Article from my bloghttp://gayambassador.blogspot.com/2010/06/oooooopswe-meant-you-to-cure-them-not.html
Ooooops….we meant you to cure them not kill them
Have you been following the news about Uganda’s Anti-homosexual Bill, currently being pushed through their parliament? If not, just Google Uganda Anti-homosexual Bill and you’ll get 265,000 pages….and growing daily as the world becomes aware of this backward step in Human Rights.
The current law allows authorities to imprison suspected homosexuals and AIDS patients for up to 14 years. The new legislation could make the prison term a life sentence. The practice of “aggravated homosexuality” would allow the authorities to sentence homosexuals to death. Members of the public would be required to report acts of homosexuality within 24 hours. If they fail to do so, they could also be imprisoned for a minimum of three years. It has also been stated that the nation would be prepared to cut ties with other countries and stop any commitments they have with them to allow the new laws to be enforced.
How can such regressive and repressive legislation even be introduced?
Firstly it should be noted that colonialism has a lot to answer for. Outdated laws established by the empire builders still exist in many countries years after thier independence was gained. One of those laws is the so called ‘sodomy laws’ which made any sex (heterosexual or homosexual), except for procreation, illegal and punishable by imprisonment or death. In many parts of the world such as the pacific, India, Caribbean, Bahamas, Jamaica and of course many parts of Africa, laws from the colonial/Victorian era still exist forcing gay and lesbian people to live closeted lives of fear. Australia was the last country in the British Empire to hang a man for a homosexual act (1839). But it wasn’t till 1997 that the oppressive, discriminatory law was totally removed from Australia’s legal system.
Secondly, we know there has been anti-gay promotion by some ‘ex-gay’ leaders and evangelical preachers which has reinforced already negative beliefs and attitudes about gay and lesbian people in Africa. Preachers and leaders from the US have intentionally visited Uganda and other African countries to speak specifically on homosexuality. Their message? Homosexuals are sick, it is a choice and God can cure them. Outrageous and sensationalist claims of conspiracy theories and recruiting young people abound. Funding and materials from US preachers and Christian organisations have been donated to promote this message.
So there we have it. If people continue to preach messages that promote outdated, ignorant beliefs about sexuality, this is how far they can be pushed…..back into the dark ages.
In the US, some faith leaders have realised how damaging their message can be and issued statements and warnings about the proposed Ugandan legislation currently being backed by many Christian groups. The Rev Martin Ssempa being one of the most outspoken and outrageous.
Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International issued this statement which includes ‘First, we believe that sexual crimes against children, homosexual or heterosexual, are the most serious of offenses and should be punished accordingly. Homosexual behaviour in consensual relationships, however, is another matter’. Of course this probably carries little weight when Alan, Randy Thomas and others sign the statement as ‘former homosexuals’. There is no such thing.
Well known author and preacher, Ps Rick Warren, issued this video He told the Ugandan pastors that the bill was “unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals.” The bill’s requirement that Ugandans report any meeting with homosexuals to authorities, he said, would hinder the ministry of the church and force homosexuals who are HIV positive underground. He added, “I oppose the criminalization of homosexuality.”
Pentecostal preacher Joyce Meyer issued a statement saying “It is increasingly evident that the proposed “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” introduced in the Ugandan parliament is a profoundly offensive, dangerous and disturbing attack on the very foundation of individual liberties and human rights afforded not only to the good citizens of Uganda, but on the at-large global community”.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has made his first public statement on the proposed anti-gay bill passing through Uganda’s parliament stating “Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers.”
Ps Rob Buckingham of Bayside Church, a Pentecostal church in Melbourne, Australia said: This legislation is the result of the teaching of “unchristian” Christians and clearly shows that the only thing we learn from history is that we learn very little from history. I’m thrilled that Joyce Meyer and Rick Warren have spoken out so clearly. I’m very aware that my voice is in no way as loud as theirs, but that is no reason to remain silent.
The Bible says, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” This Bill flies in the face of the Royal Law and favours straight people over gay. This legislation breaks God’s Law and no Christian should support it”.
Even the Vatican, which does not have a good record of tolerance or acceptance of homosexual people at an official level, has said “The Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The Holy See also opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person.”
One wonders whether this is all too late now the horse has bolted. Some Ugandan Christians already believe that God has called them to take a stand on this issue and turn the tide of western ‘moral decay’. If this bill is passed, and gay and lesbian people are imprisoned or die we know who the guilty ones are…..and silence is complicity.
It’s time for those lagging behind in the western Christian church, to wake up and realise that homosexuality is not an illness, choice or sin; it’s an orientation. To preach anything else is not only ignorant, it’s dangerous.
See the Documentary Missionaries of Hate here http://www.freedom2b.org/topic/931
If you want to add your voice or be involved in creating awareness about this issue please email me [email protected]