Uganda’s Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign Is Now In Full Swing

Jim Burroway

April 19th, 2009

This is what Exodus International helped spark. It is today’s issue of the Ugandan tabloid, The Red Pepper, which featured this “killer dossier.” Yes, those are the Red Pepper’s own words:

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda's Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda's Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

This is a killer dossier, a heat-pounding and sensational masterpiece that largely exposes Uganda’s shameless men and unabashed women that have deliberately exported the western evils to our dear and sacred society. …

This is what we have long feared: names, identifying features, places of employment, residences, boyfriends and girlfriends, and other unfounded charges and illicit gossip intended to destroy their reputations and worse. It is a repeat of the 2007 vigilante campaign which was also trumpeted by — you guessed it — the Red Pepper.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge

The Red Pepper in 2007. (Click to enlarge.)

In fact, this latest article is a retread of the Red Pepper’s infamous 2007 “Homo Terror” article, which was a centerpiece of that year’s campaign. And like before, the Red Pepper doesn’t intend to stop with just this article. Today’s Red Pepper promises to publish “more shocking things you don’t know about Homos” in next Sunday’s edition. Interestingly, this “killer dossier” does not appear in the Red Pepper’s website.

For the latest round, LGBT Ugandans are bracing for the worst while drawing strength from one another:

It is Saturday evening. I debated whether or not to show my face in public. My lover convinced me it was no big deal. Just go, and show my mug. And anyone have a problem, well, to hell with them.

So, I went to my favourite pub. And, found that most other kuchus [gays] had also gravitated there. Showing there [sic] faces.

…But nothing could hide the anger, and the sense of community. We were together to take strength from one another. We have been exposed to the merciless gaze of hate of a homophobic society. We were, and are, hurting. There is little that we can do, but we can brave it out, and give strength to one another. We don\’t know what the actual fall out will be, individually, on a person to person basis. Or, to the community. There were some photos, this time, too. As if the need was that it was necessary to sheer up the believability of the red rug. Just a few photos. But enough.

This is the fruit of Exodus International board member Don Schmierer’s participation alongside Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively in an anti-gay conference in Kampala, Uganda during the first weekend of March. The conference, in which Schmierer was intended to serve as the “ex-gay expert,” announced a policy proposal to change Uganda’s draconian laws against homosexuality to force those convicted into unproven and unregulated “therapies.”

Exodus board member Don Schmierer (left) and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively (right)

Exodus board member Don Schmierer (left) and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively (right)

Because Schmierer and Exodus have decided to remain silent about their roles in this fiasco, Ugandan anti-gay organizer Stephen Langa has used Schmierer’s and Lively’s talks to lend legitimacy to a series of meetings which followed the original conference. Those meetings then culminated in a press conference carried live on national television featuring George Oundo, who claimed to be “ex-gay.” Oundo has since been fueling a public outing campaign on radio and in the newspapers, culminating in this long-feared feature in the Red Pepper.

This latest development is very worrisome because the Red Pepper was the major cheerleader in past public anti-gay vigilante campaigns. Those campaigns resulted in innocent people being arrested, tortured, fired, and driven into hiding and exile.

Exodus President Alan Chambers’ only response to Schmierer’s associations is to “applaud” Schmierer’s role. Neither he nor Schmierer have spoken out in any meaningful way, either to forcefully condemn the aftermath of that conference, or to own up in Exodus’ role in facilitating the actions stemming from it. For some inexplicable reason, Exodus remains silent as their handiwork in Uganda continues to exact harsh consequences to innocent people.

For the love of all that is decent and holy, when will Chambers do the right thing? What is he waiting for? What will it take for him to finally man-up and do the right thing? Is he really waiting for bloodshed, as it seems right now? Is that what it will take?

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.


April 19th, 2009

Jim wrote: “For the love of all that is decent and holy, when will Chambers do the right thing?”

Unfortunately, Jim, Alan Chambers is never going to do the right thing. He has already sold his soul. It is perhaps possible for member ministries of Exodus to disaffiliate from what is becoming an international violent hate group. The affiliates could oust Chambers and purge their organization of its connections to Lively, Watchmen on the Walls and other violent hate groups. But none of this will come from Chambers or Randy Thomas.

Alan and Randy don’t care about the damage being done. And I personally think that black Ugandan victims are probably not very high on their priority list.

quo III

April 19th, 2009

John, you appear to be accusing Alan Chambers of racism. Do you have any evidence that Chambers is actually a racist, that he would care more about white victims than black ones?


April 19th, 2009

‘Today’s Red Pepper promises to publish “more shocking things you don’t know about Homos” in next Sunday’s edition.’

I wonder what kinds of shocking things the paper plans to publish. May be tidbits like gays DON’T WANT to recruit school children into homosexuality because even if they wanted to, it wouldn’t work? May be that gay men aren’t all obsessed with women’s clothing? Possibly that lesbians just want to be left alone and not hassled? I know the Red Pepper(slightly flamboyant name for a newspaper in my opinion) would never publish these scenarios, but based on the opinions Ugandans have of homosexuals (posted in ExGayWatch) these would be pretty shocking.

Regan DuCasse

April 19th, 2009

QUO 3, Chambers doesn’t have to be actively racist. But this situation has racially insensitive overtones. It’s VERY reminiscent of the kind of colonial mindset that disrespected the indigenous culture and injected adversarial situations among the natives, culminating in deadly rivalries.

Such meddling led to the Tutsi/Hutu devastation. And the Swiss who started it, ran from the disaster they fomented.

Same issue here. These men deliberately put a spark to tinderbrush and aren’t around to feel the heat.

Gays and lesbians are especially vulnerable in Third World countries. And flying in as if coming at God’s suggestion to ‘save’ all these ignorant Africans is an already bad history repeating itself on the group least able to defend themselves.

I’m sure you’ve known plenty of people who don’t have to be actively or think themselves hostile to gay people.
But in their ignorance, arrogance..whatever, will come in a make a cock up of a sensitive situation like this.

But in the case of Chambers, et al…this is deliberate. There is no mistaking that they didn’t know what the outcome would be if they interfered.
And evil will prevail as long as good men DO NOTHING.

So Chambers doesn’t have to be a racist, his standing by doing nothing…is bad enough.

Emily K

April 19th, 2009

Regan is right – she was able to articulate something I wasn’t quite able to put my finger on: the “holy white man” coming in to “save” the “dark savages.” As if the existence of brown people needs to be justified by white men. Please.

Wasn’t it Dr. King, no less, who articulated that the real tragedy comes when good men say nothing while evil happens? Except, Chambers’ actions have disproven any notion I once had that he could be considered a “good man.”

Lynn David

April 20th, 2009

Let’s face it…. the people at Exodus don’t give a damn. Schmierer went to Uganda probably at the behest of his Episcopal/Anglican bishop (and possibly Ahmanson?). He wasn’t smart enough to realize Lively was a hate-monger from his tainted past with other countries which fomented hatred when he was around. He wasn’t smart enough to realize Uganda had a horrible human rights record as far as gay people go and that the country was likely itching to find someone to scapegoat while the economy was in the dumper.

Schmierer and even Chambers just weren’t smart enough. If they were elected officials they’d have be recalled about now – or likely sooner. Instead, Exodus has now opened itself up to scrutiny as a hate group.

L. Junius Brutus

April 20th, 2009

Since when have the anti-gays cared about what is decent or holy?

L. Junius Brutus

April 20th, 2009

“He wasn’t smart enough to realize Lively was a hate-monger from his tainted past with other countries which fomented hatred when he was around. He wasn’t smart enough to realize Uganda had a horrible human rights record as far as gay people go and that the country was likely itching to find someone to scapegoat while the economy was in the dumper.”

Wasn’t smart enough? I think that he *was* smart enough, but simply did not care, or perhaps favored the outcome. Do you really think that these people have any regard for gay lives (despite their protestations to the contrary), here or in Uganda?


April 20th, 2009

What will it take for gays to decide to fight? So we can accept that these campaigns result in innocent people being arrested, tortured, fired, and driven into hiding and exile. The Red Pepper is publishing names, features, residences, features, significant others, and gossip. This is to destroy gays’ reputations AND worse.

[The remainder of this comment has been deleted due to violations of our Comments Policy]


April 20th, 2009

This is both a wrongness in and of itself and worse because this has been fomented by people who are supposedly Christian folk (both Ugandans and others.) This kind of hatred, this kind of repression can never be part of the message of Christ who, in his first public sermon, said:

“…18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Luke 4:18-19 …”

Nevada Blue

April 20th, 2009

I know it won’t mean a damn thing, but I had to tell Exodus what I thought of them and their interference. It took me forever to get through, so hopefully they are getting a lot of other messages. But I do have a shitty computer.


April 20th, 2009

I’m sure you’ll be posting a response to Alan Chambers’ “apology,” but here is the response I left on Warren Throckmorton’s blog:

Two things are clear from Alan Chambers’ “apology”:

1. The man has no moral center. He will say whatever is necessary to justify himself to whatever audience he is addressing.

2. The Exodus board should fire Chambers immediately for incompetence.

Chambers’ actions here cannot be simply wiped away with a single blog posting that comes after weeks of silence, and on the verge of possible violence against others sparked directly by the actions of a board member of Exodus, among others.

The notion that Chambers could dismiss his responsibility here with a simple, “Oops, my bad” shows the depth of his amorality. Chambers’ moral failing here–the unwillingness to act or even speak out against this conference at any point in the process–is so massive and so grave, that he should be tendering his resignation and leaving the public sphere immediately. That’s how serious this is.
Human beings in Uganda will be persecuted and possibly attacked and murdered as a direct result of Chambers’ fecklessness.

Am I to believe that he had to pray about his response *for a month* to decide exactly what to do? If I see a woman getting raped in an alleyway at knifepoint, am I just to pray what to do? If I see a child being beaten and bruised by a parent who lives in the apartment upstairs, do I just pray about it and hope that everything works out okay? If I hear that white supremacists are planning on planting a burning cross on my neighbor’s lawn, do I have to pray about what my response should be? Or in all three cases, should I make an immediate effort at protecting each of the individuals in question, doing everything in my legal power to make sure they are protected and safe from harm?

The answer is obvious to all but Alan Chambers. And that is why his “apology,” which is nothing more than numerous historical non-sequiturs strung together to justify his moral fecklessness, is so alarming… not to mention stomach-churning. The time is LONG past that of any kind of apology being acceptable, which this is not. *Action* was warranted weeks ago. Chambers was told publicly and repeatedly, even by the author of this blog, that Exodus’ role in what was happening in Uganda was unacceptable, dangerous and ungodly.

Once again, I repeat… this is a MASSIVE moral failure on Chamber’s part, and the fact that he expects to go back to business as usual is entirely unacceptable and deeply offensive.

Shame on you, Alan Chambers. Shame.


April 21st, 2009

But if we criticize anything about Uganda’s (or any African country’s) treatment of homosexuals, then aren’t WE being the colonialists? By trying to enforce Western values on them?


April 24th, 2009

I’m a white gay guy who has lived in Uganda for the past 10 years.

Just some info that those of you in the developed world might not understand. Yes, the haters really disturb us, but we also know that for the people responsible for this article, its all about money. The source of the gay men listed in the Red Pepper is a gay man who collected a lot of money to reveal the names. And of course, the Red Pepper will do anything to sell its newspapers. And for the “X gay” who started this most recent witch hunt with a TV press conference and by outing Fr. Anthony, I have no doubt he is all taken care of now.

Any ideas?

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