Missionaries of Hate: Where Killing Gays Is the “Lesser of Two Evils”
May 25th, 2010
Wednesday night’s premiere of the Vanguard documentary “Missionaries of Hate” represents the most complete video record so far of the past year’s anti-gay turmoil in Uganda that began when three American Evangelical held an anti-gay conference in Kampala in March, 2009. That conference set the stage for a long, drawn-out anti-gay convulsion that rocked the nation and ultimately led to the introduction of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill into Parliament.
Reporter Mariana van Zeller interviewed most of the key players in the drama that we’ve been following closely for the past year, including the bill’s sponsor MP David Bahati, Ugandan pentecostal pastor Martin Ssempa, and many LGBT people who were most directly affected by the conference and its aftermath. But for me, the most riveting interview came near the end of the program when Mariana sat down with Scott Lively:
van Zeller: Do you then support the rest of the bill if you remove the death penalty part of it?
Lively: I would not have written the bill this way. But what it comes down to is a question of lesser of two evils. What is the lesser of two evils here? To allow the American and European gay activists to continue to do to that country what they’ve done here? Or to have a law that may be overly harsh in some regards? I think the lesser of two evils is for the bill to go through.
Maybe this explains why Lively has decided to go on the offensive, so to speak.
Lively also admits that he knew they wanted to introduce a “strengthened” anti-homosexuality bill before he conducted his anti-gay conference in Kampala alongside Exodus International board member Don Schmierer and International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Brundidge. He says however that he didn’t know what the new bill would contain. The earliest draft of the bill that we have been able to find was one dated April 20, about six weeks after the conference. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced into Parliament on October 15.
One of the producers provided me with a preview of the documentary, and apart from a very few minor quibbles I cannot recall any other report in print or video which delves so completely and thoroughly into the aftermath of the infamous March 2009 anti-gay conference. Martin Ssempa’s bombastic presence looms large in the documentary, where we learn that his much-mocked predilection for showing gay porn was far more widespread than first reported. In fact, I lost count of the number of times he brought out his trusty laptop. We also see brief interviews with MP David Bahati who introduced the bill into Parliament (He believes that God chose Uganda for this battle), and we see footage of Lou Engle’s rally earlier this month on a sports field at Makarere University.
But most importantly, we see the effects of the bill through the eyes of LGBT people living in Uganda, some of whom were outed in the newspapers, experienced death threats, were arrested by police and beaten, and driven from their homes by their neighbors. Almost all of them remember the March 5-7 conference as the key instigator of the anti-gay hysteria that swept the nation last year. Referring to the three American evangelicals who lead that conference, Julius Kaggwa asked aloud, “I wonder if they are aware of just how much damage their visit caused?”
Whether they have been aware of it up until now, this documentary will leave no doubts about their culpability from today forward.
“Missionaries of Hate” airs Wednesday on Current TV at 10:00 EST.
Update: A preview of “Missionaries of Hate” is also available on Hulu.