Ugandan Pastor Issues Video Response To Rick Warren
December 31st, 2009
Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa issued a video response to Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren’s vigorous condemnation of the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. And boy is Ssempa upset with Warren. It took Warren just six and a half minute to concisely and clearly condemn the bill as “unjust, extreme and un-Christian.” It took Ssempa two videos and nearly eighteen minutes to respond.
In the first video posted to YouTube on December 28, Ssempa continues to misrepresent what the text of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would provide.
In this segment, Ssempa discusses one of the misconceptions about AIDS that some hold in Africa, where some people believe that having sex with a virgin will cure someone of HIV/AIDS. Ssempa then argues that the crime of “aggravated homosexuality” is an absolute necessity in order to criminalize raping of children, which Ssempa incredibly claims is not against the law in Uganda.
The problem with that, of course, is there is no such gaping loophole in Ugandan law. Here’s Section 129(3) and (4) of the Penal Code, as amended in 2007 (Act No. 8 of 2007):
Any person who performs a sexual act with another person who is below the age of eighteen years in any of the circumstances specified in subsection (4) commits a felony called aggravated defilement and is, on conviction by the High Court, liable to suffer death.
The circumstances referred to in subsection (3) are as follows-
(a) where the person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of fourteen years;
(b) where the offender is infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV);
(c) Where the offender is a parent or guardian of or a person in authority over, the person against whom the offence is committed;
(d) where the victim of the offence is a person with a disability; or,
(e) where the offender is a serial offender.
In other words, Ugandan law already covers what is commonly called “defilement” in a very gender-neutral way. What’s more, Ssempa’s contention that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is intended only to cover “defilement” is blatantly false. Again, we go to the text of the bill for its definition of “aggravated homosexuality:”
3. Aggravated homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the
(a) person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of 18 years;
(b) offender is a person living with HIV;
(c) offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed;
(d) offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed;
(e) victim of the offence is a person with disability;
(f) offender is a serial offender, or
(g) offender applies, administers or causes to be used by any man or woman any drug, matter or thing with intent to stupefy overpower him or her so as to there by enable any person to have unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex,
(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.
(3) Where a person is charged with the offence under this section, that person shall undergo a medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.
The text is very plain. The bill goes beyond criminalizing sex with underage minors — which Ugandan law already does. It penalizes any gay person who is HIV-positive with death by hanging, the method of legal execution in Uganda, whether that person had sex with a minor or a consenting adult.
Part 2 continues with Ssempa’s misrepresentation of “aggravated homosexuality.”
Both parts of this video response taken together follow roughly the letter that Ssempa sent to Warren demanding that Warren apologize for his condemnation of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. He repeats that demand in the second part of his video.