Many who have followed the human rights crisis for LGBT people in Uganda know that, in 2009, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced into the Ugandan Parliament to supplement laws that already banned homosexuality. The bill, quickly dubbed the “Kill the Gays” bill because of its provision of a death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” also includes severe penalties for other actions and non-actions, including the “failure to disclose the offense” by anyone who might be aware of another person’s same-sex sexuality. Although the bill has not been yet passed, it has attracted harsh international condemnation, and many attacks on LGBT people and activists have been attributed to the public debates surrounding it.
Last month Uganda’s pious President Museveni delivered a speech in which he dedicated his country to God and renounced “the Satanic influence” of “the last 50 years of history.” Museveni called upon the deity to forgive the nation. Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has taken up the challenge of national repentance by promising passage of the “Kill the Gays” legislation as a “Christmas gift” to the people of Uganda.
Christian conservative leaders in the U.S. are thrilled with what FRC has called an “inspirational moment for the [Ugandan] nation.” FRC President Tony Perkins tweeted a big, warm hug to President Museveni for “leading his nation in repentance” and thus helping to create a “nation prospered by God.” The FRC lavishes praise on Museveni and his government for proclaiming the kind of “faithfulness...that will raise Uganda’s status as a new power in Africa.” Museveni, dictator of Uganda, and aspiring president-for-life, obviously is a favorite of U.S.-based Christian Right leaders. Rick Warren, pastor of California’s Saddleback Church and the author of the bestseller, The Purpose Driven Life , who, in 2008, conferred on Uganda the label of “purpose-driven nation.” In 2009, after first refusing to condemn the proposed anti-gay legislation, Warren capitulated, after initially saying that he didn’t want to interfere in Ugandan politics.
Apologists for the Christian Right often scold political opponents for misunderstanding the goals of Christian conservatives and especially for misrepresenting the movement as having theocratic ambitions in the U.S. However, messages such as the one sent by FRC, lauding Museveni as he dedicates his nation to their idea of God, illuminate Christian conservative leaders’ intense yearning for theocracy in America and, failing that, in states where American Christian conservatives wield some influence. It seems to clarify where America’s foremost Christian public policy and lobbying organization stands: firmly on the side of punishing lesbians, gay men, men who have sex with men, and women who have sex with women, even at the cost of their very lives.
This is certainly bad news for the people of Uganda. The Family Research Council are heaping approval on Museveni’s bid to defy “the West” on “traditional values,” eliminate “sexual immorality,” and rule Uganda according to biblical law.