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Maine’s anti-marriage leader commends the Ugandan Kill Gays bill

Timothy Kincaid

December 10th, 2009

emrichBob Emrich is the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Bible Church in Plymouth, Maine. He was also a campaign leader and spokesman for Stand for Marriage Maine, the organization primarily responsible for the passage of Question 1 which reversed the Maine Legislature’s law enacting marriage equality. Emrich was, in many ways, the voice and face of the anti-gay marriage movement in Maine.

When campaigning against equality for gay Mainers, Emrich tried to portray himself and his organization as being in favor of traditional marriage rather than being anti-gay.

Emrich said he has tried to keep the emphasis on marriage, rather than on “homosexual behavior.”

“At some point, it’s a personal, private matter,” he said. “There’s an obligation on all of us to try to warn and encourage each other away from destructive behaviors and toward healthy behaviors, but we’re always going to debate what those are. When it comes to public policy, that’s not what this bill is regulating. It’s about something more than that.”

But Emrich’s “personal, private” comments may have only been for public consumption in Maine, and his real goals and desires may be something quite other than what he was willing to admit. In fact, Emrich may well favor draconian laws that enact extreme civil punishment of gay men and women.

And Emrich is part of that previously-unknown but amazingly large collection of conservative evangelical Americans who have been investing time and effort in Uganda.

GoodAsYou.org has a copy of an email sent out yesterday by Emrich to those who share his religious and political views.

I have just recently returned from two weeks in Uganda, ministering the Word among village pastors and Churches. It was a refreshing change of pace from the last year spent on the “marriage referendum”. My trip to Uganda took me away from email, cell phones and the internet (also from electricity, running water, etc.). But I was able to see the Spirit of God working apart from the many distractions that we are faced with every day in Maine. I visited almost 20 remote villages and spent time with the believers. One of the common sentiments expressed there was that “in order to have a healthy village, there must be a strong and healthy church”. That is one of the important lessons we have been learning here as well. We will have more to say about that later. But as I work my way back into ministry here at Emmanuel Bible Baptist Church (Plymouth) and with the Maine Jeremiah Project, I wanted to share the following article I found in Uganda’s largest daily newspaper. I had tucked it into my journal and found it yesterday as I reviewed some of my scribbling. I think it speaks for itself, but I hope you will wonder, as I do, where our own culture lost its way.

The article in question is from New Vision which calls itself “Uganda’s leading website”. It rails against the West and in declining morals. The most relevant part is:

One can now shamelessly stand up and tell you: “I do as I please. You have no business in my affairs.” A sodomist can now swear to you that what they do in the privacy of their bedroom does not concern the public.

No wonder when a brilliant MP comes up with a Bill against homosexuality, the human rights activists baptise him an enemy of the people.

It is high time politicians, religious leaders, cultural leaders and all concerned Africans woke up and defended the African heritage against the moral confusion of Western civilisation. This civilisation is eroding African moral pride.

The so-called human rights activists have hijacked the driver’s seat and are sending nations into the sea of permissiveness in which the Western world has already drowned.

Every evil that has penetrated our society comes disguised as a human right and is watered by a group of elites who have attained education in the West. These elites have come back to impose on us practices that our forefathers deemed abominable.

Emrich wonders where our culture, the Western culture, “lost its way”. There simply is no other possible interpretation than that Emrich extols the ideas in the article and wishes that the United States were more like Uganda in such matters.

Let me be clear. It is virtually impossible that Bob Emrich is unaware of the nature of the Ugandan Kill Gays bill. Surely no one who has any interest in Uganda could possibly have missed news coverage of the proposed death penalty for HIV positive gays, life sentences for others, and incarceration of their friends, family and acquaintances.

Yet, as incredible as it seems, Bob Emrich is suggesting that the West has lost its way and that Uganda has important lessons that we need to learn here. I’m finding it difficult to find any interpretation other than that Bob Emrich, the leader of the Yes on 1 Campaign, endorses recriminalization of homosexuality and may even support execution of gays.

So when they tell you that they don’t hate you and that they are only trying to protect the traditional definition of marriage, remember Bob Emrich.

For full coverage on the recent situation in Uganda see here.

Comments

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Ray
December 10th, 2009 | LINK

Breathtaking in the extreme!

Alex
December 10th, 2009 | LINK

People definitely need to know about this.

Arnaud
December 10th, 2009 | LINK

What else can we expect from someone who writes “This whole concept of human rights grates my nerves” ? There’s no common basis for debating with such people.

JY
December 10th, 2009 | LINK

This needs to get publicized far and wide.

Algy
December 10th, 2009 | LINK

I said once before here, I’ve said it on Good as You, and I’ll say it again: Emrich, Cohen, Lively, Exodus, et. al are terrorists who deserve to be tried for their actions.

Were it not for their intervention in a politically volatile country, a lot of innocent people might not be under such a huge threat to their lives. What we really need here in the US is a publican condemnation and investigation into their actions.

Soleil10
December 11th, 2009 | LINK

Trying to connect a pastor who was 2 weeks in the bushes and who share a general message on the decline of the west, to this homosexual bill in Uganda is an overstretch.

Timothy Kincaid
December 11th, 2009 | LINK

Soleil10,

In your desire to excuse evil, you distorted the facts.

To connect a pastor who was 2 weeks in the bushes in Uganda and who sends out a newspaper article to his buddies to the bill which the article praises is no stretch at all.

Why Human Rights Are Necessary, and Why We Have to Keep It Honest « Dented Blue Mercedes
August 18th, 2010 | LINK

[…] in fact mused about criminalizing LGBT people (i.e. Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, Bob Emrich of Emmanuel Baptist Bible Church in Maine, and Brian Fischer of the American Family Association), […]

Carissa Conklin
May 17th, 2011 | LINK

Bob Emrich is my great uncle. We were just talking about this article when we were in Uganda on a mission trip. I think if all you people new my uncle personally you would know he is one of the most sensitive and amazingly caring people in the world. He would never ever wish for homosexuals to be killed! That’s disgusting on so many levels. You take his words and twist them. God says that marriage belongs to a man and a woman, it’s very clear. That is all my uncle has been saying that marriage needs to stay biblical and sacred. Stop attacking this man when he doesnt deserve it.

Timothy Kincaid
May 17th, 2011 | LINK

Carissa,

You seem to have difficulty understanding who is attacking whom. If your “most sensitive and amazingly caring” great-uncle were not seeking to harm my life, I wouldn’t have anything to say about him at all.

And please be honest. Don’t act as though “all your uncle has been saying” is about marriage. You have eyes. You can read. He also thinks that our country – which does not imprison or execute gay people – has lost its way. Unlike Uganda, where gay people are regularly beaten and murdered.

I have not twisted his words. I put them right here on the page so everyone can see them for themselves.

The problem, Carissa, is that you are in conflict. You wish to be support policies that are cruel, but you don’t want to think of yourself as a cruel person. You seek to impose your religious views on the state, but you don’t want to think of yourself as oppressive.

But that’s the downside of being cruel and oppressive. Yes, you may get your way for a while… but good and decent people start to consider you a bully and hateful and a bad person.

It’s your choice, Carissa. You can either behave in a loving and Christlike manner – treating gay people how you want to be treated and treating gay relationships how you want your relationships to be treated – or you can continue to support the execution of gay people in Uganda and wonder why the world think you are a monster.

evolutionisfact
June 5th, 2011 | LINK

Oh dear, dear “Carissa” hath the wool been pulled down deep over your naive little peepers!! Uganda is a half as*ed socially, economically and politically backward nation, which has proven to be wonderfully fertile ground for bigotry to take route in! I would actually be SHOCKED if bigoted closeted pigs like your uncle DIDN’T bother to go over there and make life worse for gay and lesbian HUMAN BEINGS. The day is quickly coming “Clarissa” dear when religious whacknuts like yourself and your oh so “loving” and “sensitive” uncle will finally receive the badly needed psychiatric help with which they need. Hopefully Obama’s healthcare plan can provide some sort of provision to help those who have so recklessly embraced the dangerously religious lifestyle. May you and your hate filled uncle finally be freed of this very dangerous addiction. I will wish you and your very mentally ill uncle all the best.

Mike Troyer
April 13th, 2012 | LINK

Bob Emrich is a friend and fellow pastor. Bob Emrich is just as his great-niece described him. Have any of you throwing stones at him contacted him to ask him what he thinks. The article that is written makes more than a few assumptions. It’s true that Bob thinks the USA has lost it’s way. Many people believe the same and I would think many of you commenting here feel the same way if not for opposite reasons.
What is missing is the peaceful dialogue between left and right. Sensible people talking to sensible people without straw-men and hyperbole. You accuse Clarissa of being blinded but yet you don’t think you look at life through a particular filter? Let’s stop the rancor on BOTH SIDES and work together to solve our differences.

Timothy Kincaid
April 13th, 2012 | LINK

Mike Troyer,

I have one simple question for you:

Do you want the State to refuse to recognize your marriage?

Before you get to all the reasons why you think that the State should deny mine, answer that question to yourself quietly. Because the answer to that question is the single most important thing you will consider today.

It’s a Jesus question. It is the very foundation of faith. Everything – Leviticus, Romans, what Jesus called “the Law and the Prophets” – comes down to that question.

Even if the “radical militant homosexual activists” were trying to destroy society, even if they were trying to take away your religious freedom, the right answer to that question doesn’t change.

The answer is, of course, no.

Now I know that many in The Church have a long list of excuses why they don’t have to obey Jesus’ commandments. Usually they start with a list of the sins that they are sure I’m committing which means they can ignore Jesus until I stop sinning. The second excuse is, of course, that God Himself defined what a county registrar should record for income tax purposes. And then come the usual Matthew 7:22 crowd who are busy Fighting Battles for God and don’t care who is hurt in the process.

Now, Mike, I’m all for peaceful dialog. So just as soon as everyone at the table has the same rights, we can peacefully sit down and discuss whose rights to take away.

But until that day, there isn’t much to discuss. You want to treat me legally inferior – clearly contrary to the commandments of Jesus, and I don’t want to be treated inferior.

That is not the hallmark of a righteous person.

Timothy Kincaid
April 13th, 2012 | LINK

Oh, and Mike…

if you can kindly point out where my assumptions are not supported by documentation and I’ll be glad to have Emrich clarify.

And, incidentally, if by “peaceful dialogue between left and right” you are assuming that you are on the right and I am on the left, that assumption is in error.

andrew
April 13th, 2012 | LINK

To Carissa and Mike Troyer:

I appreciate your desire for folks to get along, and I know how I feel when people I like aren’t seen by others the same way that I see them… I can’t help but think that if only other people could see the goodness and thoughfulness that I see, then they would understand the person that I know. That they somehow misunderstand that person’s intentions, and that the criticism are more than a little unfair in the balance.

Here’s the thing, however. This great man went to a country where they are debating doing horrible things – incarcerating people for being gay, incarcerating people for knowing people who are gay and not reporting them. Killing people for having a disease.

He not only didn’t speak up to question whether this was a just or moral way of treating other people, he brought back an article about this — out of all the things he could have discussed — and used it as a talking point about how our culture has lost its way.

In this country, we know that the most an anti-gay movement can do, really, is attack the marriage issue — legally and culturally, that’s as far against gays as most people will go right now.

When he has this reaction to Ugandan politics, when he brings back this article, it’s reasonable for those of us whom he is going to great lengths to target (and why is he picking on us? why does he care about this issue instead of all the other Christ-centered issues?)… how far would he go if he thought the culture here would accept it?

Because he’s seen a culture engaged in extreme behavior, and he seems to think it’s got something good going on. That it’s Christ’s way. Despite ample Biblical evidence that this is not at all what Christ had in mind.

In some cultures, Christians have been persecuted and killed for who they are, for what they believe. I think we all respect that this is unacceptable, and morally wrong, and it should be stopped. I’d like you, for a moment, to put your foot in the other shoe, and understand the extreme position people are in. It’s not a game, and it’s not theoretical. People are going to have their lives ruined, and it’s not right.

And that wonderful man – and I believe he has the capacity to be a wonderful man – has a certain issue here – a blemish (even possibly well-intentioned) on what may well be an otherwise good personality (I don’t know him, so I cannot speak to his whole person).

Sometimes we take logical conclusions into illogical spaces. Sometimes we don’t appreciate that what is merely an idea in our life represents a living hell, or death, in someone else’s. It’s possibly the most dangerous risk of being involved in public policy — that your words and leadership lead to unacceptable and morally evil, and even unintended outcomes.

So, I appreciate your position, and I respect your affection for this man, especially in the context in which YOU know him. But please appreciate that there are some of us who have to live in the shadow of his actions. He’s gunning for us, even though we did nothing to earn his attention other than to be born into this world and ask for our seat at the table.

I think you can forgive us for thinking less of him than do you. And I urge you to remind him of his better angels – if he is the man you say he is, then this is truly an aberration of his character, and that means he can see the error of his ways.

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