December 18th, 2012
Southern Baptist pastor David Dykes, who spoke on Uganda’s largest independent television station and denounced the U.S. State Department’s attempts to persuade Uganda from passing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, is now telling a local television station in Texas that he he doesn’t support the bill, but is angry the U.S. is getting involved. He told Tyler, Texas’s KYTX television:
“I’ve never read the bill. I don’t know what the bill says. My whole point was that I think it’s not right for our government to put pressure on any government about their moral decisions,” Dykes said.
This is about as disingenuous as it gets. I feel pretty confident that if Uganda was making a moral decision about rounding up Christians to throw them in jail for the rest of their lives, Dykes would be singing a very different tune.
Dykes claims not to know anything about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is pretty incredible to say the least. We’ve been following the situation in Uganda now for almost four years, three of them since the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was first introduced into Parliament. (Our coverage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill begins here.) In order to follow events there, I have automated Google alerts set up which sends me virtually every news story there is about Uganda and Homosexuality. I can assure you that for news items originating both outside and inside of Uganda, there is virtually never a mention of homosexuality without also a description of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill for foreign readers or a mention of it in domestic reports (Ugandans know very well the bill’s major provisions). Consequently it has become impossible to talk about homosexuality inside of Uganda without reference to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. It has been the singular point of reference with which all discussion about homosexuality takes place in Uganda for the past three years.
This is important, and I can’t emphasise it enough: Every statement, every discussion, every op-ed and news item about homosexuailty in Uganda is written with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill both as a point of reference and as a backdrop to whatever else may be happening with regard to homosexuality.
For Dykes to now say that he knew nothing about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is simply beyond belief. This isn’t just some aw-shucks preacher from Texas. He has made missionary work one of the pillars of his church. He was recongized by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2008 for raising nearly $13 million for foreign missions, and his church sponsors at least one missionary group which has its particular focus on Uganda. For him to say, after all of the debate about the so-called “kill the gays” bill, that he never heard of it and knows nothing about it, is simply staggering.
But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Dykes has never read a newspaper article about Uganda, has never seen a television report about Uganda, and has never heard anyone else mention the debate that has taken place in Uganda for the past three years. And let’s say, for the sake of argument, that he has recently awoken from a three year slumber to discover that he is now at a major pastor’s conference in Uganda and the number one subject touching on homosexuality somehow never came up — despite the incredible coverage the Anti-Homosexuality Bil had had there for three years running. And let’s say for the sake of argument that when he woke up, he just happened to be standing in front of a television crew from Uganda’s largest independent network and he said, apropos of nothing…
I’m extremely upset that our state department is putting pressure on Uganda to recognize homosexual behavior. And I’m praying that Uganda will say, “We don’t want your money, America. It is blood money. It is sin money.” I hope that you will continue to stand strong on what the Bible defines as the definition of a real marriage.
…which just happens to be several of many standard lines given by Ugandan pastors who want the Anti-Homosexuality Bill passed. (By the way, Clause 12 doesn’t just outlaw same-sex marriage, it throws everyone in jail for being in one or witnessing one or conducting one.)
Let’s just put aside all disbelief for the sake of argument and pretend that all of that is true.
Well, if Dykes doesn’t believe that gay people should be hanged, if he doesn’t believe that gay people should be thrown in jail for the rest of their lives, if he doesn’t believe that their families should be jailed because they didn’t report their loved ones to police, then he has a responsibility to say so.
And not to a TV station in Tyler, Texas. To Ugandans. Over there.
Because I bet not many Ugandans get CBS19 on basic cable. And right now, they think he supports killing gay people. Not only that, but they heard him say that American Christians will ride to their rescue if they pass the bill and lose their aid. And I will believe that too until I see him taking serious steps to tell them otherwise. Because we’ve seen this kind of double-talking behavior before. The only way for this to not be another example of double-speak is for Dykes to speak clearly and loudly with just one voice.
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