March 26th, 2010
The National Association of Social Workers of Uganda (NASWU) has issued a statement in response to the Kill Gays bill currently before the legislature.
The purpose of this statement is to ensure that Uganda and other nations in Africa and around the world develop appropriate policy responses to the issue of homosexuality. Professional ethics demand that professional bodies like NASWU provide guidance that is free of political influence; because when wrong policies are developed based on politically-based positions, it is members of the public who suffer or miss out on the good life they could have enjoyed. [emphasis in the original]
They begin with a history lesson. But sadly, there is little fact included in their statement. They rely heavily on the anti-gay pseudo-scientific group NARTH and anti-Kinsey writer Judith Reisman. Both of these sources have been criticized by the communities of science for radical historical revision, shoddy research, and analysis that begins with the conclusion and searches for confirmation.
They use this “history” to explain that homosexuality is changeable (by “professionals like clinical psychologists or religious leaders”) and has no genetic basis (as backed up by “all authoritative scientific studies”).
Then NASWU explains “how human behavior operates”:
1) “indulgence in a given behavior conditions an organism to continue exhibiting such behavior with greater intensity” and ceasing the behavior leads to “extinction”;
2) “social acceptance and legal approval” leads to “social learning”,
3) Human behavior may be influenced at the spiritual level. Human beings are composed of three main parts, namely: the body, the soul and the spirit. A human’s spirit can either be empty or inhabited by a good (or holy) or bad (or evil) spirit. These spiritual forces are capable of influencing human behavior beyond the voluntary control of the person possessed by them. This is why, in the New Testament Bible, Jesus cast out evil demonic forces from people exhibiting what psychologists would term “schizophrenia”, and the affected persons immediately recovered normal behavior patterns. Demonic activity can be violent or latent as in the case of Mary Magdalene, a woman whose work as a prostitute had demonic link, until she met Jesus. For this reason, Social Work should include the study of the spiritual dimension of life and how it may be applied to promote well-being and social functioning.
4) Human behavior can be influenced at the level of the soul. The soul consists of the “Mind”, the “Will” and the “Emotions”. When individuals understand with their mind the justification for not behaving in a certain way, that strengthens their ability to exercise their “Will” to “reign-in” their emotions, which are often difficult to control.
And before the usual litany of imaginary, exaggerated, and discredited ookie-spookie mental and physical plagues and weird sounding diseases they weigh in on “the question of human rights”. They decide that there is no “right to indulgence” and that those in the US who voted against marriage did not go far enough (they link to Yes on 8):
It is delusional and unsustainable, however, to allow the population to practice a behavior which they cannot consummate as marriage. Any restrictions on same-sex marriage must first involve restrictions on homosexual behavior itself.
Finally we come to their recommendations based on their “independent findings”.
Given the aforementioned information about homosexuality and human behavior and these developments in Uganda and internationally, we advise as follows:
- 1. NASWU rejects the view that same-sex attraction is an innate “orientation”, rather, it is part of a range of feelings individuals ought to learn to bring under control as they mature;
- 2. There is justification for Uganda to put in place appropriate legislation to comprehensively prohibit homosexuality;
- 3. The Anti-homosexuality Bill has drafting errors in the way some offences and penalties are conceived, that should be corrected before its passage;
- 4. The clause requiring mandatory reporting of all known homosexual offences should be amended to exempt disclosure made in counseling situations, in organizations licensed to offer same-sex counseling services, to encourage those experiencing same-sex attractions to seek professional help on behavior management. To be licensed, such counseling organizations must sign an undertaking not to dispense pro-homosexual advice to their clients.
- 5. The Parliament of Uganda is acclaimed worldwide for writing some of the best laws in the world. The Anti-homosexuality Bill will go through the established scrutiny that all bills undergo before they become law. As in previous instances, an appropriate law will emerge from this process that even other countries may want to emulate. Members of the public as well as Social Workers should express their views to the concerned committee in Parliament to ensure that their views inform the law-making process.
It appears that while NASWU seeks to remove provisions for mandatory reporting and included provisions for forced therapy, it has no problem with death sentences or life-time imprisonment. In fact, they call for comprehensive prohibition along with a de-licensing of anyone who disagrees with their political agenda.
There is little doubt that this statement will discredit NASWU in the eyes of the international social worker community. Few western social work organizations will see this as other than ignorance, superstition, and a totalitarian instinct to stifle dissent.
And such proclamations not only reflect poorly on NASWU, but they harm the greater population of the nation and the continent. Such endorsement of exorcisms and the rejection of legitimate science seems intuitively out of place in a modern world and will lead to further dismissal of the Ugandan people – and all Africans – as backwards, third World, and intellectually inferior.
But this statement does add confirmation to those of us who see the current anti-gay upsurge in Uganda to be related to anti-gay advocacy imported from America. Throughout the lengthy piece runs two contradictory themes: the moral superiority of Ugandans, and the complete reliance on American sources, American beliefs, and American actions.
While homophobia is undoubtedly deeply rooted in Ugandan culture, they seem to be seeking American permission and confirmation for these attitudes, exactly the sort of permission and confirmation that was provided by the anti-gay conference in March 2009 attended by American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Brundidge, and Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer.
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