Buzzfeed: State Department Warns Uganda on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Earlier today, Buzzfeed reported on a State Department briefing on Uganda’s efforts to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The briefing should be reviewed in full but the take away is that Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson was in Uganda over the weekend expressing the U.S. opposition to the bill. Carson pressed the point that the bill would violate Uganda’s own human rights standards.

I think the presence of Carson is important and necessary. It is not too late for Uganda’s leaders to step back and reconsider the human rights implications of the bill.

One aspect of the briefing that was interesting to me was the fact that State Department could not confirm the removal of the death penalty. It is important for the media and blogging community to report accurately and maintain some skepticism about reports that cannot be confirmed.

Hat tip: @melanienathan1

Scott Lively and Bryan Fischer Laud Uganda as Christian Nation; Support Anti-Homosexuality Bill

World Net Daily and Scott Lively sang the praise of Uganda’s President Yowari Museveni in an article published November 24. Museveni recently prayed at two events and seemed to repent for Uganda’s sins. His prayer was a recitation of problems with no mention of specific actions on Museveni’s part. However, WND and Scott Lively, who is quoted in the article, believe Museveni’s prayer should be a model for other nations.

This article relates to meetings that occurred in Uganda back in October. The current relevance relates to the fact that Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is back in the news. The Parliament may consider the bill this week. On that point, Scott Lively opposes the death penalty but lauds Uganda’s efforts to pass the anti-gay bill.

Sunday, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association tweeted his approval of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and signaled the appearance of Lively on his show on Monday.

I think Lively and Fischer are completely wrong. They defend the indefensible. Uganda watchers recognize Museveni’s prayer as a move to pander to the conservative Christians of that nation.

This is not the first African leader to declare his country a Christian nation. For instance, Zambia’s late president Frederick Chiluba declared Zambia to be a Christian nation early in his rule. His rhetoric was much like Museveni’s but the rest of the story is that Chiluba was tried for corruption in a trial that cost Zambia millions of dollars.

Furthermore, there is a mistaken belief at work here. Lively and Fischer believe that national repentance is possible. They take the verses in the Old Testament directed toward Israel as having application to any nation today. This flaw is responsible for much mischief. In the Bible, God was active in making a covenant with Israel. However, whether it be Uganda or the USA, God has not made a covenant. It doesn’t work the same way for a political leader to declare such a covenant.

When a political leader acknowledges God, there is no guarantee of prosperity or success. For instance, the Confederate Constitution gave recognition to “Almighty God” in a way that the United States constitution does not do. That document begins:

We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.

The Confederacy invoked “the favor and guidance of Almighty God” but this invocation did nothing for them.

Museveni has invoked God’s blessing before and yet Uganda remains a very poor nation with multiple problems. Lively says Uganda will prosper for their stance on gays. However, Uganda has been a difficult place for gays to live for many years without some obvious divine blessing.

Spokesman Says Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Will Not Be Debated Today UPDATE – NTV Report: Committee Endorses Life in Prison

According to spokesman Nsimbe Kassim, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is still in committee and will not be debated today. Kassim told me that the report from the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee will not come before Parliament today but will probably come up next week.  The main business today is more work on the bills relating to the oil industry in Uganda. According to yesterday’s agenda, Parliament must get through two Petroleum Bills, the Accountants Bill, a resolution to encourage a bail out of a steel mill and consideration of a report on the energy sector before debate on the anti-gay bill.

UPDATE: In the category of “I’ll believe it when I see it” is this report from the BBC.  In May 2011, MPs said the death penalty had been dropped when in fact it was still in the bill.

UPDATE: This NTV report lends some credibility to the BBC story above. Committee chair Stephen Tashobya is quoted as saying the report is complete and others speaking off camera say that the penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” will now be life in prison. This report indicates that action on the bill will take place next week.

Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Denies Travel Sanctions over Anti-gay Bill

In an article on the parliament website, Rebecca Kadaga denies that she has been barred from attending the Global Peace Convention over her support for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As I noted last night, the State Department denied reports that  sanctions have been threatened.  It is unclear what committee chair Stephen Tashobya was referring to by a letter he said he received from the United States.

Here is the article from the parliament website:

The Parliament of Uganda has noted with concern the information being disseminated by some media houses and other sources that due to concern for her security, the Right Honorable Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has been barred by the American Embassy, from travelling to the United States to attend the Global Peace Convention 2012. This, it is claimed, is a result of the Rt. Hon. Speaker’s pronouncements during the IPU Conference in Quebec in October 2012,  on matters pertaining to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is due to be debated in Parliament of Uganda.

The Parliament of Uganda would like to formally clarify therefore that the United States Embassy in Uganda has not at any one time formally communicated to the  Office of the Speaker or to the Speaker herself preventing her from travelling to the United States of America for the said Convention.

While it is true that the Speaker had been invited to attend the Heads of State Global Peace Convention 2012 which will take place from November 29th to December 1st in Atlanta, Georgia, she declined to attend the meeting due to several commitments at Parliament most important of which was that the Deputy Speaker was scheduled to be out of the country on official business at the time, yet Parliament was in session.  It may be necessary to note that constitutionally, it is only the Speaker or her Deputy permitted to chair parliamentary sittings. They can, therefore, not be away at the same time when Parliament is sitting.

The Parliament of Uganda would like to clarify, therefore, that all reports pertaining to the travel ban on the Right Honorable Speaker are fictitious, and have been treated by the Parliament with the contempt that they deserve.  The public is advised to treat the news with similar regard.

It should be noted, in conclusion, that the leadership and the Parliament of Uganda enjoy cordial relations with both the United States Embassy in Uganda and the United States Department of State.

The Global Peace Conference is sponsored by the Unification Church.

Uganda TV: United States to Impose Sanctions if Anti-Homosexuality Bill is Approved (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Wade McMullen from the Kennedy Center tweeted me to say that the State Department denies that Obama threatened sanctions.

On this clip, we learn that sanctions may be in store for Uganda if Parliament passes the anti-gay bill.

Committee chair Stephen Tashobya is interviewed in this clip. Tashobya has at various times said the bill would not emerge from his committee. However, he would be a pivotal figure in the passage of the bill since his committee must submit a report for consideration by Parliament. Tashobya discloses on this clip the fact that the US has promised sanctions if the bill passes.

Just last week, Tashobya told me he was unable to comment on the bill. However, now he is on camera commenting on the president’s letter to the Ugandan committee.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Appears on Parliament’s To-Do List

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is listed on today’s order paper under the heading of “Notice of Business to Follow.”

NOTICE OF BUSINESS TO FOLLOW 

  1. MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT TO URGE GOVERNMENT TO BAIL OUT SEMBULE STEEL MILLS LTD FROM THE INTENDED SALE OF ITS PROPERTIES
  2. PRESENTATION, CONSIDERATION AND ADOPTION OF THE REPORT ON THE ADHOC COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING THE ENERGY SECTOR
  3. THE ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY BILL, 2012

4.         THE PUBLIC ORDER MANAGEMENT BILL, 2012

5.         REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ON THE STATUS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES

6.         REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ON THE AFRICAN SPACE RESEARCH PROGRAM (ASRP)

7.         REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL ECONOMY ON THE REQUEST BY GOVERNMENT TO BORROW SDR 87.1 MILLION (USD 135.0M) FROM THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (IDA) OF THE WORLD BANK GROUP FOR FINANCING OF THE WATER MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (WMDP)

8.         REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL ECONOMY ON THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY

9.         PETITION AGAINST THE OFFICIAL RECEIVER OF UGANDA ELECTRICITY BOARD (UEB) AND UEB (IN LIQUIDATION) FOR NON-PAYMENT OF GRATUITY

KAMPALA

21ST NOVEMBER 2012

The bill reached this level of attention back in May, 2011 but time ran out before the bill was debated. There is now plenty of time for this bill to come to the floor prior to the planned December 15 recess.

The Paul Edwards Show: Getting Jefferson Right and the David Barton Controversy

Paul Edwards podcast on Wednesday, November 14 was devoted to the David Barton controversy, Getting Jefferson Right and The Jefferson Lies.

Check it out here.

Price Reduced – Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President

   Until early next week, I am lowering the price of the Getting Jefferson Right in paperback to $9.95 (23% off) and the Kindle version to $3.99 (20% off).

It will take awhile for the Kindle price to change on Amazon but you can get the lower price on the paperback from our CreateSpace site now.  Just click the link for CreateSpace.

The book is a must for anyone on your gift list who knows about the David Barton controversy or who like Thomas Jefferson and/or American history.

To read reviews of the book, go on over to GettingJeffersonRight.com.

 

To like the book on Facebook, click here.

To get the paperback, go to the book’s CreateSpace page.

David Barton Self-Publishes The Jefferson Lies

After blasting us for self-publishing Getting Jefferson Right, David Barton is self-publishing The Jefferson Lies via Wallbuilders Press. Chris Rodda discovered and reported this last week.

Barton told the world after his book was pulled from publication that he had a publisher in the wings bigger than Thomas Nelson. Glenn Beck said he would publish the book but apparently this is on hold or off completely.

 

Uganda’s Speaker of Parliament Wants Anti-Homosexuality Bill Debated Next Week

So says the Monitor.

The Speaker of Parliament has directed the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to present the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2011 on the floor of Parliament.

The committee chairperson, Mr Stephen Tashobya, passed on Ms Rebecca Kadaga’s directive to committee members yesterday as he summoned them to attend next week’s session in person “to have the Bill concluded”.

In her November 13 letter, the Speaker advised Mr Tashobya to be mindful of what she said was the high demand by the public to address homosexuality.

“I write to reiterate my earlier instruction to your committee to expeditiously handle the review of the report on the Bill. As you are aware, there is high demand by the population to address the escalating problem of promoting and recruiting minors into homosexuality,” the letter reads in part.

“This is therefore to inform you that I shall place the Bill on the Order Paper immediately after conclusion of the Oil Bills,” she wrote. Parliament is concluding consideration of the Petroleum (Exploration, Production and Development) Bill as the House breaks off for Christmas recess on December 15, which suggests that after the Bill is hopefully completed by next Tuesday, MPs can expect to debate and probably pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Mr Tashobya said his committee had “a working document [ready] because we had a lot of responses during the public hearings.” The Bill was presented as a Private Members’ Bill by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati in the 8th Parliament and has since become a subject of international discussion, with a number of Western countries threatening to cut aid to Uganda if it is passed.

The working document is a report left over from the 8th Parliament and makes very few changes in the anti-gay bill.  I wrote about the committee report in May, 2011:

A paper designated as the final report of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee was leaked last Thursday, just ahead of Friday’s final session. I have good reasons to believe that the report did come from the committee although I cannot say for certain that the report would have been presented on the floor of the Parliament had the bill gotten that far. You can read the report, converted to a .pdf, by clicking here.

To help see what a revised bill would have looked like, I compared the original Anti-Homosexuality Bill with the report. This version makes the changes called for in the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee report (Click the link). In this version the sections crossed out were in the original bill and those underlined are the ones suggested by the committee.

Even after the changes, the penalty for private, consensual  same-sex intimacy would still be life in jail and the death penalty would remain since it is the penalty provided for aggravated defilement in Uganda. Clauses 4, 7, 8, 14, 16 & 17 were deleted but a new penalty for participating in the marriage of a same-sex couples. Presumably, this would discourage ministers from performing the ceremonies. Even if the bill had been amended in the manner suggested by the committee, the bill would have defined homosexual behavior in a way that criminalized the most modest forms of intimacy with either life in prison or death for HIV positive individuals.

According to the Monitor report, the Speaker wants to have the second reading of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill after the Petroleum Bills are completed. According to today’s agenda, the oil bills were debated in today’s session (click here to read the order paper for today). The listing of business to come does not list the AHB but according to the Monitor, Kadaga is going to put it on the order paper for sometime next week.