Anti-gay Republican congressmen oppose Uganda’s Kill Gays bill

Timothy Kincaid

December 22nd, 2009

Five Republican congressmen have sent a letter to President Museveni of Uganda asking him to oppose the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill: Chris Smith, Frank Wolf, Joe Pitts, Trent Franks and Anh “Joseph” Cao.

That’s good.

They also felt compelled to inform Museveni that they endorse the Manhattan Declaration, a document that defines “Christian” in terms of whether one is an anti-gay activist.

That’s not so good.

Frankly this smells less like concern for the plight of gay Ugandans and more like an opportunity to prove that they both love the sinner (“don’t penalize a single act of homosexual conduct with a life sentence”) and hate the sin (“but boy howdy to we endorse anti-gay declarations”).

Unlike others, this group found it necessary to temper their opposition to an evil bill with endorsements of discrimination, and refused to oppose the criminalization of homosexuality, something that even Rick Warren felt to be within his Christian conscience.

Further, they lied. The Manhattan Declaration was not, as they state, “signed by more than 140 leaders representing every branch of American Christianity.” Liberal and moderate branches were excluded. But, then again, I suspect that Pitts, Smith, Wolf, Franks, and Cao all believe that those who oppose the Manhattan Declaration aren’t really Christian anyway.

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

The letter from the five Republican Congressmen

Dear President Museveni:

We write to you in our capacity as Republican Executive Committee Members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. House of Representatives.

We were deeply troubled to learn of legislation being considered in the Ugandan parliament that would reportedly penalize a single act of homosexual conduct with a life sentence and a mandatory death penalty if the person is HIV-positive.

While we understand that the legislation is being amended, we still urge you to oppose it.

President Ronald Reagan famously referred to the U.S. Constitution as a “covenant we have made not only with ourselves, but with all of mankind.” In this spirit, we, as elected officials, aim to advocate for human liberty and dignity around the world.

As such, we ask that your government continue to make it clear that you are opposed to such legislation and that you do everything within your constitutional authority to stop such legislation from becoming law in Uganda.

Earlier this month, American faith leaders Charles Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries, Robert P. George of Princeton University and Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School voiced “grave concern” in a letter to Ugandan faith leaders characterizing this proposed legislation in the following way: “The harshness of these proposals is, we believe, inconsistent with a Christian spirit of love and mercy.”

As you may know these men are the primary architects of a historic document called the Manhattan Declaration, which at the time of its release on November 20, 2009, was signed by more than 140 leaders representing every branch of American Christianity. The Manhattan Declaration has been characterized as a call to “Christian Conscience.”

As Members of Congress, and as men of faith, we support the principles set forth in the Manhattan Declaration and are thankful for the principled position of these faith leaders on a host of issues, from the sanctity of life for the unborn and others, to religious freedom, to human dignity, to the belief that marriage is an institution between one man and one woman.

Furthermore, we firmly believe that people of faith have a moral obligation to be involved in the public square.

n fact, people of faith have been central to many of the great moral debates of modern times, including the abolition of the slavery and racial segregation, the call to end apartheid and discrimination, and the battle against human trafficking just to name a few.

Often times these individuals were propelled by a foundational Christian belief in the inherent dignity and worth of all men and women. We believe this legislation, if enacted, would be antithetical to that premise.

Thank you for your consideration of these concerns.


Rep. Frank Wolf
Rep. Chris Smith
Rep. Joe Pitts
Rep. Trent Franks
Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao


December 22nd, 2009

That’s my feeling too, that this is more of a face-saving measure than anything. At the same time, they may very well be clueless. I’ve spoken to so many Christians who completely fail to see any connection between their “polite” anti-gay views and actions and violence against GLBT people, how each brick supports the one on top of it, from the casual vote for a marriage amendment or “homosexuality is immoral” comment at the bottom, all the way up to killing of gay people and the Uganda bill.

The religious right has a lot to answer for, and a belated condemnation of the Uganda bill isn’t enough.

bernard pollack

December 22nd, 2009

Just as an FYI, we are going lots of blogging and video from Uganda at our website called Border Jumpers:

All our best, Bernard Pollack and Danielle Nierenberg

Tom in Lazybrook

December 22nd, 2009

Anh Cao got LOTS of Gay support in the last election. I would have voted for him too as I don’t vote for anti-Gay Democrats (and corrupt Wm Jefferson was as anti-Gay as they come).

This time, Cao will have to run against a real Democrat.

Someone should ask him to condemn the Manhattan Declaration.

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