UGANDA: Helping Hand For Homophobia From U.S. Christians
By Christi van der Westhuizen
CAPE TOWN, Nov 11 (IPS) -
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill under consideration in Uganda was sparked by a conference in Kampala earlier this year at which fundamentalist Christians from the U.S. identified homosexuality as a threat to "family values".
The draconian law will institute the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality" and criminalise human rights work.
Christopher Senyonjo, a retired Anglican bishop from Uganda, and Reverend Jide Macauley, from Nigeria's House of Rainbow church, told IPS that a conference took place on March 5-7 this year, arranged by Stephen Langa, the director of a Ugandan fundamentalist Christian grouping called Family Life Network (FLN).
The FLN invited speakers attached to U.S.-based religious and "educational" organisations that propagate the idea that homosexuality is an "illness" that can be "cured".
Senyonjo's position is that even if the Bible is interpreted as against homosexuality - which he adds is not necessarily the correct interpretation - the church should provide pastoral care rather than punishment. He was excluded from further participation at the conference when his position became known. It is suspected that Lively, whose "Defend the Family" website promotes several homophobic books, also met with a number of Ugandan parliamentarians.
Senyonjo and Macauley were in South Africa to attend the first African dialogue on Nov 2-5 between clergy and activists working for LGBTI rights. It was co-hosted by the South Africa-based Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM), a Christian organisation which promotes the full participation of LGBTI people in religious communities, and Namibia’s Rainbow Project, a non-governmental organisation working to safeguard sexual diversity.