Newsweek quotes Rick Warren on Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Newsweek’s Lisa Miller contacted Rick Warren about his view on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009. According to this article, he responded as follows:

But Warren won’t go so far as to condemn the legislation itself. A request for a broader reaction to the proposed Ugandan antihomosexual laws generated this response: “The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”

The article also quoted without attribution here the statement the Warrens made to me in October about parting ways with Martin Ssempa, a supporter of the Ugandan bill.

I don’t think Rick Warren and Saddleback are the main event in this drama. I believe there are other Christian-related groups are much more responsible or at least influentials. More on that this week… 

PS – Did you know there is a Facebook group dedicated to speaking out? Tomorrow there is a new event, spread the word…

Newsweek: PEPFAR funds will not be held for Uganda

Katie Paul at Newsweek has an interview with the US PEPFAR coordinator, Eric Goosby, today. She sets up the story by referring to the infamous ex-gay conference in March. 

The thinking behind them [Anti-Homosexuality Bill] is just as disturbing, since this latest round of anti-gay fervor was kicked off at a conference held by by American missionary groups that went to proselytize about the twin evils of Nazism and homosexual behavior in Kampala earlier this year. Just to hammer home how far-out that is, this means the Ugandan government got its advice from the author of a book called The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, which claims the Nazi movement was “entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” The result has been a vigilante campaign against the country’s LGBT community, whereby gay detainees are tortured and tabloids publish the names, places of employment, addresses, and physical descriptions of gay rights advocates under headlines that scream “TOP HOMOS IN UGANDA NAMED.” It would seem the stuff of Orwellian parody, but it’s real.

To Paul’s question about US funding, Goosby replied:

I’m very concerned about any decision that any country–including our own–would make to target a group that’s in the population, and that’s always been in the population, by excluding them from a service or passes legislation that criminalizes their behavior. Everytime you do that, you push the behavior underground. It never works. Rather than minimizing the spread of the virus, it actually amplifies it.

The U.S. policy is trying to work with governments to say exactly that. I think I would do more harm than good by connecting our resources to respond to the epidemic to making them dependent on a behavior that they’re not willing to engage in on their own. My role is to be supportive and helpful to the patients who need these services. It is not to tell a country how to put forward their legislation.

Goosby goes on to suggest diplomacy will work if he points out the public health argument. Will this work? I don’t have much confidence in this. Go read Katie’s thoughts on the matter and the Obama policy.

Discuss…

Author links sponsors of Anti-Homosexuality Bill to The Family

Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power was on NPR’s Fresh Air program yesterday. The main theme of the interview was to discuss The Family, a secretive Christian group who moves in political circles worldwide. For more on this group, see Sharlet’s book, and this investigative report by World magazine.

For our purpose, his investigation into the influences on the sponsors of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill are interesting and provocative. You can listen below or read the transcript here.

GROSS: This legislation has just been proposed. It hasn’t been signed into law. So it’s not in effect and it might never be in effect. But it’s on the table. It’s before parliament. So is there a direct connection between The Family and this proposed Anti-Homosexual Legislation in Uganda?

Mr. SHARLET: Well, the legislator that introduces the bill, a guy named David Bahati, is a member of The Family. He appears to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes their Uganda National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which The Family has poured millions of dollars working through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda.

GROSS: So you’re reporting the story for the first time today, and you found this story – this direct connection between The Family and the proposed legislation by following the money?

Mr. SHARLET: Yes, it’s – I always say that the family is secretive, but not secret. You can go and look at 990s, tax forms and follow the money through these organizations that The Family describe as invisible. But you go and you look. You follow that money. You look at their archives. You do interviews where you can. It’s not so invisible anymore. So that’s how working with some research colleagues we discovered that David Bahati, the man behind this legislation, is really deeply, deeply involved in The Family’s work in Uganda, that the ethics minister of Uganda, Museveni’s kind of right hand man, a guy named Nsaba Buturo, is also helping to organize The Family’s National Prayer Breakfast. And here’s a guy who has been the main force for this Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda’s executive office and has been very vocal about what he’s doing, and in a rather extreme and hateful way. But these guys are not so much under the influence of The Family. They are, in Uganda, The Family.

GROSS: So how did you find out that Bahati is directly connected to The Family? You’ve described him as a core member of The Family. And this is the person who introduced the anti-gay legislation in Uganda that calls for the death penalty for some gay people.

Mr. SHARLET: Looking at the, The Family’s 990s, where they’re moving their money to – into this African leadership academy called Cornerstone, which runs two programs: Youth Corps, which has described its in the past as an international quote, invisible family binding together world leaders, and also, an alumni organization designed to place Cornerstone grads – graduates of this sort of very elite educational program and politics and NGO’s through something called the African Youth Leadership Forum, which is run by -according to Ugandan media – which is run by David Bahati, this same legislator who introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

The player sometimes doesn’t load so if it doesn’t, you can listen here:

Monday, I noted American influence via the College of Prayer and their three year partnership with the Ugandan parliament. There seem to be multiple lines of influence tied to those who have introduced the bill. What is not clear is how much, if any, the Americans directly suggested the bill.

More to come on that point…

Gay City News writer misleads readers about my stance on Uganda

At least that is how it seems to me.

Maybe I am sensitive about this, but this piece by Paul Schindler does not report well the stance and action I have taken regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Here is the part that concerns me:

Nath argued that just as the existing sexual conduct prohibitions in place in Uganda are a relic of British colonial rule, this more lethal approach is in part an import from the West. She noted that Exodus International, a Christianist group that promotes “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ,” even as it calls for “spiritual warfare” against gay-identified people, recently met in Uganda.

On November 16, however, Exodus International released a press statement noting that it had written to President and Mrs. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda voicing its opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Law, stating, in part, “We believe that sexual crimes against children, homosexual or heterosexual, are the most serious of offenses and should be punished accordingly. Homosexual behavior in consensual relationships, however, is another matter. While we do not believe that homosexual behavior is what God intended for individuals, we believe that deprivation of life and liberty is not an appropriate or helpful response to this issue.”

Talk to Action, a website that monitors the Religious Right, published a post alleging that two allies of the controversial Christian pastor Rick Warren, who gave the invocation at President Barack Obama’s inauguration –– Archbishop Henry Orombi, the Anglican bishop of Kampala, and Pastor Martin Ssempa –– are major supporters of the bill.

Ssempa has endorsed the bill, recently writing to Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D., (himself a controversial figure due to his therapeutic approach toward individuals wishing to “alter homosexual feelings or behaviors”), “I am in total support of the bill and would be most grateful if it did pass.” Ssempa reiterated that view in an interview on Premier Radio, a UK Christian station.

Warren, however, released a statement in October opposing the bill, writing, “Martin Ssempa does not represent me, my wife Kay, Saddleback Church,” and noting that he had cut his ties to Ssempa.

 

Exodus, Rick Warren and I are mentioned from the evangelical world. The opposition of Exodus to the bill is mentioned, Rick Warren’s schism with Martin Ssempa is mentioned but I am made to seem as though I might support the bill.

I wrote Mr. Schindler this note this morning:

I take great exception to your portrayal of me in your recent article:

You noted correctly that Martin Ssempa wrote to me regarding his support for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but your words about me being controversial because of my views would easily lead people to think that I also support the bill.

I ask that you amend your story to alert your readers that I vigorously opposing the bill. I started a Facebook group called “Speak Out Against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.” The group now has almost 5500 members from around the world. I had an op-ed published in the Ugandan press regarding my opposition. The statement from Rick Warren that you mention was given first to me due to my reporting on the issue. 

You have confused your readers by your reporting and I call on you to correct the situation immediately. 

Warren Throckmorton, PhD

Readers here and on the Facebook group will know better, but I doubt that readers of the GCN will. If you are so inclined, you can write Mr. Schindler at editor@gaycitynews.com.

UPDATE: Mr. Schindler wrote to say he did not intend to mislead and made a amendment:

Ssempa has endorsed the bill, recently writing to Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D., (who is himself a controversial figure due to his therapeutic approach toward individuals wishing to “alter homosexual feelings or behaviors,” but someone who has condemned the measure strongly), “I am in total support of the bill and would be most grateful if it did pass.” Ssempa reiterated that view in an interview on Premier Radio, a UK Christian station.

Thanks to Mr. Schindler for this….

Episcopal Church officials to discuss opposition to Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill

My guess is that a statement will emerge which condemns the bill. Conservatives, moderates and liberals are likely to unite around a statement that does not violate any views of homosexual behavior but will condemn the criminalization and execution of homosexuals.

Executive Council members call for special meeting on Uganda legislation

By Mary Frances Schjonberg, [Episcopal News Service] A teleconference meeting of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council will take place on Dec. 7 to discuss a possible statement on Ugandan legislation that would imprison for life or execute people who violate that country’s anti-homosexuality laws.

Sixteen members of the council requested the meeting with a handwritten petition that said a motion would be offered at the meeting “regarding the urgent human rights situation in Uganda.”

 

Homosexuality in the African nation currently carries a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment. If passed, the proposed bill would extend prison sentences for homosexuals up to and including life imprisonment and introduce the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes assault against people under the age of 18 and those with disabilities. It also would give Ugandan courts jurisdiction over Ugandan citizens who violate the law “partly outside or partly in Uganda.”

The Executive Council, an elected group of clergy, laity and bishops that carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a), normally meets three to four times a year. The next meeting is set for Feb. 19-22.

However, the Presiding Bishop as president of the council may call a special meeting and a minimum of nine council members may petition in writing for such a meeting under Canon I.4 (4)(a).

The last special meeting occurred April 13, 2005 when then-Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold called a one-day meeting in Mundelein, Illinois near Chicago to formulate a response to a request of the Anglican Communion’s primates that the Episcopal Church voluntarily withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council until the next meeting of the 2008 Lambeth Conference. The minutes of that meeting are here and the response is here.

The 16 members circulated the petition amongst themselves at a Nov. 17-20 gathering in Chicago of the Episcopal Church’s so-called interim bodies, the Committees, Commissions, Agencies and Boards (commonly know as CCABs). The members were at the meeting in their roles as council liaisons to the church’s standing commissions. All council members who were approached to sign the petition, agreed to do so, according to Sarah Dylan Breuer, council member from Massachusetts and one of the signers.

The council members’ request came on the same day that the Chicago Consultation, a group of lay and ordained Episcopalians, called on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and Archbishop Henri Orombi of Uganda to speak out against the legislation. None of them has issued any statements thus far.

Also that day, during at the CCABs meeting in Chicago, the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns agreed to a statement saying that the members discussed the Ugandan legislation at length, were “deeply alarmed” by it and urged the Executive Council to address the issue before its February meeting.

The commission offered “proposed language” for the council to consider as a resolution. In it the council would join with the Anglican Church of Canada in expressing “dismay and concern” over the proposed legislation, call upon the U.S. government to convey via the Secretary of State “a sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights” and ask the Archbishop of Canterbury, other church leaders, and other appropriate leaders and bodies of the Anglican Communion to take similar action.

The Anglican Church of Canada’s Council of General Synod on Nov. 15 expressed its dismay and concern about the draft legislation, saying that the proposed bill “would severely impede the human rights of Ugandan citizens both at home and abroad [and] impose excessive and cruel penalties on persons who experience same-sex attraction as well as those who counsel, support, and advise them, including family members and clergy.”

Alexander Baumgarten, director of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, recently told ENS that “the Episcopal Church, like the Anglican Communion as a whole, is very clear in its support for the human rights of all people, including gay and lesbian persons.”

“For us in the Episcopal Church, that means we oppose all abuses of human rights, whether in our own midst or in other parts of the world, and we seek to make that opposition known through our ministry of advocacy,” he said.

Baumgarten noted that for the past several weeks, the Episcopal Church “has encouraged Episcopalians who have contacted us on this issue to be in touch with their own elected officials. As of the present moment, we are very encouraged by the engagement of the U.S. State Department, which has called the law a ‘significant step backwards for human rights,’ and has given public assurances that it is addressing the matter with the Ugandan government. It is our understanding that neither the Ugandan government nor the Church of the Province of Uganda (Anglican) has taken a position on this legislation.”

The Anglican Church of Uganda on Nov. 6 issued a press release saying that it is studying the bill and does not yet have an official position on the proposed legislation. However, the release restated the Ugandan church’s position that “homosexual behavior is immoral and should not be promoted, supported, or condoned in any way as an ‘alternative lifestyle.'”

And AllAfrica.com reported Oct. 29 that the church’s provincial secretary told the Monitor newspaper in Kampala, Uganda that jailing homosexuals was preferable to executing them.  “If you kill the people, to whom will the message go? We need to have imprisonment for life if the person is still alive,” said the Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, according to the website.

The 16 members who signed the petition are the Rev. Canon Tim Anderson, Hisako Beasely, Sarah Dylan Breuer, Jane Cosby, Martha Gardner, the Rev. Floyd “Butch” Gamarra, Bruce Garner, Anita George, the Ven. Joyce Hardy, Stephen Hutchinson, the Rev. Cristobal Leon, Katie Sherrod, the Rev. Terry Starr,  Deborah Stokes, Anne Watkins, the Rev. Sandye Wilson.

Breuer told ENS Nov. 23 that the teleconferencing method meant that the council could meet quickly at less cost and provide “an opportunity for all of us to stand with our presiding officers (Jefferts Schori and Anderson) behind whatever conclusion the meeting comes to.”

“I think the ability of Executive Council to respond to such a time-sensitive request in accordance with our polity and without burdening the budget is one example of what our Presiding Bishop has been saying: Perhaps a shrinking budget helped the process along, but embracing technology to meet over distances presents us with exciting opportunities too,” she said.

The money available for the CCABs (of which the council is one) to meet face-to-face was reduced when the 2010-2012 budget was cut by $23 million from the current plan. It is anticipated that the most of the groups would primarily meet online or with telephone conferencing.

Breuer said that the conference-call meeting is “an opportunity to discuss an issue that the entire church is passionate about [and] to let people know that our response has been considered by clergy, laity and bishops, and has been considered carefully and prayerfully,” Breuer said. She added that she hoped such a consideration will show “there’s broad consensus” about whatever stance the council takes.

— The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Read the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.

Join the Facebook group speaking out in opposition to the bill.

Read additional posts on this topic.

College of Prayer, the Ugandan Parliament and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Many observers have speculated about U.S. influence in Uganda, particularly relating to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. The obvious trigger for legislation this year was the ex-gay conference held in Kampala in March. Organized by Ugandan Stephen Langa, the conference featured presentations by Scott Lively, Caleb Brundidge and Don Schmierer. Lively and Brundidge addressed some members of the Ugandan parliament in a breakfast meeting on March 5. From minutes of the Ugandan Parliament:

THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, hon. Minister. Hon. Members, this brings us to the end of today’s business.

Before we go, I have this communication to make. All Members are invited to an executive breakfast meeting seminar on the dangers of homosexuality. The theme is, “Exposing the truth about homosexuality and the homosexual agenda”. The meeting will take place in the Parliament Conference Hall tomorrow Thursday, 5th March starting at 7.30 a.m. to 9.00 a.m.

Guest speakers include Dr Scot Libley [sic – Scott Lively] of the United States, Caleb Lee [Brundidge] of the United States and Mr Stephen Langa of the Family Life Network. All Members are invited to attend and breakfast will be served. The House is adjourned until tomorrow at 2.30 p.m.

Lively’s collaboration with Stephen Langa goes back at least to 2002 when Lively traveled to Uganda twice. At the time, Lively sought to work with Campus Crusade for Christ but these plans fell through. He then turned to Stephen Langa who helped set up his trip.

I then called Stephen Langa, head of the Family Life Network and organizer of the highly successful conference against pornography and obscenity, at which I had spoken in March. He was enthusiastic, and offered to set up speaking events and media appearances on the anti-porn topic.

Lively also collaborated with Rev. Martin Ssempa during this visit.

Speaking of Ssempa, Rick Warren and Saddleback church have been raised as possible influences on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill due to a past connection with Ssempa; the Ugandan pastor collaborated with Saddleback until 2007. However, Rev. Warren recently made known his break with Ssempa via a statement to me on  October 31. Ssempa recently commented on this break in an AFP news report.

Ssempa told AFP he was disappointed by a recent statement by American mega-Pastor Rick Warren, who delivered the convocation at US president Barack Obama’s Inauguration.

Warren did not mention the Anti-Homosexuality Bill specifically, but said he and his wife ended their relationship with Ssempa, “when we learned that his views and actions were in serious conflict with our own”.

Other American churches support Martin Ssempa (see here and here), but there is a more direct connection to the Ugandan Parliament. As noted in a New Vision report, an American organization called the College of Prayer was recently in Uganda to host prayer meetings and leadership training.  

MEMBERS of Parliament have been warned against witchcraft and corrupt tendencies.

“You should not consult witchdoctors for success but instead seek help from God,” Dr. Fred Hartley, the president of the College of Prayer International, said.

“I know witchcraft is a big problem in Uganda but as MPs, you should be exemplary,” he said.

Hartley was speaking during a prayer meeting for parliamentarians at Fairway Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday….

After the prayer meeting, eight MPs were selected to be in the servant leadership team for Parliament for three years.

They included Ruth Tuma, Alice Alaso, Beatrice Lagada, Moses Ntahobari, Capt. Grace Kyomugisha, Benson Obua, David Bahati and the East African legislative assembly MP, Maj. Gen Mugisha Muntu.

On the website of the College of Prayer, one learns that this meeting was a part of a longer term relationship (this link does not work now, here is a screen capture of it.

The College of Prayer will have it’s first module in the Parliament of Uganda from October 31-November 1. Two members of Parliament were able to attend the African Summit this summer and will be encouraging their fellow members to attend. Fred Hartley and Mike and Lisa Plunket will be facilitating this module on “Lord, Teach Us to Pray.”

Following this COP there will be COP’s in the cities of Kampala and Gulu taking place November 2-4. Fred will be leading the one in Kampala for leading Pastors and Mike Plunket will be leading the one in Gulu. Mike will be graduating 1000 students who have completed three years of COP training. Continue to pray for God’s protection over the members of Parliament and their families, particularly for Honorable Bensen, Honorable David and Honorable Buturo. Pray as well for all the pastors and Christian leaders who will be attending each of these modules. Pray for the manifest presence of Christ to be in the midst of these meetings and for the Holy Spirit to guide each of their sessions.

The two named sponsors of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 in the Parliament are David Bahati and Benson Obua-Ogwal. In the executive branch, the prime voice has been Nsaba Butoro. Note that the College of Prayer specifically mentions these men for recognition. This recent Ugandan visit followed a meeting in April which was described on the College of Prayer website:

buturocop

Note that the College of Prayer has entered into a three year agreement to “facilitate the College of Prayer” for Parliament. In February, 2010, another bill supporter, Apostle Julius Oyet will speak at a Leadership Training meeting in Atlanta at the Lilburn Alliance Church, a church affiliated with the Christian & Missionary Alliance and pastored by Fred Hartley, the president of the College of Prayer. MP Benson Obua  is one of those featured on the page who recommend the event.

Rev. Oyet was present with Rev. Ssempa and Rev. Langa when the first motion was made to allow introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill back in April.

Let us hear from hon. Bahati. In connection with the motion he is moving, we have in the gallery Apostle Julius Peter Oyet, Vice-President of the Born Again Federation; Pastor Dr Martin Sempa of the Family Policy Centre; Stephen Langa, Family Life Network; hon. Godfrey Nyakaana; the Mayor of Kampala City Council.

This American organization has the closest contact with those responsible for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of any I have been able to discover. Over the past several days, I have talked a couple of times to College of Prayer president Fred Hartley to inquire about the relationship between his organization and the Ugandan legislators.

Rev. Hartley wanted to make it clear that he and the College of Prayer are not politically motivated. Hartley told me that they are in Uganda to lead the Parliament and other leaders in “Christian discipleship.” Because of that focus, Hartley told me that he “can’t take responsibility for their decisions.”

Regarding the co-sponsors of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, David Bahati and Benson Obua and the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Nsaba Buturo, Rev. Hartley had only good to say. He told me that they are “men of integrity” who “want to do what is right.”

Regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Rev. Hartley told me that he has a hard copy of the bill he received in July from David Bahati. He declined to send me a copy because he said that Bahati told him that such copies were unauthorized. Rev. Hartley acknowledged that the copy he has seen is different than the copy of the bill I sent to him (I sent a copy I was given by Martin Ssempa). Rev. Hartley believes that I may be laboring under a false idea of what the bill actually says. Hartley told me that David Bahati told him last week that many accounts of what is actually in the bill are “grossly distorted.”

While Rev. Hartley believes that the copy of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill I have is incorrect, I must differ. Here is a copy that was published by the Uganda Gazette.

ugandagazetteAHB

I was sent a copy by Martin Ssempa that was compiled just before it went to the Uganda Gazette. They are the essentially the same which was confirmed to me by an individual in Uganda who would be in a position to know. Once a bill is published in the Uganda Gazette (the official publication for all legislation), it is available for public discussion and review.

At present, it seems that Rev. Hartley believes that the bill is not as bad as critics say it is. He is working with the impression that the current bill is not an accurate version and believes his friends Bahati, Buturo and Obua. I am unable to reconcile these conflicting claims. Clearly, I have evidence that the bill I have seen as confirmed is accurate and has been published by the Uganda Gazette .

It remains to be seen what Rev. Hartley and the College of Prayer will do when they discover that the bill in Parliament is what critics say it is. My hope is that they will use their influence for good. Time is of the essence. According to Rev. Hartley, Bahati and company want the bill voted on by the end of 2009.

For a bill to become law in Uganda, it must be read in the Parliament three times before a vote. The tabling of a bill must be approved first by Parliament before it is published and read. This happened on April 29, 2009. The bill was printed in the Uganda Gazette on September 25, and was first read on October 14. It was then referred to committee and will soon have a second reading. At least 14 days must pass until the third reading a vote.

See this link for the Parliamentary discussion of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill when the “Motion for a Resolution of Parliament to present a Private Members Bill” was made. At that time, David Bahati won the opportunity from Parliament to introduce the bill.

NARTH protest in West Palm Beach

The NARTH conference wrapped up today. A local television station covered a protest in West Palm Beach with NARTH taking the stance they are fine with people identifying as gay.

//

However, the conference theme was ““Preventing & Treating Sexual Identity Confusion in the Lives of Children, Adolescents, and Adults.” One talk was on encouraging heterosexuality in your child. While I am all for great parent-child relationships, there is very little evidence that same-sex attraction derives from faulty parent-child relationships. I think NARTH is also about a particular view of SSA causation in addition to helping people who believe homosexual behavior is not for them. Just say so.

Ugandan university hosts dialogue; Exodus letter plays a role

On November 18, 2009, the Human Rights and Peace Center at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda hosted a public dialogue on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The blogger, GayUganda, has an extensive report here and I want to also call your attention to the remarks of Sylvia Tamale, law professor at Makerere University. Her paper presents a compelling case for the setting aside of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. From GayUganda, we also learn that the Exodus letter to President Museveni was a significant issue in the dialogue.

Dr. Tamale begins by discussing history of family in Africa. The she notes other issues which are more important to the family than homosexuality.

Thus, while I agree with you Hon. Bahati that we must seek ways of dealing with issues that threaten our families, I do not agree that homosexuality is one of those issues. Mr. Chairperson, Ladies and gentlemen, what issues currently threaten our families here in Uganda? I will name a few:

a) Blood thirsty Ugandans and traditional healers that believe that their good fortune will multiply through rituals of child sacrifice.

b) Rapists and child molesters who pounce on unsuspecting family members. Research undertaken by the NGO, Hope after Rape (HAR) shows that over 50% of child sexual abuse reports involve children below 10 years of age, and the perpetrators are heterosexual men who are known to the victims.[1]

c) Sexual predators that breach the trust placed in them as fathers, teachers, religious leaders, doctors, uncles and sexually exploit young girls and boys. A 2005 report by Raising Voices and Save the Children revealed that 90% of

Ugandan children experienced domestic violence and defilement.[2]

d) Abusive partners who engage in domestic violence whether physical, sexual or emotional. The 2006 national study on Domestic Violence by the Law Reform Commission confirmed the DV was pervasive in our communities. 66% of people in all regions of Uganda reported that DV occurred in their homes and the majority of the perpetrators were “male heads of households.”[3] The Uganda Demographic Health Survey of 2006 put the figure slightly higher at 68%.[4]

e) Parents who force their 14-year old daughters to get married in exchange for bride price and marriage gifts.

f) A whole generation of children who were either born and bred in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps or abducted by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in the northern sub-region of Kitgum, Gulu and Pader districts.

g) The millions of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The Uganda Aids Commission puts the cumulative number of orphans due to AIDS at 2 million.[5]

h) The all powerful patriarchs that demand total submission and rule their households with an iron hand.

i) Rising poverty levels and growing food insecurity which lead to hunger, disease, suffering and undignified living. Figures from the latest report from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics show that over 60% of Ugandans living in rural areas live below the poverty line.[6]

Professor Tamale makes a clear case that all Ugandans are at risk if this bill passes.

III. The Social Implications of the Bill to the Average Ugandan

You may think that this bill targets only homosexual individuals. However, homosexuality is defined in such a broad fashion as to include “touching another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” This is a provision highly prone to abuse and puts all citizens (both hetero and homosexuals) at great risk. Such a provision would make it very easy for a person to witch-hunt or bring false accusations against their enemies simply to “destroy” their reputations and cause scandal. We all have not forgotten what happened to Pastor Kayanja and other men of God in the recent past.

Moreover, the bill imposes a stiff fine and term of imprisonment for up to three years for any person in authority over a homosexual who fails to report the offender within 24 hours of acquiring such knowledge. Hence the bill requires family members to “spy” on one another. This provision obviously does not strengthen the family unit in the manner that Hon. Bahati claims his bill wants to do, but rather promotes the breaking up of the family. This provision further threatens relationships beyond family members. What do I mean? If a gay person talks to his priest or his doctor in confidence, seeking advice, the bill requires that such person breaches their trust and confidentiality with the gay individual and immediately hands them over to the police within 24 hours. Failure to do so draws the risk of arrest to themselves.

Or a mother who is trying to come to terms with her child’s sexual orientation may be dragged to police cells for not turning in her child to the authorities. The same fate would befall teachers, priests, local councilors, counselors, doctors, landlords, elders, employers, MPs, lawyers, etc.

Furthermore, if your job is in any way related to human rights activism, advocacy, education and training, research, capacity building, and related issues this bill should be a cause for serious alarm. In a very undemocratic and unconstitutional fashion, the bill seeks to silence human rights activists, academics, students, donors and non-governmental organizations. If passed into law it will stifle the space of civil society. The bill also undermines the pivotal role of the media to report freely on any issue. The point I am trying to make is that we are all potential victims of this draconian bill.

Tamale then provides a legal analysis of the bill which finds much of it unconstitutional and confusing. She concludes by saying

Mr. Chairperson, distinguished participants, I wish to end by appealing to members of parliament and all Ugandans that believe in human rights and the dignity of all human beings to reject the Anti-homosexuality bill. I am imploring Hon. Bahati to withdraw his private members bill. Do we really in our hearts of hearts want our country to be the first on the continent to demand that mothers spy on their children, that teachers refuse to talk about what is, after all, “out there” and that our gay and lesbian citizens are systematically and legally terrorized into suicide? Ladies and gentlemen, you may strongly disagree with the phenomenon of same-sex erotics; you may be repulsed by what you imagine homosexuals do behind their bedroom doors; you may think that all homosexuals deserve to burn in hell. However, it is quite clear that this Bill will cause more problems around the issue of homosexuality than it will solve. I suggest that Hon. Bahati’s bill be quietly forgotten. It is no more or less than an embarrassment to our intelligence, our sense of justice and our hearts.

The remarks are amended to include some thoughts on the question and answer period. To get a more complete sense of this meeting, you should also consult GayUganda’s eyewitness description. There he describes talks by David Bahati and Stephen Langa. Langa in particular was described as referring to the Pink Swastika by Scott Lively and materials from Exodus International.

However, according to GayUganda, during the question and answer session, a questioner asked Stephen Langa why he referred to Exodus International material in his defense of the bill when Exodus had recently denounced the bill. I’ll let Gug describe it:

The Exodus letter is a particular foil. Why, even Exodus does not support the Bill! That is a shock, to Steven Langa. An unpleasant one. Because he is using information published by some of the signatories of this letter. He quotes them. And, very embarassing that they don’t support his bill! Even his allies see that his action is un-Christian. He also quotes Lively, extensively. Yes, he does. This Lively. To Langa, the true intellectual mind behind the Bahati Bill, Lively is THE prophet of his crusade. And he promotes his books. Repeateldy. Even yesterday. (It was the Pink Swastika)

I will always remember Langa’s face when he was challenged that Exodus was not supporting the bill. That they were not supporting him, though he was quoting them. And, it was a fellow pastor, I believe, who challenged him. Could he answer? Ha!

Americans with a connection to Ugandans who support or promote the bill have a special responsibility to come along side their Ugandan brothers and ask them to put down their stones.

Bullying is not a growth experience

UPDATE 2: The statement below has now been removed from the NARTH website. The first interview with Glatze is still available. Not sure what happened, the statement of regret was pretty shortlived (not quite a full day).

UPDATE: This statement has replaced the Glatze interview on the NARTH website:

Following the counsel of our friends at Exodus and others in the ex-gay community we have removed the Michael Glatze interview from our site. Some of his public comments have been found to be offensive to NARTH and hurtful to others. It is never appropriate to make some of the comments attributed to Mr. Glatze and we at NARTH wish to make our disapproval public.

You can see below what was there this morning. The first interview from 2007 is still available.

Yesterday, I posted about statements made by Michael Glatze on his blog about bullying being a growth experience for the bullied child. NARTH features Mr. Glatze as a possible role model for youth on their website here.

glatzenarthcropped

This is the second interview with Mr. Glatze that is on the NARTH website, and it is easy to see that their leaders believe he is someone who should be emulated. Given the philosophy of masculinity that he espouses with the approval of NARTH, one wonders why evangelicals continue to look to NARTH as a credible group.

While it is proposed by many in the NARTH camp that toughening up as a stereotypical male will eliminate same-sex attractions, there is little evidence to support the idea. It is not far from the “man-up” approach to the ideas of Glatze that one can “grow up” from bullying.

Here is another reminder of the real life consequences of such ideas. I call on NARTH to rethink this reparative notion, and take an unambiguous stance against bullying.

Please see the left column icon, Bullycide in America. All money from the sale of this book go to creating more awareness surrounding the need for schools to take a zero tolerance toward bullying for any reason.

Another controversy opens a NARTH conference

Just over three years ago, I decided not to make a planned presentation to the annual conference of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. At the same time, friend and colleague Dr. David Blakeslee resigned from the NARTH Scientific Advisory Board. We decided to take these actions in response to NARTH’s slow and, in my opinion, inadequate response to statements by NARTH members and advisers, Joseph Berger on bullying of gender variant kids and Gerald Schoenewolf on racial politics.

Three years later, NARTH is about to open another conference in Florida. No advisers have made offensive comments but the organization has in recent days featured an interview with Michael Glatze on their website. The interview is quite positive and promotes Mr. Glatze as a successful role model for others and particularly same-sex attracted kids. However, Mr. Glatze has made statements recently which raise the same sad red flags raised by Berger and Schoenewolf three years ago.

Glatze has indeed gone through a series of changes (change is not just possible but apparently frequent). Of concern here however, is his views on race and bullying. The blog where he wrote the following is down now (that changes too so perhaps it will come back), but there is no indication that his views have changed since they were written.

On race, Glatze had this to say about President Obama:

Have I mentioned lately how utterly *disgusting* Obama is? And, yes, it’s because he’s black. God, help us all.

This was retracted when I asked Glatze if he had any comments about it. He wrote

Yes, I can. I was talking with some friends about Jimmy Carter’s recent comments along the lines of that anybody who disagrees with Obama is a racist. My friend posted that on my blog, as sarcasm.

Warren, I am about fed-up with the “race card” being pulled, any time someone so much as *suggests* that Obama may not be doing something right. It’s getting to the point, where people are literally losing their minds trying to speak up, trying to have their voices heard. You don’t know how many friends I have who feel crippled, in a country that has its foundations in the notion of freedom and – more importantly – liberty.

You’ll see a quote on my little blog – now – that says, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” It’s a quote by George Orwell. I’m trying to do my small part, in the midst of all this insanity, to find integrity.

No, I’m not happy with the current administration. No, I don’t hate Obama because he’s black. What I do hate is evil, and many of the things he has done I would consider evil.

Although he backed away from his earlier comment, the words were still careless as was his explanation. Making or allowing a friend to make a racist statement on your public blog is playing the “race card” which he said in his explanation he was tired of others doing.

On bullying, Exgaywatch quoted from an entry on Glatze’s blog just before it was removed, where he said:

We live in a culture that hopes to destroy manhood, by promoting policies that shame men, and make them out to be villians.  “Patriarchy is bad! Down with patriarchy!” What is “patriarchy”? Patriarchy is the idea that men exist. There is nothing more. People invent “matriarchy,” otherwise known as a more emotional approach, a more flowy approach, to doing things, as though men have no emotions or desire to have a happy existence. The false duality created by non-“patriarchy” thinking leads to the corrosion of humanity, as exhibited by political correctness, Liberalism, and embodied by The One … a.k.a., Barack Obama, the world’s first official girl-man President.

Even so much as uttering the statement in the previous paragraph gets the victim-minded whiners, those lacking a backbone, those denying their manhood, to heights of hysteria and indignation. “That’s the very type of behavior that leads to bullying in schools.” Bullying in schools is a part of life, a part of growth. Every time somebody needs to grow up, even just a little bit, the process will be painful and probably not the first choice for what that individual might want to do. Take away every one of these instances in the name of “compassion,” and you will tear out the souls and spirits of everyone you hope to control with such insidious policies.

While this is a bit hard to follow, he appears to be saying about the same thing Joseph Berger said three years ago when he said:

I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world.

Being bullied is a growing experience? If they miss out on the bullying then their “souls and spirits” are torn out? Is this the kind of masculinity it takes to leave the gay behind? No, on the contrary, bullying can tear out souls and spirits.

Nicolosi didn’t hear this kind of thing in the interview and so he wants to make Glatze a role model for youth. From the interview:

Joe Nicolosi:  Do you think you could be of help to young people who are struggling?

Michael Glatze:  …Do you think I could?

JN:  I think so.

I don’t.

If you need a soundtrack for this post, try this. Here’s some better guidance about how to be “of help to young people who are struggling.”

The lyrics to the rap at the end of this song are:

Little Mikey D was in the one class

Who everyday got brutally harassed

This went on for years

Until he decided that never again

Would he shed another tear

So he walked through the door

Grabbed the 44 out of his father’s dresser drawer

And said I can’t take life no more

And like that life can be lost

But this ain’t even about that

All of us just sat back

And watch it happen

Thinkin’ it’s not our responsibility

To solve a problem that isn’t even about me

This is our problem

This is just one of the daily scenarios

Which we choose to close our eyes

Instead of doing the right thing

If we make a choice

And be the voice

For those who won’t speak up for themselves

How may lives would be saved, changed, and rearranged

Now it’s our time to pick a side

So don’t keep walking by

Don’t wanna intervene

Cause you just wanna exist and never be seen

So let’s wake up

Change the world

Our time is now

UPDATE: This statement has replaced the Glatze interview on the NARTH website:

Following the counsel of our friends at Exodus and others in the ex-gay community we have removed the Michael Glatze interview from our site. Some of his public comments have been found to be offensive to NARTH and hurtful to others. It is never appropriate to make some of the comments attributed to Mr. Glatze and we at NARTH wish to make our disapproval public.

You can see below what was there this morning. The first interview from 2007 is still available.