Sunday, April 21, 2019
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Anti-Homosexuality Bill In Uganda 

By Fiona McAlpine

A group of American Evangelicals took a conference tour in Uganda, teaching local Christians how to ‘cure’ homosexuality. The far-right group encouraged the oppression of the gay community, preaching homophobic nonsense on how homosexuality ‘threatens the traditional African family’. 

A conference of this nature encourages unwarranted cruelty toward the homosexual community. It breaches the basic human rights to live with dignity and privacy, for all people. One month after the conference the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009" was introduced by one Ugandan politician, a bill which is opposed to international humanitarian norms and practices, and has been internationally condemned;

‘Donor countries, including the US, are demanding that Uganda’s Government drop the proposed law. The Ugandans, facing the prospect of losing millions in foreign aid, are now indicating that they will back down, slightly, and change the death penalty provision to life in prison for some homosexuals. But the battle is far from over’ (Jeffrey Gettlemen, 5th January 2010, New York Times). Not only is such a Bill morally abhorrent, the prejudiced activities it encourages violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states in article 12;

‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.’ On a more regional level, the African Charter on Peoples’ Rights states in Article 19;  ‘All peoples shall be equal; they shall enjoy the same respect and shall have the same rights. Nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another.’

And Article 20, point 1;

‘All peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen.’ Obviously a Bill which targets a specific group for their personal practices is in violation of these rights.

Christian teachings are supposed to be based on acceptance and forgiveness. These values supersede any dubious interpretations of Sodom and Gomorrah, which when read plainly does not explicitly condemn homosexuality.  The Philo of Alexandria, Josephus and Jewish analyses all agree that the reading of this story is misinterpreted, and I encourage people to examine Genesis 19: 4-5 and decide for themselves.

When the Church plays such an enormous role in the community as it does in Uganda and Cameroon alike, it has a responsibility to nurture and care for the members of that community, not to isolate and abandon specific groups.

It is the right of every person to choose who they share their life and love with, and this includes gay men and women. Government-led discrimination based on sexual preference is archaic at best. Church-led discrimination is socially and morally irresponsible. It would be upsetting to look back in 20 years, ashamed at collective intolerance based on a misconception.  It was irresponsible of the American Evangelists for thinking they were doing anything other than encourage hostility and bigotry. Any good Christian should know better.
 

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