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Las Vegas Church Which Supports Ugandan “Kill-The-Gays” Pastor Wants To Test You for HIV

Jim Burroway

June 22nd, 2010

 

Top: Canyon Ridge Community Church in Las Vegas wants to test you for HIV. Bottom: Canyon Ridge's "dearly beloved family and friend" wants to kill you for being HIV-positive.

A Las Vegas church wants to test you for HIV. That church’s strategic partner and “dearly beloved friend and family” wants to put you to death if you are HIV-positive.

Canyon Ridge Christian Church, which lists Uganda pastor Martin “Eat Da Poo Poo” Ssempa as an international “strategic partner,” will host for National HIV Testing Day on June 27, 2010. According to a notice on the church’s web site:

Because of Canyon Ridge Christian Church’s commitment to “be a show of compassion” to our community and an instrumental force in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, we will be offering FREE HIV testing from 10 AM – 4 PM provided by the Southern Nevada Health District (fingerprick test with results in 15 minutes).

That compassion to the community also apparently extends to providing continued support for on of Africa’s most virulently homophobic pastors. Canyon Ridge has defended their partnership with Ssempa despite his avid support for Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which adds the death sentence for LGBT people under certain circumstances. Ironically, one of those circumstances which call for the death penalty is simply being HIV-positive. Here is the bill’s text for that section:

3. Aggravated homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the

…(b) offender is a person living with HIV; …

(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.

It doesn’t end there. The bill also mandates that those who are accused of homosexuality be tested for HIV, presumably to determine their eligibility for the death penalty:

(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 bill would also criminalize employers, family members and medical professionals who fail to report LBBT people to the police within 24 hours. The bill would further jeopardize HIV/AIDS prevention efforts by imposing criminal penalties on anyone who “aids and abets” homosexuality or provides accurate information on safe sex practices for the prevention if HIV infection.

That Canyon Ridge — or indeed any American Church — would continue to defend its association with Ssempa is, frankly unimaginable. But that is precisely the case here. In a post to Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton, Canyon Ridge pastor Mitch Harrison not only refused to disassociate from Ssempa, he said that Ssempa was among his “dearly beloved friends and family.”

This dearly beloved friend has been the public face for the “Kill-The-Gays” movement in Uganda. He eagerly embraced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill since its inception. Ssempa has been the instigator behind several forced outing campaigns, and he has hurled accusations of homosexuality toward rival pastors in an attempt to improve his own standing. Since the draconian bill’s introduction in Parliament last fall, Ssempa responded to international criticism by blatantly lying about the bill’s contents on several occasions. Those same distortions have been picked up by several leading American backers of the bill as well. More recently, Ssempa has resorted to showing hard-core graphic pornography in churches and press conferences in order to stir up hatred and revulsion toward gay people.

And Canyon Ridge is providing material support for all of this activity, while simultaneously generating positive press in Las Vegas for their “outreach” to the gay community. It’s time for the LGBT community in Las Vegas to make their presence known.

[Hat tip: Warren Throckmorton]

Update: Change.org has a petition urging the Southern Nevada Health District to demand that Canyon Ridge condemn Ssempa’s work in Uganda. The form automatically sends an email directly to the Southern Nevada Health District. You can sign the petition using the widget below:

Petitions by Change.org|Start a Petition »

Comments

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Tone
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

It’s irresponsible, verging on malpractice, to test people for HIV without having competent pre and post counseling available. I hope that Southern Nevada Health District insists on some pre-test counseling, and that they have their own people do it rather than the faithful. My guess is that any “counseling” the church provides will be heavily-laced with dogma and guilt.

I wonder if anonymous testing will be permitted? If not then anyone who goes for a test there is either crazy or woefully naive.

Regan DuCasse
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I wouldn’t go near a place like that for an HIV test. A doctor or clinic can do it for free.

My concern is that Canyon Ridge wouldn’t respect medical confidentiality. If the Ugandan government uses infection as a means of punishing someone, then their testing is as a means of investigation and identification of the infected.

Canyon Ridge’s unspoken agenda could well be to identify someone with HIV, or using this as a lure to see who is or isn’t gay.

In the same ways segregationists used the ‘one drop rule’ to determine that someone was black, I see little difference in this strategy to identify a gay person.

Todd
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Thanks for this excellent information, which will be shared all OVER Facebook.

Timothy Kincaid
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I doubt that they will be in charge of the records, the counseling, or the actual testing. Rather, I suspect that CRCC is acting as a host location, much in the same way that a church might host a voter polling place or a community event.

This would be admirable of them, were it not for the bizarre and unjustifiable juxtaposition of their support for Ssempa.

They truly need to decide whether they wish to reach out a helping hand of concern to their neighbors or if they wish to support Ssempa’s campaign of lies, villification, and death. Because the combined message comes off a bit like “come get tested so we can kill you”.

F Young
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

“Ironically, one of those circumstances which call for the death penalty is simply being HIV-positive. Here is the bill’s text for that section:

3. Aggravated homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the

…(b) offender is a person living with HIV; …”

I’m not defending the “Kill the Gays” Bill, which was designed to kill all practicing homosexuals, or imprison them for life (which is effectively the same thing in Uganda), but for accuracy it should be noted that this is an excerpt of the September 2009 version of the Bill, before the death penalty was reportedly removed.

In any case, it is not correct to say that the Bill called for the death penalty for simply “being HIV-positive.” The death penalty for people who are HIV-positive only applied if they had oral or anal sex with a person of the same sex, or attempted to do so. However, this included consensual sex with a condom or dildo, even when both partners were aware, or both were unaware, of the HIV-positive status.

There are suggestions that the revised bill includes mandatory sexual conversion treatment.

Timothy Kincaid
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

F Young,

The death penalty may have been “reported” to have been removed, but this is the bill that is currently before the legislature. To the best of our knowledge, the bill has NOT been revised.

You are also incorrect about a requirement for oral or anal sex. Touching is enough. Please read the bill; it is at the link we provided.

Warren Throckmorton
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

F Young – Where did you read a report that the death penalty was removed? The bill is unamended at present and is in committee. It may not ever be acted on but your report is incorrect.

Burr
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I doubt that they will be in charge of the records, the counseling, or the actual testing. Rather, I suspect that CRCC is acting as a host location, much in the same way that a church might host a voter polling place or a community event.

Yeah. If they did anything more they’d be treading into a labyrinth of regulation and probably end up in deep doodoo.

F Young
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

@Timothy Kincaid

“You are also incorrect about a requirement for oral or anal sex. Touching is enough. Please read the bill; it is at the link we provided.”

In the Bill, touching is listed directly as an offence only if it is “for the purpose of committing an act of homosexuality” [2(1)(e)].

I assumed that “act of homosexuality” referred to “offense of homosexuality” [i.e. 2(1)(a) & (b)], which directly includes only oral or anal sex or stimulation with an object or sexual contraption.

However, given the broad preamble and objectives of the bill, you are probably right that “act of homosexality” refers instead to the definition of “homosexuality”, which in turn includes “sexual act”, which in turn includes various types of touching, e.g. mutual masturbation, that are not limited to anal or oral sex or sexual contraptions.

F Young
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

@ Timothy Kincaid & Warren Throckmorton

“Where did you read a report that the death penalty was removed? The bill is unamended at present and is in committee. It may not ever be acted on but your report is incorrect.”

I stand corrected.

I couldn’t find any version of the bill at the Parliamentary website, but there were various online articles that indicated that the death penalty had been dropped:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aU6JnNOFJv64
http://www.defendthefamily.com/pfrc/newsarchives.php?id=4331082
http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/904074/-/wxxm1x/-/index.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/world/africa/09uganda.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8693560.stm

However, having looked into it some more, it now looks to me like the death penalty might not be removed, but the entire bill might be defeated, withdrawn or otherwise die, with some of its sections being included in other bills, e.g. an amendment to the Penal Code.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/world/africa/09uganda.html
http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/914088/-/wyk5y9/-/
http://wthrockmorton.com/2010/05/17/ahbstatus/

An example might be a bill that was later introduced to penalize the deliberate spread of HIV/AIDS (this was one of the misleading rationales given for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill).
http://www.ugpulse.com/articles/daily/news.asp?about=HIV%2FAIDS+bill+tabled+in+Parliament+&ID=14530

Jim Burroway
June 22nd, 2010 | LINK

F Young,

Stick around with BTB. We have been following this story since it all began in February 2009. You can catch up with this compendium here and by following this tag.

By the way, we were WAY ahead of the BBC and New York Times on this. We were the first to report on the anti-gay conference that set the stage for the bill, we were among the very few who bothered to report on the aftermath of that conference, and we were among the first to describe the contents of the bill itself. And it was BTB (along with Ex-Gay Watch) who obtained the video of that conference that has appeared on ABC News, Rachel Maddow, Current TV, and other news outlets. Warren, too, has been way ahead of everyone with his exclusive interviews with American evangelicals with ties to Uganda, for example. Collectively, we have followed every twist and turn this bill has undergone.

And as for including a link to defendthefamily.com as one of your sources, you should know that that web site is run by Scott Lively, who is largely responsible for creating the conditions that led to the introduction of the bill in Parliament. To see what his talk in Uganda was like, click here.

Oh, you have so much to learn, grasshopper ;-)

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