December 10th, 2009
Bob 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.
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