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.

More detail on the Fellowship Foundation relationship to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Jeff Sharlet on Rachel Maddow: The Family and the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

On December 1, I addressed the issue of the Family’s influence on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. At that time, I reported the following information:

To explore these issues, I spoke via email with the Director of Cornerstone Development, Tim Kreutter.  Mr. Kreutter has lived in Africa most of his life and oversees a staff of about 150 people.

When asked about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009, he told me that Cornerstone “had zero input on that bill.” Furthermore, Mr. Kreutter pointed out that Cornerstone has intervened in death penalty situations, saying: 

“In particular, we are opposed to the death penalty under all circumstances and have played a part in working to stay all executions here for the last 10 years or so.”

Kreutter also explained that the sponsor of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, David Bahati and the outspoken government minister who supports it, Nsaba Buturo, currently have no involvement in Cornerstone programs. As noted, a review of their website confirms this statement.

Regarding Bahati’s involvement in the Africa Youth Leadership Forum, Mr. Kreutter pointed out that the forum that day included three Ugandan politicians: Cecilia Ogwal, Mugisha Muntu and David Bahati. Ogwal is involved in the Uganda People’s Congress Party of former Pres. Milton Obote, Muntu is a major opposition leader of the Forum for Democratic Change Party and a likely Presidential candidate in the next elections and then Bahati is a loyal ruling party member. I should also point out that the Deputy Secretary for International and Regional Affairs of the Forum for Democratic Change, Anne Mugisha (no relation to Muntu), opposes the bill.

As noted, I was correct that at least some of the Family opposes the bill. More specifically, Jeff Sharlet reports below that there is potential for the Ugandan lawmakers to be disinvited to the American prayer breakfast in February if they do not take positive steps regarding the bill. As best as I can tell, David Bahati, Nsaba Buturo and Julius Oyet are slated to in the US during the week of Feb, 2-6. I suspect their visit will be an eventful one in any case, but especially if the “Kill the gays bill” is not itself dead.

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Extreme Prophetic declines to oppose the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

One of the central figures in the controversy over Uganda’s Anti-Homosexual Bill is Caleb Brundidge. He was one of the trio of Americans who traveled to Uganda in March of this year to present his views at an ex-gay conference hosted by Stephen Langa’s Family Life Network. One effect of the conference was a group of people who called for stronger legislation against homosexuality. In April, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was first disclosed to the Ugandan Parliament.

ugandabrundidge

Left to right. (unidentified woman, Scott Lively, Caleb Brundidge, Don Schmierer, & Stephen Langa) 

While Exodus recently came out strongly in opposition to the bill and Scott Lively has indicated that he does not support the death penalty, Brundidge and his organizations have refused to comment directly about the matter. In the Spring, I sent emails to Brundidge and the International Healing Foundation which went unanswered. I know of no public statements to the press about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The only public comment about the Uganda trip was posted in the IHF newsletter and did not mention the bill.

Wondering if perhaps his ministry partner, Extreme Prophetic, might want to comment, I contacted Rob Hotchkin who Extreme Prophetic designated as a media spokesperson. I asked him to disclose the position of Extreme Prophetic on the bill and criminalization of homosexuality in general.

As a ministry we do not have an official opinion on political policies.  I am sure each member of our team has personal beliefs about most national and international political situations, positions, or policies, but as a ministry we do not have an official opinion on political matters.  

We are a “love” ministry and believe the greatest power in the universe is the love of Jesus, and that it is His love, so brilliantly displayed through the finished work of the cross, that will reach out and touch every man, woman and child in every nation around the world.  For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son so that none may perish, and all may have eternal life (John 3:16).

As per your question about Caleb Brundidge.  He is a member of our evangelism team, and also one of our itinerant ministers.  If you are interested in hearing Caleb’s personal views on the reported Ugandan bill, or to hear from him what he shared when he was in Uganda in the Spring of this year, you can reach him directly by e-mailing cbrundidge@xpmedia.com.

This reticence to comment on Uganda’s bill is perplexing given some of the teaching on their website. Specifically, I am referring to the teaching of friend of Extreme Prophetic, Lance Wallnau, on the seven mountains of culture. In a video on Extreme Prophetic’s web video network, Wallnau describes the seven mountains of culture which Christians should seek to control. The mountains are also referred to as spheres of influence and are business, family, government, arts & entertainment, media, education, religion, and science and technology. Seven mountains adherents take the exhortation of Jesus to teach all nations as a call to push governments to reflect the teachings of Christianity. In other words, salvation is not just personal but national. Speaking of government, Wallnau says on the Extreme Prophetic video (at about 22 minutes in): 

While Christians are in pursuit of the supernatural, or the glory or prosperity, but they’re missing the apostolic assignment. They are to take over spheres and adminstrate them for the glory of God. They’re to take over spheres and administrate them for the glory of God. That’s the only way you can teach nations is when you take over a sphere and administrate it for the glory of God.

Wallnau spends much time talking about how gays have taken over the spheres of influence and how Christians need to take them back and use this leverage to advance the Kingdom. He laments that Christians are more concerned with revival (individual salvation) than reformation (national salvation).

At the end of the video, Patricia King comes on and prays that watchers will find their sphere to “infiltrate” for God. It is hard for me to reconcile the endorsement of Christians taking over the sphere of government with Mr. Hotchkin’ s statement that the ministry takes no position on “political matters.” 

The seven mountains of culture teaching seems consistent with the appeal of Ugandan politicians to the will of God as a basis for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Read David Bahati’s words about the bill in yesterday’s Independent:

It is key that we note how Mwenda inclined much on the religious aspect of the bill and much of his argument was to justify that the task of judging and consequently punishing sin should be left to God. Societies wouldn’t need law and order if all the tasks of countering sins were to be left for God. I believe that we are doing God’s will.

I believe this teaching is helping to provide religious rationale for the bill. Those looking for US influences on government officials in Uganda and elsewhere should not overlook the importance of adherence to this doctrine of reclaiming the seven mountains of culture. I will report soon that there are direct connections from this seven mountains teaching and the Uganda spiritual leaders who are supporting and promoting the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Author links sponsors of Anti-Homosexuality Bill to The Family

Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power was on NPR’s Fresh Air program yesterday. The main theme of the interview was to discuss The Family, a secretive Christian group who moves in political circles worldwide. For more on this group, see Sharlet’s book, and this investigative report by World magazine.

For our purpose, his investigation into the influences on the sponsors of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill are interesting and provocative. You can listen below or read the transcript here.

GROSS: This legislation has just been proposed. It hasn’t been signed into law. So it’s not in effect and it might never be in effect. But it’s on the table. It’s before parliament. So is there a direct connection between The Family and this proposed Anti-Homosexual Legislation in Uganda?

Mr. SHARLET: Well, the legislator that introduces the bill, a guy named David Bahati, is a member of The Family. He appears to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes their Uganda National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which The Family has poured millions of dollars working through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda.

GROSS: So you’re reporting the story for the first time today, and you found this story – this direct connection between The Family and the proposed legislation by following the money?

Mr. SHARLET: Yes, it’s – I always say that the family is secretive, but not secret. You can go and look at 990s, tax forms and follow the money through these organizations that The Family describe as invisible. But you go and you look. You follow that money. You look at their archives. You do interviews where you can. It’s not so invisible anymore. So that’s how working with some research colleagues we discovered that David Bahati, the man behind this legislation, is really deeply, deeply involved in The Family’s work in Uganda, that the ethics minister of Uganda, Museveni’s kind of right hand man, a guy named Nsaba Buturo, is also helping to organize The Family’s National Prayer Breakfast. And here’s a guy who has been the main force for this Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda’s executive office and has been very vocal about what he’s doing, and in a rather extreme and hateful way. But these guys are not so much under the influence of The Family. They are, in Uganda, The Family.

GROSS: So how did you find out that Bahati is directly connected to The Family? You’ve described him as a core member of The Family. And this is the person who introduced the anti-gay legislation in Uganda that calls for the death penalty for some gay people.

Mr. SHARLET: Looking at the, The Family’s 990s, where they’re moving their money to – into this African leadership academy called Cornerstone, which runs two programs: Youth Corps, which has described its in the past as an international quote, invisible family binding together world leaders, and also, an alumni organization designed to place Cornerstone grads – graduates of this sort of very elite educational program and politics and NGO’s through something called the African Youth Leadership Forum, which is run by -according to Ugandan media – which is run by David Bahati, this same legislator who introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

The player sometimes doesn’t load so if it doesn’t, you can listen here:

Monday, I noted American influence via the College of Prayer and their three year partnership with the Ugandan parliament. There seem to be multiple lines of influence tied to those who have introduced the bill. What is not clear is how much, if any, the Americans directly suggested the bill.

More to come on that point…

College of Prayer, the Ugandan Parliament and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Many observers have speculated about U.S. influence in Uganda, particularly relating to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. The obvious trigger for legislation this year was the ex-gay conference held in Kampala in March. Organized by Ugandan Stephen Langa, the conference featured presentations by Scott Lively, Caleb Brundidge and Don Schmierer. Lively and Brundidge addressed some members of the Ugandan parliament in a breakfast meeting on March 5. From minutes of the Ugandan Parliament:

THE SPEAKER: Thank you very much, hon. Minister. Hon. Members, this brings us to the end of today’s business.

Before we go, I have this communication to make. All Members are invited to an executive breakfast meeting seminar on the dangers of homosexuality. The theme is, “Exposing the truth about homosexuality and the homosexual agenda”. The meeting will take place in the Parliament Conference Hall tomorrow Thursday, 5th March starting at 7.30 a.m. to 9.00 a.m.

Guest speakers include Dr Scot Libley [sic – Scott Lively] of the United States, Caleb Lee [Brundidge] of the United States and Mr Stephen Langa of the Family Life Network. All Members are invited to attend and breakfast will be served. The House is adjourned until tomorrow at 2.30 p.m.

Lively’s collaboration with Stephen Langa goes back at least to 2002 when Lively traveled to Uganda twice. At the time, Lively sought to work with Campus Crusade for Christ but these plans fell through. He then turned to Stephen Langa who helped set up his trip.

I then called Stephen Langa, head of the Family Life Network and organizer of the highly successful conference against pornography and obscenity, at which I had spoken in March. He was enthusiastic, and offered to set up speaking events and media appearances on the anti-porn topic.

Lively also collaborated with Rev. Martin Ssempa during this visit.

Speaking of Ssempa, Rick Warren and Saddleback church have been raised as possible influences on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill due to a past connection with Ssempa; the Ugandan pastor collaborated with Saddleback until 2007. However, Rev. Warren recently made known his break with Ssempa via a statement to me on  October 31. Ssempa recently commented on this break in an AFP news report.

Ssempa told AFP he was disappointed by a recent statement by American mega-Pastor Rick Warren, who delivered the convocation at US president Barack Obama’s Inauguration.

Warren did not mention the Anti-Homosexuality Bill specifically, but said he and his wife ended their relationship with Ssempa, “when we learned that his views and actions were in serious conflict with our own”.

Other American churches support Martin Ssempa (see here and here), but there is a more direct connection to the Ugandan Parliament. As noted in a New Vision report, an American organization called the College of Prayer was recently in Uganda to host prayer meetings and leadership training.  

MEMBERS of Parliament have been warned against witchcraft and corrupt tendencies.

“You should not consult witchdoctors for success but instead seek help from God,” Dr. Fred Hartley, the president of the College of Prayer International, said.

“I know witchcraft is a big problem in Uganda but as MPs, you should be exemplary,” he said.

Hartley was speaking during a prayer meeting for parliamentarians at Fairway Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday….

After the prayer meeting, eight MPs were selected to be in the servant leadership team for Parliament for three years.

They included Ruth Tuma, Alice Alaso, Beatrice Lagada, Moses Ntahobari, Capt. Grace Kyomugisha, Benson Obua, David Bahati and the East African legislative assembly MP, Maj. Gen Mugisha Muntu.

On the website of the College of Prayer, one learns that this meeting was a part of a longer term relationship (this link does not work now, here is a screen capture of it.

The College of Prayer will have it’s first module in the Parliament of Uganda from October 31-November 1. Two members of Parliament were able to attend the African Summit this summer and will be encouraging their fellow members to attend. Fred Hartley and Mike and Lisa Plunket will be facilitating this module on “Lord, Teach Us to Pray.”

Following this COP there will be COP’s in the cities of Kampala and Gulu taking place November 2-4. Fred will be leading the one in Kampala for leading Pastors and Mike Plunket will be leading the one in Gulu. Mike will be graduating 1000 students who have completed three years of COP training. Continue to pray for God’s protection over the members of Parliament and their families, particularly for Honorable Bensen, Honorable David and Honorable Buturo. Pray as well for all the pastors and Christian leaders who will be attending each of these modules. Pray for the manifest presence of Christ to be in the midst of these meetings and for the Holy Spirit to guide each of their sessions.

The two named sponsors of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 in the Parliament are David Bahati and Benson Obua-Ogwal. In the executive branch, the prime voice has been Nsaba Butoro. Note that the College of Prayer specifically mentions these men for recognition. This recent Ugandan visit followed a meeting in April which was described on the College of Prayer website:

buturocop

Note that the College of Prayer has entered into a three year agreement to “facilitate the College of Prayer” for Parliament. In February, 2010, another bill supporter, Apostle Julius Oyet will speak at a Leadership Training meeting in Atlanta at the Lilburn Alliance Church, a church affiliated with the Christian & Missionary Alliance and pastored by Fred Hartley, the president of the College of Prayer. MP Benson Obua  is one of those featured on the page who recommend the event.

Rev. Oyet was present with Rev. Ssempa and Rev. Langa when the first motion was made to allow introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill back in April.

Let us hear from hon. Bahati. In connection with the motion he is moving, we have in the gallery Apostle Julius Peter Oyet, Vice-President of the Born Again Federation; Pastor Dr Martin Sempa of the Family Policy Centre; Stephen Langa, Family Life Network; hon. Godfrey Nyakaana; the Mayor of Kampala City Council.

This American organization has the closest contact with those responsible for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of any I have been able to discover. Over the past several days, I have talked a couple of times to College of Prayer president Fred Hartley to inquire about the relationship between his organization and the Ugandan legislators.

Rev. Hartley wanted to make it clear that he and the College of Prayer are not politically motivated. Hartley told me that they are in Uganda to lead the Parliament and other leaders in “Christian discipleship.” Because of that focus, Hartley told me that he “can’t take responsibility for their decisions.”

Regarding the co-sponsors of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, David Bahati and Benson Obua and the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Nsaba Buturo, Rev. Hartley had only good to say. He told me that they are “men of integrity” who “want to do what is right.”

Regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Rev. Hartley told me that he has a hard copy of the bill he received in July from David Bahati. He declined to send me a copy because he said that Bahati told him that such copies were unauthorized. Rev. Hartley acknowledged that the copy he has seen is different than the copy of the bill I sent to him (I sent a copy I was given by Martin Ssempa). Rev. Hartley believes that I may be laboring under a false idea of what the bill actually says. Hartley told me that David Bahati told him last week that many accounts of what is actually in the bill are “grossly distorted.”

While Rev. Hartley believes that the copy of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill I have is incorrect, I must differ. Here is a copy that was published by the Uganda Gazette.

ugandagazetteAHB

I was sent a copy by Martin Ssempa that was compiled just before it went to the Uganda Gazette. They are the essentially the same which was confirmed to me by an individual in Uganda who would be in a position to know. Once a bill is published in the Uganda Gazette (the official publication for all legislation), it is available for public discussion and review.

At present, it seems that Rev. Hartley believes that the bill is not as bad as critics say it is. He is working with the impression that the current bill is not an accurate version and believes his friends Bahati, Buturo and Obua. I am unable to reconcile these conflicting claims. Clearly, I have evidence that the bill I have seen as confirmed is accurate and has been published by the Uganda Gazette .

It remains to be seen what Rev. Hartley and the College of Prayer will do when they discover that the bill in Parliament is what critics say it is. My hope is that they will use their influence for good. Time is of the essence. According to Rev. Hartley, Bahati and company want the bill voted on by the end of 2009.

For a bill to become law in Uganda, it must be read in the Parliament three times before a vote. The tabling of a bill must be approved first by Parliament before it is published and read. This happened on April 29, 2009. The bill was printed in the Uganda Gazette on September 25, and was first read on October 14. It was then referred to committee and will soon have a second reading. At least 14 days must pass until the third reading a vote.

See this link for the Parliamentary discussion of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill when the “Motion for a Resolution of Parliament to present a Private Members Bill” was made. At that time, David Bahati won the opportunity from Parliament to introduce the bill.

Ugandan university hosts dialogue; Exodus letter plays a role

On November 18, 2009, the Human Rights and Peace Center at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda hosted a public dialogue on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The blogger, GayUganda, has an extensive report here and I want to also call your attention to the remarks of Sylvia Tamale, law professor at Makerere University. Her paper presents a compelling case for the setting aside of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. From GayUganda, we also learn that the Exodus letter to President Museveni was a significant issue in the dialogue.

Dr. Tamale begins by discussing history of family in Africa. The she notes other issues which are more important to the family than homosexuality.

Thus, while I agree with you Hon. Bahati that we must seek ways of dealing with issues that threaten our families, I do not agree that homosexuality is one of those issues. Mr. Chairperson, Ladies and gentlemen, what issues currently threaten our families here in Uganda? I will name a few:

a) Blood thirsty Ugandans and traditional healers that believe that their good fortune will multiply through rituals of child sacrifice.

b) Rapists and child molesters who pounce on unsuspecting family members. Research undertaken by the NGO, Hope after Rape (HAR) shows that over 50% of child sexual abuse reports involve children below 10 years of age, and the perpetrators are heterosexual men who are known to the victims.[1]

c) Sexual predators that breach the trust placed in them as fathers, teachers, religious leaders, doctors, uncles and sexually exploit young girls and boys. A 2005 report by Raising Voices and Save the Children revealed that 90% of

Ugandan children experienced domestic violence and defilement.[2]

d) Abusive partners who engage in domestic violence whether physical, sexual or emotional. The 2006 national study on Domestic Violence by the Law Reform Commission confirmed the DV was pervasive in our communities. 66% of people in all regions of Uganda reported that DV occurred in their homes and the majority of the perpetrators were “male heads of households.”[3] The Uganda Demographic Health Survey of 2006 put the figure slightly higher at 68%.[4]

e) Parents who force their 14-year old daughters to get married in exchange for bride price and marriage gifts.

f) A whole generation of children who were either born and bred in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps or abducted by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in the northern sub-region of Kitgum, Gulu and Pader districts.

g) The millions of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The Uganda Aids Commission puts the cumulative number of orphans due to AIDS at 2 million.[5]

h) The all powerful patriarchs that demand total submission and rule their households with an iron hand.

i) Rising poverty levels and growing food insecurity which lead to hunger, disease, suffering and undignified living. Figures from the latest report from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics show that over 60% of Ugandans living in rural areas live below the poverty line.[6]

Professor Tamale makes a clear case that all Ugandans are at risk if this bill passes.

III. The Social Implications of the Bill to the Average Ugandan

You may think that this bill targets only homosexual individuals. However, homosexuality is defined in such a broad fashion as to include “touching another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” This is a provision highly prone to abuse and puts all citizens (both hetero and homosexuals) at great risk. Such a provision would make it very easy for a person to witch-hunt or bring false accusations against their enemies simply to “destroy” their reputations and cause scandal. We all have not forgotten what happened to Pastor Kayanja and other men of God in the recent past.

Moreover, the bill imposes a stiff fine and term of imprisonment for up to three years for any person in authority over a homosexual who fails to report the offender within 24 hours of acquiring such knowledge. Hence the bill requires family members to “spy” on one another. This provision obviously does not strengthen the family unit in the manner that Hon. Bahati claims his bill wants to do, but rather promotes the breaking up of the family. This provision further threatens relationships beyond family members. What do I mean? If a gay person talks to his priest or his doctor in confidence, seeking advice, the bill requires that such person breaches their trust and confidentiality with the gay individual and immediately hands them over to the police within 24 hours. Failure to do so draws the risk of arrest to themselves.

Or a mother who is trying to come to terms with her child’s sexual orientation may be dragged to police cells for not turning in her child to the authorities. The same fate would befall teachers, priests, local councilors, counselors, doctors, landlords, elders, employers, MPs, lawyers, etc.

Furthermore, if your job is in any way related to human rights activism, advocacy, education and training, research, capacity building, and related issues this bill should be a cause for serious alarm. In a very undemocratic and unconstitutional fashion, the bill seeks to silence human rights activists, academics, students, donors and non-governmental organizations. If passed into law it will stifle the space of civil society. The bill also undermines the pivotal role of the media to report freely on any issue. The point I am trying to make is that we are all potential victims of this draconian bill.

Tamale then provides a legal analysis of the bill which finds much of it unconstitutional and confusing. She concludes by saying

Mr. Chairperson, distinguished participants, I wish to end by appealing to members of parliament and all Ugandans that believe in human rights and the dignity of all human beings to reject the Anti-homosexuality bill. I am imploring Hon. Bahati to withdraw his private members bill. Do we really in our hearts of hearts want our country to be the first on the continent to demand that mothers spy on their children, that teachers refuse to talk about what is, after all, “out there” and that our gay and lesbian citizens are systematically and legally terrorized into suicide? Ladies and gentlemen, you may strongly disagree with the phenomenon of same-sex erotics; you may be repulsed by what you imagine homosexuals do behind their bedroom doors; you may think that all homosexuals deserve to burn in hell. However, it is quite clear that this Bill will cause more problems around the issue of homosexuality than it will solve. I suggest that Hon. Bahati’s bill be quietly forgotten. It is no more or less than an embarrassment to our intelligence, our sense of justice and our hearts.

The remarks are amended to include some thoughts on the question and answer period. To get a more complete sense of this meeting, you should also consult GayUganda’s eyewitness description. There he describes talks by David Bahati and Stephen Langa. Langa in particular was described as referring to the Pink Swastika by Scott Lively and materials from Exodus International.

However, according to GayUganda, during the question and answer session, a questioner asked Stephen Langa why he referred to Exodus International material in his defense of the bill when Exodus had recently denounced the bill. I’ll let Gug describe it:

The Exodus letter is a particular foil. Why, even Exodus does not support the Bill! That is a shock, to Steven Langa. An unpleasant one. Because he is using information published by some of the signatories of this letter. He quotes them. And, very embarassing that they don’t support his bill! Even his allies see that his action is un-Christian. He also quotes Lively, extensively. Yes, he does. This Lively. To Langa, the true intellectual mind behind the Bahati Bill, Lively is THE prophet of his crusade. And he promotes his books. Repeateldy. Even yesterday. (It was the Pink Swastika)

I will always remember Langa’s face when he was challenged that Exodus was not supporting the bill. That they were not supporting him, though he was quoting them. And, it was a fellow pastor, I believe, who challenged him. Could he answer? Ha!

Americans with a connection to Ugandans who support or promote the bill have a special responsibility to come along side their Ugandan brothers and ask them to put down their stones.

Ugandan blogger: Anti-homosexuality bill tabled until January, 2010

Blogger Gay Uganda reports on a public television talk show in Uganda featuring the member of parliament who introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 (David Bahati) and Pastor Martin Ssempa.

GU noted:

Oh, and I gathered from MP Bahati that the bill has been scheduled to be brought back in Jan 2010. Parliament was too busy, just now, to handle the important matter of the Anti- Homosexuality bill. Apparently it is very, very far ahead in the future, but that gives you time to check in with your MP and tell them how much you support the Bahati Bill.

Gay Uganda also described in detail the appearance of Martin Ssempa. The blogger said that Ssempa is squarely behind the bill and believes any legislator who votes against it is pro-gay. According the GU, Ssempa issued warnings:

  • Warning all Ugandan politicians. this is the time to get off the fence about homosexuality. You are either pro or anti-homosexual. No middle ground.
  • If you dont support the bill, political suicide. Because Ugandans support the bill.
  • Ssempa appears to be taking the lead on the support for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

  • He has formed a new organisation (must have a conglomerate by now) called the Family Policy Centre.
  • He gave the phone number, and his email address ssempam@gmail.com for anyone with questions.
  • And, he told people to send him money.
  • American Christians have some culpability for this situation by going to Uganda and failing to speak against this error. American Christians need to step up and speak now. I call upon those supporting Ugandan Christian groups to work with their Ugandan brethren to withdraw this bill.

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