Scott Lively Endorses “Revised” Ugandan Bill. Do Exodus And Cohen?
January 10th, 2010
Scott Lively issued a statement dated today saying that he now supports the “revised” Anti-Homosexuality Bill. We have no idea what the revisions might be. Media reports indicate that it’s merely an elimination of the death-penalty provision, leaving the life imprisonment aspect intact, which is hardly an improvement given the prospect of spending the rest of one’s life rotting away in a Ugandan prison. Lively indicates that there is a forced conversion option, which would please him to no end. Of course, without knowing what the text of the “revised” bill might be, we have no way of verifying any of his claims which must be taken with a grain of salt.
In the lead-in to his statement, Lively says:
“I can’t say that I necessarily agree with every element of the revised bill, but I believe this revision is an acceptable compromise under the circumstances and well within the prerogative of a civilized sovereign nation”
The bill, as currently written, has the following provisions:
- It expands the definitions for homosexual acts, making conviction easier. Current law requires evidence of penetration. The new law would expand the definition of homosexual activity to”touch(ing) another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” Touching itself is defined as “touching—(a) with any part of the body; (b) with anything else; (c) through anything; and in particular includes touching amounting to penetration of any sexual organ. anus or mouth.”
- Affirms Uganda’s lifetime imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality.
- Defines a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” for those who engage in sex with someone under the age of 18, who are HIV-positive, who is a “repeat offender” (so broadly defined as to include anyone who has had a relationship with more than one person, or who had sex with the same person more than once), or who had sex with a disabled person (consensual or not). The penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is death by hanging.
- Requires anyone arrested on suspicion of homosexuality to undergo HIV testing to determine the individual’s qualification for prosecution of “aggravated homosexuality.”
- Criminalizes “attempted homosexuality” with imprisonment of seven years.
- Criminalizes “promoting” homosexuality with fines and imprisonment of between five and seven years. This overly-broad provision would criminalize all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda . It could also be used against anyone extending counseling or otherwise aiding gay people. It would also criminalize any attempt to repeal or modify the law in the future, as those moves could also be seen as “promoting” homosexuality.
- Criminalizes the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment.
- Adds a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment of up to three years.
- Labels landlords and hotel owners as proprietors of “brothels” and penalizes them with five to seven years imprisonment for renting to LGBT people.
- Adds an extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
- Voids all international treaties, agreements and human rights obligations which conflict with this bill.
Since Lively has lent his endorsement to a revised version of this bill apparently sight unseen. Assuming the death penalty is stricken and the alternative to rotting away the rest of one’s life in a dank Ugandan prison is the false “choice” of forced conversion, it is incumbent upon him to answer which of these provisions he thinks are “well within the prerogative of a civilized sovereign nation”?
Let’s face it, Scott Lively is irredeemably evil, fully earning his three spots on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-gay hate groups. But what about the others? Exodus International board member Don Schmierer and International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Lee Brundidge cast their lot with Lively when they agreed to speak on the same platform with him. They haven’t fully condemned his continuing agitation in Uganda for a bill that he calls “a step in the right direction.” And, more importantly, they haven’t condemned Scott Lively’s hate-filled vendetta itself.
In fact, when Exodus International removed their link to Lively’s online condensed version of The Pink Swastika (which blames gays for Nazism and the Holocaust), they kept the tantalizing title “Homosexuality and the Nazi Party” which a quick Internet search lands the unsuspecting searcher onto Lively’s exercise in Holocaust revisionism. As for the link, Exodus now explains, “This opinion article by Scott Lively from 1995 is no longer offered by Exodus International.” Why not? Is it because they suddenly found Lively’s article objectionably after having provided that link since at least 2005? Or is it just because the “research” is out of date or that it’s no longer hosted on LeadershipU’s web site? Nobody knows and Exodus appears satisfied with that ambiguity. As of tonight, it’s still there. International Healing Foundation’s Richard Cohen hasn’t denounced Lively either for that matter.
Since they have not unambiguously disentangled themselves from Lively himself, their reputations remain entangled in his ongoing meddling in Uganda’s legislative process. And with that entanglement, they need to answer these questions: Do they agree than any part of this bill is a step in the right direction? If so, which parts?
Now more than ever, it is incumbent on Exodus president Alan Chambers, Cohen, Brundidge and Schmierer to fully and resolutely condemn Scott Lively and the other provisions of this bill, and issue a full apology to the LGBT citizens of Uganda who are suffering from the public vigilante campaigns which their conference sparked. They need to do this now before the idea of a “revised” bill being acceptable gains any further ground. It is long past time for them to call out evil by name.
But as I said, I doubt they will. To date, none of them have shown the integrity, the guts, nor the authentic witness of the Christian faith that they claim to hold so dear. Unless they separate themselves completely, forcefully, and without reservation from this unconscionable mess, Uganda will forever be their legacy and their cowardly silence will become the indelible image of Christ seen by LGBT people the world over. And thousands of Ugandans — and many more thousands of Americans — will never forget it.