Uganda: The other shoe drops

According to this article from Ugandan news source, New Vision, a bill was introduced and then tabled in the Ugandan parliament yesterday.

The bill would make homosexual relations with someone under 18 punishable by the death penalty.

Here’s more:

The Bill, entitled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, also states that anyone who commits the offence of homosexuality will be liable to life imprisonment.

This was already the case under the current Penal Code Act.

However, it gives a broader definition of the offence of homosexuality.

A person charged with the offence will have to undergo a mandatory medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.

The bill further states that anybody who “attempts to commit the offence” is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

“The same applies to anybody who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality” or anybody who keeps a house or room for the purpose of homosexuality.

The bill also proposes stiff sentences for people promoting homosexuality.

They risk a fine of sh100m or prison sentences of five to seven years.

This applies to people who produce, publish or distribute pornographic material for purposes of promoting homosexuality, fund or sponsor homosexuality.

Where the offender is a business or NGO, its certificate of registration will be cancelled and the director will be liable to seven years in prison.

Failure to disclose the offence within 24 hours of knowledge makes somebody liable to a maximum sh5m fine or imprisonment of up to three years.

This chilling development was promised by those who promoted the ex-gay conference back in the Spring which featured three Americans, Scott Lively, Don Schmeirer and Caleb Brundidge. Lively backed measures to keep homosexuality illegal at the time.

This bill would make ex-gay ministry such as promoted by the conference impossible as just knowing about someone who is gay could lead to fines or imprisonment.

For previous posts, click here.

Another article on the bill. Boxturtlebulletin has the text of the bill. Here is a plank justifying the harsh measures:

This legislation further recognizes the fact that same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic and that people who experience this mental disorder can and have changed to a heterosexual orientation.  It also recognizes that because homosexuals are not born that way, but develop this disorder based on experiences and environmental conditions, it is preventable, especially among young people who are most vulnerable to recruitment into the homosexual lifestyle.

I don’t think one’s view of etiology matters in the context of freedom. Determined or not, people are free to engage in relationships as adults and of course the state should protect minors. However, it now seems clearer than ever that the ex-gay conference was designed to give the government cover for the line of thinking presented in this bill. All involved in the ex-gay conference presented out-dated, easily falsified information in the Kampala conference. All involved have refused to bring their theories under the scrutiny of science and research. What if the Americans who went to Uganda presented accurate information about homosexuality to the Ugandan authorities? Would the authors of this bill been able to present this inadequate view of etiology unchallenged?

UPDATE from the BBC:

Uganda soccer association plans anti-gay campaign

A Scottish soccer coach may have to choose between his job and his beliefs regarding homosexuality. The Ugandan campaign against homosexuality now spreads to a test of belief. Read on…

Uganda FA Plan Anti-Homosexuality Campaign

Published: 4 July 2009

A Scottish football manager could lose his job as manager of the Ugandan national team unless he signs a form condeming homosexuality.

Bobby Williamson (left), the former Rangers and West Bromwich Albion star who is now head coach of the Ugandan national squad, has been asked to take part in an anti-sodomy offensive in a country where homosexuality is illegal – Uganda.

Williamson, along with every other football coach in the country, must sign a code of conduct which “denounces any support or involvement in sodomy related acts”.

The game’s ruling body acted after Isaac Omalla, a player with Horizon FC, reported his manager, Charles Ayeko, to the police, claiming to have been sexually assaulted by the older man following a match during the inter-regional championships in Lira.

Ugandan newspapers have alleged there is a homosexual culture among some players. Williamson’s employers, the Ugandan FA (FUFA), have now launched a campaign against homosexuality, insisting that all coaches take part.

Code of Conduct

“We are going to address [sodomy] in the code of conduct,” said Stone Kyambadde, the vice-chairman of the Ugandan Coaches Association. “The code will denounce any support or involvement in sodomy-related acts.”

He was backed up by FUFA spokesman, Rogers Mulindwa. “We totally condemn it,” he said. “We want evidence to pin the people involved. It’s here that we will start the clean-up.”

Williamson, who has managed Kilmarnock, Hibernian, Plymouth Argyle and Chester City, replaced Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo in the Ugandan post last year. FUFA’s document represents something of a moral dilemma for the 47-year-old Scot, who has spoken out against discrimination during his managerial career.

He is very popular in Kampala, where he lead The Cranes to victory in the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in January, their first such success for six years.

Hypothetical

“Sodomy is a criminal offence over there but this is the first I’ve heard of any code of conduct,” he said. “Until FUFA speak to me about that it’s a hypothetical matter and I’ll reserve my views until I’m approached.”

Click the link above to read the rest. In addition to the threats experienced by gays, freedoms are being threatened for non-gays at this point. Recently, a government minister proposed a law which would criminalize free speech regarding homosexuality and now one’s job could be threatened if one refuses to be sufficiently anti-gay.

How ironic; in this country, conservatives worry that their rights to express a belief that homosexuality is wrong might be threatened by laws favorable to homosexuality. I believe people from all sides should stand together to support freedom speech and conscience — whether here or there.

The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

Throughout The Pink Swastika, Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams claim there was a necessary relationship between homosexuality and the rise of Nazi Germany. They chronicle a long line of people who they claim influenced National Socialism and assert with great confidence that most of those figures were homosexuals. However, a closer examination of their claims and the record reveal that the authors’ confidence is most likely based on wishful thinking and confirmation bias. To illustrate, I am going to review information on several key figures. This post focuses on Friedrich Nietzsche.

Nietzsche and National Socialism

I discussed Nietzsche earlier in this series but want to follow up on several claims made in The Pink Swastika. First, Lively and Abrams take for granted those Nazis who see in Nietzsche the philosophical foundation of National Socialism when they write on page 133:

Friedrich Nietzsche

Among the several men who have been dubbed “the Father of National Socialism” (including Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels), Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) is probably most deserving of this distinction, being so labeled by Nazi luminaries Dr. Alfred Rosenberg and Dr. Franck (Peters:221). Others have called him the “Father of Fascism” (ibid.:ix). Rabidly anti-Christian and a homosexual, Nietzsche founded the “God is dead” movement and contributed to the development of existentialist philosophy.

While it is true that prominent Nazis admired Nietzsche, it is unthinkable that Nietzsche would have approved of National Socialism. One Nietzsche scholar, Stephen Holgate at Warwick University, believes Nietzsche would have been critical of how the Nazi’s applied his writing, saying, “Nietzsche was not anti-Semitic or a nationalist, and hated the herd mentality.” However, Nietzsche’s sister was quite enamored with the Nazis and promoted her brother’s works in that context. Writer Ben Macintyre, who Lively and Abrams quote to support their views, dismissed the notion that Nietzsche was sympathetic to National Socialism. Writing in the London Times, Macintyre says,

But Nietzsche was no Nazi. He vigorously opposed German nationalism, as he rejected all mass movements; he had no time for ideologues, mocked the notion of a Teutonic master race and loathed anti-Semitism in all its forms.

Elisabeth, by contrast, was an enthusiastic Fascist. An early acolyte of Richard Wagner, she and her furiously anti-Semitic husband Bernhard Förster (this newspaper described him as “the most representative Jew-baiter in all of Germany”) picked up on one of the composer’s barmier ideas, and set off for Paraguay in 1886 to establish an Aryan, vegetarian republic in the middle of the jungle, which they called New Germany.

Nietzsche was bitterly opposed to the racist project from the start, declaring he wanted “nothing whatever to do with this anti-Semitic undertaking… if it fails, I shall rejoice”. Elisabeth was “morally bloated”, he said, “a vengeful anti-Semitic goose”. In an angry letter he told his sister that all of Germany’s racists should be packed off to the Paraguayan jungle, where they could rot harmlessly away.

Without hint of the obvious problem for their thesis, Lively and Abrams admit that Nietzsche condemned anti-Semitism and nationalism. In passing, they note:

Had he lived in that era, Nietzsche might not have become a Nazi. His works include numerous condemnations of anti-Semitism and nationalism (and thus were selectively censored by Elizabeth). But the best measure of Nietzsche’s contribution and importance to Nazism is not in conjectures about what Nietzsche might have thought about Nazism, but in the actual reverence of the Nazis for him.

Nietzsche’s views about the ideas later embraced by the Nazis is not conjecture. Clearly, what the Nazis embraced was the edited version of his work packaged by his racist heterosexual sister. Nietzsche’s sexuality — whatever it might have been — cannot be held to have anything to do with the selective use of his philosophy by his sister and the Nazis. Again, Macintyre provides a fuller picture of how his sister misrepresented Niezsche’s views:

When the [Paraguayan] colony inevitably failed, Elisabeth returned to Old Germany and set about transforming her brother, now irretrievably insane, into a symbol of her own twisted philosophy. She edited his works, wrote her own prejudiced versions of his life, and gathered his rejected jottings and published them as if they were real books, most notably Will to Power, which would be adopted as a sort of totalitarian textbook. When Nietzsche died, the man who had declared “God is dead” was buried in Röcken churchyard by his pious sister with full Lutheran rites.

Elisabeth avidly offered up her brother’s writings in support of militarism and Nazi world domination. Mussolini, she declared, was “the genius who rediscovered the values of the Nietzsche spirit…Nietzsche would have regarded him as the splendid disciple”. Nietzsche, I am certain, would have regarded Mussolini as a dangerous buffoon.

Reading The Pink Swastika, one would not get the big picture. A more apt summary of the situation might be this: A heterosexual couple misrepresented the writings of a man with unknown sexuality to promote racist and nationalist ideas the man abhorred.

Nietzsche and homosexuality

Having seriously questioned the influence of Nietzsche actual views on National Socialism, ruminations over Nietzsche’s sexuality may not seem as relevant. Even so, I want to point out how Lively and Abrams reduce significant questions about Nietzsche’s sexuality — what Freud called “an enigma” — to a given.

Given the presumed influence on the Nazis, Lively and Abrams need to prove Nietzsche was homosexual for their argument to seem plausible. However, the evidence that Nietzche was a homosexual is quite sparse and speculative. Let’s review what Lively and Abram offer us:

According to Macintyre in Forgotten Fatherland: The Search For Elisabeth Nietzsche, Frederich (sic) Nietzsche never married and had no known female sex partners, but went insane at age 44 and eventually died of syphilis. According to Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, Nietzsche had caught the disease at a homosexual brothel in Genoa, Italy (McIntyre:91f).

Although I am not able to directly link to Macintyre’s book, there is a quote from Macintyre’s book provided by the authors of an online rebuttal to The Pink Swastika. In a point by point refutation of the book, the Citizens Allied for Civic Action says Lively and Abrams have misquoted the Macintyre reference. About Lively and Abrams use of Macintyre, the CAFCA write:

The material allegedly cited from MacIntyre is outright fabrication. MacIntyre says nothing about Nietzsche having no known female sex partners. He does speak on page 108, of Nietzsche’s desire for a woman. As for marriage, it must be remembered that Nietzsche contracted syphilis when he was only 22, and was thereafter hardly a good candidate for husband. The mention of Freud and Jung is really deceptive. What MacIntyre actually says is, “He had certainly visited a [female] brothel in cologne in 1865, but had been embarrassed and played the piano to cover his shame before fleeing into the night. Thomas Mann believed he later went back to the brothel; Freud and Jung helped to spread a rumour that he had caught the disease in a Genoese male brothel, for which there is no evidence.”

Regarding female love interests, it is clear that Nietzsche was quite infatuated with free-spirit Lou Salome’ and proposed marriage to her – which she refused. However, the main point to make here is that Lively and Abrams have assumed the homosexuality of Nietzsche based upon a rumor circulated after his death. Another more ambitious effort to make this link comes from Joachim Kohler in his book, Zarathustra’s Secret. Kohler notes his proof:

For their meetings in April and October, 1908 Freud’s Wednesday Circle had chosen Nietzsche as their subject for discussion. Freud himself categorically stated that ‘Nietzsche’s ideas had had not the slightest influence on his own work.” Then after a number of aspects of Nietzsche had been discussed, including his latent sadism, his repressed homosexuality and his father-complex, a certain Paul Federn suddenly lept to his feet. He said that, ‘from a trustworthy source he could report that Nietzsche lived, periodically, the life of a homosexual and that he had contracted syphilis in a homosexual brothel in Genoa’. (p. 210).

The evidence for Lively and Abrams’ confident assertion comes from a rumor. Kohler later acknowledges that Freud dismissed the rumor. Apparently Arnold Zweig enlisted Freud’s aid to write a psychoanalytic book about Nietzsche. Freud declined, writing to Zweig (quoted by Kohler):

‘In front of the entrance to the Nietzsche problem,’ wrote Freud to Zweig, ‘there stands two sentries barring the way. Firstly, one cannot investigate a person unless one is aware of his sexual constitution, and Nietzsche’s is a complete enigma. There is even a legend that he was a passive homosexual and contract syphilis in a homosexual brothel in Genoa. Is that true? Quien sabe? [sic].’ (p. 212).

About Nietzsche’s sexuality, Freud asks, ‘Who knows?’ calling the subject a “complete enigma.” However, in the hands of Lively and Abrams, no enigma is too difficult for them to unravel in favor of their thesis.

Kohler’s book seems to be in the same speculative genre as The Pink Swastika. I noted previously a skeptical review of Kohler’s book, especially regarding any perceived relationship between purported homosexuality and Nietzsche’s philosophy. Furthermore, historian Noel Malcolm dismissed the book as a fixation. Malcolm’s words could also describe The Pink Swastika’s effort to find homosexuality behind every Nazi.

Nietzsche was fascinated by the mechanisms of repressed desire and sublimated sexuality; one of his aphorisms stated that “The degree and kind of a man’s sexuality reaches up into the topmost summit of his spirit.” Given the fact that his own writings represented the “topmost summit” of his own spirit, such comments, scattered through his works, might well have been regarded as hostages to fortune.

In Zarathustra’s Secret every one of those hostages is taken out of its cell and led away to be shot at dawn. For Joachim Köhler is a writer in the grip of an idée fixe: his entire study of Nietzsche is devoted to proving that the philosopher was gay, and that coded references, not only to homosexual desires but also to actual homosexual experiences, are to be found in his works.

Let us distinguish, in philosophical style, between three different claims here. Claim 1: Nietzsche was not very interested in women and, like some other Victorian classicists, had aesthetic-emotional feelings about young men that we would nowadays call homoerotic. Claim 2: he had sex with other men. And Claim 3: his homosexuality is not just alluded to in his writings; it is actually the basis on which his whole philosophy was built.

Most modern students of Nietzsche would probably accept the drift of Claim 1, although they might disagree about how much eros there was in the eroticism. Yes, he formed sentimental attachments to younger male friends, and there are tones of endearment in their correspondence with him that sound strangely high-flown to modern ears; but there is precious little evidence that either he or they thought they were having any sort of erotic relationship.

For Köhler that is not a problem, however, as he has an almost magical ability to conjure up evidence out of nothing at all. He quotes one of these friends, Erwin Rohde, saying in later life that “If in the last analysis I was unable to assimilate much of Nietzsche’s nature, then it was because of the peculiar impermeability of the integument of my character.” Ludicrously, Köhler insists that this was a “sexually suggestive allusion”: what Rohde actually meant, he claims, was that he had refused to let Nietzsche penetrate him.

This is a method of interpreting evidence guaranteed to find whatever it is looking for. When Nietzsche talks of the pleasure of lying on an Italian beach, and compares the experience to that of a lizard in the sun, Köhler hastens to inform us that “Sardes, author of a third-century Greek anthology of pederastic literature, calls the penis of his young lover a lizard.”

When, on the other hand, Nietzsche finds a toad in a hotel garden, brings it to an artistic lady-friend and suggests that she draw it, Köhler is quick to find the hidden significance: “the slimy toad was a symbol of her own repulsiveness”, he explains, “her womanhood, representing everything that makes a woman what she is”.

Whatever elements of truth there may be in Claim 1, they are buried by Köhler under a mountain of fantastic over-interpretation. But what about Claim 2? Here the evidence is extremely flimsy: just a rumour, recorded years after Nietzsche’s death by someone who never knew him, that the syphilis from which he eventually died was caught in Genoa in a homosexual brothel. Even Köhler has to admit that the whole pattern of symptoms of incipient brain disease – intense migraines, “fits”, and erratic and paranoid behaviour – started many years before Nietzsche’s visit to Genoa.

But no mere facts can stand in the way of an all-conquering idée fixe. Just as Köhler is ingenious in interpreting simple statements as elaborate symbols so, too, when it suits him, he can interpret symbolic statements as if they were simple records of experience.

One of Nietzsche’s lyric poems uses the image of a still night spent asleep in a fishing boat. “Morning came. On the dark depths/ Lay a barque, resting, resting . . ./ Nothing was happening! We were asleep, all asleep.” For Köhler, this is all the proof he needs: Nietzsche had sex with a Genoese fisherman in a boat, quod erat demonstrandum.

As noted above, Nietzsche had a breakdown at age 44 with psychosis and other neuropsychiatric manifestations. At this point, I doubt it is necessary to deal much with Nietzsche’s demise — was it due to syphilis? or brain cancer? or a form of dementia? Some have speculated that Nietzsche may have contracted the syphilis while a medical orderly with the Prussian army; others believe it happened via a trip to a heterosexual brothel (cf. Kaufmann for theories). Whatever the case, if we are to remain objective, the actual status of Nietzsche’s sexual preferences is indeed an enigma. Stated simply, the Lively/Abrams’ assumption of homosexuality is a speculation based on a rumor. The actual influence on the Nazi movement is Nietzsche’s heterosexual sister, Elisabeth.

In the next post, I discuss another “Father of National Socialism” offered by Lively and Abrams – Jorg Lanz von Liebenfels. As I will demonstrate, Lively and Abrams engage in the same kind of idée fixe with von Liebenfels as they do with Nietzsche and others.

Prior posts in this series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

List of posts on Uganda and The Pink Swastika

Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

Scott Lively has made a career of drawing parallels from Nazi Germany to modern homosexuality. He has gone around the world with the message that homosexuals were responsible for Nazi totalitarianism. Throughout the next month or so, I will provide counter arguments to Lively’s thesis.

In this post, however, I raise the thesis that anti-gay groups in places like Uganda (encouraged by the American led conference in March, 2009 where Lively was one of the speakers) use rhetoric that is disturbingly akin to rhetoric used by Nazis regarding homosexuality. First, examine these developments in Uganda. From an Ugandan news report today:

‘Investigate homosexuality’

Sunday, 31st May, 2009

KAMPALA – The Peoples Development Party (PDP) wants the Government to establish an independent commission of inquiry on homosexual activities to eliminate the practice.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, party president Abed Bwanika said the evil is spreading to every section of the public and that the Government needed to make critical intervention.

He called upon church leaders to guide the country on the matter and said some NGOs were supporting people involved in the act.

This call for an “independent commission” is similar to the kinds of recommendations made back in March by a group led by the Family Life Network’s Stephen Langa. At a meeting following up the ex-gay conference in Uganda, sponsored by Langa’s group, with presentations by Scott Lively, Don Schmierer and Caleb Brundidge, these ideas were considered:

The laws on homosexuality are weak, hence the need to strengthen these laws.

Parents were encouraged to participant in law making decisions in Uganda so that to strengthen the laws on homosexuality.

To establish a unit at Police to deal with homosexuality.

Homosexuality is an abomination; it is evil and should be dealt with

strongly.

During the reactions a prominent pastor also said that they have been talking with an ex-gay activist who has given them a five year plan for dealing with the gay agenda in Uganda. And they have submitted this plan to the ministry concerned, that they await reactions.

Another participant told the audience that parliament is drafting a new law that will be tough on homosexuals.

The message is clear from these anti-gay groups: laws should be passed “that will be tough on homosexuals.” Homosexuality is already a crime in Uganda; these people want to make it even more difficult.

At any rate, there is a disturbing parallel with the Nazis but it isn’t with the homosexuals. Rather, it is more apparent with the manner in which the Ugandan government is responding to homosexuality. Note the rhetoric used in Uganda to describe the crack down on open homosexuality.

Then read this report from The US Holocaust Memorial Museum which describes the Nazi approach to homosexuality.

On June 28, 1935, the Ministry of Justice revised Paragraph 175. The revisions provided a legal basis for extending Nazi persecution of homosexuals. Ministry officials expanded the category of “criminally indecent activities between men” to include any act that could be construed as homosexual. The courts later decided that even intent or thought sufficed.

On October 26, 1936, Himmler formed within the Security Police the Reich Central Office for Combating Abortion and Homosexuality. Josef Meisinger, executed in 1947 for his brutality in occupied Poland, led the new office. The police had powers to hold in protective custody or preventive arrest those deemed dangerous to Germany’s moral fiber, jailing indefinitely–without trial–anyone they chose. In addition, homosexual prisoners just released from jail were immediately re-arrested and sent to concentration camps if the police thought it likely that they would continue to engage in homosexual acts.

From 1937 to 1939, the peak years of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, the police increasingly raided homosexual meeting places, seized address books, and created networks of informers and undercover agents to identify and arrest suspected homosexuals. On April 4, 1938, the Gestapo issued a directive indicating that men convicted of homosexuality could be incarcerated in concentration camps.

In Uganda, lists of people suspected to be gay have been included in tabloids, and people are calling for the government to create a commission to eliminate homosexuality. In Nazi Germany, the commission was called “the Reich Central Office for Combating Abortion and Homosexuality.” What will it be called in Uganda?

The head of the Reich office charged with eliminating homosexuality was war criminal Josef Meisinger. In a speech in 1937, he had this to say about the political reasons to combat homosexuality.

If one is really to appreciate the hidden danger of homosexuality, it is no longer enough to consider it as before from a narrowly criminal viewpoint. Because it is now so enormously widespread, it has actually developed into a phenomenon of the most far-reaching consequence for the survival of the nation and state. For this reason, however, homosexuality can no longer be regarded simply from the viewpoint of criminal investigation; it has become a problem with political importance. This being so, it cannot be the task of the police to investigate homosexuality scientifically. At the most it can take account of scientific conclusions in its work. Their task is to ascertain homosexual trends and their damaging effects, so as to avert the danger that this phenomenon represents for nation and state. No one says to the police: you shouldn’t arrest this thief because he might have acquired kleptomania. Similarly, once we have recognized that a homosexual is an enemy of the state, we shan’t ask the police—and much less the Political Police—whether he has acquired his vice or whether he was born with it. I should mention here that experience has shown beyond doubt that only a vanishingly small number of homosexuals have a truly homosexual inclination, that most of them by far have been quite normally active at one time or another and then turned to this area simply because they were sated with life’s pleasures or for various other reasons such as fear of venereal diseases. I should also say that, with firm education and order, and regulated labor, a great number of homosexuals who have come to the attention of the authorities have been taught to become useful members of the national community.

In Uganda among Christian groups and government leaders, and encouraged by Lively, homosexuality is considered the root of society’s evils. Two of the American “experts,” Lively and Brundidge supported the notion of toughening laws against homosexuality with compulsory “treatment” considered an option. Treatment protocols are being readied now.

Scott Lively encouraged the Uganda church leaders to view the tiny gay movement in Uganda as related in some way to the same movement that propelled the Nazis to power in Germany. However, if one looks for similarities in rhetoric and policy positions, one can more readily find them by noting how the the goverment in power then in Germany and now in Uganda regarded homosexuality. InThe Pink Swastika, Lively discounts the Nazis’ public rhetoric and policies as a means of distracting attention to the homosexuality in the ranks of Nazi leaders. What could the same rhetoric and public policy objectives mean in Uganda?

I think any parallels between Nazi Germany then and homosexuality now are absurd, including the similaries in rhetoric I point out here. However, those who want to make sinister linkages between Nazi Germany and gays people must be prepared to explain why more obvious similarities, such as noted here, are not indicative of equally nefarious intents.

Other posts in this series:

May 28 – Scott Lively wants off SPLC hate group list

May 31 – Eliminating homosexuality: Modern Uganda and Nazi Germany

June 3 – Before The Pink Swastika

June 4 – Kevin Abrams: The side of The Pink Swastika

June 8 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 1

June 9 – A historian’s analysis of The Pink Swastika, part 2

June 11 – American Nazi movement and homosexuality: How pink is their swastika?

June 15 – Nazi movement rallies against gays in Springfield, MO

June 17 – Does homosexuality lead to fascism?

June 23 – The Pink Swastika and Friedrich Nietzsche

List of posts on Uganda and The Pink Swastika

Ugandan parliament petitioned to toughen laws against homosexuality

This just in from Uganda Pulse:

Members of civil society organizations (CSOs) have today petitioned Parliament, calling for a select committee to investigate the impact of homosexuality in Uganda and to pass stern laws to punish people involved in acts of homosexuality.
The petition, signed by over 50,000 Ugandans, was presented to the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, by the Executive Director of Family Life Network, Stephen Langa.
Langa, who was accompanied by Pastor Martin Ssempa, Deputy Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Musisi and other civil society members, notes that homosexuals have continued to roam the country freely promoting the vice yet homosexuality is illegal according to the Constitution and the Penal; Code Act.
He says that the homosexuals have penetrated into schools and distributed reading tools that promote the vice, citing United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which was recently put in the spotlight for distributing a book that promotes homosexuality without approval from the Ministry of Education.
Langa revealed that the CSOs have submitted a protest letter to UNICEF expressing disappointment in their actions and have called upon them to apologize to Ugandans and also retrieve the books that were distributed to schools in about 30 districts.
Deputy Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, commended the organizations for their solidarity against homosexuality, adding that Parliament will look into current legislation to ensure that they are strengthened to penalize acts of homosexuality.
Kadaga promised to push for the amendment of Article 31 of the Constitution which prohibits homosexual marriages. Langa had earlier noted that the article prohibits gay marriages but not the actions.

I wonder what would have happened if the three Americans who went to Uganda in March would have called for decriminalization of homosexuality? I wonder what might have happened if those three Americans said we will not speak at your conference unless we are allowed to advocate for freedom of conscience? I wonder what would happen if American Christian groups made direct contact with the Ugandan church to urge calm and rational policy? If the laws are toughened, I wonder what will happen to religious people who speak in favor in decriminalization there? Will their speech be free?
Maybe nothing would/will change but I just wonder.

Alan Chambers speaks out on Uganda

I am working on another post now and so my comments about this one are limited for now. However, I think it noteworthy and very positive that Alan Chambers, President at Exodus International today posted an apology to gays in Uganda.
Writing on his blog, Alan begins:

A recent hullabaloo over a conference in Uganda has had me thinking and praying about some things for more than a month. The conference centered on a conservative, presumably Christian, response to gay issues in that country. In Uganda, homosexual behavior is punishable by imprisonment and there is talk of stiffening the penalties. Several American gay activists and even some conservative Christians have raised a ruckus about the event and rightfully so. Uganda’s policies are truly reprehensible. Publicly exposing or arresting gay-identified men and women for homosexual behavior or forcing them to undergo therapy is a true violation of free will and a compassionless transgression.

and then he ends with this apology:

Confession is good for the soul, they say. There’s a reason for that. So, to my fellow Christians in Uganda, California and elsewhere around the world, my suggestion as you engage in social dialogue over this issue is this: pray, confess your own sins and remember where you were before God found you. And to the gay community: it is my great hope that we as a Christian church will give you no more reasons to justifiably doubt God’s love for you. I am sorry for the times when I have contributed to that.blockquote>
Chambers comments come at a very precarious time for Uganda’s gay community. Box Turtle Bulletin reported yesterday that a gossip paper in Uganda did an expose where names of supposed gays are exposed. The expose comes amidst regular calls for toughening laws against homosexuality and freedom to speak in favor of homosexuality. I am hopeful that the Ugandan press will also report the statement from Alan.
For more on the conference Alan refers to above, go to this post…

Situation worsens in Uganda

Yesterday, a prominent Catholic priest, Anthony Musaala fought off allegations he is gay.
Today the same news service, New Vision reports the following:

MPs want gay group’s activities regulated
Thursday, 2nd April, 2009
MPs want government to regulate the activities of homosexuals who have come out publicly to defend their rights.
Kawempe North MP Latif Sebaggala says Government should not allow homosexuals to hold press conferences to iron out their issues because the vice is illegal.
However, Government Chief Whip Daudi Migereko says there are No laws that prohibit homosexuals from holding press conferences.
Migereko says that the ministry of Internal affairs will track homosexuals and take action against them.

UPDATE: Perhaps in China to learn more about oppressing people for their beliefs, Ugandan official Buturo said his government is planning more laws, especially one which would criminalize the promotion of homosexuality.

Ugandan gay group responds to recent campaign against homosexuality

What goes around comes around. In Uganda, the same kind of either-or arguments are being offered about the origins of homosexuality in order to gain political advantage. It is easy to see why same-sex attracted people would gravitate toward authorities who say their attractions are inborn. One does not need to propose a plot of cosmic proportions to understand that homosexuals in Uganda are afraid for their safety and counter the misinformation of the recent American visitors with inborn theories.

Truth is, in any given case, we don’t know. If the last sentence of the article is an accurate representation of Mr. Mukasa’s views, there are many doing this research who would agree: “Mukasa however says homosexuals are normal people born like any child but develop a natural attraction to the same sex.”

I just posted a video of Stephen Langa misleading his audience with Richard Cohen’s book. Today an article from UGPulse describes the views of Victor Mukasa, speaking in protest of the recent campaign against homosexuality. Although his statements about origins may or may not be completely accurate for any or all same-sex attracted people, the political environment there does not give him much room for nuance — another casualty of the American visitation.

Let’s hope there are no more casualties.

UPDATE: An AP writer has a story here with the Health Minister Buturo saying he wants to help gays be rehabilitated.

UPDATE #2: A popular Catholic priest and Gospel singer has been outed by the anti-crusaders who hosted the conference where Don Schmierer, Caleb Brundidge and Scott Lively spoke. The priest denies the accusation.

Ugandan pastor uses Richard Cohen as authority on homosexuality research

Richard Cohen’s book Coming Out Straight was used as a reference to refute scientific research on causes of same-sex attraction in a March 15 workshop led by Stephen Langa of the Family Life Network. Exgaywatch is the only place that has moving pictures from the Uganda meetings. Here is exclusive video of the reference to Cohen:

The Ugandan audience is very badly served by this reference. Cohen’s book was published in 2000 with a 2nd edition in 2007. The 2007 edition is not really an update and does not deal with any new research save for a brief mention of Robert Spitzer’s study of change. Numerous studies have been published since then which are far superior to the three studies Cohen claims to debunk in his book (Levay, Bailey & Pillard & Hamer). The science is miles upstream in 2009 and yet here is a minister of the Gospel misleading his audience with the help of Richard Cohen.

Aftermath of the Uganda conference on homosexuality

Much has happened in Uganda since the Family Life Network’s conference on homosexuality was conducted March 5-7 (All of my posts are linked at the end of this post). This post provides links to the stories and some commentary on the matter.
In short, it appears that the intent of the organizers of the conference is being realized. The conference organizers wanted to fight homosexuality and use the conference as a means of awareness for that purpose. In the days since the conference, a series of news conferences and meetings have provided a steady stream of provocative revelations involving recruiting children. As near as I can tell, none of these revelations are relevant to relationships between consenting adults. And yet, the Family Life Network is apparently calling for “urgent steps” to be taken regarding homosexuality in general.
Here is a chronology:
March 7 – The day the conference ended, this report briefly noted the formation of a group which had a goal to “one day “wipe out” gay practices in the African state.”
March 15 – A follow up meeting was held in Kampala to plan strategy in the anti-homosexuality campaign. The narrative indicates that follow up meetings would be held and that legislative strategies against homosexuality would be pursued. Read the post for a more complete view from the perspective of someone who claims to have been present.
March 23 – At the second follow up meeting (3/22), George Oundo, a former gay activist, was quoted as admitting to recruiting children into sexual activity or at least into supporting homosexuality.
March 25 – Family Life Network organizes parents to complain about homosexuality.

The parents said they are going to write to the President Museveni showing their discontent at what they call the increasing immorality levels in the county so that the government can reverse the trend.

March 25 – Eight more people came forward to say that they had given up homosexuality. The reports are very similar…

“We have been involved in recruiting homosexuals, spreading the gospel of homosexuality, and we know the operations of homosexuals,” said 27-year-old Emma Matovu, who took to homosexuality 13 years ago. “We shall do all it takes to eliminate the practice in Uganda.”
Matovu, who said he abandoned the practice two weeks ago, asserted: “Homosexuality is dangerous and dehumanising but is growing fast in Uganda.”
Langa said his group would move around the country convincing parents to sign a petition to be handed to the President and Parliament on April 7. He said the petition will demand urgent steps to be taken against homosexuality in Uganda.

Given that the high court of Uganda ruled in 2008 that gays and lesbians have the same rights as others, it is not clear what “urgent steps” will be taken. I continue to believe it was a mistake for the Americans to support what could turn into a violent situation there. No word of clarification or explanation has come from the International Healing Foundation, Extreme Prophetic and Caleb Brundidge about his calls for criminalizing homosexual relationships.
Additional links:
Uganda’s strange ex-gay conference
More on the Ugandan ex-gay conference
Ugandan ex-gay conference goes political: Presenter suggests law to force gays into therapy
Reparative therapy takes center stage at Ugandan homosexuality conference
Gay Ugandan man seeks asylum in UK: EU group condemns Ugandan ex-gay conference
Open forum: Report from the Ugandan conference on homosexuality
Christian Post article on the Ugandan ex-gay conference
Scott Lively on criminalization and forced therapy of homosexuality
Christianity, homosexuality and the law
Uganda anti-gay group holds first meeting
Follow the money: Pro-family Charitable Trust
NARTH removes references to Scott Lively from their website
Aftermath of the Ugandan conference on homosexuality