AFA radio host: Legal sanctions for homosexual behavior are biblical

In a column on the  American Family Association website, Bryan Fischer, host of the AFA broadcast Focal Point said the New Testament teaches that the state should criminalize homosexual behavior.

He bases this on a spurious reading of I Timothy chapter 1, saying:

I received a complaint from a listener to my “Focal Point” radio program, complaining that I had suggested that it is appropriate to impose legal sanctions on those who engage in homosexual behavior. Here is my response. The individual’s name was not attached to the email, so I wasn’t able to address him by name.


Hi!Thanks for writing me about my comments on my program regarding homosexuality.It might be worth noting that what I actually suggested is that we impose the same sanctions on those who engage in homosexual behavior as we do on those who engage in intravenous drug abuse, since both pose the same kind of risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. I’d be curious to know what you think should be done with IV drug abusers, because whatever it is, I think the same response should be made to those who engage in homosexual behavior.If you believe that what drug abusers need is to go into an effective detox program, then we should likewise put active homosexuals through an effective reparative therapy program.Secondly, I’m afraid you’re simply wrong about the Bible’s perspective on the law and homosexuality.

Paul lists quite explicitly in 1 Timothy 1:8-11 the actions and behaviors that are the proper concern of the law:

“Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine…”

The bottom line here is that, biblically, those “who practice homosexuality” should come under the purview of the law just as much as those who take people captive in order to sell them into slavery.

You express a belief in the Scriptures, and I trust your confidence in Scripture is not selective. If you believe all Scripture is inspired, then you are compelled to accept that legal sanctions may appropriately be applied to those who engage in homosexual behavior.

Thank you for contacting us, and I hope this response will help you think in a thorough and biblical way about this important social issue.

Bryan Fischer, Host, “Focal Point” radio program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association

© Bryan Fischer

I wonder what punishments Mr. Fischer would impose on the “unholy and profane?” How about liars? And the quite broad category of folks: Sinners?

One contributor to the mischief is Mr. Fischer’s misreading of the word law in I Timothy. Paul is writing Timothy to warn him about false teachers who want the Mosaic law applied to the followers of Jesus. Elsewhere Paul taught that the law was a “schoolmaster” which demonstrated the need for the good news of the gospel of redemption by belief in Christ. Mr. Fischer needs to spend some quality time reading Galatians chapters 1-4.

Paul is giving Timothy religious instructions and not saying that the civil law is given to prosecute various actions at odds with Christian teaching. Paul demonstrates that spiritual salvation is view, not civil punishment, when he writes later in I Timothy 1:

 12 though I was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: howbeit I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief;

 13 and the grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

 14 Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief:

 15 howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all his longsuffering, for an ensample of them that should thereafter believe on him unto eternal life.

16 I thank him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he counted me faithful, appointing me to his service;

Fischer apparently believes this passage somehow justifies civil penalties for homosexuality. Not at all. In fact, if anything, it argues that the proper role of the church is to proclaim redemption, rather than lobby for new laws against private conduct.

Islam teaches death for gays says Islamic chaplain associated with Vanderbilt University

More on the Islamic chaplain at Vanderbilt University, Awadh Binhazim, who says Islam teaches gays should be put to death and he has no choice but to believe it. I wonder what he is teaching his charges at Vandy.

Video footage from a small Vanderbilt event earlier this week has spread across the Internet.

“Common Ground: Being Muslim in the Military,” an event designed to explore the involvement in Muslims in the military earlier this week, resulted in heated exchanges between a Muslim chaplain at Vanderbilt and the vice president of the national Youth for Western Civilization organization.

The dialogue between junior Devin Saucier and Vanderbilt chaplain Awadh Binhazim that occurred at Monday’s event has become the source of campus and Web-wide controversy. The video has appeared on several blogs such as Jihad Watch, Bare Naked Islam and Youth for Western Civilization. The video has received 1,612 views on YouTube.

The presentation, sponsored by the Muslim Student Association, ROTC and Project Dialogue, sought to “bring fact and knowledge to a media storm through discussion and open dialogue,” said Project Dialogue coordinator Emily Stewart.  

Tensions ran high earlier this week when the Muslim Students Association and the Army and Navy ROTC paired to bring information to the student body regarding the issue of Muslims in the military.Much of the online discussion concerns remarks made by Binhazim, who suggested that he, as part of his religion, would support the death of individuals involved in homosexual acts.

“Given the recent controversy surrounding homosexuals in the military, under Islamic laws if a homosexual engaged in homosexual acts, then the punishment under Islamic law would be death,” Saucier said. “As a practicing Muslim, do you accept or reject this particular teaching of Islam?”

“I don’t have a choice to accept or reject teachings,” Binhazim responded. “I go with what Islam teaches.”

In a phone conversation following the event, Binhazim expressed his regret that the focus had been taken off Muslims in the military.

“(Saucier) came with his own agenda. He asked a question that was irrelevant to the theme of the night,” Binhazim said. 

Saucier admitted to attending the event with his own agenda in a Youth for Western Civilization blog entry on Jan. 27: “When I saw that the Muslim Students Association was hosting an event titled ‘Common Ground: Being Muslim in the Military,’ which was sponsored by the Project Dialogue committee, I knew it would be ripe grounds for me to expose the gullibility of leftists who grovel at the altars of tolerance and acceptance.”

He, however, disputed the accusation of irrelevance in a phone conversation.

“Given the recent controversy surrounding homosexuals in the military, I thought homosexuality, the nature of Islam and the military was a particularly complex issue,” Saucier said. “I thought Binhazim would present the good, the bad and the ugly. Instead, his presentation was flowers and butterflies.”

Binhazim, however, calls for perspective.

“As Muslims, we don’t just go around killing gays. That is a ridiculous misconception,” Binhazim said. “There is a set of strict criteria that must be met before this punishment is enforced. The rule is in place to promote the Muslim values of family. Even in rare cases where all criteria is met, it is even rarer for this conclusion to be reached.”

In an e-mail exchange, Binhazim disapproved of the press the exchange has received.

“I don’t want that one question to overtake the entire purpose of why that event was done and the presentation. Many positive things came out of the gathering we had,” he said. “One question for 10 or 20 seconds could not take away that whole hour.”

Wow, hate to ruin his whole hour but his beliefs, if implemented, could ruin the lives of many. Moral disagreement is one thing, the death sentence is another. Continue reading “Islam teaches death for gays says Islamic chaplain associated with Vanderbilt University”

Vanderbilt University professor says Islamic law provides death penalty for homosexuals

Does Uganda want to be an Islamic country or a Christian nation? Listen to this professor from Vanderbilt University say that Islam calls for the death of practicing homosexuals.

The link is here.

You can read more about this professor here.

I wonder if the mainstream press will cover this. I also wonder if the Islamic element of Uganda has infiltrated those Christian clerics who are calling for dramatic punishments and violence.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill: Is CNSNews trying to change the subject?

This morning the conservative CNSNews reported on Tom Lantos Human Rights Committee Hearing on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As I read the piece, I wondered if the reporter was trying to change the subject of the bill. The article seems quite focused on the following section of the Anti-Homosexuality bill pertaining to HIV positive persons:

3. Aggravated homosexuality.

(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the

(b) offender is a person living with HIV

Offender is not defined in the bill but homosexuality is defined quite broadly and includes touching someone of the same-sex in a sexual manner. Touching is defined as

“touching” includes touching—

(a) with any part of the body;

(b) with anything else;

(c) through anything; and in particular includes touching amounting to penetration of any sexual organ. anus or mouth.

Touching in this manner can get you life in prison. If an HIV positive person touches in this manner, the action is considered “aggravated homosexuality” with death the penalty.

The CNSNews report makes a point to ask those at the Human Rights Committee hearing what they believe should happen with HIV persons who engage in homosexual sex. Here is the specific question:

CNSNews.com:  “It was mentioned today that the death penalty and long prison terms or life imprisonment are absolutely unacceptable and terrible for people who engage in homosexual acts.  And I was wondering if I could get your opinion on something.  Like, what would you—what do you think would be the appropriate way to address someone who knows they are HIV-positive and engages in homosexual relations anyway?  Like, what would be an appropriate penalty or a correct way to address that in your opinion?”

The question seems to assume that HIV-positive people who have sex set out to infect their partners with the virus. Rep. Baldwin gives a reasonable answer to the question.

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.):  “I think that—if there is—well first of all, in many parts of the globe, diagnostic tools aren’t necessarily available and so knowledge of one’s own HIV and its status is not uniformly as high in other places where health care is harder to come by than it is in the U.S.  When somebody has a communicable disease whether it be H1N1 flu, and they go about the public without, you know—potentially doing harm, or a sexually transmitted disease with calculation, tries to expose others, that is something that I think should be punishable and that it’s up to the legislatures of each country to decide what the appropriate penalty level is—how to deter such purposeful, harmful activity as well as protect others if there’s thought that that behavior might continue.”

 

Baldwin: “We’ve tackled that here in the U.S.  I would tell you that it varies from state to state what those criminal penalties or other penalties might be.  We’ve dealt with it not only with regard to sexually-transmitted disease, but diseases like tuberculosis.  And we’ve dealt with it at different times in different ways.  But I don’t think there’s one sort of boiler- plate way.  But again, I want to acknowledge this issue that health care systems are not the same in every country, and in order for this to be intentional, somebody has to know their HIV status.”

Rep. Baldwin makes clear that the actionable offense is intent to harm. However, the CNSNews reporter does not seem to get the crucial distinction – a distinction not made in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In the bill, there is no language that requires the offender to have harmful intent. The clear intent of the bill, as was recently confirmed to me by a researcher in the Ugandan Parliament Research Service is “to outlaw all same-sex sexual conduct.” Being HIV-positive gets the strongest penalty. In the bill, intent to harm is not relevant. The CNSNews reporter ignores Rep. Baldwin’s response.

 

CNSNews.com:  “Okay.  So in the case of somebody who does know that they are HIV-positive, are you saying that there should be a penalty then for continuing to engage in homosexual acts?”

Baldwin then tries to get back to the important distinctions involving awareness and intent.

Baldwin:  “Unprotected? I mean, there’s obviously ways to make sure that, you know, there are precautions—there are also universal precautions in medical settings as well as, you know, for those who engage in consensual activity.  But certainly if there is somebody who is using their, you know, their status as a weapon, you know, particularly to do harm, there should be, there should be appropriate penalties for that.  And I’m not going to advise any particular jurisdiction what it should be, but they should grapple with that in a democratic way.”

Even though the title of the article notes that Baldwin addressed purposeful spreading of HIV, the body of the article failed to make the important distinction:

But Baldwin did not say what specific punishment was warranted, particularly in the country of Uganda, which currently is considering legislation that would impose the death penalty on any HIV-positive person who willfully and knowingly engages in homosexual relations.

“Willfully and knowingly” engaging in homosexual relations should not be penalized according to Baldwin; doing so with the intent to spread HIV is what she addressed.  HIV-positive people may engage intimacy with appropriate precautions. Failing to make this distinction might be an oversight on the part of CNSNews or it might be an attempt to change the subject from what the bill says to focus on something that many readers would want to see addressed in law.

However, it is important to note that the bill as written intends “to outlaw all same-sex sexual conduct” and to impose the death penalty on same-sex intimacy, including touching, where one or both parties are HIV-positive, even if the touching is with mutual consent.

Voice of America examines the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, Part Two

The show features Bob Hunter, Jeff Sharlet and a call in from David Bahati. Must see TV.

A link to the mp4 is to come…

David Bahati called in to say that he was invited to the National Prayer Breakfast; this was passed over by the host. This has been denied by the organizers of the NPB as well as sources in Uganda. Then later in the show, Bob Hunter clarified the situation again and recommended that Bahati withdraw the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Uganda: Caleb Lee Brundidge on the criminalization of homosexuality

During the Family Life Network conference on homosexuality in Kampala, questions were asked on a variety of topics. Criminalization came up via a question to Caleb Lee Brundidge. The conference speakers had an opportunity to address the topic via the questions asked, even the subject was not a part of their prepared remarks. Here you can hear the question and Mr. Brundidge’s response.

I am not sure what Mr. Brundidge is recommending here. He seems to laud the Ugandans for having “a standard” but notes that people are afraid to come out. This question might have caught Mr. Brundidge by surprise. His answer seems to come down on the side of criminalization if a person is “caught in the act.” However, much later, his mentor, Richard Cohen said he would not have sent Brundidge to Kampala if he understood the purposes of the conference.

Even though Brundidge notes a possible problem with criminalization, he provided inaccurate and misleading information to his audience. He could have taken a strong position against criminalization and for freedom of conscience. It seems unlikely that Richard Cohen’s letter has c0nnected with Ugandans the way the speakers did in March. I suspect some of those attending came away thinking that criminalization is an appropriate state response – and still may believe that approach is consistent with the teaching they heard from Americans at the Family Life Conference.

For all posts on the Family Life Network conference in March and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, please click here.

Note: Don Schmierer signed the letter sent by Exodus International to President Museveni which stated opposition to criminalization.

Uganda Saturday Monitor: Anti-gay meeting flops

The Saturday Monitor reports today on a meeting in Kampala hosted by Martin Ssempa last Tuesday.

Pastor Martin Ssempa on Tuesday plumbed the depths of notoriety when he offered graphic images of gay sex as proof of the need for tough penalties against homosexuals.

In the immediate aftermath of the presentation, which ended prematurely, Pastor Ssempa said he did not regret his actions. The press conference, the latest in a series of events he is holding in support of the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill, had been called to unveil two Ugandans, a man and a woman, who say their homosexuality has been rehabilitated.

One man, who was part of a group of American students invited to the press conference by Rubaga North MP Beti Kamya, was seen crying, his colleagues consoling him as the group left the National Theatre.

But midway through his presentation, saved on a computer, most of his audience walked out, some visibly disturbed, leaving him to wonder if he had done anything wrong. The cleric seemed genuinely rattled when he asked: “Why should I be traumatised?”

The effect of such efforts are apparent in the report of the American group who left early. Trying to shock people to your position by stigmatizing an entire group with the behavior of a fringe element rarely succeeds. Skeptical or undecided viewers often associate their revulsion with the presenter of the information and not the group targeted. In this case, people who are already convinced that all gays do the things Ssempa presented might very well be strengthened in that belief. However, people who are unsure or undecided might very well see the clear effort to stigmatize. Efforts in the US to stigmatize gays have not worked well, even when presented with the appearance of science (e.g., Family Research Institute). Too many people know someone who is gay for the extreme presentations to make sense. They know that whatever excesses might be true of some are not of necessity true of all, or even of the class of people.
The rest of the article is here.

Cabinet meeting fails to resolve controversy of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

NTV has the story:

Sources in Uganda are mixed on the meaning of these meetings. Some suggest that the bill is alive and will eventually be passed. Others say that the meetings will lead to a withdrawal of the bill.

House Human Rights Committee holds hearings on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Here is video of opening remarks by Rep. Tammy Baldwin…

Here is a summary of testimony. And then today 90+ Congressmen signed a letter to President Obama urging an effective response.

Ugandan Cabinet meeting considers Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Here is a video report from NTV in Uganda regarding a Ugandan Cabinet meeting where the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was debated.

Hon. David Bahati, bill sponsor, signalled some willingness to amend the bill but has been silent about the nature of the changes. Later yesterday a debate on possible changes yielded little fruit.

The committee, to be chaired by local government minister Adolf Mwesige, will come up with a proposal that will be forwarded to the legal, parliamentary, presidential and foreign affairs committees.

“It was a heated debate for over two hours. Those who expressed reservations fear the cutting of aid by western governments,” said a source who preferred anonymity.

“Those for it argued that we need to maintain our independence and values as a country,” the source added.

There were 21 Cabinet members in the meeting.

While broadly supported domestically, the 2009 anti-homosexuality Bill has caused a tempest abroad and anxiety from western donors who fund a large chunk of Uganda’s budget.

Those opposed to the Bill say it is discriminatory and violates human rights.

ht: BTB