Apr 2, 2010
Here is an interesting article on the United States christian influences behind the Ugandan “kill the Gays bill”.
During the Bush years, Uganda became a magnet for American evangelicals, a proving ground for their ill-conceived abstinence-only program. One of the evangelicals who grabbed onto Uganda as a vindication of Christian public sex-policy was Rick Warren, head of the Saddleback Church where Obama and McCain held their now-famous campaign debate. He visited the country in 2008 and, in a highly publicized speech, compared homosexuality to pedophilia. Following the theme of his best-selling book, Warren praised Uganda as a “purpose-driven country.” (It should be noted that when the full consequences of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill were publicized in the U.S., Warren made a hasty retreat, insisting that his role had been misunderstood.)
A month before the anti-gay bill was introduced, in March 2009, three American Christian evangelicals participated in a leadership-training conference, “Seminar on Exposing the Homosexual Agenda,” held in Kampala and sponsored by Langa’s Family Life Network. The seminar was called in response to a 2008 Uganda High Court decision that found that it was unconstitutional to discriminate against homosexuals.
The Americas who participated were Scott Lively, founder of Abiding Truth Ministries and editor of “The Pink Swastika,” a work that blames homosexuals for the Holocaust and attempts to link the gay-rights movement to the Nazis; Don Schmierer, a board member of Exodus International and representing the International Healing Ministries who advocates “curing” homosexuals; and Caleb Lee Brundidge, an African-American who describes himself as a former gay man and leads “healing seminars” that “rehabilitate” homosexuals and lesbians.
Brundidge and Lively advocated keeping homosexuality illegal but proposed giving those convicted the choice of prison or undergoing approved “therapy” to cure them of their gayness. Schmierer took a similar line, telling those in attendance that homosexuals could be converted into heterosexuals. (Like Warren, when the full story of the anti-gay bill became public, these artfully dodgers retreated, claiming they were innocent due to ignorance as what was really going on in Uganda.)
However, the anti-gay crusade in Uganda and other parts of English-speaking Africa is led by the ill-named Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), a Washington, DC., neo-con think tank. Its efforts are directed at challenging mainline Protestant denominations like the National Council of Churches over their more liberal positions regarding U.S. domestic and foreign policies. The battle over gay rights has become especially acute, particularly the ordination of gay and lesbian priests, same sex marriage and openly gays attending worship ceremonies. The IRD strongly supports the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
These christian organizations are pushing the completely fraudulent claim that Gay and Lesbian people can be cured of their homosexual lifestyle. Every accredited psychological and medical organization in America states that sexual orientation is fixed at birth and cannot be changed.