gays” bullshit bill again.  This link contains ways… Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Tags: abortion, Big Gay Apocalypse, electoral circus, feminism, lgbt, politics, rape, ron paul […]

  16. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 7, 2012 at 10:01 am |

    piny – Right, but Scott Lively, who was there for the original conference on this, hasn’t even said, “We didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt!” His position is: Well, he didn’t want the *death penalty* as such, but if it’s a *little* overly punitive, he’d rather have a criminalization policy that goes a bit too far than not have one at all. Incidentally, homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, so…

  17. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 7, 2012 at 10:04 am |

    Regarding my longer comment. Here’s an opinion piece from a Liberian newspaper that allafrica.com posted. I think it was posted there because it represents a pretty common response in the region:

    http://allafrica.com/stories/201201230681.html

  18. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 7, 2012 at 10:35 am |

    I have a new article up with a lot more detail at AlterNet. Also, I’m told the bill is on parliament’s order paper for today.

    http://www.alternet.org/story/153723/how_deep_is_the_republican_christian_right's_connection_to_the_anti-gay_bills_sweeping_sub-saharan_africa/

  19. Sonia
    Sonia February 7, 2012 at 11:05 am |

    Homosexuality is already punishable by death in many countries in that region. Specifically Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran all have death penalty. I would say the default position is that it is their underlying culture and any influence of US pastors is just pushing things a bit over the top.

  20. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 7, 2012 at 11:35 am |

    The bill will definitely go before Parliament today. Melanie Nathan has an interview with bill sponsor, David Bahati, about the details, and what is expected today:

    http://oblogdeeoblogda.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/uganda-kill-the-gays-bill-is-being-read-in-parliament-today-conversatio-with-bahati/

  21. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 7, 2012 at 11:45 am |

    Ah, hadn’t read the end update. So, basically, the timing on this thing is really confusing.

  22. Li
    Li February 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm |

    Homosexuality is already punishable by death in many countries in that region. Specifically Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran all have death penalty. I would say the default position is that it is their underlying culture and any influence of US pastors is just pushing things a bit over the top.

    Uganda is in East Africa. All of the countries you listed are in North Africa and/or the Middle East. Ergo “that region” is erroneous.

    Uganda is also a predominantly Christian country. All of the countries you listed are predominantly Muslim. Ergo “their underlying culture” is erroneous.

    Seriously, if we’re going to be racist can we at least be geographically and demographically accurate about it?

  23. Sonia
    Sonia February 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm |

    Wow! kind of bizarre to be accused of racism here especially since I am a brown woman and am somewhat familiar with the culture around there. Also, Uganda and Sudan border each other and the culture goes farther back then the artificial divisions made by colonists. Also, Christianity and Islam derive their homophobia from the same source.

  24. matlun
    matlun February 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm |

    Seriously, if we’re going to be racist can we at least be geographically and demographically accurate about it?

    Racist? Badly informed, yes, but why do you call that post racist? (And at least Sudan can reasonably be classified as “in the region”)

    The influence of American Christian extremists should not be overestimated when compared to the influence of the local Christian extremists. And looking at the region (the actual region as opposed to for example Iran), the gay rights situation is indeed bad.

  25. William
    William February 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm |

    Seriously, if we’re going to be racist can we at least be geographically and demographically accurate about it?

    Are you really asking people to put forth more effort in thinking that is already intrinsically lazy?

    Good takedown, though.

  26. Sonia
    Sonia February 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

    The influence of American Christian extremists should not be overestimated when compared to the influence of the local Christian extremists. And looking at the region (the actual region as opposed to for example Iran), the gay rights situation is indeed bad.

    Thanks. I just pointed out that other countries around there (you cn say apart from Sudan they are in Middle East) have death penalty already because it is somewhat extreme of a punishment. It is not like the rest of the countries around there are solemnizing gay marriages.

  27. Li
    Li February 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

    Also, Uganda and Sudan border each other and the culture goes farther back then the artificial divisions made by colonists.

    No. They do not border each other.

    Look, treating a set of diverse non-western cultures and nations as if they are somehow monocultural is racist. I would have thought that that was fairly evident. You simply cannot reasonably speak about Yemen, Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Uganda as a cultural and geographical “them”, because they aren’t one. For one thing, try sending some Christian Evangelicals to any of the first four and see how far they get.

  28. Donna L
    Donna L February 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm |

    Also, Christianity and Islam derive their homophobia from the same source.

    And what source might that be?

    Do you seriously believe that there was no homophobia (or the contemporary equivalent) in pre-Islamic and pre-Christian cultures that weren’t Jewish?

  29. Li
    Li February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm |

    It is not like the rest of the countries around there are solemnizing gay marriages.

    Here’s a thought. How about instead of saying “around there” we say something meaningful, like, I dunno, “bordering Uganda” or “in East Africa”. And instead of “them” or “their” we could say “Ugandans” or “East African Christians” or any other possible variation that doesn’t involve using definitionally vague pronouns or adverbs.

  30. matlun
    matlun February 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm |

    @Sonia: I did defend you because I did not see anything racist in your post. I did however also use the description “badly informed”.

    Also, Uganda and Sudan border each other and the culture goes farther back then the artificial divisions made by colonists.

    “South Sudan” is not the same country as Sudan. Also, when speaking about “regions” in Africa, sub saharan Africa is normally not grouped together with northern Africa, which makes even Sudan in your list problematic. And Iran? Just look at a map.

    You could for example have pointed out that homosexuality is criminalized throughout sub saharan Africa (with South Africa being the single exception) and made much the same point.

    Also, Christianity and Islam derive their homophobia from the same source.

    Arguably, yes. But making generalizations about the commonality of culture between Uganda and the Muslim Arab world is still quite a stretch.

  31. Raja
    Raja February 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm |

    The term Arab world is a problematic term in itself as not everyone in the Middle East is Arab in fact far from it.

  32. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm |

    Arguably, yes. But making generalizations about the commonality of culture between Uganda and the Muslim Arab world is still quite a stretch.

    Well, 12% of the population of Uganda is Muslim, which just for comparison’s sake is a higher percentage of Muslims than any country in the entire Western Hempishere has except Suriname. Also, one of the two official languages of Uganda is Swahili, which has been heavily influenced in its vocabulary by Arabic and was originally written in Arabic script. I’m not sure specifically what Sonia had in mind when she was talking about the “region” and “culture,” but I think any sort of classification system of regions and cultures is going to be contestable and somewhat arbitrary, and I wouldn’t say “racism” unless there seems to be some sort of essentialism or denigration going on, which I personally don’t see in Sonia’s posts.

    That being said, I definitely think American evangelicals have been hugely influencial in galvanizing anti-gay sentiment in Uganda. And I think that’s completely disgusting.

  33. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm |

    Most of Africa’s history has been a case study in why missionaries should be shot on sight. There’s already plenty of poison floating around in those cultures, so why do missionaries feel it’s their Christian duty to tip in some more arsenic?

  34. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 12:22 am |

    Here’s a thought. How about instead of saying “around there” we say something meaningful, like, I dunno, “bordering Uganda” or “in East Africa”. And instead of “them” or “their” we could say “Ugandans” or “East African Christians” or any other possible variation that doesn’t involve using definitionally vague pronouns or adverbs.

    Thank you for this. Truly. And if I can recommend one book that is extremely helpful in terms of understanding Uganda in geopolitical context today?

    Mahmood Mamdani’s When Victims Become Killers.

    The book is about the Rwandan genocide, but it is extremely helpful in terms of understanding Uganda’s role “in the region,” as such, and particularly its relationships with border countries. It’s important, I think, to understand how President Museveni manipulated events in Rwanda (He armed Tutsi refugees who grew up in Uganda with weapons to mount an invasion – on the condition that they never come back. He sent most of them to their deaths and washed his hands of everything.). That’s important because it establishes what a cynical and opportunistic leader Museveni can be, and how he is not above helping instigate extremely violent world events.

    But the book also sheds some light on how the genocide really traumatized so many Ugandans. As you may know, Hutu extremists that escaped from Rwanda went into nearby countries to stir up violence there. The most dangerous instance was the DRC, where they were very influential in exacerbating ongoing conflicts. But they have also committed acts of violence in Uganda. The common narrative in Uganda – as in the US – is that the genocide was the result of “ancient hatreds.” The influence of other state powers and the role that colonial legacies played is not well understood. (I am going somewhere with this.)

    So, when an American preacher like Scott Lively helms a big Kampala conference on this issue – the place where the bill is originally conceived… Well, when he brings the book he’s written that purports to include copious research proving that LGBT people were behind the Holocaust and all other major genocides, including, Lively said, “probably Rwanda,” – and he says he’s considered probably “the most informed person in the world on this issue” – and then he tells you that most LGBT people rape children…

    Well, you are in a country, where homophobia runs pretty deep (present before colonialism, yes, but exacerbated GREATLY by colonialism), where most people are under-educated about sexuality… Where citizens have long been used as pawns by the opportunistic head of state… If you’re in a country that has been traumatized by the effects of genocide not that many years ago…

    And Lively tells you that LGBT people caused that genocide, well, here’s the thing… You do not have a cogent explanation for recent genocide at hand, and you’ve been grasping for that for many years due to the scope and sheer awfulness of the particular genocide… Well, Lively, the “expert,” provides what sounds like a reasonable explanation, and he and his cohorts really did manipulate real, rational fears related to the Rwandan genocide (and the Burundian one as well, also Hutu-Tutsi related). It is not shocking that this galvanized so many legislators and citizens.

    But one of the very sad things about it all is that it’s a waste of time that is distracting from the real political issues. The extent to which the World Bank and IMF have pillaged the country, the massive income inequality that has never stopped escalating… A corrupt and thoroughly ineffective system of governance… People need solutions. They are citizens of a government incapable and/or unwilling to provide them, and it’s all bolstered by a global economic order that keeps poor states poor… Solutions that sound good resonate.

    The biggest outcry in recent days has been that this is about “American imperialism.” They’re arguing that homosexuality is a “Western import” to Uganda. Clinton’s December speech about LGBT human rights was interpreted as being about Uganda, and people were galvanized to ensure that this bill passes because they don’t want the West interfering in sovereign decisions. Because of “neocolonialism.” And THIS resonates because neocolonialism IS actually an issue, but it has a LOT more to do with the arms trade and the way the US helps sustain the global economic order than anything else.

    And finally, an aside: I want to say that I am grateful that a few of you have shown interest and are talking about this. I feel like I’ve been beating my head against a brick wall the past two days. The international community just isn’t as interested this time. The attitude is that “that will never happen, they’ll just table it again indefinitely…” The MASSIVE international response that happened the first couple times this came up is not happening now.

    And honestly, I think that is by design. They wanted to wait until the world wasn’t paying attention to push this thing through. And according to what activists are saying, this time feels a lot more ominous than the other times. Some legislators have implied that they will push it through as quickly as possible to retaliate regarding Clinton’s speech. And they do seem to be doing that. It’s expected to have the second reading in two weeks. The third could happen immediately after that, and then it would go to a vote – where, by the way, it WILL win, and by a landslide. It is overwhelmingly popular, this bill.

    When the bill was introduced in Parliament today, only ONE MP opposed it. And it was read in its original form, including death penalty provisions (and possibly death penalty for straight cis people convicted of failing to inform on their LGBT friends more than once). So, there is no doubt it will pass if it gets to a vote.

    By the time it passes, the committee MAY revise it to remove the most punitive measures (death penalty and life imprisonment), but that is not a sure thing. After that, it will go to Museveni, who technically cannot veto (but being the autocrat that he is, he COULD take this off the table if so inclined). He will express disagreement with the bill for the benefit of international observers and send it back to committee. Then it will pass again. And he will send it back to committee one more time. HOWEVER, he is unable to do that more than twice in one month. After the second time, it becomes law if passed by a mere 2/3 majority (and it MORE than has that majority, with the ruling party and the opposing one – to the extent there is an opposing one – both behind it). That’s why this is so scary this time. There is new resolve to do it as a result of Clinton’s speech. And everyone seems convinced that it will happen this time.

    So, please keep talking about this, and please please help spread the word.

  35. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 2:06 am |

    I have a longer comment/update in the mod queue, but for the moment. PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION – In the past, the many signatures obtained helped stop this bill. But as I explain in the other community, the international community is not paying as much attention this time. Please pass this along to everyone you know – and quickly!

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Uganda-stop-kill-the-gays-bill-NOW/

  36. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 2:07 am |

    gah, in the other COMMENT, not community.

  37. matlun
    matlun February 8, 2012 at 2:20 am |

    The term Arab world is a problematic term in itself as not everyone in the Middle East is Arab in fact far from it.

    On the one hand, it is the dominant culture in the region so for many kinds of generalized analysis the term works well.

    On the other hand, I did mention Iran so you do have a point.

    That being said, I definitely think American evangelicals have been hugely influencial in galvanizing anti-gay sentiment in Uganda. And I think that’s completely disgusting.

    Of course it is disgusting. We are talking about homophobic religious extremists.

    Still, homophobia has been rampant in Uganda for a while now, so blaming this on outside influence does not seem convincing to me. But sure, I am not any great expert on the situation and I may be wrong.

  38. Norma
    Norma February 8, 2012 at 8:44 am |

    Any discussion of any African country so quickly turns to “that whole country/culture/continent is backwards.” Ditto discussions of Muslims.

    If you’re going to make a sweeping generalizations about places and people you’re not familiar with, please support them.

    There’s already plenty of poison floating around in those cultures,

    Which cultures? What is the poison? What points in time are you referring to?

    Well, 12% of the population of Uganda is Muslim, which just for comparison’s sake is a higher percentage of Muslims than any country in the entire Western Hempishere has except Suriname.

    There are almost 2 billion Muslims in the world, and the vast majority are not Arabs. East Africa’s Muslims are ethnically diverse. It’s bizarre to suggest that Ugandan Muslims are equivalent to Saudi Arabian Muslims.

    Still, homophobia has been rampant in Uganda for a while now

    What’s “for a while now”?

  39. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 9:08 am |

    So, the BBC is reporting that amendments have been made on the original bill, but this is incorrect. No changes have been made at this point. The original bill – including death penalty and life imprisonment – was read in Parliament yesterday.

    http://wthrockmorton.com/2012/02/08/ugandan-mps-cheer-introduction-of-anti-gay-bill/

  40. Norma
    Norma February 8, 2012 at 9:10 am |

    Thanks for this discussion and the links, Kristin.

    It’s already what people believe. … It’s not going to go well if the US announces a punitive policy aimed at Uganda to the world.

    Yes, I completely agree. I think that US/European governments and NGOs mess this up constantly. Announcing that aid recipient countries are backwards and need to be “taught” human rights is a really quick way to make local fringe conservatives more popular.

    But I think a main thing would be to defer to activist groups in Uganda and what they are saying.

    I guess that’s where I’m stumped here. Aside from providing financial support, it’s tricky to know in this situation how to support local organizations in a way that doesn’t put anybody at risk or co-opt (and mess up) the work of other people. This is especially hard when LGBTI activists in Uganda aren’t/can’t be online.

    Amnesty is publicizing this, although not offering any ideas for action: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/uganda-anti-homosexuality-bill-2012-02-07

    It’s worth noting, as the Amnesty article states, that this bill is *totally* unconstitutional…

  41. William
    William February 8, 2012 at 9:14 am |

    Which cultures? What is the poison? What points in time are you referring to?

    I don’t know what LotusBen was referring to, but I’ll step on up. The poison is the repulsive influence of violent monotheism.

    It’s bizarre to suggest that Ugandan Muslims are equivalent to Saudi Arabian Muslims.

    Absolutely diverse. Rick Santorum and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad don’t have much in common either, though. Except…you know…faith in a brutal god, adherence to a text which advocates violence against those who sin against that god, a virulent hatred for nonbelievers, and a starry eyed love for a cultural history in which no torture was too extreme for those filthy sinners. Other than that, though, totally different. Unfair to paint them with same brush, really.

  42. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 10:38 am |

    In case you haven’t read it, here’s the text of the original bill, the one that is still on the table:

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2009/10/15/15609

    Despite what the BBC has reported, contacts in the Parliament report that no changes have been made. Death penalty is still on the table. Unbelievable that this kind of thing happens in mainstream media… Box Turtle Bulletin has the history – apparently, the BBC has gotten it wrong on this story in the past:

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2009/12/10/17754

    But despite what supporters like David Bahati have been saying to appease international critics – “The death penalty will likely be removed in committee” – no changes have been made. The bill read yesterday – greeted with cheers and a standing ovation by MPs in both parties – is the one linked above.

  43. matlun
    matlun February 8, 2012 at 10:56 am |

    @Norma [Regarding the history of homophobia in Uganda]

    What’s “for a while now”?

    The reason for this rather unclear phrasing was that I do not know the local history that well and can not say how far back in time this goes with any precision.

    Some analysis I have seen trace the roots back to the time when it was a British protectorate which would mean perhaps since the late 19th or the beginning of the 20th century.

    Others put more emphasis on the post colonial era when homosexuality became to be seen as part of western cultural influence.

    I simply do not know enough to say which interpretation is correct, but severe homophobia in Uganda significantly pre-dates the bill discussed here.

    Perhaps this wiki page might be interesting?

  44. Norma
    Norma February 8, 2012 at 11:14 am |

    Kristin, thought you might like this article: http://www.intlawgrrls.com/2012/02/what-western-gay-rights-agenda.html

  45. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar February 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

    I’m confused. If what Ugandan activists say they need is diplomatic support that doesn’t threaten aid, I would think a speech in support of GLBT rights is just that. If this bill is gaining strength based on Clinton’s speech, what else is there? Non-public urging with no actual threat to back it up? Or a targeted quid-pro-quo specific to military aid, made privately so as not to cause the Ugandan government public loss of face?

  46. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm |

    Or a targeted quid-pro-quo specific to military aid, made privately so as not to cause the Ugandan government public loss of face?

    I think this wold be best but I don’t think it will happen. Uganda is *our* favorite corrupt region in East Africa. I mean, I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that Clinton shouldn’t have made the speech. The speech didn’t explicitly call out Uganda. What I’m saying is that Clinton’s speech galvanized the MPs. I don’t think it has galvanized the public much more than they were already galvanized, at least not in the way that revoking food aid would. I would expect a drastic increase in killings of LGBT people if food aid was taken. LGBT pepole say they would be blamed for that. And I don’t think there is any perfect or innocent strategy, but I do think something has to be done.

  47. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm |

    I think revoking military aid wold be best but I don’t think it will happen. Uganda is *our* favorite autocrat in East Africa. I mean, I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that Clinton shouldn’t have made the speech. The speech didn’t explicitly call out Uganda. What I’m saying is that Clinton’s speech galvanized the MPs. I don’t think it has galvanized the public much more than they were already galvanized, at least not in the way that revoking food aid would. I would expect a drastic increase in killings of LGBT people if food aid was taken. LGBT pepole say they would be blamed for that. And I don’t think there is any perfect or innocent strategy, but I do think something has to be done.

  48. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 3:01 pm |

    Some analysis I have seen trace the roots back to the time when it was a British protectorate which would mean perhaps since the late 19th or the beginning of the 20th century.

    Others put more emphasis on the post colonial era when homosexuality became to be seen as part of western cultural influence.

    Both of these are part of it, yes. But also… We shouldn’t labor under the impression that Uganda was an egalitarian wonderland of justice and peace before colonialism. The effect that British colonialism often had was to increase the entrenchment of social hatreds in Africa. It isn’t that the British created homophobia that was never there before. The British just made it worse, in the same way that the Belgians made Hutu-Tutsi conflict worse in Rwanda. Colonialism played a crucial role here, but I think suggesting that Ugandans bear none of the responsibility is a very “Noble Savage” sort of false construct. This was in Uganda before colonialism, and romanticizing every postcolonial person is unhelpful/racist. (Not accusing you of this, but it is important to put it out there.)

    BUT I want to be very clear, I do not approach “culture” as if it is a static, unchanging entity that describes the essence of anyone. The Ugandan MPs are insisting that this has nothing to do with US evangelicals (patently untrue) and also that it is rooted in “African culture” (also untrue, at least in such simplistic terms). They’re suggesting that this is justified because it reflects the views and beliefs of all Africans/Ugandans. That doesn’t make it “okay.”

    On one hand, I want to prevent this discussion from turning into the demonization of Africans, as so often happens in Western feminist discussions of FGM. On the other, yes, Ugandans are doing this. They are. And they’re not only doing this, but consulting with leaders throughout Africa to promote similar legislation. To name a few of these countries: Nigeria (bill already passed there – recently – also, it does NOT include the death penalty, as people keep saying), Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, and others. David Bahati brags about his role in spreading this throughout Africa.

    I mean, I generally don’t think any one factor “causes” something like this. I think many historical forces collude to create environments in which this sort of thing can happen.

    Incidentally, and I’m not sure why this is (and I lived in a Lusophone country) – people from the Lusophone countries are speaking out more about this than those from other countries I’ve seen. There is loads of coverage and condemnation in African Portuguese-language media. I think maybe it’s partly their close relationship with Brazil and the fact that the largest countries (Mozambique and Angola) are so close to South Africa. Maybe.

  49. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

    Also, the point could be made that, while no colonial power was “better” than any other, they were were always really different in kind. The English colonizers in Africa made racial segregation, white supremacy, homophobia and hatred of women implicit matters of state governance. They governed more directly than the other countries, but they also built infrastructure. That’s why so many of the English-speaking countries (Botswana, Zimbabwe before Mugabe declined) had a bit of an advantage over some of the others.

    By contrast, the French and Portuguese colonizers governed from more of a distance. They were guilty of more brutality and killings, but then… They also didn’t enforce the strict segregation that the English (and often Belgians) did. I’m sure that has something to do with it, along with geopolitical context… And possibly also that Angola and Mozambique are just so war-weary and wary of violence a lot of the time. I mean, every Mozambican I ever met was horrified to know that the US still practices the death penalty, for example. So, peace and non-violence have pretty major social currency there. They brag about their guns-for-food growing programs to get weapons out of the country, for example.

  50. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm |

    Ah, what I meant was that Zimbabwe and Botswana had an economic/infrastructure advantage after decolonization.

  51. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

    Norma: The cultures I was referring to are, respectively, the cultures of Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC. Thanks to the Rwandan genocide, which was largely the fault of colonialist policies, and a refusal by said colonial powers to ensure that a peaceful transition could take place when they were granted independence, the whole region’s just a toxic stew of rage. The people who get hit by the rage are anyone who’s not a straight adult man, and all three countries ignore the real cause of their problems, preferring to make life hell for their own citizens. Uganda’s hopelessly Christian, Rwanda’s a country held together by duct tape, and the DRC is home to rampaging militias.
    I find it hard to believe that Ugandans and Americans still find value in the words of white Christians when white Christians wrecked their country the first time around. Apparently no one studies history anymore. I prefer the old time religions- at least they were honest about sacrificing people. Christianity still performs human sacrifices, but Christians don’t want to acknowledge it.

  52. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm |

    Politicalguineapig: Right, but also structural adjustment and extreme poverty are just as important as factors in collective rage as colonial memory.

  53. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm |

    This is where to contact the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:

    http://www.ohchr.org/en/aboutus/pages/contactus.aspx

    I’ve been helping someone put together more links, so I’ll post that here shortly.

  54. Kathy Ashley
    Kathy Ashley February 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm |

    I’m shocked, I could never think that people can be executed for being gays in the 21t century. It’s so inhumane! But I don’t think that pressure from the USA can change the situation much as it is perhaps the attitude of the majority in the society which leads to such dreadful decisions.

  55. LotusBen
    LotusBen February 8, 2012 at 6:23 pm |

    Wow Kristin. . .thank you so much for your very detailed and illuminating follow-up posts on this thread. I am really learning a lot. Just signed the petition as well. Hope people can stop this.

  56. Norma
    Norma February 9, 2012 at 4:25 am |

    a virulent hatred for nonbelievers

    This is bullshit. You equate all of the Muslim (and Christian) world with its most extreme, power-hungry fanatics. Have you met a single Muslim woman or man who hates you because you’re a nonbeliever? Have you even spoken to a Ugandan Muslim, or a Saudi Arabian Muslim? You’re engaging in exactly the same kind of extreme, degrading stereotyping that you’re saying religious people do about the non-religious.

    God I get sick of the dehumanizing “they’re religious, so they’re all backward/stupid/hateful/violent” shit that happens every time a post discusses the rights of women in a religious community. Human rights are not just for liberal Western atheists.

  57. William
    William February 9, 2012 at 9:50 am |

    Have you met a single Muslim woman or man who hates you because you’re a nonbeliever?

    No, but there are countries to which I will never travel because openly practicing my faith would be a crime. Not unsafe because of a bigot here or there, but a crime punishable by corporal punishment or death. We ain’t all people of the book, you know.

    Still, its a fair question. At the end of the day, though, I know that the roots of monotheism teach that I am at best dangerously deceived and at worst downright evil. I know that at the core of monotheism is the belief that I exist in opposition to the will of god. I know that the names of their prophets and saints have been used to justify the murder of people like me as well as the murders of people merely accused of being like me. The burden, as far as I am concerned, is on Christians and Muslims to prove that they have transcended their faiths.

    Have you even spoken to a Ugandan Muslim, or a Saudi Arabian Muslim?

    Uganda is primarily a Christian nation. Nevertheless the only person from Uganda who I have personally known was a Christian. He was a doctor. Kind and brilliant. I once sat next to a patient as he told them that they would go to hell if they didn’t stop being a “sodomite.” They had shown up in the clinic looking for psychiatric care for PTSD after an assault that was very likely due to their gender presentation and sexual orientation. When I brought it up to my boss I found out that this wasn’t even unusual.

    I’ve known quite a few Saudis. My experience has been that they’ve generally been fine people. I avoid discussions of religion and keep much to myself, though, for the same reason I do so around observant Christians.

    You equate all of the Muslim (and Christian) world with its most extreme, power-hungry fanatics

    Yes, yes I do. Both have had well over a thousand years to clean their houses, both have failed to do so, both continue to produce murderers and tyrants. Both exist as dominant world religions because they slaughtered their way into the position. We gave up on communism and fascism after less than a century of that kind of failure. Abraham’s wolves don’t get an exception because they come with eschatology.

    You’re engaging in exactly the same kind of extreme, degrading stereotyping that you’re saying religious people do about the non-religious.

    If you go back and read a little more closely, you’ll note that I was talking about leaders. Individuals believers concern me only so far as the violent bastards they allow to be their mouthpieces. As far as I’m concerned not standing up is approval.

    God I get sick of the dehumanizing “they’re religious, so they’re all backward/stupid/hateful/violent” shit that happens every time a post discusses the rights of women in a religious community. Human rights are not just for liberal Western atheists.

    I get pretty sick of the assumption that I must not be religious because I’ve little respect and less patience for monotheists and their consistently appalling and anti-human behavior. Interesting stereotyping you’ve got there as you whinge about stereotyping. Also interesting how you’ve quietly recast a discussion about the state sanctioned murder to LGBT people in the name of a cruel and hateful god as “the rights of women in a religious community.”

    But, you know, you’re right about human rights not just being for white liberal atheists. Who was it again, though, who seems to always be standing against human rights?

  58. Uganda and the “Kill the Gays” bill | Anarchist Reverend

    […] This is another article about the bill. The comments also provide other ways to get involved. […]

  59. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 9, 2012 at 10:13 am |

    Thing is, Christians, at least, absolutely despise non-believers and anyone who’s not male. I’m a sort of agnostic, unchurched Christian, and I will not be joining a church any time soon because I can’t hate myself, or anyone, as much as God wants me to.
    I can’t speak for Muslims; I’ve met very reasonable ones, though I try to avoid speaking to Muslim men, as talking to an unveiled women will cause them physical pain.

  60. Angel H.
    Angel H. February 9, 2012 at 10:25 am |

    God I get sick of the dehumanizing “they’re religious, so they’re all backward/stupid/hateful/violent” shit that happens every time a post discusses the rights of women in a religious community. Human rights are not just for liberal Western atheists.

    THANK YOU!

  61. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm |

    First, here is a post from a pastor friend of mine. He put together all the links I was throwing at him yesterday about how to donate money and who to contact at the State Department, White House and UN. It was not super easy to find all this. So thanks to @anarchistrev for taking the time, and do pass this around. His blog is excellent, by the way, with LGBTQ issues:

    http://anarchistreverend.com/2012/02/uganda/

    God I get sick of the dehumanizing “they’re religious, so they’re all backward/stupid/hateful/violent” shit that happens every time a post discusses the rights of women in a religious community. Human rights are not just for liberal Western atheists.

    Thanks for saying this. I don’t appreciate it either, but I’ve been trying to ignore derails and stay on-point. But thank you anyway. You’re exactly right – the kinds of Christians who show up on Right Wing Watch do not represent even a majority of Christians in the United States, let alone worldwide. But they are the most vocal and politicized and since they are doing so much damage AND Christianity is the dominant religion in the US, I may go too far in giving people a pas on this issue.

    All that said, I do think the effects of Christian missionaries in Uganda and throughout Africa from the colonial period to the present have been pretty awful. I do hold them at least partly responsible for what is happening here. In my time in Mozambique, I had plenty of awful run-ins with the very kinds of missionaries who promote hatred and stuff… I found and confronted one for referring to the “darkness on this continent” (yeah, really) at one point, and she stopped me and said, “Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal lord and savior?”

  62. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

    Norma – And yes, I agree, not fair to paint any religions – not least the three Abrahamic ones – with a broad brush. I get especially annoyed when I hear lefty people do that *expressly* regarding Islam because I think racism and xenophobia are a big part of it. I’m less likely to say something if people are mainly trashing Christianity, just because it’s so dominant in the West…

  63. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm |

    Thing is, Christians, at least, absolutely despise non-believers and anyone who’s not male. I’m a sort of agnostic, unchurched Christian, and I will not be joining a church any time soon because I can’t hate myself, or anyone, as much as God wants me to.
    I can’t speak for Muslims; I’ve met very reasonable ones, though I try to avoid speaking to Muslim men, as talking to an unveiled women will cause them physical pain.

    First, I don’t begrudge anyone anger at the religion that caused them trauma growing up. This is pretty much why I don’t go to church either, as a “Christian-ish” agnostic.

    Second, just no. Please take bigotry against Muslims out of this thread.

  64. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm |

    So, it’s much more unsettling to see and hear the Ugandan Parliament erupt in cheers at the bill’s reading. This is a really chilling video. So, trigger warning if it applies:

  65. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm |

    It starts around :40.

  66. Esti
    Esti February 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm |

    Kristin, I understand that you have particular sensitivity to bigoted statements about Muslims, and I absolutely agree that in light of the racism and xenophobia anti-Muslim sentiment is rooted in, it’s important to be especially vigilant about calling that shit out.

    That being said, when someone makes equally unfounded, bigoted statements about Christians and Muslims in a single comment and you validate their anti-Christian statement while calling out their anti-Muslim statement, it’s pretty problematic. People reacting to their own trauma with a religion is one thing (I, for the record, am a lapsed Catholic who has serious problems with many of the things the Church, and some of its followers, do in the name of their religion). But this:

    Christians, at least, absolutely despise non-believers and anyone who’s not male.

    Is every bit as much of a sweeping, hateful generalization as the statement you took issue with. There is absolutely no reason we should tolerate this shit because it’s directed at a (small sub-section of a) group (of more than a billion very diverse people) that is (usually) a privileged class within (some parts of) the U.S.

  67. Angel H.
    Angel H. February 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm |

    But this:

    Christians, at least, absolutely despise non-believers and anyone who’s not male.

    Is every bit as much of a sweeping, hateful generalization as the statement you took issue with. There is absolutely no reason we should tolerate this shit because it’s directed at a (small sub-section of a) group (of more than a billion very diverse people) that is (usually) a privileged class within (some parts of) the U.S.

    Esti, as a Christian, I did take offense to what Politicalguineapig said. But I have to remember that, in spite of the other ways in which I am oppressed, I do have religious privilege as a Christian, so I try not to take such things personally.

  68. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm |

    You seem not to have seen my long comment up there. What I object to wrt Christianity is New Atheist “religious people are stupid/backward” type sentiment. I don’t see that in what politicalguineapig said.

    It’s my impression that that statement about Christianity came out of past experiences in the church. Look, I know people who’ve been through horrific things… Had their lives destroyed, really, in the Quiverfull movement. I know people whose church TAUGHT that Christianity was like imprisonment, that God was this evil, hateful, punitive being. I know the kinds of people who support Uganda’s bill. I know people whose parents sexually abused them who were taken out of school, homeschooled and forced to wear floor length dresses every day and head coverings and everything for “modesty’s” sake. I know women (and a few men) who were not allowed to attend college or even get their GED after the homeschool graduation. This was women in particular, because they would never “work outside the home.” The last time I sat in a church was many years ago, when I attended to be “gracious” to the family I was staying with (I was overnight at the home of some family friends, now Quiverfull, who have always been nice and kind to me personally – people don’t hate you when they know you) – and the preacher devoted the whole of Easter Sunday to talking about a woman in the church who had kicked her 16 year old son out of the home because he told her he was gay. The whole sermon was devoted to congratulating her on “turning her son over to Satan,” and there was no mention of redemption or grace or anything at all that Easter.

    I think with a lot of people who didn’t necessarily grow up in clergy families or extremely religious families… Well, most of you think Focus on the Family, the Left Behind books and Phyllis Schlafly are the most extreme of Christians. And the fact is, as objectionable as they are, they’er not the worst, not by a long shot. They’re more or less the “mainstream” version of fundamentalism. And Beck and Hannity are not the most dangerous media types they listen to either. Anything on TV (or formerly on TV) is considered somewhat “worldly,” and anyway, Beck’s Mormonism is never trusted. The worst of the worst talk radio is what they mostly listen to. People who’ve never encountered this or been *very* close to it have no idea.

    So, when this is the dominant religion in this country, and it is established that a sizable and very LOUD contingent operates this way, fuck no, I’m not going to get offended. I know how bad it can be, and I’m not judging anyone for how they respond to it. That said, could we please end this derail?

  69. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm |

    I wrote a long reply, currently in mod.

  70. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

    So, notwithstanding my longer comment in the mod queue, my basic sentiment is “what Angel H. said.” My biggest problem with any of this is the New Atheist folks who like to presume that “all religious people are stupid and backward.” The people who do this are very rarely from the South, and have no bloody clue what progressive religion has meant to liberation struggles here. If you grew up the generation that came after the Civil Rights movement, you’re wise enough not to say that shit.

    That said, I’d like to stop from becoming a further derail that takes away from what I’ve been trying to do, which is put all the links about this Uganda thing in the thread so they’re available in one place. And also discuss this particular issue.

  71. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm |

    Oh, and also? Regarding Christianity in particular: Along with the LGBT organizations in North Carolina, it’s the NAACP – helmed by a Disciples of Christ pastor – that is LEADING the fight against an anti-gay legislation here in North Carolina that would outlaw marriage but go much further than that (preventing companies from extending benefits to same-sex partners, for example). Also? They’re stepping to fight restrictions on birth control and abortion. Most members are Christians. So, no, of course I don’t share politicalguineapig’s sentiment. I just think I understand something about where it comes from (as elaborated in the longer post in mod queue). And I think I have a sense of where my state would be now if not for progressive Christians who are still doing out of fashion things like going to jail for civil disobedience. So.

  72. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

    (also, yeah, I know that I too participated in that derail… Just… I would prefer not to have a showdown between New Atheists and theists here, or have that become what this thread is about.)

  73. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm |

    …not that any of you identify as either New Atheist or theist. I have no idea. That said, it happens often online, and I want it not to happen in this case because what we were talking about is too important.

  74. Kristin Rawls
    Kristin Rawls February 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

    So, another thing: Human rights abuses are a huge problem in Uganda all around. Some Ugandans I’m hearing from – as well as journalists based in the area – are frustrated that international outrage only seems to happen with the Kill-the-Gays bill. They point to incidents in which protests against not paying teachers, for example, get people openly shot in the streets. They also note that the government commits systematic torture.

    Particularly important, LGBTQ groups in Uganda say they see their liberation as bound up with all the other struggles against injustice that happen in Uganda.

    I’ve seen a lot of frustration along the lines of: “Why don’t America and the UN and Amnesty ever get involved with human rights abuses that affect all Ugandans? Why do we only hear about Uganda in the international press when this bill comes back?” The other thing is, every time it’s been introduced, it’s served as a major distraction from some really awful thing the government has just done. They say the MPs and President are using it for that. In this case, the latest corrupt moves are: The government has just allotted $44,000 (I think per year) as a car allowance for each member of parliament. This is in a country where a third of the population lives well below the global poverty rate. Also, the government is about to make a huge land grab, taking land and homes from thousands of people who have lived there all their lives. And people are understandably cynical, thinking that President Museveni might step in last minute to stop this thing and play the hero so he can deflect attention to the other corruption and violence that’s happening. They think the government is using this to distract Ugandans in general, as well as the international community, from protesting all the other terrible things they’re doing. And they say they want solidarity and support against all human rights abuse in Uganda, not just this.

    These are important points. Also, people say they’re not defending the bill, or that the different struggles are mutually exclusive. They just want more consistent solidarity in protests. To me, it makes sense to specifically organize around this issue for now, because it could be passed as soon as two weeks from this past Tuesday, but that the international community does need to broaden its scope. And because American citizens are so directly complicit in what is happening with it.

    The thing is, our mainstream LGBT groups have never been so great at holding multiple oppressions all at once, let alone talking about class disparity. I think that’s part of the reason this is happening. I think this is kind of a longstanding critique of such groups anyway. And I agree – it’s important to examine what else the government is doing while we’re all focused on this bill.

  75. j.
    j. February 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

    Oh, those evil “New Atheist” folks who insist that people actually base their worldviews on facts, rather than bullshit.

    I agree with PGP. Missionaries SHOULD be shot on sight. And William’s comments about Abrahamic religions are right on target. But, then, I expect whining from the butthurt theist contingent.

  76. Mztress
    Mztress February 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm |

    That actually brought tears to my eyes. I immediately thought: “They can’t do this. No fucking way. We all live in the 21st century…right?”

    The oppression was so complete; there was no respite from it. Relatives, friends, and strangers have to report LGBT people on threat of fines and imprisonment.

    I’m speechless. What has the world come to?

  77. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm |

    Kristin: I’m not bigoted. I am just aware that talking to unveiled women makes most Muslim men (especially immigrants) uncomfortable, so I try to avoid it. It’s like saying dogs make Muslims uncomfortable- true, and an attempt to recognize cultural sensitivities so one doesn’t accidentally tromp all over them.
    That said, those NAACP people you were talking about must be working from a different understanding of Christianity then 99% of US Christians. I admire their courage, and I wish them luck in holding their untenable beliefs together.
    For the record, I’m not really an atheist. I believe God exists and that he hates me, all thinking people, any woman who takes birth control and doesn’t want to be confined to the home and anyone who’s not straight and/or cis. That’s why I refuse to go to church or pray.

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