There’s a bill that has received increased attention from the American news media lately, and it isn’t about health care reform. In fact, it isn’t even a bill in Congress or in any other legislative body in the United States. It’s a bill that is making its way through the National Assembly of Uganda, a country more famously known as the country of Idi Amin and the Lord’s Resistance. The bill would jail gays and lesbians for life, give the death penalty for those gays and lesbians that are HIV positive, and slap a three month jail term on anyone who knows that someone is gay or lesbian and does not report it.
Aside from the blatantly extreme provisions of the bill, the major reason that the Uganda anti-homosexuality bill is getting so much press here is the fact that several Americans have had a major hand in this bill. This includes members of the secret and politically connected “C Street Group,” The Family and Scott Lively, a discredited anti-gay activist who has linked LGBT people with Nazis and has said that “[their] campaign was like a nuclear bomb against the ‘gay’ agenda in Uganda.”
Recently the New York Times ran a story exposing American involvement in this extreme attempt to dehumanize LGBT people. The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC has, for the past few months, also run pieces revealing the extensive involvement and role of these American backers of radicalism in Uganda.
The media spotlight and subsequent grassroots pressure has forced those Americans involved to retract their support for the bill. Many who were instrumental in crafting this bill, have since stated that the bill is too extreme. Even Uganda’s president, who has been helped financially and organizationally by the so-called “Family” group of fundamentalist American politicos, is now urging for the death penalty provision to be stripped from the bill.
Despite these recantations, the underlying situation remains the same. Powerful American fundamentalist Christians (which, I stress, are definitely not representative of Christians as a whole) went to Uganda and helped craft an incredibly homophobic bill that they know could be passed there. Even if they backtrack on the bill, they still hold ownership. It seems they still think that giving all LGBT people life in prison is just fine.
The next time some fundamentalist conservative goes on TV claiming that they don’t hate gay people or don’t care what LGBT people do as long as they don’t advocate for same-sex marriage, I’m calling their bluff. As the Uganda anti-gay affair has shown, the underlying facts are that they are advocating for homophobia and discrimination. These actions aren’t “loving the sinner and hating the sin.” They are about hating both, plain and simple.
Jon Wong graduated from UCI in June 2009. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org