Uganda National Pastors Task Force Against Homosexuality demand apology from Rick Warren

Just now, Martin Ssempa sent an email to me and several others including Rick Warren and Christianity Today with this statement. It is similar but not identical to the letter Christianity Today published on Thursday, the 17th. In this letter, the coalition discloses that 20 ministers met and read Rick Warren’s encyclical. It appears they did not consider Warren’s theological points but rather responded with a defense of the bill as written.

UGANDA NATIONAL PASTORS TASK FORCE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY

Task-force Chair: Martin Ssempa PhD

The taskforce represents

The National Fellowship of Born again Churches

The Seventh Adventists Church

The Uganda Joint Christian Council which also represents:

The Orthodox Church in Uganda.

The Roman Catholic Church in Uganda

The Islamiic Office of Social Welfare in Uganda

Born Again Faith Federation 

familypolicycenter@gmail.com 

Dear Rick Warren, 

Christmas greetings from the Pro Faith, Family, and Human Rights Leaders here in Uganda. We acknowledge receipt of a letter from you in which you called on us (Ugandan Pastors) to “speak out” against the proposed “Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009” which is currently before our parliament. This bill has been greatly misrepresented by some homosexual activists causing hysteria and we take this opportunity to give you the background, facts and response to the concerns you raised. A special meeting of 20 denominational heads met on Thursday 17th Dec in the offices of the minister of Ethics and Integrity, examined your letter and formed a joint task force to respond to you as well as help support the parliament in the passage of this bill.  We are further distressed by your unwarranted abuse of our duly elected officials who are in the process of making laws in the fulfillment of their mission and make demand that you biblically issue an apology for having wronged us as demonstrated by the facts of this letter. 

Developments underlying the Bill

Several developments in Uganda and around the world constitute the compelling circumstances that have necessitated the Anti-homosexuality Bill. These include:

a) increasing incidents of homosexual abuse of children and youth by people exercising power and influence over them like teachers, pastors, parents etc. A recent report shows this. Uganda: Child Abuse rampant.;

b) recruitment of youth into homosexual practice with inducements including money. (Homosexual admits recruiting students).  While we have a law that currently prohibits “acts against the order of nature”, this law is not comprehensive enough to cover the promoters of these acts.  The draft law seeks to stop promotion and further recruitment of unsuspecting children and youth into homosexuality.

c) promotion of homosexuality by some organizations, including a pro-gay book by UNICEF circulated in schools without seeking permission of the Ministry of Education; (UNICEF Book supports teen homosexuality)

d) creation of organizations whose sole purpose is to promote homosexuality in Uganda; (e.g. (Sexual Minorities Uganda); (Gay Uganda); (Integrity Uganda)

e) government-led campaigns at the UN led by some countries like France and Brazil to secure a UN General Assembly resolution imposing homosexuality as an internationally protected human right. For example, on November 18th 2008, France and Netherlands initiated a law which seeks to use the UN to push homosexuality on other nations of the world. This explains provisions in the Bill preventing ratification of treaties and conventions affirming homosexuality and related practices.

f) un-believable growth in the power of the homosexual lobby in western countries, clearly seen since this Bill was proposed in Uganda – entire governments in Europe and America have used their diplomatic offices on an issue that should be freely debated and dealt with by their citizens at civil society level.

g) the mistake in western society, where the issue of homosexuality was treated with kid-gloves as a minor, private issue, but these societies are waking up too late on realizing that the matter affects how their entire society is ran, what children are taught at school and literally what everybody “must believe and practice”. This waking-up is for example seen in anti-gay-marriage campaigns in United States, where US citizens are fighting to retain family values against stiff competition from gay-activists in 31 states where the matter has come up for a referendum vote, winning such battles by the skin of their teeth. These countries are stuck with a huge population of their citizens that has been recruited into homosexual practice over decades of lax attitude that has seen the rise of powerful, well-funded organizations that misinform children and youth about homosexuality and daily recruit them into their ranks. This discontented population is angry, a threat to public order and is demanding equality for self-evident disordered and harmful behavior. This represents a mismanagement of human behavior by public institutions, because legal safeguards were not put in place in time to prevent the spread of homosexuality and related practices.

h) The take-over by homosexuals of western institutions that should have remained as defenders and protectors of moral integrity in society, particularly the church, to the extent that even evangelical church leaders in America no longer protest when a practicing homosexual is appointed into pastoral leadership in the church (e.g. the election to the office of Bishop of  Mary Glasspool in your state of California last week and Gene Robinson in New Hampshire before her). This institutional takeover by homosexuals has been systematic and planned, to the extent that other bodies like the UN, national governments, financial institutions, private companies, NGOs, etc. have become spokespersons of the gay movement and daily use official resources to promote the gay agenda and to arm-twist anyone who opposes this agenda. In a globalized world, this western takeover of institutions by homosexuals has turned into international promotion of homosexuality and of other vices like abortion and pornography in other countries.

Some members of Parliament in Uganda have looked at all these developments as a threat to strongly held family values in Uganda and everywhere and have sought to use their mandate as people’s representatives to seek remedies before it is too late. The Anti-homosexuality Bill, 2009, therefore, while acknowledging that homosexuality is not an innate condition, states as its object: “to establish a comprehensive consolidated legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting (1) any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; and (2) the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other places through or with the support of any Government entity in Uganda or any non-governmental organization inside or outside the country”.

What’s the death penalty all about?

Some people have asked about the rationale of a death penalty mentioned in the Bill. There has been a lot of misinformation about this matter with headlines such as: “Gays face death penalty in Uganda”. These headlines are deliberately misleading. This penalty applies only in special cases termed “aggravated homosexuality”, which include, those convicted of unlawful homosexual rape of a child or handicapped invalid; This is a conviction of paedophilles! As highlighted in the problem of “virgin rape cures HIV/AIDS”  the offender can be a person living with HIV; a parent or guardian of the victim where there is abuse of authority! Finally is the use of drugs to stupefy the child so that they can rape them!. Clearly, the intent of this penalty is to protect weaker members of society from being victimized. Please note that for over 15 years Uganda has had the same penalty for persons who have carnal knowledge of minors heterosexually, mainly to protect against sexual abuse of girls by men. This time, this provision intends to provide equal protection of boys, among others.

In the early 1990s, at the height of the HIV Crisis, Uganda sought to protect children, principally girls, from sexual abuse by adults and infection with HIV. There was troubling concern over some people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) who raped and infect girls with HIV/AIDS in a grotesque belief of a “virgin sex cure” prescribed by some witchdoctors. Since 1997, Section 123 of the Penal Code only provided protection against defilement (sexual abuse) of girls under 18 years of age. Section 123(1) states that: – “Any person who unlawfully has sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of eighteen years is guilty of an offense and is liable to suffer death.” Sub-section 2 of Section 123 of the Penal Code provides for attempts to defile a girl under the age of eighteen years. It states that: “Any person who attempts to have unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of eighteen years is guilty of an offense and is liable to imprisonment for eighteen years with or without corporal punishment”. This has and continues to be the law which no one has complained that it is unchristian or a human right violation. Many boys have been violated without legal protection leaving their evil oppressors to get away with no law enforcement protection. The current draft law, simply aims at providing equal protection of the boy child and other vulnerable persons, as currently exists for the girl child. The question for you is this; does the sexual abuse of a boy constitute a lesser crime than the rape of a girl?

The question of human rights and privacy:

Some people have asked whether this law raises questions of human rights infringement. Some have asked whether it infringes the right to privacy, for example, asking what legitimate interest the state has in what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms? But not all things done in private are free of negative consequences on the public. Most harmful behavior occurs in private: corruption, bribery, abortion, murder, rape, etc. Many laws prohibit these private practices. Practices like homosexuality and bisexuality are associated with serious, yet preventable public-health risks. The risk of HIV transmission in male homosexuality is for example about 10 times that of heterosexual sex, simply due to use of parts of the body for inappropriate functions. Other diseases and medical complications are also associated with these practices. Secondly, by its nature, behavior spreads in the population through experimentation, modeling and social affirmation. Increase in homosexual and bisexual practice could thus rapidly reverse Uganda’s success against HIV/AIDS. The state’s interest in public health requires that it takes action on these preventable health risks, not only through education, but also legal deterrents for those who misinform and mislead the public.

An organization recruiting and encouraging people to continue in homosexual practice lacks justification but one dealing in counseling and helping people with behavior management is justified. The clause requiring mandatory reporting of known offenses may therefore need an amendment to exempt disclosure made in counseling situations.

Our Historical Struggle:

When you-(Rick Warren) came to Uganda on Thursday, 27 March 2008, and expressed support to the Church of Uganda’s boycott of the pro-homosexual Church of England, you stated; “The Church of England is wrong, and I support the Church of Uganda”. You are further remembered to say, “homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus (its) not a human right. We shall not tolerate this aspect at all”. (Gay Row-US Pastor supports country on boycott) He was indeed affirming Uganda’s long historical struggle against institutionalized homosexuality. This recent boycott was not the beginning of the struggle. In fact on June 3rd 1886, 26 Ugandan Christian converts to were martyred for their stand against a deviant king who had taken to the practice of sodomy. Their faith in Christ emboldened them to stand against homosexuality, resisting even up to death. Today we honor them, and June 3rd is a national holiday where millions of Ugandan believers converge to remember and renew their strength.(When faith, state and state inspired homosexuality clash).  As you yourself have said, “..the Bible says evil has to be opposed. Evil has to be stopped. The Bible does not say negotiate with evil. It says stop it. Stop evil”. (12/2007)  Since homosexuality is evil, you cannot possibly be against a law that seeks to stop it unless you have misunderstood it. 

Clarification on the spirit of the Mandatory reporting clause 14:

Finally, sexual abuse of children takes place in institutions such as boarding schools, churches etc. Research by ACFODE, “The situational review of rape, sexual harassment and defilement 2005” in three districts found unusually high levels of coercive heterosexual/homosexual rape and harassment especially in single-sex schools.  Unfortunately the school officials and some police officers, maintain a conspiracy of silence, ignoring the pleas of the children and victims who report these crimes. They value the reputation of the school or other institution above the welfare of the children and adults in their custody. This is the reason for section 14, of mandatory reporting of the offenses within 24 hours. 

This reporting is similar to the mandatory reporting of all “unlawful sexual intercourse” in the state of California in Penal Code 11165 which includes, – rape (261), incest (285), sodomy (286), child molestation (647.6), and statutory rape (261.5). California Penal Code 11166; 11165.7 requires that Teachers, Social workers, District attorneys, Doctors, Psychologists, marriage and family counselors, clergy members and state or county public health employees are required by law to report “unlawful sexual intercourse” as defined by the state of California. If mandatory reporting has been deemed necessary in other in America on sexual offenses, Uganda could use the same measure in specified situations.

What has been our recommendation on the law?

At a special sitting of the Uganda Joint Christian Council a taskforce sat and reviewed the bill to make comments. We resolved to support the bill with some amendments which included the following: 

a. We suggested reduction of the sentence to 20 years instead of the death penalty for the offense of aggravated homosexuality.

b. We suggested the inclusion of regulations in the law to govern provision of counseling and rehabilitation to persons experiencing homosexual temptations. The churches are willing to provide the necessary help for those seeking counseling and rehabilitation.

c. Even with the provision for counseling and rehabilitation in the law, homosexuality should remain a punishable offense to control its spread.

Warning of a widening shift.

We note with sadness the increasing levells of accepting of the evil of homosexuality. The ordination of Mary Glasspool a Lesbian as a bishop in Los Angeles without any condemnation from you, has increased the widening gap between the global south church in Africa and the global north church in Europe and America. In these increasingly dark days, we encourage you not to give into the temptation to water down what the bible says so as not to offend people.  Jesus’s gospel is a stumbling block, and a rock of offense.  Rick you are our friend, we have bought many of your books and have been blessed by them. Do not let the pressure of bloggers and popular media intimidate you into becoming a negotiator for homosexual paedophillia rights in Africa. As you yourself say about evil, – “the Bible says evil has to be opposed. Evil has to be stopped. The Bible does not say negotiate with evil. It says stop it. Stop evil.”(RW-12/2007) Since the bible says that the giant of  homosexuality is an “abomination” or a great evil, you cannot achieve the peace plan without  a purpose driven confrontation with evil.  

Ugandan Clergy Demand for your apology within:

Please note that on Friday 11th December, more than 200 of Uganda’s top religious leaders met and supported the legislators in strengthening the law against homosexuality.  (Church leaders back anti-gay bill.) The issue is, we all want the law on homosexuality, the only debate is on what penalties are appropriate.

Your letter has caused great distress and the pastors are demanding that you issue a formal apology for insulting the people of Africa by your very inapropriate bully use of your church and purpose driven pulpits to coerse us into the “evil” of Sodomy and Gaymorrah. This is expected within seven days from this date.

Sincerely Yours, 

Martin Ssempa, Phd

Bishop David Kiganda

Pastor Ssozi Peter

Prof. Peter Claver Matovu

Seventh Day Church Representative.

familypolicycenter@gmail.com

PS: A video Youtube response will be sent as possible.

The taskforce represents

The National Fellowship of Born again Churches

The Seventh Adventists Church

The Uganda Joint Christian Council which also represents:

The Orthodox Church in Uganda.

The Roman Catholic Church in Uganda

The Islamiic Office of Social Welfare in Uganda

Note that the coalition met on the 17th in the office of the Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Nsaba Buturo. One has to assume that the recommendations for altering the bill will get a pretty solid hearing.

Regarding the defense of the bill, I addressed some of these claims yesterday. This letter addresses the actual bill a bit more directly than the Christianity Today version. Here, the Ugandan Task Force acknowledges that they are addressing private conduct of adults and not just child abuse. However, when they suggest restrictions on homosexuality will somehow address the HIV problem, they ignore the fact HIV in Uganda is primarily a heterosexual problem. In essence they ignore the religious arguments against the bill and attempt to make a weak public health argument. 

Clearly, some alterations in the bill are forthcoming and these will be debated in 2010.

UPDATE: Martin Ssempa has reactivated his website and has the statement posted there as well

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill – Full text with commentary

In October, 2009, David Bahati and Benson Obua introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the Ugandan Parliament. Supporters of the bill have claimed publicly that the bill is designed to provide consequences for molestation of boys in the same way Ugandan law does for offenses against girls. Yesterday, Martin Ssempa said to the Christianity Today that the bill should be described as follows:

Uganda law proposes capital sentence for Men with HIV who rape boys and infect them with HIV/AIDS just as it is for heterosexuals who rape girls.

He claims that the bill has been distorted by “homosexualists.” To allow readers to evaluate those claims, the full text of the bill is here. Also available is the scanned version from the Uganda Gazette which is the official version currently under debate. I add comments about the effect of the bill and where appropriate discuss Martin Ssempa’s claims made to Christianity Today.

THE ANTI HOMOSEXUALITY BILL, 2009.

MEMORADUM

1.1. The principle

The object of this Bill is to establish a comprehensive consolidated legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting (i) any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex; and (ii) the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions and other places through or with the support of any Government entity in Uganda or any non governmental organization inside or outside the country.

This Bill aims at strengthening the nation’s capacity lo deal with emerging internal and external threats threats to the traditional heterosexual family.

This legislation further recognizes the fact that same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic.

The Bill further aims at providing a comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect the cherished culture of the people of Uganda, legal, religious, and traditional family values of the people of Uganda against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Uganda.

There is also need to protect the children and youths of Uganda who are made vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technologies, parentless child developmental settings, and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption, foster care, or otherwise.

When the supporters of the bill declare that the purpose of the bill is to protect “the boy child” in the same that the law protects “the girl child,” they overlook the opening section which states the purpose. The law intends to eliminate homosexuality from Uganda via practice or speech intended to support homosexuals.

2.1. Defects in existing law.

This proposed legislation is designed to fill the gaps in the provisions of other laws in Uganda e.g. the Penal Code Act Cap. 120. The Penal Code Act (Cap 120) has no comprehensive provision catering for anti homosexuality. It focuses on unnatural offences under section 145 and lacks provisions for penalizing the procurement, promoting, disseminating literature and other pantographic materials concerning the offences of homosexuality hence the need for legislation to provide for charging, investigating, prosecuting, convicting and sentencing of offenders.

This legislation comes to complement and supplement the provisions of the Constitution of Uganda and the Penal Code Act Cap 120 by not only criminalizing same sex marriages but also same-sex sexual acts and other related acts.

3.0. The objectives of the Bill

The objectives of the Bill are to: Continue reading “Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill – Full text with commentary”

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.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill discussed on Premier Christian Radio

Yesterday morning my time, I was on the Premier Christian Radio Network (UK) to discuss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently being considered in Uganda. Also on the show was prime supporter in Uganda, Martin Ssempa.

You can listen here (If audio is down, try this…).

Some Christian leaders in the UK are speaking out about a proposed law in Uganda which would introduce the death penalty for gay people.

The British government’s already announced it’s unease at the idea.

It’s already illegal to be homosexual in the African state, but the new bill would introduce more strict punishments.

Pastor Martin Ssempa is a Ugandan who supports the new law.

Dr Warren Throckmorton is associate professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at Grove City Christian College in Pennsylvania. He’s campaigning against it.

I felt the interview went well and brought out the relevant concerns about the bill.

Harvard’s AIDS expert Edward Green condemns Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009

The Christian Post published my op-ed this morning regarding the deleterious effects of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill on AIDS work. I was able to interview Edward Green, who is the Director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at Harvard University. Green is widely known respected among AIDS researchers and prevention specialists for his work in primary prevention. As noted in the op-ed, Dr. Green worked with Martin Ssempa to craft policy which emphasize abstinence and fidelity. I didn’t add in the op-ed that Stephen Langa was also a co-author.

About the bill, Dr. Green told me:

The bill sounds dangerous and completely inhumane. As a practical matter, such a bill is unenforceable and would only drive homosexuality underground, terrorize gay men and women and their loved ones, and justify witch hunts.

I also was able to interview Karen Moul of the Catholic Relief Services. CRS has received millions to prevent and treat AIDS around the world. She noted that their efforts are hampered by stigma now; this bill will make the situation worse.

Also, go on over to Christian Post and read this article…

Adding D to ABC: How a Proposed Ban on Homosexuality in Uganda Will Undo AIDS Progress

Relevant to AIDS relief work, there is no exemption in the bill for professionals.

Tue, Nov. 03, 2009 Posted: 07:23 PM EDT Continue reading “Harvard’s AIDS expert Edward Green condemns Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009”

Rick and Kay Warren issue statement regarding Martin Ssempa’s activities in Uganda

Shortly after the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced in Uganda, I requested information and a statement from Pastor Rick and his wife Kay Warren about the bill. Rick Warren’s work in Uganda is significant as is noted here and here. I also asked their views regarding the advocacy for the bill by Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa.

 Regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Ssempa recently told me

I am in total support of the bill and would be most grateful if it did pass.

This statement below clearly explains that the Warrens cut ties with Ssempa in 2007. Ssempa’s advocacy of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is the culmination of increasingly aggressive measures antagonistic to homosexuality. In addition to the bill’s assault on human dignity via the death penalty and prison terms, the bill’ reporting requirements would make the work of any missionary, pastoral counselor, physician, or health care provider working with sexuality incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Here is their statement:

STATEMENT FROM PASTOR RICK & KAY WARREN REGARDING ACTIVITIES OF MARTIN SSEMPA IN UGANDA 

Martin Ssempa does not represent me, my wife Kay, Saddleback Church, nor the Global PEACE Plan strategy. In 2007, we completely severed contact with Mr. Ssempa  when we learned that his views and actions were in serious conflict with our own. Our role, and the role of the PEACE Plan, whether in Uganda or any other country, is always pastoral and never political. We vigorously oppose anything that hinders the goals of the PEACE Plan: Promoting reconciliation, Equipping ethical leaders, Assisting the poor, Caring for the sick, and Educating the next generation.

I applaud Rick and Kay Warren for making this clear statement and hope that Ugandan Christians will consider the wisdom in it. I urge other Christian groups and leaders around the world to follow suit.

Join the Facebook group, Speak Out Against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009 for more information.

The future is now: Ugandan pastors investigated over homosexuality accusations

Under the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009, it would be a crime to know about a homosexual and not report it to authorities.

Here is the relevant section of the bill:

14. Failure to disclose the offence.

A person in authority, who being aware of the commission of any offence under this Act, omits to report the offence to the relevant authorities within twenty-four hours of having first had that knowledge, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding three years.

A person in authority is defined very broadly in the bill:

“authority” means having power and control over other people because of your knowledge and official position; and shall include a person who exercises religious. political, economic or social authority;

It most certainly would include a pastor, missionary, teacher, a parent or even a friend, if the friend was in a position of authority. This sounds like the definition of a mandated reporter of child abuse in the US.

One can imagine the witch hunts that would occur under this bill. Family members would be under pressure to report their loved ones. Missionaries would face expulsion from the country. AIDS workers would be in conflict between ethics and the law. The work of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) would be significantly hindered by this requirement.

One such scenario is being played out in Uganda now. Bringing irony to the situation is the involvement of Martin Ssempa, a major supporter of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009. AllAfrica reports:

Uganda: Police Quiz Pastors Kyaze and Kayira

Steven Candia, 26 October 2009

Kampala — Two pastors at the centre of homosexual allegations against their colleague, Robert Kayira, were yesterday interrogated by the Police on charges of criminal trespass.

Pastor Michael Kyazze and his assistant Robert Kayira of Omega Healing Centre were interrogated at the Kampala Central Police Station.

They were, however, released on Police bond at about 3:00pm and asked to report back today at 11:00am.

Whereas both of them were charged with conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, Kayira was also charged with criminal trespass.

Deputy Kampala Police spokesperson Henry Kalulu was reluctant to talk about the matter.

“What I know is that interrogations are going on,” he said at the weekly press briefing.

The pastors said the sudden turn of events was a travesty of justice.

Kyaze laughed off the charge of criminal trespass, saying it could not stand in relation to a church, which is a public place.

“A church is open to all at all times. I find it funny that someone can be charged with that offence,” Kyazze said.

The pastors were accompanied by Pastor Martin Ssempa of Makerere Community Church and Solomon Male of Arise for Christ.

“I am wondering which is the greater offence, is it the allegation of homosexuality or criminal trespass. What became of the allegations of homosexuality against Kayanja?” Kyazze wondered.

Police sources said Kayira was arrested in April at Kayanja’s Rubaga Cathedral with a laptop, allegedly on a mission to pick incriminating evidence that would pin pastor Kayanja on the homosexual allegations.

Kyazze rubbished the allegations, saying his assistant was not found on the premises of the cathedral.

Ssempa wondered what more proof the Police wanted on the homosexual allegations before they act.

“Did they want the boys the pastor is alleged to have sodomised to first get pregnant before they can believe?” he wondered.

He called for an independent inquiry by Parliament, saying the Police lacked the impartiality to investigate the matter.

Kayira and Kyazze have been at the forefront of the homosexual allegations against Kayanja.

Recently, the Director of Public Prosecution dismissed the allegations against Kayanja and instead directed the Police to investigate the pastors.

It appears that these pastors believe Rev. Kayanja is in need of some jail time. Now clearly if Kayanja has abused children, then he should be brought to justice. However, the young man who initially alleged the abuse has now recanted. And yet, the pastors, Ssempa included, press ahead with the allegations. It is easy to see how “persons in authority” could manufacture charges regarding enemies. In the case above, Ssempa and company are doubting the ability of the police to investigate these cases. What will change if this bill passes?

In this current case, the shoe is on the other foot. I wonder how it fits.

More on the situation is here (the accuser arrested) and here (an interview with Ssempa).

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.

    For more information, join this Facebook group.

    Pentecostal Christians join Muslims against gays

    I missed this when it first was announced in July, 2009:

    Muslims Join Pastors in Gay Fight

    Kampala — Muslims have teamed up with their counterparts from the Pentecostal churches to fight homosexuality. The leader of the Muslim Tabliqs, Sheikh Sulaiman Kakeeto, said the issue of homosexuality affects all people regardless of their religious affiliations.

    “We have decided to make a bond with our fellow religious leaders to fight homosexuality,” Sheikh Kakeeto said at the launch of a campaign dubbed ‘The National Coalition against Homosexuality and Sexual Abuses in Uganda’ in Kampala on Wednesday. “We want to work together and eliminate sodomy and other forms of sexual abuses in our society.”

    The two groups signed an agreement to guide their operations. Sheikh Kakeeto and Sheikh Muhammad Badru, the chairman the National Da’awa Association, signed on behalf of Muslims while pastors Michael Kyazze (Omega Healing Centre), Martin Ssempa (Makerere Community Church) and Solomon Male (Arising for Christ) signed on behalf of born again Christians. Sheikh Kakeeto called on the government to strengthen the law on homosexuality and incarcerate those caught in the act.

    Pastor Ssempa said the coalition intends to embark on a campaign to sensitise communities about “the dangers of homosexuality.” “We shall offer counselling, legal and material support to the affected people,” he said.

    Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda.

    What is wrong with this picture? Apparently, more than the Family Life Network is involved. Ssempa was the spokesperson for another group called the Interfaith Rainbow Coalition Against Homosexuality which rallied against gays in 2007. Ssempa has been repeatedly connected to Rick Warren’s Saddleback church and is a campaigner for abstinence programming. I have contacted both Saddleback and Pastor Ssempa to find out their view of the new bill. I did hear from their representatives last night that a statement may be coming soon.