The Ugandan Anti-Gay Movement – An Analysis of Evangelical Christian Ethics

As reported in Harper's magazine and The New York Times, the world is reeling from political processes taking place in Uganda-specifically the persecution of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) peoples. The anti-gay movement has strengthened over the last year, creating a rift between humanity and piousness. Uganda's parliament passed a formal ban on LGBT practices-known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill-and, through the creation of a witch trial-type tableau, also forces citizens to turn in any known offender (aka – homosexuals). In addition, the law is just one particular implemented for the persecution of LGBT peoples; If a person is not arrested first, they may be subjected to beatingings, harassment, lynching, or even "corrective rape" by a mob of the law's supporters. Either way, the Ugandan parliament has made it abundantly clear that the LGBT community is not welcome. LGBT groups are also given the same treatment in some Islamic countries, with the slight difference being that Uganda is populated by Evangelical Christians. But which came first? The religious zeal or the hatred? The chicken or the egg? According to the many articles relating to the atrocities, both happened almost simultaneously. In Jeff Sharlett's article "Straight Man's Burden," he points to the highly influential evangelicals' spreading of a hateful message against gays, asserting that gays and lesbians can be cured through faith. In the New York Times article "Americans' Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push," Ugandans in reputable positions

Listed raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how "the gay movement is an evil institution" whose goal is "to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity" ( Gettleman).

Among these experts were Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge (a "cured" ex-gay man), and Don Schmeirer-all of who admonished homosexual practices, supporting their claim that homosexuality destroys the family and marriage and also puts children in harm's way.

What we have seen in Uganda since its passage of the anti-gay legislation on October 14, 2009, is a reflection of American conservative insurrection in the US As Sharlet mentions, "American financialists have looked on Uganda as a laboratory for theocracy, though most Prefer such terms as 'government led by God.' … It is a classic financialist maneuver: move a fight you can not win in the center to the margins, then broadcast the results back home "(Sharlet). Although these Christian advocates denounce the death penalty for gays, they do instead support a "cure." But does the cure work, or is this another term for brainwashing through social and peer pressure within the evangelical organization? The American Christian fundamentalists that went to Uganda recounted rumors in an hyperbolic fashion in order to shock and awe their dumbstruck audience, the stories related were those relating to the abduction of children into a sex-depraved homosexual groups, forced sodomy, et al. These stories were something similar to the stories I heard as a boy in a Southern Baptist church. The stories are meant to gravitate towards the morally righteous despite offering no significant evidence other than hear-say stories brought to them from anonymous sources. This is one of the roots of the problem within the Christian conservative mentality: unsupported accusations.

At an early age, children lie and try to get themselves out of trouble. Often they fail. But children are also subjected to fantastic tales including the Easter bunny and Santa Claus. Parents sometimes tell their children about hidden fears to keep them from wandering too far off (eg – someone will get you if you do not stay close by). But the fear and anxiety follows children outside of the realm of the fantastic. Adolescents brought into faith are often subjected to the arbitrary morals of Christian fiction. These stories are often equivocal to the Big Bad Wolf waiting to do horrible things to Little Red Riding Hood, but with a dreadfully realistic spin. Stories are often told to refer history or refer a message, and these stories are often altered or changed as they are passed from ear to ear. Stories through human history range from the heroic to the comic, from fictional to realistic. This is a portion of who we are as humans. But civilization and the written word has evolved into a more calculable rhythm. We can not deduce facts from a story without we have an origin. If we claim to be the author of a factual tale, we must pursue evidence then refer specifics until the story is accompanied with tedious details, criticism and trusted sources. Although the effort is scrupulous and separates the unfounded from the truth, it is a trivial labor for most people. The author of fiction has a right to his imagination, consistent truth, altering the laws of physics and muddling facts, but a fact-teller (for lack of better words) must adhere to the same examination that scientists are subjected to. But there are a few story-tellers that have crossed the threshold between the two realms of fact and fiction-incorporating both-with a deceptive agenda. These few Christian Evangelicals skew information transferred to them and produce semi-factual arguments to support their claims; Their pursuit is clear: create a fantastical account to ruin a group or organization deemed unacceptable to their particular brand of merit.

What we see in Uganda is the fringe element of the conservative Christian Evangelical movement. The perpetrators planted a seed of hatred and tempered it with a flavor of exaggeration that outweighs the moral message. These particular zealots are not preaching the Gospel in Uganda; They are spreading reluctance for a particular group of people-reminiscent to that of a Ku Klux Klan rally. Their support in Uganda (no matter their protests against the death penalty for homosexuality) is tacit approval for the violence and rape forced upon lesbians and gays. The American evangelical movement shows lenience for these atrocities by association. Their goal is to circumvavigate science, justice and law with a puppet performance, documenting their psychotic "value" initiative, and their alternate agenda to prove that theocracy is a benefit to the woes of America's governmental framework. Their unchecked, gratuitous anecdotes will continue their scandalous infamy in other nations if it is not first scrutinized by an argument demographic at its source.

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J Langford

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