David Barton: Pluralism not the goal of the First Amendment

Now I know where Bryan Fischer gets at least some of his material.
On an April 11, 2011 archived program, a brief statement is made by Barton which sounds a lot like Bryan Fischer’s argument that Christianity is the only religion covered by the First Amendment.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Unearthing America’s Christian Foundations, part 1
(at about the 12 minute mark, a narrator introduces David Barton)

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Joseph Story is one of the most important names in American jurisprudence. Not only was he placed on the US Supreme Court by President James Madison, he also founded Harvard Law School and authored numerous legal works on the Constitution. While today’s revisionists claim that the goal of the First Amendment was absolute religious pluralism, Joseph Story vehemently disagreed. He declared, “The real object of the First Amendment was not to encourage, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but was to exclude all rivalry among Christian denominations.” According to Founder Joseph Story, Christianity, not pluralism, was the goal of the Founding Fathers in the First Amendment for only a Christian nation is tolerant and thus is truly pluralistic.

Barton must have another version of Story’s book because the wording is a little different in his quote than what I found in Google’s archived copy:

The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects…

Barton’s brief argument is worded somewhat differently that Bryan Fischer’s but the effect is the same. According to Barton, pluralism springs from non-pluralism. I addressed Fischer’s argument here and here. One must go on and read all of what Story has to say about the First Amendment. Furthermore, taken to logical conclusion, this argument would establish Christianity as the religion of the nation, something the Founders specifically did not do.  
David Barton is a favorite of Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich, two potential GOP Presidential candidates. Huckabee gushed recently

I just wish that every single young person in America would be able to be under his tutelage and understand something about who we really are as a nation. I almost wish that there would be a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced at gunpoint no less, to listen to every David Barton message and I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.

Gingrich has said that if (when) he runs for President, he will call on Barton for help. In light of Barton’s view of the First Amendment, I hope media inquire about Huckabee’s and Gingrich’s view of the First Amendment. Do they believe it only applies to Christians?

Ugandan ex-gay recants, says Ssempa paid him to say he changed

Not sure how I missed this one, but yesterday Josh Kron reported that one of Martin Ssempa’s poster children for gay change recanted his story saying that Ssempa paid him to claim change.
George Oundo said he had changed orientation and that Uganda’s Parliament should pass David Bahati’s antigay bill at a news conference reported by the Parliament.
However, within a short time, he met with Kron and recanted everything saying Ssempa had paid him well to tell a false story.

“I used to call myself the Queen Mother and Lady of the City,” Mr. Oundo said. “I was recruited into homosexuality many years back, when I was 12.”
“When I joined Mr. Ssempa, I told him all my problems,” he said. “I had to come out and join the struggle.
“Please help us; let the bill pass,” he said.
But an hour later, in a quiet hotel, Mr. Oundo recanted much of what had been said at the meeting.
“David Kato was murdered; it was a plot,” Mr. Oundo said. “I don’t support the bill.”
As for being a “former homosexual,” that, too, was not true.
“I’ve always been gay,” Mr. Oundo said, in a timid but growing voice. “I didn’t choose it.”
“David Kato was the first one who taught me to protect my human right,” Mr. Oundo added.
Mr. Oundo said that his presence alongside Mr. Ssempa at Parliament had been to “protect” himself and that he had been contacted only that morning by Mr. Kagaba about the meeting and offered about $42 to attend. He said Mr. Ssempa had offered him about $2,000 in 2009 to repent and switch sides in the debate, but later reneged. Either way, Mr. Oundo became a poster-child for Mr. Ssempa’s anti-homosexuality movement.

Not sure how Oundo is doing right now, I suspect he may have trouble finding friends at this point. However, whatever is going on, the situation as laid out by the NYT is about what I have been reporting here. After some possible signs of life after the election, the clock will probably run out barring a signal from the govt that they want to move it.

Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson: The Faith Factor

Tomorrow, April 15, marks the day in 1947 when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball. The executive who signed him with the express purpose of combating racism was Branch Rickey, President of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Today, CNN reports that Branch Rickey’s faith was a strong motivation for his decision to sign Robinson. Roll the tape:

I watched the CNN segment this morning and reporter Ed Henry said that he told President Obama about the segment of Robinson and Rickey. Obama commented that the Rickey-Robinson breakthrough had impact on every part of American society, including his election as the first African-American President.
I share a hometown with Branch Rickey — Portsmouth, Ohio — and was always reminded of his legacy because I played my high school baseball in Branch Rickey Park (pictured below).

To me, Branch Rickey’s role in this story is sweet irony. Race relations were tense in my hometown. For most of my life there, African-Americans were segregated into neighborhoods surrounding a large public housing project. There was strong prejudice and discrimination there, even among Christians. And yet, Branch Rickey left the small town to make history in the big city in a way that changed attitudes about race forever.
Watch the clip or read the entire transcript here but I will close with this paragraph:

When a well-known journalist of the era told the Dodgers general manager that he thought “all hell would break loose” the next day with Robinson due to take the field for the first time as a Brooklyn Dodger, Rickey disagreed. “My grandfather immediately responded to him, ‘I believe tomorrow all heaven will rejoice,’” the younger Rickey said.

More on Thomas Jefferson and Christianity

Monday, I disputed the notion that Thomas Jefferson was an evangelical Christian who hoped to evangelize Native Americans with his edited version of the New Testament. There I provided evidence that Jefferson was not a Christian in the evangelical sense. Here is additional evidence that Jefferson was not the Christian portrayed by David Barton and other revisionists of Jefferson’s beliefs.
First in a April 11, 1823 letter to John Adams, Jefferson wrote:

I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did. The being described in his 5. points is not the God whom you and I acknolege and adore, the Creator and benevolent governor of the world; but a daemon of malignant spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no god at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin. Indeed I think that every Christian sect gives a great handle to Atheism by their general dogma that, without a revelation, there would not be sufficient proof of the being of a god. Now one sixth of mankind only are supposed to be Christians: the other five sixths then, who do not believe in the Jewish and Christian revelation, are without a knolege of the existence of a god!

No love for Calvinists there. Then, in the same letter, he wrote regarding the virgin birth:

And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.

The virgin birth a fable?
In an April 13, 1820 letter to William Short, Jefferson left no doubt what he thought of the Apostle Paul:

But while this Syllabus is meant to place the character of Jesus in it’s true and high light, as no imposter himself but a great Reformer of the Hebrew code of religion, it is not to be understood that I am with him in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist, he takes the side of spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin. I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it &c. &c. It is the innocence of his character, the purity & sublimity of his moral precepts, the eloquence of his inculcations, the beauty of the apologias in which he conveys them, that I so much admire; sometimes indeed needing indulgence to Eastern hyperbolism. My eulogies too may be founded on a postulate which all may not be ready to grant. Among the sayings & discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence: and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being. I seperate therefore the gold from the dross; restore to him the former & leave the latter to the stupidity of some, and roguery of others of his disciples. Of this band of dupes and impostors, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and firm corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus. These palpable interpolations and falsifications of his doctrines led me to try to sift them apart. I found the work obvious and easy, and that his part composed the most beautiful morsel of morality which has been given to us by man. The Syllabus is therefore of his doctrines, not all of mine. I read them as I do those of other antient and modern moralists, with a mixture of approbation and disent.

To Jefferson, then, much of the New Testament is falsehoods, made up about Jesus, rendering Him unrecognizable.
Then in another letter to Short, dated October 31, 1819, Jefferson wrote:

But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man; outlines which it is lamentable he did not live to fill up. Epictetus and Epicurus give laws for governing ourselves, Jesus a supplement of the duties and charities we owe to others. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems,* invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object, and one to which Priestley has successfully devoted his labors and learning. It would in time, it is to be hoped, effect a quiet euthanasia of the heresies of bigotry and fanaticism which have so long triumphed over human reason, and so generally and deeply afflicted mankind; but this work is to be begun by winnowing the grain from the chaff of the historians of his life.
* e. g. The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity, original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of Hierarchy.

Note what Jefferson considered to be “artificial systems.” There is not much left for what evangelicals would consider a Christian. Imagine now if a social conservative GOP candidate called the miraculous aspects of Christianity, “rubbish.” And yet, David Barton and by extension Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich promote this revisionism regarding Jefferson.
There are other quotes I have seen, now having reviewed most of the letters between Jefferson and John Adams. Both men seem to believe there was a creator god which via some intelligence plays a role in the affairs of men, but they, most clearly Jefferson, would not be comfortable religiously at evangelical churches today.
Postscript: Thomas Jefferson was born on today’s date, April 13, 1743.

Ugandan government negotiates with Bahati over antigay bill

According to an AllAfrica summaryof a Daily Monitor article that I cannot find, members of the Ugandan Cabinet met with David Bahati, author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and asked him to withdraw the bill in favor of other legislation which would do the same thing.

A Cabinet sub-committee formed to study the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2010 and report back to Cabinet, yesterday added a spin into the Bill and called for its withdrawal.
In a closed-door meeting with Mr David Bahati, the mover of the Bill, the sub-committee said some of the penalties proposed in the Bill could be catered for by the Penal Code Act and the yet-to-come Sexual Offences Bill.

//

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Sources, who attended the meeting, said the sub-committee, chaired by First Deputy Premier Eriya Kategaya, suggested that if Mr Bahati did not mind a lot, he could withdraw the Bill. “They said Cabinet doesn’t agree with the death penalty which the Bill proposes,” a source, who cannot be named because they are not authorised to speak on behalf of Cabinet, said. “They asked Bahati to drop the Bill if he doesn’t care much.”

I have spoken to David Bahati on several occasions, and I know he cares a lot, so I am not surprised by his reported take on the meeting.

Sources also said Mr Bahati went with Commissioners Denis Obua and Justine Lumumba and MPs Beatrice Lagada, Wilfred Niwagaba and Fred Nkaayi. Mr Bahati acknowledged meeting the subcommittee but refuted claims that he had been asked to withdraw the Bill. “The meeting was purposed to build a win-win situation so that we improve on the Bill but we continue upholding the values of our country.”
Early last year after meeting Cabinet over the Bill, Mr Bahati said he was willing to amend the proposed law but “without putting the values of the country at risk”. The sub-committee was set up by President Museveni after pressure from the US and other countries in Europe to drop the Bill.

Earlier today I had an email exchange with a member of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee who told me that the committee will raise the issue before Parliament as a matter of urgent concern next week. However, he added that the bill would probably not be considered this session in part due to an upcoming Easter recess.
According to these minutes of Parliament from 2004, the Sexual Offences Bill has been discussed since about 2001.

On the issue of defilement, Sir, Sexual Offences Bill has been pending for more than three years. We had hoped that it would come to Parliament sooner than later…

I have asked several insiders there for a copy of the SOB but none of them have seen it. International observers who assume that the end of the Parliament will bring the end of the effort to toughen laws against homosexual behavior and free speech are probably wrong. The govt’s call for withdrawal is more of a political maneuver than an expression of a difference over outcomes.

Was the Jefferson Bible an evangelism tool?

David Barton says it was. Barton is a collector of historical documents who is a favorite of Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. On his website, Wallbuilders, Barton says:

The reader, as do many others, claimed that Jefferson omitted all miraculous events of Jesus from his “Bible.” Rarely do those who make this claim let Jefferson speak for himself. Jefferson’s own words explain that his intent for that book was not for it to be a “Bible,” but rather for it to be a primer for the Indians on the teachings of Christ (which is why Jefferson titled that work, “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth”). What Jefferson did was to take the “red letter” portions of the New Testament and publish these teachings in order to introduce the Indians to Christian morality. And as President of the United States, Jefferson signed a treaty with the Kaskaskia tribe wherein he provided—at the government’s expense—Christian missionaries to the Indians. In fact, Jefferson himself declared, “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.” While many might question this claim, the fact remains that Jefferson called himself a Christian, not a deist.

This section is taken from a prototype of a letter which could be sent to a local newspaper if articles appear which discount the Christianity of the Founders. Barton seeks to portray Jefferson as a Christian, in the evangelical sense. This video clip provides more detail.

As I understand it, Jefferson did indeed favor Christian teaching for Native Americans. However, there is abundant reason to doubt that he wanted them to become Christians in the evangelical sense. If so, his little Reader’s Digest version of the Gospels would have been a poor way to do it. Here is how the Jefferson Bible ends:

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
49 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
50 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
51 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.
52 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
53 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
54 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.
55 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
56 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
57 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
58 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
59 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
60 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
61 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
62 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
63 There laid they Jesus,
64 And rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

No Easter morning?! How can you evangelize without the victory dance of the resurrection? Can you imagine how the evangelical world would react if one of today’s GOP candidates produced an edited New Testament missing Easter? I doubt we would have tributes to his Christianity, such as Barton gave in the video above.
The Jefferson Bible is intriguing and can be freely read at Google Books. To explore the claims of Jefferson’s Christianity, please read the introduction which includes letters about the project to Benjamin Rush and Charles Thompson. This snippet makes Jefferson sound very un-evangelical:

3. According to the ordinary fate of those who attempt to enlighten and reform mankind, he [Jesus] fell an early victim to the jealousy and combination of the altar and the throne, at about 33 years of age, his reason having not yet attained the maximum of its energy, nor the course of his preaching, which was but of three years at most, presented occasions for developing a complete system of morals.
4. Hence the doctrines which he really delivered were defective, as a whole, and fragments only of what he did deliver have come to us mutilated, misstated, and often uninintelligible.
5. They have been still more disfigured by the corruptions of schismatizing followers, who have found an interest in sophisticating and perverting the simple doctrines he taught, by engrafting on them the mysticisms of a Grecian Sophist (Plato), frittering them into subtilties and obscuring them with jargon, until they have caused good men to reject the whole in disgust, and to view Jesus himself as an impostor. Notwithstanding these disadvantages, a system of morals is presented to us which, if filled up in the true style and spirit of the rich fragments he left us, would be the most perfect and sublime that has ever been taught by man. The question of his being a member of the Godhead, or in direct communication with it, claimed for him by some of his followers, and denied by others, is foreign to the present view, which is merely an estimate of the intrinsic merits of his doctrines.

Note in point 3, there is no reference to the resurrection of Christ. In point 4, there is contempt by Jefferson for the New Testament record, calling it “mutilated, misstated, and often uninintelligible.” Then in point 5, the sentence in bold above makes it clear that Jefferson did not see Jesus as divine. From his writings and his reduction of the New Testament, it appears that he thought Jesus was an overachiever in the moral sense, an enlightened teacher who provided his students with enduring guidance. In that sense, Jefferson was a Christian, but in today’s political scene, he doubt he would get a warm reception in Iowa.
……..
Jefferson wrote John Adams about his desire to create a compilation of Jesus’ teaching. In it, it seems clear that he was not simply creating a simplified version of the New Testament for Native Americans. Rather, he was teasing out “diamonds in a dunghill.” In the Oct. 12, 1813 letter, Jefferson wrote to Adams:

In extracting the pure principles which he [Jesus] taught, we should have to strip off the artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms, as instruments of riches and power to themselves. We must dismiss the Platonists and Plotinists, the Stagyrites and Gamalielites, the Eclectics, the Gnostics and Scholastics, their essences and emanations, their logos and demiurgos, aeons and daemons, male and female, with a long train of … or, shall I say at once, of nonsense. We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus, paring off the amphibologisms into which they have been led, by forgetting often, or not understanding, what had fallen from him, by giving their own misconceptions as his dicta, and expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves. There will be found remaining the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man. I have performed this operation for my own use, by cutting verse by verse out of the printed book, and arranging the matter which is evidently his, and which is as easily distinguishable as diamonds in a dunghill. The result is an octavo of forty-six pages, of pure and unsophisticated doctrines, such as were professed and acted on by the unlettered Apostles, the Apostolic Fathers, and the Christians of the first century. Their Platonizing successors, indeed, in after times, in order to legitimate the corruptions which they had incorporated into the doctrines of Jesus, found it necessary to disavow the primitive Christians, who had taken their principles from the mouth of Jesus himself, of his Apostles, and the Fathers contemporary with them. They excommunicated their followers as heretics, branding them with the opprobrious name of Ebionites or Beggars.

At the least, Jefferson shows no interest in the canon of the Gospels. Even if he later hoped his efforts would help in making native people more European, his intent as expressed to Adams was to craft a document “for his own use.” Note his belief that the church perverted the teachings of Jesus. He closes his description of his editing work by noting that the Ebionites were excommunicated because they held to the primitive teachings. Not much is known about the Ebionites but apparently they did not hold to the divinity of Jesus and discounted his virgin birth.

GOP Kingmaker and Chief Recruiter for the Left

Bryan Fischer may be creating his own category:
GOP Kingmaker and Chief Recruiter for the Left
As Right Wing Watch notes, last week the American Family Association did damage control for the third time on a Fischer-penned article. First, Fischer wrote:

Allowing Muslims to immigrate into the United States, a Christian nation by origin, history and tradition, without insisting that they drop their allegiance to Allah, Muhammad, the Qur’an, and sharia law, is to commit cultural suicide. We believe in freedom of religion for Muslims like we do for everybody else. But if they insist on clinging to their religion, they will need to exercise their freedom of religion in a Muslim country which shares their values: death for those who leave Islam, the beating of wives by their husbands, and the labeling of Jews as apes and pigs.
Immigration is a privilege, not a right, and our policy should be to admit to our shores only those with a commitment to a full assimilation to American culture, adopting our faith, our heroes, and our history. Someone with a Muslim background who wants to become an American had best be prepared to drop his Islam and his Qur’an at Ellis Island.

So ancient Israel offers a paradigm of what a sensible and sane immigration policy looks like. It’s simple: don’t break the law (that is, come in through the front door instead of breaking in through a window), convert to Christianity, fully assimilate (become an authentic American, not a hyphenated American), and support yourself. If you commit to those things, you are welcome here. If you don’t or won’t, perhaps it’s best for you to stay home.

But then someone changed it to read:

Does this mean that folks need to convert before they immigrate? No, but at a minimum, it would mean making sure that immigrants to the United States affirm and believe in the superiority of the Judeo-Christian system of values and truth claims over alternative value systems such as sharia law.
Immigration is a privilege, not a right, and our policy should be to admit to our shores only those with a commitment to a full assimilation to American culture, adopting our values, our heroes, and our history.

So ancient Israel offers a paradigm of what a sensible and sane immigration policy looks like. It’s simple: don’t break the law (that is, come in through the front door instead of breaking in through a window), fully assimilate (become an authentic American, not a hyphenated American), and support yourself. If you commit to those things, you are welcome here. If you don’t or won’t, perhaps it’s best for you to stay home.

There is so much left to work with that I may need another post but please note that hyphenated Americans are not authentic to Mr. Fischer. Also, I would like to hear him grapple with this verse:
Deuteronomy 10:17-19

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

So anyway back to the Christian nation stuff – do immigrants need to convert or not?
I actually got an email from a reader who speculated that perhaps Mr. Fischer is a plant of the left because he is doing such a good job pushing moderates that way.

Uganda's Parliament confirms news reports of support for antigay bill

Yesterday, I posted three sources which reported that religious leaders were calling for the consideration of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill before the end of Uganda’s 8th session of Parliament in May. In what may signal a more serious intent to move forward, the website of Uganda’s Parliament reported on the petition, confirming 2 million signatures had been presented to the lawmakers. 

Anti homosexuality crusaders have petitioned Parliament calling for urgent consideration of the anti-homosexuality bill that is before Parliament.
The crusaders led by Dr.Pastor Martin Sempa have expressed concern that recruitment of youths into homosexuality is ongoing and children need protection from this type of trafficking.
In a petition to Parliament signed by over two million crusaders May 6, Pastor Sempa urged Members of Parliament to shun pressure and threats from countries of the Western world as they consider the bill.
They told the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Edward Ssekandi that many Ugandans are worried that the bill may not be considered by the Eighth Parliament whose term elapses in May. 
Bishop Julius Oyet one of the key petitioners decried homosexuality arguing that it proves a threat to culture and civilization. He re-echoed the need to protect the institution of marriage that has served as a social contract for many civilizations.
The petitioners also named nineteen non-governmental organizations accused of promoting homosexuality in Uganda through several fora.
Speaker of Parliament Rt.Hon.Edward Ssekandi says Parliament will consider the bill once the legal and parliamentary affairs committee of parliament tables its report.

Ssekandi could be relying on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee to stall the situation. He may know that there are too many bills to consider and that he will never see the report which he told the petitioners would trigger a vote in parliament. However, note that he did not reject the bill or say it was shelved.

Uganda's religious and civil leaders continue calls for debate on Anti-Homosexuality Bill

In sharp contradiction to Christianity Today columnist Timothy Shah’s statement that Uganda’s religious and political leaders were “repelled” by David Bahati’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, various such leaders spoke out in support for the bill in the waning days of the 8th Parliament.
Today, UG Pulse reported:

Religious leaders, as well as the civil society organisations have today petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Ssekandi, calling for the debate and passing of the controversial Anti Homosexuality bill.
This comes a day after the activists were thrown out of the Parliament, shortly after meeting the chairman of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, Stephen Tashobya on the same matter.
The Inter Religious Taskforce against Homosexuality, led by Pastor Martin Ssempa and Bishop Julius Oyet, presented over 2000 signatures collected from across the country, calling for the passing of the bill, which they say will protect the children.
They also revealed that a lot of money had been injected into a recruitment drive and if the legal committee was delaying, the bill should be moved to a different committee instead.
The Speaker of Parliament, Edward Ssekandi told the taskforce that Parliament will receive all views from different stakeholders before it is either passed or rejected.
He however promised to consult with the relevant committee to discuss the bill as soon as possible.

Yesterday, a Voice of America report said the signatures numbered 2 million.

Religious leaders in Uganda are calling for a renewed debate of the country’s “anti-homosexuality” bill which they argue is essential to protect Ugandan children from homosexual recruitment.
On Wednesday, religious leaders and anti-homosexual activists from around Uganda gathered in parliament to urge debate on the country’s much-maligned “anti-homosexuality” bill.
The bill – also known as the Bahati Bill for the Member of Parliament who introduced it – has garnered worldwide attention for a provision which set the death penalty as punishment for certain homosexual acts. While the death penalty has since been removed from the bill, advocates continue to call for its passage as a means of protecting Uganda’s children.
Lead by Pastor Martin Ssempa, a charismatic and vocal opponent of homosexuality in Uganda, the group asked Ugandan Parliamentary Speaker Edward Kiwanuka [Ssekandi] to fight the emerging “homo-cracy” in Uganda and enter the bill for debate.
“We as religious leaders and civil society are distressed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is being deliberately killed largely by the undemocratic threats of western nations,” he said. “These same nations who promote democracy don’t want our representative to discuss laws to protect our children from the human trafficking of recruiting our children into homosexuality.”
Ssempa leads the Inter-Religious Taskforce Against Homosexuality. During the session with Speaker Kiwanuka, the Task Force presented a portion of over 2 million signatures it said were gathered from around Uganda in support of the bill.

In fact, Julius Oyet was deputized by David Bahati to gather these signatures.
Then, this report was filed late yesterday in the Daily Monitor. The Speaker of the Parliament gave an encouraging word to the religious leaders:

“The mover of the Bill (David Bahati) is still a member of the 9th Parliament and even if the current Parliament doesn’t debate it, the new Parliament will do it,” Mr Ssekandi said.
He added: “Since the Bill was tabled, I have received numerous calls from the international community to throw it out but I always tell them that I don’t have those powers.”

Mr Ssekandi also told the team that their petition would be considered by the committee.

Chances are that time will run out on the bill. However, Ssekandi seemed to say that the new Parliament might take it up. With the government spokeswoman recently saying that the bill’s provisions will be added to another bill — the Sexual Offences Bill — the issue is far from over.