Girls and boys are protected by law in Uganda

Some defenders of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda say that the bill is needed to cover instances of same-sex defilement. However, as this news report demonstrates, police are able to arrest those who commit crimes against boys or girls.

Kampala

A primary school teacher in Luweero District has been arrested over allegations of sodomy.

The teacher, names withheld for legal reasons, is accused of having sexual relations with three male pupils from one school. According to a Police report, three sodomy cases implicating the teacher were reported in February.

The suspect recorded a statement and got released on Police bond. He later jumped bond and hid at Buvuma Islands, Lake Victoria until Wednesday when Police got hold of him again.

Central Region Police spokesman, Lameck Kigozi, said the suspect was arrested at Katosi Landing Site in Buikwe District. He had just alighted from a ferry. “He is detained at Luweero Police Station and we have preferred charges of unnatural offences. His file has been taken to the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice,” Mr Kigozi said on Thursday.

Recently police arrested another teacher for sodomising two girls. The latest police crime statistics show that over 120 people are sodomised annually. This means in every three days a person is sodomised in the country.

Tragic as they are, both men and women commit the crimes and the law is sufficient to address the perpetrators.

What kind of dialogue will we have?

Focus on the Family’s revised Day of Dialogue seems to be a kinder, gentler version of the former Day of Truth. On the new website, the group comes out strongly against bullying:

Any form of bullying and harassment of others is always wrong, including making fun of others, speaking down to them and saying things that hurt people. Christian students in particular should be bold in speaking up to oppose that kind of behavior because it goes completely against the model Christ gave us and that is reflected in Bible verses like these: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17.

They also emphasize that any objections to homosexuality must be expressed in a respectful manner.

Any verbal and written expressions used by students participating in this event should be loving and compassionate—and never be expressed in a condemning or antagonistic way to others. Even when we disagree with others, we should always demonstrate the utmost compassion and respect for them.

While I appreciate this tone, I wonder what kind of dialogue the sponsors hope to create. Let’s set the stage for the proposed dialogue. The DoD is set to take place on Monday, April 18, 2010, the Monday after the Friday the Day of Silence is observed. On the Day of Silence, some students are silent during non-instructional time to dramatize the silence surrounding the harassment and bullying of students who identify as GLBT or those who are perceived to be a sexual minority. The sponsors suggest providing cards to pass out which “speak” for them. Here is what they say:

Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence (DOS), a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT bullying, name-calling and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today.

DAY of SILENCE – What are you going to do to end the Silence?

This would be one side of a dialogue. What is the other side? Is there another side? The DoS invites a dialogue about ending bullying relating to perceptions of sexual orientation. What kind of dialogue is envisioned by the DoD? From the website:

As a high school or college student, do you sometimes feel discouraged when controversial subjects like homosexuality are brought up in your school—and the conversation seems stifled, one-sided and doesn’t allow free room for discussion? Do you feel like your beliefs—the deepest truths of Christianity—are being mischaracterized?

Wish your classmates could hear more of the story—like the truth about God’s deep love for us and what the Bible really says about His redemptive design for marriage and sexuality? Wouldn’t it be nice if a deeper and freer conversation could happen?

As it stands, on Friday, the DoS students will ask for a conversation about anti-gay name-calling and bullying and then on Monday, the DoD students will answer with a defense of evangelical beliefs about sexuality. To me, that seems like two groups talking about two different things.

And so, I will continue to promote the Golden Rule Pledge during the days surrounding the “Days.” GRPledgers will join with those calling for an end to anti-gay bullying and offer that response to the question: “What are you going to do to end the Silence?” In addition, I encourage students to be keep the dialogue about ending bullying on the DoD.

Teen’s suicide said to be related to anti-gay bullying

Earlier today, Focus on the Family announced a remodeled Day of Truth (Day of Dialogue). Then just a few minutes ago, I read of a Middleburg, PA youth who ran in front of a truck due to his despair over being bullied. According to this local report, Brandon Bitner had endured bullying for years before walking 13 miles to Route 11 where he ran in front of a tractor-trailer.

There seems to be little doubt in the students’ minds why Bitner did what he did.

“It was because of bullying,” friend Takara Jo Folk wrote in a letter to The Daily Item.

“It was not about race, or gender, but they bullied him for his sexual preferences and the way he dressed. Which,” she said, “they wrongly accused him of.”

The local Daily Item interviewed ministers in this rural Central PA area, all looking for answers. One, Denny Mallonee, seemed to implicate families:

Mallonee said a stronger bond between kids and their parents also will help.

“If the kids can get the message that nothing beats that close family relationship and that close communication with mom and dad … we get busy with so many things that pull that family apart instead of binding it together,” he said.

Another, Karl Polm-Faudre, pointed to anti-gay bias in the church and local politics:

Polm-Faudre said in his regular clergy study group — which encompasses Episcopal, Lutheran and United Church of Christ — everyone was aware of bullying that’s present in there areas, “and these are people from Mazeppa to Lewisburg, Sunbury, Benton, Berwick …” he said.

“I think the message we would want to give is that the community needs to take stock of the anti-gay rhetoric that’s been going on, especially from some political and religious circles,” Polm-Faudre said. “Because this is giving permission for bullying, harassment and name calling.”

And then another, Rev. Julia Beall, offered a helpfuf perspective:

People will come to terms with their pain, Beall said, but to stay there, things will need to change.

“We need to embody that kindness that doesn’t tolerate this kind of hurt, in every small way we live,” Beall said, adding the culture of the church is that “we do affirm that God created us for a purpose, and respect that God created every person for an purpose because that is part of the Christian culture. … We are all loved by God, and we should love one another.”

Seems to me this is the prime dialogue we need to promote.

Day of Dialogue?

This doesn’t look promising.

A major Christian group will take over an annual event that challenges homosexuality, weeks after the event’s main Christian sponsor pulled support for the student-focused program, saying it had become too divisive and confrontational.

Focus on the Family, an influential evangelical organization, will begin sponsoring the event known as the Day of Truth but will change the name of the happening to the Day of Dialogue, the group is set to announce Thursday.

The Day of Truth has been pushed by conservative Christian groups as a way for school students to counter the Day of Silence, an annual April event promoted by gay rights advocates to highlight threats against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

I will wait until the news release comes out to react more  but I was hoping the event would go away and everybody would focus on ending bias, bullying and harassment.

Recently, I spoke with an expert in bullying prevention who told me that requests for consultation have increased dramatically over the last few months. However, so too have the fearful comments from worried parents who think anti-bullying programming means their kids will be pushed into homosexuality. I am concerned that this new “day” may mean more obstacles to progress.

Update: Here is the website…

Pro-life Congressman blasts Family Research Council over election attack ads

A pro-life Congressman is speaking out about the decision of the socially conservative Family Research Council to run ads attacking him just prior to last week’s election. The first Vietnamese American to serve in Congress, Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) was unseated last week by pro-choice Cedric Richmond. Rep. Cao, who has a solid pro-life voting record, was attacked by the Family Research Council on conservative talk radio due to his votes in favor of including sexual orientation in hate crimes law and his support for repealing the military ban on gays serving openly.

About the ads, Rep. Cao told me late yesterday:

For a conservative Christian organization to attack a Republican pro-life candidate in a general election is as ignorant as it is inexcusable.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported last week that FRC bought ads on the conservative talk radio station WRNO, known locally as “Rush Radio” due to the conservative nature of the programming. The ad attacked Cao’s votes on gay issues, saying his record “places your personal liberties at jeopardy.”  

Several pro-life activists I spoke with declined to comment. The National Right to Life Committee did not respond to several requests. However, one pro-life activist denounced FRC’s actions. Psychologist Rachel MacNair, Vice-President of Consistent Life, a pro-life think tank, told me that

FRC sabotaged the pro-life cause — not just in losing a vote in Congress, but in the far deeper matter of public persuasion for the ultimate goal of making abortion unthinkable.

Can you be pro-life and moderate or supportive on gay issues? Public opinion polls show that the public is become more moderate on gay issues while growing more negative toward abortion.  If these trends continue, pro-life political groups may need to decide which social issue is more important to them. In the case of Rep. Cao, FRC’s anti-gay sentiment trumped support for a pro-life Congressman, one FRC endorsed in 2008.

Earlier today, FRC Action president Tony Perkins issued a statement to me defending the move to oppose Cao.

First, FRC Action is not a Republican organization. We are a conservative Christian organization that advocates for the family based upon biblical values and truths.  Many of the problems we face today in America are the result of Republican leadership.

When Cao first ran in 2008, he sought my support and promised to be a conservative, morally based vote for the family.  I endorsed him in that race and because of the unique situation with Jefferson under indictment and no other viable Democrat in the race, Cao won.  In the last two years he has amassed one of the worst voting records of any Republican in Congress on our issues.  By the way, the homosexual community masquerading as Republicans in New Orleans decried our ad against Cao because he was pro-life.  Cao was at best a pro-life vote, under pressure. 

Cao was the lone Republican who voted for the government takeover of healthcare when it first passed the House.  A lot of time and energy was spent on getting him to vote against the measure when it came back to the House from the Senate with taxpayer funding of abortion included.  It he was truly pro-life, he would have been leading the charge against President Obama’s plan; instead he was meeting with him in the White House.  Secondly, we are not a single issue organization that only focuses on the life issue.  We look at where Members stand on life, marriage, family and religious liberty.  Cao’s score on FRC Action’s vote scorecard was 62, lowest of the Louisiana House delegation.  His score was lower than Charlie Melancon, the one Louisiana Democrat in the House.

Cao repeatedly voted for key provisions of the homosexual agenda including: Hate Crimes, the overturning of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” even though military leaders said don’t do it.  The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was when he recently helped the Log Cabin Republicans (homosexual Republicans) raise money for their political operation.  It was the Log Cabin Republicans that recently filed a lawsuit against the military in an attempt to force them to allow open homosexuality in the military, which military leaders have said could potentially undermine their ability to accomplish their mission.  The Log Cabin Republicans succeeded at the district court level and for one day the military was forced to change their policy and even had to recruit homosexuals.  That case is currently on appeal. 

I also wanted to send a very clear message to Republicans across the country; if you take a stand against the family, we will take a stand against you.  These squishy Republicans need to know that we will come after them, just like the Democrats. 

For his part, Congressman Cao disputes aspects of Perkin’s account. According to Taylor Henry, Communications Director for Rep. Cao, the Congressman “did not personally solicit the endorsement of FRC.” In fact, Henry told me, “Congressman Cao does not recall ever meeting Tony Perkins” and he “did not make any promises to Perkins.” Henry said he cannot speak for the 2008 campaign staff so there may have been some contact at that time but Congressman Cao made no personal commitments to vote with the FRC. 

Regarding his votes on hate crimes and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Henry said Congressman Cao voted in keeping with his views that gay people should receive equal protection under the law.

See also FrumForum on this story.

New ark to be built: Grizzlies & other bad animals excluded

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this WHAT? report:

AFA to rebuild Noah’s Ark; Grizzlies, other bad animals excluded

Tupelo, MS – The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer today announced that he is going to rebuild Noah’s Ark. Citing media reports of animal attacks on humans, he says only the good animals will be allowed.

“We are going to break this curse on the land and only take in the animals which do not attack people,” said Fischer. “For instance, everyone knows that grizzly bears kill people, but did you know that over 300 people were killed by dogs over the past 20 years!? I don’t care what Noah did, there will be no dogs on Noah 2.”

Fischer added that to take the place of real animals, he would be taking stuffed dogs, bears, lions, tigers, and alligators killed by the other passengers.

Study addresses lesbian parenting and orientation of children

This study is sure to get some attention. From Archives of Sexual Behavior, epublication  Nov. 6, 2010

Adolescents of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Sexual Orientation, Sexual Behavior, and Sexual Risk Exposure.

Gartrell NK, Bos HM, Goldberg NG.

Department of Psychiatry and Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, University of California, 3570 Clay St., San Francisco, CA, 94118, USA, ngartrell@nllfs.org.

Abstract

This study assessed Kinsey self-ratings and lifetime sexual experiences of 17-year-olds whose lesbian mothers enrolled before these offspring were born in the longest-running, prospective study of same-sex parented families, with a 93% retention rate to date. Data for the current report were gathered through online questionnaires completed by 78 adolescent offspring (39 girls and 39 boys). The adolescents were asked if they had ever been abused and, if so, to specify by whom and the type of abuse (verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual). They were also asked to specify their sexual identity on the Kinsey scale, between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual. Lifetime sexual behavior was assessed through questions about heterosexual and same-sex contact, age of first sexual experience, contraception use, and pregnancy. The results revealed that there were no reports of physical or sexual victimization by a parent or other caregiver. Regarding sexual orientation, 18.9% of the adolescent girls and 2.7% of the adolescent boys self-rated in the bisexual spectrum, and 0% of girls and 5.4% of boys self-rated as predominantly-to-exclusively homosexual. When compared with age- and gender-matched adolescents of the National Survey of Family Growth, the study offspring were significantly older at the time of their first heterosexual contact, and the daughters of lesbian mothers were significantly more likely to have had same-sex contact. These findings suggest that adolescents reared in lesbian families are less likely than their peers to be victimized by a parent or other caregiver, and that daughters of lesbian mothers are more likely to engage in same-sex behavior and to identify as bisexual.

I will get a look at the study soon and report more about it. Looks to me like female sexual fluidity is supported by this study but will examine the study more closely.

Pastor Jim Swilley comes out in church

For some, this will be a deeply disturbing video. For others, it will be illuminating. I think his descriptions of the experiences of someone who has experienced same-sex attraction during their formative year are clear and compelling. I do not hear him saying that all SSA men who are married should do what he has done. In fact, it seems like he does not have that “spousosexual” make up some SSA men have. He is however, trying to describe his experience. This must have been difficult to do.

 

Please discuss…

Uganda Observer reports on Rolling Stone, Martin Ssempa; confirms attack

The Uganda Observer has an article this morning reporting on the ongoing controversy over the Uganda Rolling Stone tabloid. Also, for the first time, a Uganda paper reports on the Canyon Ridge Christian Church story:

Ssempa loses funding

Meanwhile, the Canyon Ridge Christian Church (CRCC), which has been supporting Pastor Martin Ssempa’s work on HIV/AIDS in Uganda, has announced it is “looking to re-direct” its resources to other people. They cite Sempa’s support of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

When contacted, Ssempa declined to confirm whether he had been notified of the decision. The statement, however, can be found on the CRCC’s website.

Indeed, the statement is on their website, with a link on the frontpage. How odd…Rev. Ssempa is not shy to talk to the Rolling Stone but he declined to comment to The Observer.

As noted here, Oral Roberts University continues to list Ssempa on their Board of Reference.

The Observer leads with the Rolling Stone story:

A Ugandan story about homosexuality that went largely unnoticed at home is hitting headlines in the foreign media, with CNN and BBC among those raising its profile.

Julian Pepe Onziema, the Programmes Coordinator of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), an NGO that lobbies for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBTS), has had interviews with these media houses, and others like the SABC of South Africa and Aljazeera, over persecution of this group in Uganda.

She is currently in Gambia to discuss the rights of homosexuals before the African Commission and her days continue to be filled with a lot of advocacy work following the reports.

On October 2, a newspaper, Rolling Stone, which entered the Ugandan market only in August this year, carried pictures of people it claimed were homosexuals under the headline, ‘Kampala’s top homosexuals’.

The newspaper was quick to realize that the story was good for publicity abroad, so there was a follow-up in its latest November edition.

It ran graphic photos of people said to be gay, their names and addresses. In one of the photos, a woman said to be a lesbian is lying seductively on a bed wearing a figure-hugging dress with a caption saying, “She claims to be hot but is only interested in relationships with women. She seduces women.”

Next to hers are other pictures of male genitalia inflicted with lymphogranulama, a disease the newspaper alleged is eating up the homosexual community. Strewn around are pictures of other individuals said to be homosexuals, as well as activists and sympathizers.

The Observer has established that one of the people listed as a lesbian was attacked by her neighbours with stones and had to be rescued by friends who sneaked her out of the house. Other attacks have been reported but couldn’t be confirmed.