Patricia Nell Warren

Uganda Is Only the Beginning

Filed By Patricia Nell Warren | February 25, 2010 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Burundi, Kenya, Lou Engle, Nigeria, Rick Warren, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda anti-gay law, Zimbabwe

As Uganda rumbles toward passage of its infamous anti-gay bill with its death penalty, half a million Americans have signed petitions protesting the law. But most Americans are still missing the point about what's going on in Africa. They remain unaware that other countries, mostly in East and Central Africa, have already passed draconian new anti-gay laws, or are preparing to do so. Much of the region had already criminalized gay relations, but these older laws were largely remnants of British colonial rule. The new laws, which are more drastic and bloodthirsty, are the result of recent extremist "Christian" missionizing across an entire region of this huge continent.

These missionary efforts are aimed at setting up "purpose-driven" puppet governments, meaning government based on Old Testament notions of "morality." Not only are they supported by ultra-conservative African churchmen who are Catholic and Episcopalian, but they get massive financial and political support from inside the U.S. Here, it is largely powerful evangelical and pentecostal pastors like Rick Warren with his Saddleback Church, and Lou Engle with TheCall -- even some ultraconservative U.S. elected officials -- who are helping to stir the anti-gay witches' brew in Africa.

Enough African leaders are now brainwashed by this brand of imported bigotry that they feel politically safe in subjecting African gay, bi and lesbian people to extreme cruelty -- in spite of a global groundswell of human-rights protest against what they're doing. Indeed, these leaders are creating a myth that they're defending "traditional" African culture by eliminating gays. Whereas the religious beliefs that they're promoting are not "traditional" to Africa at all.

Rightist Muslims are also cranking up against gays in various African countries -- notably in Nigeria, where Muslim-controlled counties in the north have been executing gay men for years. But this is a somewhat different problem. Why? Because figures in our own government, and missionary NGOs based in the U.S., are not aiding and abetting Muslim attacks on African gays. Whereas these figures -- mostly Republicans in Congress, including Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma and a number of others, along with a few blue-dog Democrats -- are personally supporting and advocating "Christian"-inspired anti-gay repression by African governments.

I'm putting quotes around the word Christian because in my opinion, these people who stir up religious hatreds across Africa in the name of "Jesus" are not real Christians -- they're just another bunch of demagogues who would like to rule the world.

The Growing List of Persecutions

Right now, in Uganda, even the rural areas are noisy with anti-gay activity. In the town of Jinga, 4000 demonstrators massed to hear a speech by pastor Martin Sempa, who is one of Africa's most homophobic church figures. Sempa told the demonstrators, "President Obama should be made to know that his attack on the proposed anti-gay bill is unfair. Obama should not interfere into Uganda's affairs. Uganda is ours just like USA is his. He should not dictate in Uganda."

Of course Sempa neglected to mention the U.S. Congresspeople and the American pastors who routinely "interfere in Ugandan affairs" in support of Uganda's persecution of gays.

While Uganda cranks up on its new legislation, a number of neighboring countries are on the same road to bigotry:

Nigeria. As gays are routinely executed in the Muslim areas of Nigeria, it's likely that they will soon face the death penalty in the Christian areas as well.. The country's most virulently anti-gay churchman is Episcopalian bishop Peter Akinola, who is openly supported and praised by Rick Warren and his Saddleback Church organization. As far back as 2006, according to a Bruce Wilson report in the Huffington Post, Akinola has worked to introduce new laws that were, in Wilson's words, "actually harsher than similar anti-gay legislation...voted into law during the early years of Hitler's Third Reich."

Today, Nigeria also mandates three years in jail for anyone who "enters into a same gender marriage contract." The bill defines a same-sex marriage as two gay people who are simply living together. To make it easier to hamstring LGBT human-rights organizations, the Nigerian government imposes even stiffer penalties (5 years in prison) for anyone who "witnesses, abet and aids the solemnization" of an LGBT marriage.

Burundi. This country already passed its first harsh anti-gay law in 2009. If you're caught, a prison term of two years is the price of same-sex relations. Previously, under Belgian colonization, Burundi had always maintained a live-and-let-live attitude towards gay sex.

Rwanda. This tiny country, formerly known for its ethnic massacres, is now moving into "purpose-driven government" and is preparing an anti-gay law that is as far-reaching than Uganda's. Article 217 of the draft Penal Code Act will criminalize "any person who practices, encourages or sensitizes people of the same sex, to sexual relations or any sexual practice." Even these support activities will get prison sentences of between five and ten years.

The draft may come before the Rwandan Senate any time now.

Kenya. This east African nation has outlawed homosexuality since British colonial times, but the law has seldom been enforced till now. Currently the police are harassing gays and looking to prevent gay marriages. In Mtwapa recently, a mass of demonstrators halted what was to be the country's first gay marriage. Protesters dragged several members of the wedding to the police, who beat them.

Zimbabwe has rumbled with anti-gay rhetoric as far back as 1995. In that year, President Robert Mugabe launched an attack at the opening of the 1995 Zimbabwe International Book Fair, after the organization Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe had set up a booth to distribute pamphlets for safe sex and counseling. Mugabe made a speech saying: "I find it extremely outrageous and repugnant to my human conscience that ...homosexuals, who offend both against the law of nature and the morals of religious beliefs espoused by our society, should have any advocates in our midst and elsewhere in the world."

Reacting to Mugabe's speech, a mob destroyed the organization's stand. Zimbabwe now jails gay men for three years.

Conservative "Christian" organizations like Saddleback Church's AIDS initiative, Lou Engle's TheCall, and many others like them, are operating in these same countries, and others as well. Indeed, at the present time, anti-gay change is sweeping across the continent so fast that the only African nation where gay and lesbian sex is legal is South Africa.

Adding fuel to the fire, a number of African countries are now actively persecuting transgender and intersex people as well.

What Our President Hasn't Done Yet

In spite of the lengthening shadow of religious bigotry across Africa, our senseless federal government continues to reward these countries for their human-rights violations by pouring millions of aid dollars their way.

President Obama himself has spoken out against the Ugandan legislation. But he has said nothing against the "Christian"-inspired persecution in that growing list of countries. So far his administration is not enforcing U.S. laws that bar elected officials from involving themselves in the political affairs of other countries. Nor has the Obama administration moved to withhold federal funding from "faith-based" orgs that actively support persecution of gays in East Africa -- even though Obama himself just signed new hate-crimes legislation that makes LGBT people a protected class in the U.S.

To put it another way -- we will need more than petitions to stop the Uganda death law, and others like it. We will have to cut off the financial and political support for these laws from within our own country.

Sad to say, while these African religious trends are widely reported in the indie media, they are ignored by the major TV news media, with the exception of MSNBC. They are also generally ignored by most Americans, who have little or no concern about anything that happens in Africa, and have no idea where any of these countries are located on the map.

In December 2009, the Huffington Post carried a chilling report by Rev. Kapya Kaoma, who is project director at Political Research Associates. It was titled "The U.S. Christian Right and the attack on Gays in Africa." Kaoma is a progressive Anglican cleric from Zambia who lived undergound for six months in order to document the incestuous ties between American evangelicals and the anti-gay movement in Africa.

But Kaoma's reports haven't gotten enough high-profile attention for Americans to realize that many conservative Christian activities in Africa have allied themselves with, and worked with, some African governments that are actually dictatorships, as Uganda's government has become -- the kind of government that we wouldn't want to have here at home.

Kaoma said, "The relationship between U.S. conservatives and African religious leaders is inhibiting the right of LGBT people to live freely and without persecution both in the United States and Africa. In Africa, people's lives are threatened not only by vigilantism but by government action. If we agree that African churches should be allowed to map their own agenda in the global church, then the conservatives should let go of Africa. Unfortunately, they will not, at least not without a fight."

Sooner or later those extremist U.S. church people will import their African M.O. back into the U.S., where they also aim to install a "purpose-driven" government. We will see this trend more clearly in the next round of national and state elections, as disgusted U.S. voters will be voting many Democrats out of office because of the Democratic Party's failure to deal with our own country's problems. When that happens, we will see a massive cranking up of these same religious forces in the U.S.

I hope that we Americans don't bury our heads in the sand until we find ourselves suddenly staring at a bill in Congress that mandates the death penalty for LGBT people here -- along with abortionists, and other groups of Americans as well. It's important to remember that the Old Testament code of law mandates the death penalty for literally dozens of "offenses," not just for gay men alone. Americans who have never bothered to read the Bible might start reading it to find out how and why they might be executed.

Any U.S. church activist who intends to bring back Old Testament religious law as a basis for American criminal law is intending to restore it in its full range of draconian rigor.


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I hope that we Americans don't bury our heads in the sand until we find ourselves suddenly staring at a bill in Congress that mandates the death penalty for LGBT people here -- along with abortionists, and other groups of Americans as well.

I'm sorry Patricia, but you're sounding as crazy as them. The Christians are not taking over our government. Calm down.

You need to study the New Apostolic Reformation movement. They do indeed intend to take over the country, and are very open about it in all their statements. You might start by spending some time studying articles posted at talk2action.com, as well as publiceye.com, written by some astute political observers who have been watching these developments.

You need to study the polling about religion and the beliefs of young people, who no longer take religion serious. There numbers have been declining for decades.

I guess at 73 years old, these crazy thoughts still haunt you, but most people have figured out there really is no threat of being taken over by Christians, Muslims, or Ewoks.

That's uncalled for, and also short-sighted.

Besides, the question is not who youth are going to vote for, so much as who voters are going to vote for. In my experience, complacency doesn't usually translate to turnout.

Given the right-wing associations of the Pew Charitable Trusts that conducted the survey, as well as the conservative history of the Pew family, I'm not surprised to see how this survey is slanted.

And you are misinterpreting part of the study. It insists that these young people still believe in a traditional way, though they may not be staying affiliated with the churches where they were brought up. The New Apostolic Reformation is very interested in these young people -- charismatic leaders like Lou Engle are going after them.

Then become familiar with Gallup, Barna and others Patricia. If the big, bad Religious Right has influenced Pew Research they've done a horrible job. That research confirms the rapid decline of extremists.

Literalists are in a major decline and have been for decades. Your piece is nothing more than saber-rattling, something George Bush liked to do with Saddam Hussein, oddly enough, because of religion. Go figure.

Regardless of what the polls say about young people today, they leave out one important fact: Young people aren't calling the shots.

Not only that, but history is rife with examples of liberal, tolerant populations taking a sharp turn to the right in periods of deep and prolonged economic malaise and anxiety, the Weimar Republic and the hippies who turned Born Again in the 70s and Republican in the 80s being a couple of good examples.

Third, "tolerance" and "acceptance" are two different things. Many young people of the evangelical persuasion, while not as venomous as Pat Robertson, still subscribe to the "love the sinner, hate the sin" mindset, particularly in the South and Midwest. And notice also how most hate crimes against GLBT people are committed by young men in their teens and 20s.

I'm not predicting a theo-fascist takeover of the United States, but I'm not discounting the possibility, either.

Agist as hell, Andrew, and an argument ad hominem to boot.

A Crone myself, perhaps it is because Patricia and I have seen so much history in our lives that we recognise repeating patters.

After all, who watching the 1984 Winter Olympics could imagine that the beautiful city of Sarajevo would be a ruin as the result of a religious war a mere 14 years later?

Andrew W, I've noticed a pattern of snideness if not downright rudeness in your comments to the articles posted by Patricia Nell Warren. You seem to take issue with her commentary in a particularly disdainful manner. In this posting, you seemingly characterize her as an hysteric and, apparently, so old (at 73) that she is “haunted” by crazy thoughts. You are entitled to your opinion but not, I feel, to be disrespectful to a landmark author whose literary work in four decades reflects exhaustive research and amazing forethought. For the record, Patricia has been remarkably accurate in her past predictions. Within hours of 9/11, she warned us that our civil liberties would be in serious jeopardy by an Administration that would use that horrific event to further a despicable private agenda (sanctioned and supported by the religious right) Well, contrary to skeptics, she was right. Perhaps you should "calm down" yourself, Andrew, and a grant a little deference to those pioneering activists in our community who deserve our utmost respect and profound appreciation no matter how far-fetched you think their current views are.

I'm sorry Tyler, but crazy is crazy. Religion is disappearing in America. Patricia's comments might have made sense 50 years ago, but today they're crazy.

If you think we risk having our government taken over by some religious extremists, stock up on canned food and build a shelter.

Andrew, Patricia and many of us other "crazies" are both old enough and wise enough to know that, given any particular set of variables including economic depression, political instability, civil hostilities, and political or religious extremists with an agenda; anything is possible. History teaches us that, given these circumstances, any race, creed or constituency may become the unwitting pawn for political ridicule, oppression and, ultimately, genocide. My elderly neighbor found your comment about stocking up on food and building a shelter remarkably insightful. That’s exactly what he had do when the Germans inexplicably and suddenly invaded his country when he was just a boy and sent his family and friends off to the gas chamber. (His parents didn't think that was possible either) While religious extremists were not the founders of Nazism, they most certainly aided and abetted the Third Reich in their unbridled evil and that, perhaps, is what you fail to see as the greatest danger in such times. It is not the leadership that will deliver you to the enemy. It is those who believe without any doubt that these leaders are acting upon God’s will.

Please talk to your neighbor about how much the World has changed OR stay friendly enough to share the food and shelter.

Per Patricia, a little reading is in order, too:

"Americans who have never bothered to read the Bible might start reading it to find out how and why they might be executed."

I don't know if I should raise the lions or build the Coliseum. Will you handle the lion-raising? Please? Free tickets for you and all your family.

Andrew, most people who read Bilerico ARE concerned about where the country is heading. As Maura points out, LGBT rights ARE facing a rising tide of hyper-conservative religious activism. These people want to take away whatever rights we've won.

On a broader front, women who are trying to hang onto reproductive freedom and equal rights for females ARE aware that the growing political power of hyper-conservative religion is their enemy. People who cherish the First Amendment ARE worried about growing censorship pressures from ultra-conservative church groups.

Death penalties for gays are not so long ago as the Roman Coliseum. In fact, just a little over two centuries ago, some of the original colonies executed gays because their laws were based on the Bible.

Today these super-conservative church factions say they want to bring back that kind of Bible-based government. As more and more of their politicians get into office, I look at the state and federal laws they work to pass, and take them at their word.

It's sad to see you using Tyler's mention of the Holocaust as an excuse for more snide remarks. The fact is -- that elderly neighbor of his (whom I know as well) fought in the Dutch Resistance against the Nazi occupation. He was one European Jew who saw where things were heading in the 1930s. Unfortunately there were many Jews who didn't see it coming...until it was too late.

Witches Brew is a poor choice of colloquialism, Patricia. These same lunatics are conducting witch hunts and murdering children suspected of witchcraft

I posted this elsewhere a few weeks ago:

Yesterday, I was in Europe having coffee with a colleague in Paris before leaving for New York. Our discussion, by and large about tedious elements of International Law, turned to the situation in Uganda and the lack of a US response to the proposed "Final Solution of the Gay Question" there.

She pointed out to me that the US could not afford to point the finger as it had not only tolerated the export of evangelical intolerance but had encouraged it as an official foreign policy from the era of Ronald Reagan onward, resulting in the deplorable rule of Fujimori in Peru and various Guatemalan right wing movements as well as a creeping infestation of the Mexican Government.

In that era, it was all about combating communism and ending the influence of left-wing clerics supporting "Liberation Theology" The US was actively involved in brokering what kind of religions would be supported in South American nations in order to attain a foreign policy goal. Were the US to condemn Uganda strongly now, the States might be embarrassed as other instances of US expansion of the rule of their First Amendment "The Freedom to Worship Jesus in Whatever Right Wing Evangelical Fashion That A Person Might Choose" would eventually come up and prove to be a liability to American political interests south of the Rio Grande.

My colleague is both Cuba and Venezuela friendly, so I expected part of the next phase of her argument, that part of the appeal of the Castro and Chavez governments was their refusal to be controlled or influenced by and by their opposition to US Evangelical groups as "agents of colonialism." She attributed no small part of the US-Venezuela conflict to the work of the Evangelicals and their Corporatist allies in trying to effect a removal of the anti-clerical and socialist administration.
She further pointed out that the problems in the Mexican nation, the long standing civil war between indigenous people and the mestizo dominated government was the result of the Evangelical churches' inciting the government's frequent and bloody over-responses, as the Zapastista officials are notoriously hostile to the US religious philosophies as an import and equally opposed to those churches support of a non-enlightened despotism of the sort preached by the "Family" of C Street and enshrined into foreign aid bills and laws by their congressional adherents.

She continued "I heard that people are upset by the comparasion of the gays to Africans(Black Americans). They should be. Gays are not the Nuevos Negros, they are the Nuevos Judíos (new Jews). Sooner or later, the killings will begin, and not only in Uganda. And then, what do we do? Who will invade Nigeria, Columbia, Guatemala, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia as the Churches see the US and Europe do nothing to stop Uganda? American churches will block any move to intervene and are just waiting for things to get worse in the States to begin such laws there. The danger is from the American's own house, and their Lesbianas y Hombres Homosexuales are blind or worse, indifferent. It may not happen there(in the States) but the Churches will try it there. We could win in Uganda, now, if we were to act, but if we don't, it will be most of the world against the gays and insisiting on the right to destroy them if we do nothing, and that only in a few short years."

In short, she summarised, America created this movement, a colonialisation of religion masquerading as anti-colonialsism. It exported this parasitic infestation of other nations' foreign policy disguised as self-determination by a single American political party and their right wing religious allies. Either American strongly denounces BOTH the policy and their own churches that largely manipulated its enactment, or the US gays and Lesbians can watch, "probably on television in the bars" the foreshadowing of their own possble future as the hangings are broadcast and the casuality numbers rise.

Your colleague's assessment is spot on. The same religious movement is working for the same goals in Central and South America -- even on the Pacific Rim, for instance in the Philippines. Even in countries where people have been strongly Catholic, like Brazil, there is now a swing towards pentecostal or evangelical Protestantism.

Most Americans haven't paid much attention to the New Apostolic Reformation, because they accept the fact that "American missionaries go out there to convert people." This movement has been going on for a long time, and it escapes maximum visibility because it is not centrally organized or led -- it is diffused through thousands of NGOs, church groups, etc.

But its goal is always to capture the government in a given country.

That's certainly the movement's goal in the U.S., as its leaders are very open about. It now commands a growing number of votes in Congress, and enjoys a great deal of influence in the U.S. military, where troops have been openly proselytized. Not to mention the fact that Sarah Palin is affiliated with it -- making her possible 2012 candidacy for President something that should concern all of us. Getting someone like Palin in the White House is exactly what this movement is looking for.

One doesn't have to wander far to find the evangelical/Latin American connection. I remember the eighties very well. Here is a good article about Pat Robertson's relationship with Rios-Montt and his latest target Caesar Chavez.

http://www.counterpunch.org/kozloff09172005.html

I don't think there is anything more dangerous than sadists who have the "moral authority" of their own idiosyncratic interpretation of scripture on their side.

From what I have read verbal harassment in public of individuals who are viewed to be members of the LBGT community is on the rise.

Guess society is very clearly sending the message that it is ok to be LBGT as long as you pass for
straight.

I would really like to see someone follow the money here, because I think this really gets under the surface of what is happening here. Africa is being almost buoyed in places by relief money, and much of it is not going to long-term sustainable development but to HIV issues. However, the most at-risk populations are being jettisoned in the HIV work, with LGBT people being criminalized and people who advocate for them being targeted. This is the most extreme example of a bigger picture, with (for another example) organizations that help sex workers also being disqualified for funding due to political pressure and concessions.

What we have is PEPFAR and such funneling money toward Africa, while anyone who might provide competition to Christianist organizations are being systematically excluded or obliterated from being able to handle any of it. How much of this funding to control the spread of HIV is being rerouted into evangelism in the same kind of guise that abstinence-only education takes? How much of it turns into proselytizing in Africa, and how much of it slips into the pockets of churches back home?

I really wish someone with the connections would follow the money. If we could do something about how the money is being funneled and abused, we could very well see a change in what's happening in Africa.

Fanaticism thrives in the absence of education. Africa is the new frontier. It is becoming the next "Middle East," with Muslim and Christian war and terrorism - unless they become educated and enlightened. 11% of the people of the Middle East are educated. As best we can tell it's less in Africa. I don't mean that disrespectfully, but as a window on the real problem.

But, don't panic, it's not coming here - it's being marginalized and dismissed. Thank God.

Funny, I thought that it was "Western" education and "enlightment" that started the problem.

Didn't most of the 9/11 hijackers have "Western" educations?

If so, then where is "Western" education going wrong.

Really Andrew?
Utah just passed a law classifying illegal abortions as murder. Want to guess just how long after the Catholic dominated Supreme Court strikes down Roe that all abortions become illegal?

Not a long way to striking down Lawrence and making same sex contact a felony in many places in this country again.

Just how many states have anti-gay marriage amendments written into their constitutions now?
Thirty something?

Exactly why is it that God has to be in the mix all of the time, that the President has to attend a Right Wing Prayer Breakfast?

Bad times drive people further to th left or to the Right, and in the US it is usully to the Right since the left has been daemonised for so long.

Slumber away if you wish, but please dont play your lullaby for others.

It's here already. President Obama and most lawmakers in the Senate and House proclaim strong faith in a god that isn't there. Didn't you see them at Senator Kennedy's funeral in awe like it was a sane event?. The priests around the coffin swinging the incense pot sending the Senator's soul elsewhere?. Pure superstition and insanity. It didn't stop there. Previously Kennedy asking the Pope to pray for his sins and the President hand delivering a letter to the Pope having flown to the Vatican on Air Force One. The Pope had the last word over Kennedy giving the Vatican even more power. The youth Pew data are not in power and they are not thinking about death, yet. Just wait until they have trauma in their lives. Many will grasp for the fantasy of the "man in the sky" out of fear.

Well put, Mercedes. The use of PEPFAR as a gravy train has already been investigated in 2006 by Human Rights Watch and others. I wrote about this several months ago in my "Today Afghanistan, Tomorrow Africa" piece at http://www.bilerico.com/2009/12/today_afghanistan_tomorrow_africa.php.

So the fact of AIDS money being diverted into proselytizing in Africa is well documented, but I don't see that the problem has been fixed yet. The Obama administration has strong ties with the "faith based" NGOs, so they will need a great deal of political will to put a stop to this.

WRT "it's not coming here," I don't necessarily see Africa's situation alone foreshadowing anything specific, but other conditions (convergence of American nationalism, mobilized military era, drive to marry Christianism with nationalism and government) are pointing toward the *potential* for a new dawning of fascism, and the teabagger phenomenon and expected hard right swing aren't encouraging.

I think this is good enough reason as any to warrant the caution in the closing paragraphs, even if Africa alone isn't.

It would be more effective to continue to laugh at them and marginalize them. THEY are the dwindling minority - not us.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | February 26, 2010 7:30 AM

A powerful and informative piece Patricia.

It is unfortunate that journalists covering the activities of US based antichristians (like Warren) and antichristian politicians (like Inhofe) have not highlighted the real motivation for the anti-gay campaigns in Africa.

First, you must understand that The Family is NOT a religious institution in any sense of the word. It does not even really have any religious purpose at all. Its sole, real purpose is to utilize antichristian evangelism to enslave the human race. This program, which has been in operation for decades, has begun to bear fruit in Africa, where it has been deliberately focused on whipping up anti-gay sentiment to elect "hollow men" to high government positions, where they will do the biddings of their "master controllers" in The Family, making the human and natural resources of the continent again available for unfettered exploitation and theft from their peoples, to the benefit of western commercial and industrial interests.

The global (mostly American & European) corporatist interests that define the work of The Family intend that, once their puppets are in control across Africa, they will move in with a program of neocolonialism that makes what the British, Germans, French, Dutch, Belgians, Portugese, and Italians did to Africa look like a freedom campaign by comparison. The Family is a supreme representative of active evil on this planet and must be exposed. You will hear people claim The Family does "good". That is untrue in all respects. Motive shows all and this group's motives are completely and permanently evil.

The Family has created a false public image, which it exploits to draw in otherwise well-meaning, but deluded "believers". These men may not initially know what they have joined, but they are soon indoctrinated into accepting The Family's evil leadership and agenda as their own.

David Bahati and Martin Ssempa of Uganda are both known in Uganda's closeted "gay" community as having long been practicing homosexuals themselves. In Bahati's case, he appears to have been primarily a political opportunist, who allowed Rick Warren to convince him that the anti-gay agenda would rocket him to political power, so he decided to exploit the aspect of his personality most responsible for his nearly suicidal self-hatred to gain personal power. He now finds himself one of the most despised people on the planet, who has disgraced his community, his claimed faith, his nation, his continent, and his race. He certainly has no political future on his present track.

Ssempa's publicly displayed personal interest in coprophagy (shit-eating) that he has promoted through his antichristian ministry discloses all there is to say about this non-person. He is very strongly attracting to this fetishism, if not a compulsive practitioner, and, if he hasn't tried it already, probably will soon. I expect he will like the taste very much. (I have nothing against his shit-eating, except as a medical risk and, for some, an aesthetic unpleasantness.) Stay tuned...

The connection is even more recent and direct as PEPFAR funded a lot of the activity of American evangelicals in Africa. The recent report by former Bush insider Scott Evertz, published by the Center for American Progress, makes clear.

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/01/pepfar.html

Bob Roehr

Old testament law was meant for a specific people a ta specific time. Those people are no more, and the time has passed. Those laws were meant for a proud people that thought they were holy. The laws meant that none of them could be holy. During this time there were burnt offerings. and Live animal sacrifice. Until the final Sacrificial Perfect Lamb. Christ himself the fulfillment of the law.

Might I suggest the learning of the history of gay life and gay persons in the bible through a site called (gay christian 101) this is the wisdom we have to use to fight this movement. They can not deny the word in their own book. We can Be one up every time they use there book to discriminate. By learning the history of the times these books were written and studying other writings of the time by others in the communities were the new and old testament were written. we have a broader understanding of life from that time. In addition to the original language that the text were translated from. These studies fix direct planned misinterpretations.

And as the persecution of gay people by fake Christians rise (thanks for the clarification that these groups are not Christian in any biblical sense of the word so I won't have to) another type of religious persecution has increased. That is, human sacrifice. Children are stolen, murdered or mutilated and often buried in the foundations of buildings to increase wealth in Uganda. First a father and the witch doctor cut off the head of a 17 month old baby with a machete. The father was given $2000 for the sacrifice of his child. Then it got worse. A two year old was taken by a witch doctor who needed THE GENITALIA OF A CHILD. His were cut off and he was found bleeding by his father, still alive. He did not die but one wonders what kind of life he will have when he realizes he does not have his equipment. Interesting how both perversions involve the use of genitalia, isn't it? This was a story on 20/20 tonight Feb 26, 2010.

When one religion is perverted the perversion of all religion cannot be far behind. It does not take much for Satan to get hold.

right wing christianity is every bit the evil that islamic extremism is, eg 9/11. Its only goal is to turn the world into a theocracy. by people who are absolute control freaks. Exactly what Mao, Stalin, Saddam, Hitler were. What makes it worse is that religion is involved.

In the old days the Catholic church gave us a 1000 year dark ages and helped murder 50 million muslims during the crusades. They gave us the hatred of the Jews, which Hitler a catholic who believed god was on his side, leveraged to gain power and another 50 million died.

These people are the horror show of the earth. Its all about believing, and they will do anything at all, scapegoat anyone as viciously as they need to do, to retain the power it brings. And power is money and money is power.

Thats what its all about. Someday, if the world survives, religion will be seen as the absolute worst enemy of humanity.

you can still have a god though. Who commands you to love thy neighbor as thyself. No churches etc, just some social agencies trying to help people who are hurting.

And the world will be a better place, and the leaches of conservative religion will have gone to feed the maggots, in glass coffins in museums, as ugly as it may sound. But a necessary step to prevent a repeat.

And this is all funded I bet by oil money. Think of Bush and cheney and their businesses, and the hypocrites running eg saudi arabia. There deal is to let the religious freaks run the country. People get paid off in cheap gas. While the 20000 memebers of the royal family do everything that Islam forbids - booze, have str8 and gay sex, gamble etc, in the small countries surroundign saudi arabia.

thats the cabal

Patrica,

I have no quarrel with highlighting the very small group of religious extremists - it is when you encourage fear that we part ways. We do NOT live in 1930s Germany and it is crazy (for you or Tyler) to make that comparison.

Christians that interpret the Bible literally as "God's word" are less than one-third of all religious people in America. The extremists you have warned us about are less than 3%. Sure, they have a crazy agenda, but they have absolutely NO chance of succeeding. Women in America - despite differing beliefs - would never tolerate the loss of reproductive rights or their equality. Just because a few religiously-inspired crazies want to end those rights for women doesn't warrant the kind of sky-is-falling-government-coup rhetoric you dispense.

I agree Bilerico readers are concerned about the future of our Country, freedom and equality. But, the more we promote the extremists, the more influential we make them. MOST religious people - especially Christians, are distancing themselves from the literalists and the extreme-Right fundamentalists. We should do the same.

These groups are NOT gaining more power in the US Congress, they are only gaining more attention - with your assistance. Religious beliefs (to different degrees) now control only 48% of the US Senate and less than 40% of the House. For the last 40 years they have been losing power and there is NO evidence they are gaining power.

I share your concerns about religious fanaticism and along with Sam Harris and others I think the problem is the flawed concept of faith. In his book The End of Faith he accurately describes the threat of faith-based terrorism. Bill Maher closed his movie Religulous with a dramatic warning about the potential of "faith" leading to nuclear terrorism. THAT is a very real problem, one the entire world must eventually come to grips with.

But, I don't share the warnings about radical Christians taking over our government. Without God's help (unlikely), it just isn't a possibility.

The truth is two-thirds of self-defined "religious people" now simply have an appreciation for religion, not an obsession. The LGBT community spends an incredible amount of time, energy and money highlighting, and in the process promoting, the WRONG crowd. We spend very little energy enrolling those religious people that have been willing to embrace basic human principles like freedom, liberty, justice and even equality. Focusing on that majority would help our movement and at the same time continue to marginalize the crazy ones.

Inspiring fear, instead of embracing the very real progress the majority of our fellow citizens have made, isn't helpful. It prevents OUR progress. We should be seeking people to join us, instead of just obsessing about those delusional ones that are stuck in the past.

I appreciate you writing and your comments here.

NoNo - you've linked to an opinion.

Look at the data: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-03-09-american-religion-ARIS_N.htm

Pew, Gallup, ARIS and Barna all show religion and "religious intensity" declining for the last 40 years in America.

Africa is a religious mess, but not America. Thank God, or education.

Hi,

I am new to this blog. I have found this particular thread to be interesting and informative. I don't take anything for granted. There is a lot of reactionary lunacy in R I, where I live, in spite of it's progressive laws and liberal northeast state rep.

I naively linked to an article by Nikolas Kristoff the other day from a five year old Counterpunch article without really understanding Alexander Cockburn's background, or Jeffry Sinclair's.

I found it interesting, however, that D. Gregory Smith, today, had linked to a Kristoff op-ed piece in the N Y Times about World Vision. It made feel my naivete could be somewhat vindicated and what I was trying to say about evangelicals somewhat validated. I think the Kristoff piece in the Times yesterday points out the complexities one should be aware of while remaining vigilant against right wing religious extremism in order not to become a knee jerk extremist, oneself.

Hi Edith,

Just curious - what did you mean by/think of Cockburn and Sinclair's backgrounds?

Hi Yasmin,

I said "without really understanding Alexander Cockburn's background, or Jeffry Sinclair's."

I follow up a lot of links to various on-line publications without really understanding where the writers might be coming from. If I quote or link, I realize that, for those more astute than I, I might leave a false impression that I might be coming from the same place as the sources I quote are coming from.

I am older. I haven't had access to a computer all that long. Obviously, I am not a regular reader of the N Y Times, otherwise, I would not have made the mistake I did. I am not all that familiar with the various on line news sources, either.

I think you understand, better than I, why I might have reservations about what Sinclair and Cockburn have to say on various issues. On the surface I would have to say I probably agree with a lot of what they have to say but I am not sure just how far I would go, especially since I am not sure how far they go.

I have gone far off topic, however. I live in a state that is very liberal, progressive and Catholic. There is a very complex dynamic involved. Central Falls, R I is the poorest community in the state. It has the lowest performing schools. The superintendent of schools in that city just fired all the teachers at the high school. At a conference over the weekend, the governor, a right wing talk radio host and the leader of a conservative taxpayer reform group heaped praise on her for her union busting efforts. She received a standing ovation from the crowd. The governor is the guy famous for the speech he delivered to the NOM gathering in Massachusetts last year.

I have a relative who keeps sending anti-neo-con 9/11 conspiracy videos to my Facebook newsfeed. He loves to rave about how much the American businessman has done for the world. He is a supporter of the views of Ayn Rand and Ron Paul. When he goes on about his 9/11 theories he seems to gravitate toward some of the things Cockburn and Sinclair seem to be concerned about. I do not want to be associated with that. There is a very sharp divide, I have found between what my artist/musician friends hold to be true and what people, like most of my relatives, away from the urban area where I live think. If I stay within my insular little world it can seem to be a, somewhat, kind place. If I venture beyond the city limits, however, things seem radically different.

I hafta get goin'. This thread is about religious extremism and exploitation. I thought what Kosloff wrote was interesting. In the eighties, in Central America, it was the Catholic Liberation Theologists who were the progressives. I am not religious. I think the Pope and the conservatives who dominate the Church are very dangerous to anyone who has progressive attitudes. On the other hand, I often find a lot of gratuitous Catholic bashing that does not seem justified, given my experiences with Catholicism. That was one of the reasons I found the Kristof article kind of balanced and interesting, to some degree. I was impressed by the story of the nuns handing out condoms.

I do believe that in hard times people gravitate toward anyone who can lift them out of misery or simple discomfort without regard. I think people also become superstitious. So, I think I share Patricia's concerns that what is going on in Africa could come back to haunt people, here, who are dependent on understanding the value of the finer points where human rights are concerned. Right here, in the liberal Northeast, I know quite a few lapsed Catholics who have turned to various evangelical groups when times got tough. Always, they are people who never take the time to study the complexity of the political issues that affect groups who are on the margins.

I hope that answers your question. If it sounds as clear as mud. Please, don't blame me. I didn't make the world what it is.

Well,

I hope I can be forgiven. I am new. Of course, Nicholas Kristof. God the name is so close to "Nikolas Kosloff". Puts the Kristof piece in a different light. Sorry.