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Don Schmierer On Uganda: “What, Me Worry?”

Jim Burroway

December 5th, 2009
L-R: Unidentified woman, American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, International Healing Foundation's Caleb Brundidge, Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer, Family Life Network (Uganda)'s Stephen Langa, at the time of the March 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda.

L-R: Unidentified woman, American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, International Healing Foundation's Caleb Brundidge, Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer, Family Life Network (Uganda)'s Stephen Langa, at the time of the March 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda.

After more than nine months of controversy over Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer’s participation in a virulently anti-gay conference in Kampala last March, he has finally deigned to speak up. And his defense is rather novel, something you might call the “Alfred E. Newman” defense. In a statement posted on Exodus International’s blog, Schmierer pretends that he had no idea that there was any problem with that conference until he was mentioned by Rachel Maddow:

What, me worry?Never in a million years did I expect to see my face on MSNBC. But there I was, plain as day – white hair, tanned wrinkles, looking every bit the grandfather I am- in a photo posted on Rachel Maddow’s show last night. Unbeknownst to me, she had decided to discuss a conference I spoke at in Uganda several months ago.

Remember, this is after nine months of outcry over the outcome of this conference, months of his own organization’s prevarications, half-hearted defenses, and finally — finally!a letter. Even after all that, it wasn’t until just this past Tuesday that he decided that maybe it was time to add his signature to the letter more than two weeks after it was originally issued. (Exodus vice president Randy Thomas explains that Schmierer’s late signature was due to the fact that he was gallivanting elsewhere around the world with his “redemptive” message — and we all know where that’s gotten us.) But it wasn’t until his mug showed up on national television did he decide it was finally time to make a statement.

No worries.

This international experience, however, turned out to be a bit different. For starters, I didn’t know much about the conference when I agreed to speak there. At first I thought I was the only speaker and was surprised to hear that Caleb Lee Brundidge of the International Healing Foundation and Dr. Scott Lively of Defend the Family International would be speaking as well. I disagree with several of their respective organization’s beliefs about this issue and have found several comments to be inflammatory. In retrospect, my decision to speak there might have been different, but one thing I did know was that Ugandans needed to hear a redemptive, compassionate view of this issue. So I set off to do my best in providing it. When my portion of the conference was over, a Ugandan gay bishop complimented me and remarked with gratitude that I “really understood” the gay community as well as the true nature of this issue.

I’m glad he got his “redemptive” message across. But there’s a problem with this statement. On February 27, the week before the conference took place, and the just shortly after we first learned about the conference, BTB’s Timothy Kincaid wrote to Alan Chambers to warn him about the conference:

On Friday, February 27, we inquired to be certain that Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, was aware of the character and history of those participating at the Uganda anti-gay conference. Alan’s response was off the record. But because he responded we know he received our email and was therefore aware of the list of presenters and of our concerns.

So on Monday we asked him to let us know if he and the Exodus leadership would develop a position on Don Schmierer’s activities in Uganda.

We never heard back and the rest is a very well-documented history.

So what does this mean? Did Alan Chambers not pass on our concerns to Don Schmierer? If so, that would suggest that he does not maintain very good communications with his own board. But if the opposite is true, then Schmierer should have been warned about what he was up against and chose to go ahead anyway. Either way, this cop-out doesn’t just wash.

Schmierer concludes with what ought to be the main message, instead of his self-serving defense. He says:

What is true, however, and worth all the news media coverage possible, is the tragic nature of and heartbreaking potential this bill holds. I remember the gay bishop I spoke with and am deeply concerned that if this legislation were to go into effect, he would be in danger. I am grieved that the church and social workers I met may now be faced with the gut-wrenching decision of whether or not to turn in a gay friend or loved one. It should not be so. That is why I have signed on to the letter below in speaking out against this legislation. Please join me, and Rachel Maddow by extension, in voicing your concern over this bill.

Again, the concern is not so much over LGBT people (unless he knows someone personally who swallows Schmierer’s ex-gay line), but over church and social workers who may face a “gut-wrenching decision.” Fine. We’ll take whatever we can get. They say “better late than never,” but now I’m not so optimistic.

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

Comments

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wackadoodle
December 5th, 2009 | LINK

what a load of crap. He knew exactly what was gonna happen in Uganda, thats why him and Scott Lively went there. Their only doing this half-assed apology so they can keep their image healthy in America. If no one had ever reported on this they wouldn’t have every come out against the law.

Because EXODUS and the other groups like them want gay people gone, dead if necessary. This whole incident has been one big example of how the people in America who ‘don’t hate us or wish us ill’ will gladly call for our deaths in a country were they can get away with it.

Lynn David
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

I’m convinced that Exodus and Schmierer has done nothing but prevaricate about this whole affair. He talked to a gay bishop? Certainly not one under Orombi, a Catholic one?

Yep, it’s the old “what did he know and when did he know it” idea. When did Schmierer know that Scott Lively was going to speak and what belief doesn’t Schmierer agree with concerning Lively. I guess the idea expressed by the fellow on the airplane apparently from Schmierer, that ‘the Nazis were all gay,’ could have been Schmierer agreeing with Lively or possibly complaining about Lively being at the conference. But that still doesn’t explain the idea that from that flight that ‘Africa is a big focus for Exodus and they want to keep it anti-gay.’

Certainly from the narrative from the airplane trip across the Atlantic (link above), Schmierer was convinced he was going in the name of Exodus. And was not going to express just an ex-gay agenda but one that was decidedly “anti-gay.” So did Don Schmierer speak out against the existing law criminalizing homosexuality while in Uganda? Seems like he didn’t. I agree with the guy who said back in March:

Overall, I am surprised that an Exodus board member would go to a conference like this in a country where criminalization of homosexuality is still an issue. My impression is that Exodus had no position on such things or if there was a position it was that homosexuality should not be considered a crime. For a change, I agree with Exgaywatch that it sends the wrong message for these people to go where the agenda is not simply congruence with religious teaching but also on state intervention in private behavior.

Evidently, if it keeps the country ‘anti-gay’ Schmierer & Exodus were all for criminalization and if not incarceration, forced therapy. Let’s not forget that when asked:

“Who decides what is natural?” Schmierer responded directly to the second question saying that his role at the workshop involves teaching about family values; other facilitators would answer questions about homosexuality being unnatural later in the conference.

It was Scott Lively who came later. And if this transpired:

At the end of the day, all the international presenters at the seminar commended Ugandans for taking a strong stand against homosexuality through their constitution, which criminalizes homosexuality, as well as through efforts like conferences that encourage parents and concerned citizens to come up with strategies against homosexuality.

So was Don Schmierer merely blinded by his zeal to keep Uganda and all of Africa anti-gay? Are those from Exodus saying what is needed to mollify American outcries while still holding to a more radical plan for outside of America or Europe?

grantdale
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

He’s lying like a cheap rug.

Jim, there’s no need to tie yourself up in knots.

Prior to leaving for Uganda, Don Schmierer knew he’d be with Scott Lively. He’s admitted it. He’s also admitted knowing what Scott Lively is. Yet he still went ahead.

However, it’s also interesting that he would slip in a mention of the World Congress of Families (sic). Interesting because of what that again reveals. Far from being a mere speaker, Don Schmierer is a sponsor.

And who do you imagine he’s been hanging around in the WCF?

Scott Lively.

Both Schmierer’s ‘His Servants’ and Lively associated ‘Watchmen’ were co-sponsors of the WCF for years. Any wonder Don knew about Scott.

If you can stomach it, a trawl over the WCF site is illuminating. You’ll get a good indication of who Don Schmierer chooses to mix with, and their attitudes. [1]

Of special note… in April 2009 Uganda featured in their newsletter.

WCF gave a positive mention of the impending legislation, together with a supporting statement by WCF itself (dated 20 March) that condemned support for a United Nations resolution calling for decriminalisation and an end to “harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization, and prejudice”. The December 2008 newsletter positively reported on the Vatican’s opposition to those “calls for the decriminalization of homosexuality.”

As WCF put it bluntly, such calls for decriminalisation “promulgate artificial rights including so-called sexual orientation and gender identity, which would undermine the natural family and attack traditional morality.”

Given a chance to nominate the 10 best and worst events of 2008: among the best was the vile legislation in Lithuania that made “public information that agitates for homosexual relations” a crime. Among the worst, an Organization of American States resolution that urged member states to end “violence and discrimination” based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Now, think of Uganda again. Any parallels?

That’s Don Schmierer for you. That’s who sits on the Exodus board.

—————————-

[1] we’ve unfortunately been following WCF for years because of the founding role taken by an unpleasantly anti-gay member of the Australian Parliament. Worse — we once knew him, personally!

grantdale
December 6th, 2009 | LINK

Lynn,

I suspect that “a Ugandan gay bishop complimented me” is a variation on the “my gay friends” defence.

There was no “gay bishop”. Bishop Ssenyonjo is not gay. Ssenyonyo is however supportive of gay people and has been subjected to abuse and rumours as a consequence.

I suspect Don Schmierer may have asked after who Ssenyonyo was, and had the rumours repeated to him.

—————–

Jim, you also asked which ex-gay video was shown at the conference. Sorry can’t remember where you did that, but it was “The Way Out: How Can We Help?” (as reported by SMUG).

Lynn David
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

That’s what I was thinking, grantdale.

And I am sure what that fellow reported about his conversations while flying over the Atlantic with Schmierer point to his lack of truthfulness as to what was expressed on the Exodus blog. I submitted a post questioning about what was said on that airplane on the Exodus blog, it was never posted. I think Exodus is trying to cover their asses with their own people, some of whom aren’t as radically fundamental as a Schmierer.

grantdale
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

Lynn — they’re trying to cover their asses with their own people???

Wouldn’t a nice pair of slacks be more comfortable?

Lynn David
December 7th, 2009 | LINK

LOL… ok, ‘concerning’ then, I guess.
;)

belen
January 7th, 2010 | LINK

Don I’m a 37 yr.old mother of a 19 yr. old gay son.I am surprised that a religous man as yourself is such a hypocrite.You preach about the Bible,however,you haven’t really truly opened your eyes.You are still walking around blinded.I knew since my son was 2 1/2 yrs. old that he might be gay.He was not molested or exposed to any gay activities of the sort…so yeah rule that out.I was a stay at home mother and I attended his classes regularly.I was very cautious with my child in this ugly world.So, you sit there and say they should be held in contempt as equal to a drug user?!wtf!My son is a human being and had no choice of his sexuality.God put him on this earth with a big challenge and not because He didn’t love my son but rather because He knew that my son had the right mother to nuture him.My son is a true blessing from Our Lord and for you to insinuate that God would send me something sinful is an insult from you!My son has one of the most beautiful hearts you’ll be LUCKY to have ever met…he is the most HONEST,GENTLE,KIND,LOVING,FORGIVING and LOYAL and HONORABLE person anyone has ever met….and I’m NOT exaggerating one bit of that.He’s not perfect in other areas…like motivation but for the most important thing that folks lack in todays society my son is top ranked.That’s not just from my mouth that’s from everyone he comes in contact with.So for you to preach something and plant an evil seed in others heads is the devils work.Trust and believe God is watching over us and our doings and what makes you think you won’t be punished as well?You are no better than all the rest….member?We are all stubborn sinners.Until you stop walking around blind you shouldn’t be preaching anywhere.God did not make my son as a mistake He made my son as My Blessing.May God Have Mercy On You Come Judgement Day.All I can do is pray for you.

belen
January 7th, 2010 | LINK

How about this?Why don’t I have the gay community pray for YOU?wouldn’t that be ironic?For a man condeming gays to be saved by gays?That’s beautiful.

Michael Bussee
January 8th, 2010 | LINK

Don keeps saying he was “misled”. “Sucked into something”. “Didn’t really understand”. “Didn’t know much about the conference”. “Thought he would be the only speaker”. “Didn’t know what Lively stood for.”

He was “DUPED”.

For this, I give him the “d’oh!” award. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc9f9u2kaEg&feature=related

Katie Murphy
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

2 words describes Schmiereir Charistian fascist

others – the people who are still fighting trhe civil war for slavery, the kkk and segregation.

If there was a god, he would be stripped naked , hung upside down and fed to the maggots.

while it somehow miraculously streamed over Youtube

Katie Murphy
November 22nd, 2011 | LINK

BTW Lively opened a coffee shop in Springfield MA to “re-evangleize Massachusetts

He hired a manager – you only had to look at his pix to know something was amiss

Turns out the guy was violating probation for molesting kids in NY. And rated as “likely to repeat”

What makes Lively so nuts – Psychs will tell you that people who are molested often become molesters themselves 60-80%.

Just google “southern baptists – child molestation”.

And do the same for the catholic church.

Its all over the place. It even looks like they hid these crimes – not to save face, but to create more of their own kind of madmen haters.

I know one who fits the model – a fixed gay. He’s from MA, born in 1943. Makes him a perfect candidate for having been molested by his church.

And he’s so nuts he said “Matthew Shepards parents should have fixed him”

And is a desperately orthodox catholic. Trying desperately to hide from his own victimization in his subconscious.

the church btw has had 2000 years to become expert at psychology. How else could they have sold their Bullshit.

Sorry to our good catholic friends, but my take on the virgin story is that Mary lived in a culture where women not a virgin on their wedding day were stoned to death – by the ancient hebrews.

So she was most likely raped by a roman soldier and claimed “i have known of no man”

As for the recovery from death by Jesus of some people, ever heard of psychosymatic illnesses. which can include eg blindness . but strangely enough ( this a known condition in people who are traumatized, eg war) if you have them walk down a path with obsstacles, they manage to avoid the obstacles.

The subconscious at work.

Jesus was nothing but a Jewish person way ahead of his time re justice.

BTW Alexander the great was a virgin birth (from a man no less ), pulled out of the forhead of Zeus, the god of war.

Osirus was a virgin birth, son of some other god in egyptian MYTHology.

the whole bis is mostly Mythology, not theology.

Strange how the two words are so close

Timothy Kincaid
November 25th, 2011 | LINK

Katie,

It is seldom that a comment at BTB has less factual accuracy, greater historical ignorance, and fewer cogent points. Pretty impressive, really.

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