U.S. Rightwing Evangelicals Stoke Antigay Hatred in Africa
In March 2008, U.S. evangelical leader Rick Warren told Ugandans that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right. One year later, U.S. conservative evangelical and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively (a resident of Massachusetts) addressed the Family Life Network and Ugandan members of Parliament in March 2009, saying legalizing homosexuality is akin to legalizing “the molestation of children or having sex with animals.”
That March meeting launched a campaign that has led directly to today, when the Ugandan legislature is debating an anti-gay bill that would lead to life imprisonment for gay sex, and death for those having same sex relations if they are HIV positive or having sex with someone under 18. Heterosexuals would have no such restrictions. This law, which would also criminalize any human rights organizing for LGBT rights, could be passed any day.
Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia who just completed a report for Political Research Associates on the influence of U.S. evangelicals on African gay politics calls on Rick Warren to denounce the antigay legislation proposed in Uganda and challenge his friends like Archbishop Henry Orombi and Pastor Martin Sempa who are leading the charge.
“Rick Warren shows one face in the United States where he says he loves gays, and another face in Africa, which is on the verge of pogroms against this community,” said Reverend Kaoma. “We need to hear his voice loud and clear on this issue that gays and lesbians are entitled to full human rights.”
“Anti-gay activists here in the U.S. have used vitriol and money to entice their African counterparts to campaign against ordination of gay clergy in the Episcopal and other U.S. mainline churches,” said Tarso Luís Ramos, PRA’s executive director. “They have also exported the U.S. culture wars, fomenting particularly severe forms of homophobia in Uganda and other African countries whose sexual minorities are now the collateral damage to our domestic conflicts.”
In mid-November, Political Research Associates is releasing the results of Kaoma’s year-long investigation into U.S. right-wing evangelicals’ outreach in Africa and related efforts to destabilize mainline Protestant denominations and their LGBT rights programs and policies in the United States. Kaoma’s investigation required extensive travel, including to Uganda for the notorious Family Life Network conference.