Haitian heartbreak and hope: One story (video)

I posted this on my Christian Post blog a couple of days ago. I now have some video of the hospital referred to in the letter below. I have also learned we may have some Haitian orphans coming to our local community. The NT book of James 1:27 teaches:

Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Let’s do it. Here is the video.

A friend sent me an email from a priest in Haiti who is struggling to respond to the tragic earthquake. 

Hello Friends

After driving by night to Kennedy Airport January 12, and flying to Dominican Republic January 13, Conan and I arrived to Haiti this morning in the helicopter of the President of the Dominican Republic.

Our first tasks were the medical evacuation of one of our American volunteers, the medical evacuation of one of our Cuban doctors, the evacuation of the body if one of our American  visitors. 

The search still continues in the rubble for another missing American volunteer. 

We also had 18 funerals today.

One for John who works at our St Luke program. We miss John very much. He often stopped to at my door to tell me the milestone of his developing baby, which delighted him no end. John ran our computerized language lab. Another was for Johanne’s mother. Joanne is one of the directors of the St Luke program. All the others were of unknown people who were sadly rotting by the wayside.

Other sadnesses,

The death of Immacula, our only physician assistant, who worked at our huge outpatient side of our hospital.  The death of ALL but one of Joseph Ferdinands brothers and sisters, the death of the husband of Jacqueline Gautier as he was visiting a school which fell and all the students (all died), the death of our ex-pequeno Wilfrid Altisme who was in his 5th year of seminary for priesthood. Other stories of deaths of people who are dear to us keep coming in.

We spent the rest of the time managing the countless people with serious and severe wounds, coming to our hospital. We are doing our best for them, under trees and in the parking lot with ever diminishing supplies. We will work throughout the night and beyond. No stores are open, no banks are open. Diesel is running out. Will be out in two days if we don’t find a solution, which will mean no power at all. The hospital is without water since there is some broken line between the well and the water tower.

Structural damages to the hospital seem superficial at first glance, but about half the outer perimeter walls have fallen. The old hospital in Petionville is in ruins, And teams of workers, led by Ferel, and been digging for Molly non stop around the clock.

WE HAVE NO INTERNET. OUR PHONES DO NOT WORK. IF A CALL DOES GET THROUGH WE CAN’T HEAR OR BE HEARD. Robin has internet access through a satellite. I asked her to send this message for me, and to ready my emails and answer them as best she can for now.

Please continue to pray for us. We pray for you too.

Fr Rick Frechette

First things first. This dear man works with Friends of the Orphans in Haiti. You can help him directly by going to their website (friendsoftheorphans.com) and making a donation. He is an MD who runs the hospital there and has given away all of his supplies. In a tragic circumstance, one can turn away from hope or toward it. In the midst of so much heartbreak, Father Rick is choosing hope and we should choose to help. Now would be a good time.

For other helping opportunities, click here.

Brown wins; Dems look to nuclear option as means to get health care passed

Whether you support health care reform or not, wouldn’t the election of Republican Scott Brown in MA seem like a signal to slow things down?

Apparently Senate Democrats don’t think so. Senator Dick Durbin wants to get the bill signed before Brown can get into town and laid out a couple of ways to do it.

I suspect GOP strategists are torn. They don’t like the health care options but if the Dems ram something through, prospects for the midterm election should improve to an even more optimistic level.

National Prayer Breakfast spokesman: Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill sponsor will not attend the NPB

Yesterday, I disclosed that Hon. David Bahati, author of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, would not be attending the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC on February 4. I then posted an update and statement from Ambassador Richard Swett, spokesperson for the National Prayer Breakfast. I am providing both here in this post.

Here is my post from yesterday:

Author of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Uganda MP David Bahati, will not be attending the National Prayer Breakfast according to sources with the Fellowship Foundation. On Sunday, Uganda’s Monitor reported that Bahati planned to attend and to speak at the event. However, according to Bob Hunter and others with the Fellowship Foundation, Bahati was invited months ago [prior to introducing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill] to come to Washington DC only as a volunteer and not to attend the NPB event. According to these sources, Bahati declined the invitation prior to introducing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. According to Mr. Hunter, the Monitor article and Bahati’s statements came as a complete surprise to the NPB officials here. However, in the event the article was accurate, the NPB officials and Congressional leaders were taking action to assure that Bahati did not come to any of the meetings.

I want to make clear that according to the Fellowship the invitation to come to Washington, DC as a volunteer was made prior to the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in October, 2009.

Then today, I received this statement from National Prayer Breakfast spokesperson, Ambassador Richard Swett. Richard Swett was Ambassador to Denmark from 1998-2001. Prior to that post, he represented the 2nd district of New Hampshire from 1991-1995 as a Democrat. 

Ambassador Richard Swett, a longtime associate of the Fellowship Foundation since his days in Congress in the early ‘90s, confirmed the accuracy of Mr. Hunter’s report to Warren Throckmorton. He went on to state, “The National Prayer Breakfast is an organization that builds bridges of understanding between all peoples, religions and beliefs and has never advocated the sentiments expressed in Mr. Bahati’s legislation.”

For more information, contact Bob Hunter at loonlakeme@aol.com.

Ugandan Muslim cleric threatens to hunt down gays

Buried in a feature article in Uganda’s Daily Monitor about Martin Ssempa’s plans to hold a march against homosexuality is a statement about a Muslim cleric named Multah Bukenya. Reporter Rodney Muhumuza wrote:

Multah Bukenya, a Tabliq cleric, has also renewed his threat to form squads that would hunt gays.

Tabliq is an explession of Islam which focuses on inviting others to join their faith, a kind of mission emphasis. In some places, notably Uganda, it has been linked to more radical political activities. According to prior reports, this particular cleric has in the past made clear his radical intent to rid Uganda of gays. While one should always use caution in reading these reports, this current article in the Daily Monitor provides some new confirmation of inflamatory statements attributed to Bukenya in the past.

In 2007, Bukenya was quoted in on the AllAfrica website (the full article is here reprinted from the Daily Monitor) as preparing for open season on gays:

Kampala — MUSLIM Tabliq youth plan to form what they call an ‘Anti-Gay Squad’ to fight homosexuality in the country. Sheikh Multah Bukenya, a senior cleric in the Muslim Tabliq Sect said the vice is widely spreading among the young generation.

“We are ready to act swiftly and form this squad that will wipe out all abnormal practices like homosexuality in our society,” he said last Friday during prayers at Noor Mosque in Kampala.

In addition to the long arm of the law, the “religious” coalition in Uganda, headed by Martin Ssempa, is advocating mob mentality. I wonder if the “Anti-Gay Squads” will be in force during Ssempa’s march next month.

Observers outside of Uganda have correctly pointed to the anti-gay conference in Kampala back in March as being fuel on the fire of anti-gay sentiment there. Rounding out the picture is the festering hatred toward gays generated by Islam in Uganda as well. 

As I see it, Christian pastors who join with this cleric in a coalition are akin to pro-life people who advocate violence against abortion clinics.  Mainstream pro-lifers are horrified by those who use or advocate such violence. Many Christians are reacting in a similar fashion to these statements and coalitions in Uganda, sadly, in this case, led by a Christian minister – Martin Ssempa – who is supported by many in the United States.

David Bahati will not attend the National Prayer Breakfast

Author of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Uganda MP David Bahati, will not be attending the National Prayer Breakfast according to sources with the Fellowship Foundation. On Sunday, Uganda’s Monitor reported that Bahati planned to attend and to speak at the event. However, according to Bob Hunter and others with the Fellowship Foundation, Bahati was invited months ago to come to Washington DC only as a volunteer and not to attend the NPB event. According to these sources, Bahati declined the invitation prior to introducing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. According to Mr. Hunter, the Monitor article and Bahati’s statements came as a complete surprise to the NPB officials here. However, in the event the article was accurate, the NPB officials and Congressional leaders were taking action to assure that Bahati did not come to any of the meetings.

I have asked David Bahati for comment regarding these reports but he has not returned the email request.

UPDATE: Jan. 19, 2010

I just received this statement from spokesperson for the National Prayer Breakfast, Ambassador Richard Swett. Richard Swett was Ambassador to Denmark from 1998-2001. Prior to that post, he represented the 2nd district of New Hampshire from 1991-1995 as a Democrat. 

Ambassador Richard Swett, a longtime associate of the Fellowship Foundation since his days in Congress in the early ‘90s, confirmed the accuracy of Mr. Hunter’s report to Warren Throckmorton. He went on to state, “The National Prayer Breakfast is an organization that builds bridges of understanding between all peoples, religions and beliefs and has never advocated the sentiments expressed in Mr. Bahati’s legislation.”

I appreciate this statement from Ambassador Swett. I think it makes quite clear the current position of the Fellowship regarding the Bahati bill.

Is David Bahati coming to America?

According to this report from the Uganda paper, The Monitor, David Bahati is planning to attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC during the week of February 4th.

In February, David Bahati, the mover of the controversial Anti-Homosexuality Bill is expected to attend a prayer breakfast in the American capital of Washington DC.

Mr Bahati told Inside Politics he is set to meet a special cabinet session to discuss the Bill tomorrow.

“I intend to attend the prayer breakfast,” said Mr Bahati – himself a part organiser of the Ugandan equivalent of the national prayer breakfast. This week, citing international pressure, President Yoweri Museveni advised his party’s National Executive Committee, his cabinet and the NRM parliamentary caucus to “go slow” on the Bill.

Mr Bahati, according to reports, may speak at the event where President Barack Obama – a gays-tolerant liberal president, is also expected to attend. On Friday, Mr Bahati said he would attend. The event is organised by The Fellowship- a conservative Christian organisation, which has deep political connections and counts several high-ranking conservative politicians in its membership.

This is surprising and conflicts with other information I have. I am seeking to get confirmation of the status of just who, if anyone, from Uganda will attend.

There have been other reports that Ethics and Integrity Minister Nsaba Buturo planned to come to the event. However, Buturo confirmed to me by email that he is not planning to attend.

The other claim in this report, that he may speak at the event where Barack Obama is slated to speak, is most surely not true.

Accuracy in Media promotes inaccurate reading of Uganda’s Anti-homosexuality Bill

Not sure why this continues to happen. But here it is.

Homosexual media activists in the U.S. such as Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post have falsely depicted the bill in Uganda as an effort to kill homosexuals. In fact, it is designed to save lives by restricting dangerous homosexual practices, including pedophilia, child rape, and the deliberate spreading of the AIDS virus. The controversial death penalty provision, which even some pro-family activists in the U.S. find objectionable, is for crimes of “aggravated homosexuality.”

We have been over this a lot and it is discouraging to see someone who represents a group with the name “accuracy” in it provide incomplete and inaccurate information.

Then he notes that some Christians oppose the bill.

However, American pastor Rick Warren had his arms twisted and is now urging Ugandan pastors to oppose the bill. Curiously, Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College, a conservative Christian institution, has been working with homosexual bloggers and anti-Christian activists to kill the legislation.

Neither Warrens have had their arm twisted. We just read the entire bill. Anyone can. It is here. And here it is with some comment. If you don’t want to speak out, fine. If you think homosexuality should be criminalized with life in prison, then just say so.

If you agree with this:

The objectives of the Bill are to….

(b) prohibit and penalize homosexual behavior and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family;

then say so…

Help a sister out, part two: The deadline approacheth

Update: Thanks for helping the sis. Team Grove City pulled out the victory in the last couple of hours.

That would be midnight. Here is the entry for my girl child’s high school video production class. Play it and rate it awesome and they might get the spot on television during the Super [Commercial] Bowl.

Thanks!!!!

Martin Ssempa plans million man march to support Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

From Reuters via the New York Times:

KAMPALA (Reuters) – A Ugandan preacher with close ties to U.S. evangelicals and President Yoweri Museveni’s family said on Friday he planned to organise a “million-man” march in February to support a proposed anti-gay law in parliament.

The east African nation has faced intense pressure from Western governments and human rights groups over anti-homosexuality legislation tabled in parliament as a private members’ bill last year.

Museveni seemed to distance himself and the government from the proposed law on Tuesday, saying it was a foreign policy issue and calling for more talks. The ex-rebel leader said he had been under pressure from Western leaders.

“We want to show how many people support the bill,” Pastor Martin Ssempa told journalists in the Ugandan capital.

“We want to give a postcard that (Museveni) can send to his friend (U.S. President) Barack Obama,” Ssempa said in front of posters saying “Africans Unite Against Sodomy” and “Barack Obama Back Off.” He said the march was planned for February 17.

Read the rest here.

Ugandan readers: Is this a real test for Museveni? Will legislators there fall on their sword over this bill?

NPR: US evangelicals exports culture war to Uganda

This morning, Barbara Bradley Hagerty explores the connections between the US evangelical scene and Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Extensive material from Scott Lively is included with a brief comment from yours truly.  The transcript is at the link; go read and listen to the entire program but here are some segments.

The battle over the Bible and homosexuality has torn apart Christian churches and entire denominations in the United States. But what happens when that culture war is exported to other countries? Ugandans are finding out — with potentially deadly consequences.

Uganda is now considering a bill that would impose the death penalty or life in prison on gay men and lesbians for some homosexual acts.

To understand how this bill came to be, one needs to know the story of King Mwanga. In 1886, Uganda’s king ordered some two dozen male pages to have sex with him, and when they refused because of their Christian faith, he ordered that they be burned to death. Every year on June 3, Ugandans celebrate a national holiday honoring the Christian martyrs and deploring the pedophile king.

Into this climate stepped Scott Lively, an American evangelical and president of Defend The Family International. In March 2009, Lively traveled to Uganda to speak, along with two other Americans from “ex-gay communities,” about the “gay agenda.”

I agree with Jim Naughton when he said:

Jim Naughton, a former canon in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., says their message plays one way in the U.S., but differently in a place like Uganda. And they should have known.

“If you go to countries where there’s already a great deal of suspicion and maybe animosity towards homosexuals, and begin to tell people there, ‘Well, actually these people are child abusers, they’re coming for their children, that they’re the scourge that is being deposited on you by the secular West,’ you’re gonna get a backlash.” Naughton says it’s like “showing up in rooms filled with gasoline, and throwing lighted matches around and saying, ‘Well, I never intended fire .‘ “

Spot on.

I was interviewed Tuesday for this segment. I did not know some things then that I know now, particularly about the College of Prayer.

If [Rev. Rick] Warren was slow to condemn the bill, other Christian conservatives have yet to do so, says Warren Throckmorton, who teaches psychology at Grove City College and has been monitoring U.S. evangelical response. He says some of the Christian groups most publicly tied to Uganda have been the quietest. Joyce Meyer Ministries, Oral Roberts University, the College of Prayer in Atlanta — all have close ties and declined to express reservations about the death penalty.

“Silence is often interpreted as consent,” says Throckmorton, who is himself a conservative evangelical. “So I think those kinds of responses may lead those individuals in Uganda to think that perhaps what [they’re] doing really is according to the evangelical faith.”

I have since learned that the College of Prayer wants it to be clear that for them, at least, silence should not be taken as consent. To be sure, they have been pretty silent, but Rev. Fred Hartley told me that the College of Prayer has no involvement in any way with the bill.

Here is the audio. If the player doesn’t work, try this or just go to the site.