Yesterday blogger Joe Jervis reported that the Family Research Council lobbied members of the House of Representatives against a resolution which expresses opposition to Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The measure, House Resolution 1064 (full text) was introduced February 3 by Howard Berman (D-CA) and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Relations the same day with 62 co-sponsors. The title of the resolution expresses the essential purpose:
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009” under consideration by the Parliament of Uganda, that would impose long term imprisonment and the death penalty for certain acts, threatens the protection of fundamental human rights…
Jervis refers to a required lobbying report filed quarterly with the House and Senate. That report in full is here for review. The cost of all lobbying activity for the quarter on all issues was $25,000. The section relevant to the Ugandan resolution is a disclosure on page 3 that FRC conducted some lobbying activity regarding H.Res 1064.
Tom McClusky is listed as one of the two lobbyists and so I contacted him to ask how FRC lobbied and with whom. While he declined to say which members were lobbied, he said, “We didn’t necessarily lobby against or for the resolution but tried to work with offices to make the language more neutral on homosexuality.” He added his recollection was that “the original language was incorrect on what Uganda was doing as well.” McClusky said the lobbying took place before the resolution was introduced but did not say what, if anything, was altered as the result of their efforts. As for the Ugandan bill, he said that the FRC has never taken a position on the death penalty. Regarding H.Res. 1064, he added, “We have not taken a public position on the current resolution.”
I appreciate the clarification but I am disappointed that FRC would not go on to encourage the passage of H.Res 1064. As an evangelical, I am sad that some Christian groups are neutral or even speaking in favor of the Ugandan bill. To me, it wrong and short-sighted for Christian groups to complain about being mistreated or disrespected when those same groups are promoting or refusing to condemn the same treatment to those who hold different views.
UPDATE: In response to the reports such as described above the FRC issued a statement on their blog:
FRC Statement on H. Res. 1064
by JP Duffy
June 4, 2010
Inaccurate internet reports have been circulating indicating that the Family Research Council lobbied “against” a congressional resolution condemning a bill proposed in Uganda. The Uganda bill would have provided for the death penalty for something called “aggravated homosexuality.” Unfortunately, those spreading these false rumors deliberately failed to obtain the facts first.
FRC did not lobby against or oppose passage of the congressional resolution. FRC’s efforts, at the request of Congressional offices, were limited to seeking changes in the language of proposed drafts of the resolution, in order to make it more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill, and to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.
FRC does not support the Uganda bill, and does not support the death penalty for homosexuality – nor any other penalty which would have the effect of inhibiting compassionate pastoral, psychological, and medical care and treatment for those who experience same-sex attractions or who engage in homosexual conduct.
If homosexual conduct is not a human right, then what is it? I do not understand the opposition to freedom of conscience from those who say the government is too involved in our lives.