Source: The Times
By Ruth Gledhill
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has been criticised widely for failing to speak out against the new anti-gay law in Uganda that could see some homosexuals being executed. But there is method in his silence. Today, Lambeth Palace told me: 'It has been made clear to us, as indeed to others, that attempts to publicly influence either the local church or political opinion in Uganda would be divisive and counter productive. Our contacts, at both national and diocesan level, with the local church will therefore remain intensive but private.'
In fact, we can take for granted that Dr Williams is against the draconian new law. But speaking out publicly to this effect could indeed, as he says, have the opposite effect to that intended. It would almost certainly be seen as white-led colonialism of the worst possible kind, as a misguided attempt to impose western liberal values upon traditional African culture. It would not help the local Anglican Church, which has yet to come out on either side. But we can assume that the word 'intensive' in his statement today indicates that he is as distressed as the 2,000 who have signed a petition against it.
Here is some of what is being said in the blogosphere.
Unthinking Anglicans take Dr Williams' possible argument to one logical conclusion. 'It would be appalling if Uganda were to be infected with the liberal values of the decadent West. It is far better to allow our African brethren to engage in the Christian virtues of witchcraft, child sacrifice and wizardry. By interfering in Uganda's internal affairs, ++Rowan might be seen as promoting those horrible liberal values which have split the Anglican Communion.'
'The proposed law is odious. Due to the legacy of colonialism, Western people should be sensitive about interfering in sub-Saharan African politics and modest in making moral pronouncements regarding Africa, but this law deserves universal condemnation. Uganda experienced many evils under colonialism, including the loss of basic liberties.Experiencing evil does not give a free pass to do evil and this bill is wicked.
So, what does it mean for me? Well, I can understand why my people have become more and more homophobic over the last five years or so. Homosexuality is not new in the country. What is new is the current level of hysterical homophobia. I was talking to a Tanzanian friend who was suprised at what is happening here. Homosexuality is something that happens in Tanzania. No one asks, no one talks. It is a fact of life.
Uganda is sanctioning gay genocide
Think Adolf Hitler, Think Pink Triangles to mark out homosexuals before their extermination in the death camps. Think of someone's son, daughter, mother, father, brother, nephew, niece. This is another legalised holocaust, and this time the good old USA is behind it with its fundamentalist pseudo-christian halfwits.
Visitors to Uganda have rarely been starved of sex if they have wanted it. But there are limitations. The country’s mix of vigorous heterosexuality and religiosity have made it one of Africa’s more homophobic places. Now, say advocates of sexual freedom, a proposed new law against homosexuals will push Uganda back into a grim kind of Victorian age, Africa-style.
To add to this list of humanitarian atrocities is the newly proposed ‘Anti-Homosexuality’ Bill, which would sentence “aggravated homosexuals” to death, and in an Orwellian move; punish all those who don’t tell the authorities of the known existence of a homosexual within 24 hours, to three years imprisonment. But the 1984 comparisons don’t stop there, after defining the “crime of homosexuality,” (which is sexual contact between two people of the same sex, oral, anal, with toys, or otherwise) the bill goes on to include the “touching of another person with the intention of committing homosexuality,” – a thought crime.LGBTI Uganda
We know that sexual orientation is not changeable. We are homosexuals and cannot change. In the same way, we cannot change heterosexuals into homosexuals. We cannot recruit. WE CANNOT, DO NOT, HAVE NEVER, AND WILL NEVER ‘recruit’. We can only deduce that those leveling these claims aim to inflame the population against us, a minority group. The allegation that we receive huge amounts of money for so called ‘recruitment’ services is simply ridiculous. We do not receive any money for ‘recruitment’. It is absurd that some assume we would be paid to do something impossible.” is quite clear that this issue of state-sponsored homophobia has been building up for years, and now it is finally out of the bag,” Mr. Michael Cashman MEP told UK Gay News.
Thinking Anglicans has more links.
There are many groups on social networking sites rallying protest against the bill, one with 6,500 members. Also on Facebook, Susan Russell notes that every person who was in her church last Sunday would face imprisonment under the bill.
'Supporters of the bill argue that confining homosexuals to an environment in which they will eat, sleep, and shower daily with only members of the same sex, supervised by authoritative guards with well-toned bodies in striking uniforms, is clearly the best way to rehabilitate homosexual tendencies.
'However, this measure goes to even greater extremes than mere confinement of homosexuals.
'People in a position of leadership who become aware of such acts will have 24 hours to inform police, or face three years picking up soap with their toes themselves.
'Even more shocking, acts of 'aggravated homosexuality' will earn the death penalty. Now it is alleged that those moral paragons who brought us prostitution for Jesus not only support the bill, but are the authors of the measure. David Bahati, the Ugandan MP who introduced the legislation, is reported to be a member of The Family, The Children of God, The Family International, The Fellowship or whatever they happen to be calling themselves this week. For our purposes, let’s just call them The Cult. According to author Jeff Sharlet, who lived among them 7 years ago, The Cult has also funneled millions of dollars into Uganda, and prominent Cult members, such as U.S. Senator James Inhofe, have actively recruited leadership in that nation. To anyone familiar with The Cult’s beliefs, their involvement in the matter will hardly come as a surprise. According to this radical brand of Christianity, even THINKING of homosexual acts is just plain wrong... unless you’re thinking of sex with Jesus, and you pretend you’re female. If you're a woman who enjoys a bit of girl-on-girl, that's also okay, so long as you don’t practice lesbian sex to the total exclusion of penis.'
Thank you to Sarah Hajibagheri, on work experience at The Times, for helping compile the links in this post.