World Day of Prayer for Uganda

When: NOW

Where: Where you are

What: The Facebook Group which is standing in opposition to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda is encouraging the over 4700 members to pray for the removal of the bill. See this page for the information. Thanks to Andrew Marin for organizing this.

If you are on Twitter, tweet something like this:

 #PrayForUganda – World Day of Prayer for Uganda –http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=178880106636&index=1

Make sure the descriptor #PrayForUganda is used…

Exodus opposes Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009: Open letter to the President of Uganda

This letter was sent this afternoon from Exodus to the President of Uganda. It is also on the Exodus website and an open letter expressing reasons why the proposed bill is wrong and counter to Christian principles.

Exodus Sends Letter Opposing Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill  

 November 16, 2009 

Exodus International sent the following letter to Uganda’s President Museveni regarding The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 currently being considered in the Parliament. The bill would criminalize and prosecute homosexual behavior and would require pastors, missionaries, health care providers and counselors to report those suspected of such behavior. Exodus International, along with its board members and broader network, opposes this legislation as it inhibits the global Christian church’s mission to share the life-giving truth of the Gospel and extend the compassion of Christ to all.

President & Mrs. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

c/o Principal Private Secretary, Amelia Kyambadde

State House Nakasero

P.O. Box 24594

Kampala, Uganda

Dear President & Mrs. Museveni,

As evangelical Christian leaders dedicated to advancing the truths of the Bible worldwide, we commend your work to promote ethics in Uganda. In addition, your efforts to eradicate the HIV/AIDS epidemic have been appropriately praised internationally and we are praying for your continued success.

We want to humbly share our concerns regarding The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, introduced before the Ugandan parliament on October 14, 2009.  First, 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. Furthermore, the Christian church must be a safe, compassionate place for gay-identified people as well as those who are confused about and conflicted by their sexuality. If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue. The Christian church cannot and should not condone homosexual living or gay-identified clergy within its leadership, but it must be permitted to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all. We believe that this legislation would make this mission a difficult if not impossible task to carry out.

Many of us and those we know and work with have personally struggled with unwanted homosexual attractions and once lived as gay individuals, but have since found a new identity in Jesus Christ and have gone on to live lives that reflect the teaching of the Christian faith. We sincerely believe that such transformations cannot best be achieved in an environment of government coercion where the vital support, care and compassion of others in the Christian community is discouraged and prosecuted.

Please consider the influence this law will have upon those who may seek help in dealing with this difficult issue as well as church and ministry leaders committed to demonstrating the compassion of Christ to all. We are praying for you, for this matter and for the people of Uganda.

Sincerely,

Alan Chambers

President of Exodus International, Orlando, Florida

Former homosexual

Randy Thomas

Executive Vice President, Exodus International, Orlando, Florida

Former homosexual

Christopher Yuan

Adjunct Instructor, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois

HIV Survivor

AIDS Activist

Former homosexual

Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D.

Member of the Clinical Advisory Board of the American Association of Christian Counselors

Grove City, Pennsylvania

Here’s hoping it helps…

UPDATE: 11/19/09 – Here is one eyewitness report of the effect of the Exodus letter:

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 dont 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!

How the Anti-Homosexuality Bill could impair AIDS progress in Uganda

This post has the potential to be a more formal article, but for now, I am getting some thoughts together which are in addition to what I wrote at Crosswalk.com and the Christian Post about the topic.

In the earlier article, I noted that the Director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at Harvard University, Edward Green, said that effective work with marginalized populations (e.g., glbt people) requires that health care workers develop trust with those they want to reach. Dr. Green said that, as law, this bill would drive gays and lesbians into hiding. While that would be tragic and have an impact on AIDS rates, the primary driver of AIDS in Africa is not homosexuality. Because of that, the rates of AIDS may not change much, although any change would not be beneficial. However, what might drive people away from interventions and/or treatment is the threat of being considered homosexual.

In the recent radio interview on Premier Christian Radio, Dr. Martin Ssempa said South Africa had the “highest HIVAIDS in the whole world” and attributed that to legalized homosexuality there. He also said that Uganda does not want another source of HIV. In a recent article, David Bahati, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill co-sponsor, said that homosexuals spread AIDS three times more than straights. Does this public health argument work?

Not so much. I asked Dr. Green about the AIDS rates and he said while South Africa had the largest number of AIDS cases in the world, there AIDS rate is lower than some of their African neighbors where homosexuality is illegal. For instance, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland have higher AIDS prevalence rates than South Africa (over twice as high) but homosexuality is illegal in these countries. The legal status of homosexuality, while important for human rights issues and practically, to fight AIDS in that population, does not seem to play much of a role in the overall AIDS rate in African nations.

Then, what does?

Dr. Green told me that 90% plus of HIV is transmitted by heterosexual behavior. Thus, focusing on gays misses the mark. If an African country does not address multiple concurrent partnerships and fidelity, not much good will happen.

So why do I believe this bill will turn the clock back on AIDS progress?

One, since politicians (e.g., Bahati) and ministers (e.g., Ssempa) are framing this Anti-Homosexuality Bill as a part of the fight against AIDS, I believe straights will shy away from getting educated, tested or treated because of the increased stigma of having AIDS. More than the stigma would be the fear of being reported to the police.

Two, I think straights may assume that HIVAIDS is a gay disease and believe that straight sex will be safer somehow. Given the fact that AIDS is really a straight disease in much of Africa, any movement in that direction could compromise the progress in Uganda. When supporters of this bill say they favor it for public health reasons, they are not working with all the facts, or thinking about possible effects on behavior.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill will create more stigma surrounding AIDS which in my view will prevent people from seeking treatement, education or testing. This cannot be a good thing.

Caption contest: Picture of the Capitol Building

Some fun for the weekend. This picture was taken by Marcia Brennan of nearby Pittsburgh while she was in Washington, D.C. for a rally opposing the House health care bill. She sent this around and gave me permission to post.

Now let’s think up a caption for this beauty. I say it is a contest, but there really isn’t a prize. Or maybe I’ll send out a Throckmorton band CD for the winner.

L1010865

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill discussed on Premier Christian Radio

Yesterday morning my time, I was on the Premier Christian Radio Network (UK) to discuss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently being considered in Uganda. Also on the show was prime supporter in Uganda, Martin Ssempa.

You can listen here (If audio is down, try this…).

Some Christian leaders in the UK are speaking out about a proposed law in Uganda which would introduce the death penalty for gay people.

The British government’s already announced it’s unease at the idea.

It’s already illegal to be homosexual in the African state, but the new bill would introduce more strict punishments.

Pastor Martin Ssempa is a Ugandan who supports the new law.

Dr Warren Throckmorton is associate professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at Grove City Christian College in Pennsylvania. He’s campaigning against it.

I felt the interview went well and brought out the relevant concerns about the bill.

The future is now, part two – Ugandan want ad

This ad was in Uganda’s Monitor on Sunday:

ugandamonitorscreencapedit

Note the ad in the red oval. When the link is clicked it goes to this ad:

Two homosexuals, Namutebi Ruth and Hilda are wanted by the police, anyone who sees them and has information leading to their arrest should report to the nearest police station for the safety of our country. A big reward waits.

Since this is a sponsored link, anyone could have placed that ad. There may be a Ruth and Hilda but whether they are gay or not is not the point. What seems clear is that someone, perhaps an enemy of Ruth and Hilda, wants to cause problems for these two people. If the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 passes, one may expect many more such ads. The bill has the following provision:

14. Failure to disclose the offense.

A person in authority, who being aware of the commission of any offence under this Act, omits to report the offense to the relevant authorities within twenty-four hours of having first had that knowledge, commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding three years.

 Can you imagine the results of this requirement?

UPDATE: The page has now been altered and the want ad and poll are gone. Here is what it looked like prior to being removed.

More media on the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Here’s a treatment of the bill which quotes all sides.

Not sure when this article was researched but this section seems to contradict another statement of a Bishop from the Anglican Church of Uganda.

The Bill has the support of various religious groups in Uganda, who have been battling the gay movements. Some of the leaders in the Pentecostal churches in Uganda have been accused of practising homosexuality.

Religious leaders from the Orthodox Church, Pentecostal Church and Islam, in appearing before the Parliamentary and Presidential Affairs Committee, say the law against homosexuality was timely, but they were opposed to the death penalty.

Reverend Canon Aaron Mwesigye Kafundizeki, the Church of Uganda provincial secretary, tells IPS: “It is an important law, but the provision related to the death penalty may prevent this law from being passed, because death should not be accepted as a punishment. Therefore propose another form of punishment instead of death.”

Kafundizeki said pushing for extra territorial jurisdiction would be counter-productive.

“The Church of Uganda is saying we need to limit ourselves to the Ugandan territory, instead of extra territorial jurisdiction, because the Ugandan constitution is very clear on protocols and ratifications. Going beyond the borders will be counter-productive,” he says.

Here the Canon said the Church of Uganda had not taken a position on the bill.

From the Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye

Anglican Province of Uganda

November 6, 2009

The Church of Uganda is studying the proposed “Anti-homosexuality bill” and, therefore, does not yet have an official position on the bill. In the meantime, we can restate our position on a number of related issues.

Perhaps the Canon means the church has not taken an official position. He seemed to be favorable toward the bill if the death penalty and extraterritoriality were removed.

What Happened Yesterday?

(What it Might Have Been Like for Victims)

by David Blakeslee

I got up. I got dressed. I hugged my children. I called a friend. I went to work. I packed my bag for a prolonged business trip. I went to lunch. I then went to the doctor’s office for a final check on my health and then, to get my teeth cleaned.

I was traveling for my work to a place where it might be hard to get medical attention. I sat down in the waiting room. I found a magazine, Sports Illustrated, to read. I flipped the pages and I looked around the room. I saw some friends from other parts of the company, smiling and talking to each other. Every few minutes a person left the room and every few minutes a new person came in the room. It was a strange feeling, not knowing all of them, but being bound by similar work and a similar mission.

I glanced down at my magazine, the Raiders continue to lose and look terrible. The Phillies are behind in the World Series, I know better, they already lost.. Pop…Pop Pop…Pop…Pop. Scream, crash. Pop…Pop…Pop, Pop, Pop. I know the sound. I am on the ground. I look in the direction of the Pop sound, a man with two guns commands the attention of the room. He is dressed like me. He looks like me. I look to others dressed like me, some are groaning, some wailing, some are whimpering, curled up in the corner as he approaches. Pop…Pop…Pop. I am panicked now. While his attention is turned I jump and run farther from him and push a small table down as a barrier. I realize that most of my co-workers have huddled in the far corner with me. Some are escaping through another door and down a hallway. Pop…Pop…Pop…Scream. Whimper. Moan. I know I am alone. I know this uniform he is wearing says I should trust him…I lunge…Pop. Pop Pop Pop.

This is what it may have been like for many of the victims yesterday at Ft. Hood.

Many words will be written about the events of yesterday and the overwhelming majority will be about the middle-aged man who knew where to find a group of trusting colleagues and then systematically betrayed them and murdered them. Many “explanations” or hypotheses will be written. Here is one: a narcissist, narcissistically wounded, acts out his wound in the most terrifying and humiliating way on people completely unprepared to defend themselves and trained to trust him. And he enjoys it. For a brief few minutes his subjective feelings of being small and a “victim” are extinguished in a gratifying hail of bullets and moans and death. It goes just the way he planned and he enjoys it.

Narcissism is rampant in this culture.

It is time to make it’s victims real, three dimensional. To narrate their motivations, their lives, to interview their friends and family and to hear what obstacles they overcame and how much they loved their country. They are small, unimportant people in this culture of celebrity. But they are deeply loved, deeply loved. And right now, everyone they loved is feeling destroyed.

Utterly destroyed.

That is what narcissism can do.

(I spent the early years of my career at a small Air Force base as the base psychologist. It was humbling to see how hard everyone worked and how devoted to the mission they were. I learned there how many different kinds of people were better than me, stronger than me and kinder than me. For a medical officer to betray his troops is the worst kind of evil).

–David Blakeslee, Psy.D. is a psychologist in West Linn, Oregon.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill sponsors selected for “servant leadership team”

Something is not right here:

MP Warned against witchcraft

By Francis Emorut

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.

The MPs underwent a two-day training on how to pray with impact.

“You have to confront the enemy, Satan, using God’s authority,” Hartley told MPs.

The legislators were told to seek first the Kingdom of God before seeking earthly materials and forgive one another irrespective of their political affiliation.

Hartley explained to the MPs that the Kingdom of God involves righteousness, joy, peace and the Holy Spirit. He told the MPs that if they prayed in line with the Kingdom of God they would be able to cast out demons.

“True signs of wonders will follow if you pray in truth. The blind will see, the lame will walk and the deaf will hear,” he said.

During testimonies, Soroti Woman MP Alice Alaso (FDC) testified that Apostle Julius Oyet prophesied in 2000 at Lugogo stadium that she would win elections in 2001.

“Indeed, I won elections without spending money and I will continue doing so,” Alaso said.

MP Benson Obua (UPC) testified that he prayed for a pregnant woman who had spent three days in labour and was about to undergo caesarean section and she gave birth normally.

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.

Benson Obua and David Bahati are the two sponsors of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.

Read the bill here.

Join those who are speaking out in opposition here.

h/t BarthNotes via the Facebook group.