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Posts for March, 2009

Scott Lively: The Gay Agenda Is “To Turn The Whole World Gay”

Jim Burroway

March 10th, 2009

Kasha Jacqueline has reported some more statements made by Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively at the anti-gay conference held in Uganda last weekend. That conference featured three anti-gay American activists, including Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge, of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation.

This lastest post by Kasha at the IGLHRC web site focuses mainly on a question-and-answer session with Lively. It’s unclear to me whether this is a literal transcript or a highly detailed paraphrasing. I’ve watched Lively speak at length during multiple sessions at two other conferences. If this isn’t a transcript, then Kasha certainly did a great job at capturing Lively’s tone, manner and cadence.

On the gay movement’s tactics in Uganda and elsewhere:

They gay movement is very evil and we must stop it immediately.

You have a gay movement in Uganda that is operating at a high level, which you must bear in mind. This gay movement around the world has a handbook that they use and that is what the Ugandan gay movement is using now. You must be ready to stop this gay agenda. And don’t think that fighting the gay movement is the solution—you will be fighting a losing battle because this movement has come to stop humanity. They have a clear vision, mission and strategies. The only way to defeat them is to compete with them. Their movement is 70 years old and that’s why they don’t care about you. They know you will die soon and they will replace you and take over the nation. They have decided to recruit the youth.

You have a lot of work to do. Homosexuality is immoral and we cannot sit back and see immorality controlling nations. Homosexuality is equivalent to paedophilia in many ways. Homosexuals cannot control their sexual desires and behaviors. If all of us acted upon our desires and feelings then where would the world be? Families would break up because of adultery. People would continue to molest children, etc.

Again, Lively reinforces the charge that gays molest children as a tactic for recruitment. This, despite the evidence from experts in the field of child sexual abuse who say that gay people do not molest children at rates any different from straight people.

On the LGBT movement’s ultimate goals:

“But again why is it so important for us to stop people from becoming gay?”—a participant asked. It’s very important because the homosexual agenda is to turn the whole world gay.

Lively was asked about the World Health Organization’s scrapping of homosexuality as a mental illness. Again, he sees conspiracy:

Gay people have penetrated all international bodies to their advantage; they are the ones in all important places/positions because of their political agenda. Editors of national newspapers, TV chiefs… Remember I told you they have a very clear vision, mission and strategies, said Lively.

And finally, we cannot leave unnoticed the  veiled threat which levied against gay observers at the conference by an unnamed “facilitator”:

“They are homosexuals among us updating their networks about what we are discussing. What should we do about that?”—an angry participant asked. If they are homosexuals here, feel at home, responded a facilitator. We are not against you. We love you. But if you have been planning to get us, we are planning to get you back.

It is unclear what the facilitator would consider constituting “planning to get us,” but the response of “we are planning to get you back” must be taken seriously in a country where LGBT advocates have been forced into hiding or made to flee the country. Police sweeps, public vigilantism and extrajudicial torture and deaths were common during recent anti-gay pogroms heralded by Ugandan media with close ties to the government. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and conviction can garner a life sentence.

This conference, which featured Exodus board member Don Schmierer during its first two days, has recommended an added penalty for gays and lesbians of mandatory ex-gay therapy.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Ugandan Gay Asylum Seeker Back In UK

Jim Burroway

March 9th, 2009
John Bosco Nyombi

John Bosco Nyombi

In 2001, John Bosco Nyombi, a gay Ugandan, had sought asylum in the UK based on fears for his safety back in his homeland. But last September, Britain’s Border Agency forcibly repatriated Nyombi back to Uganda, in violation of Mr. Nyombi’s due process rights and against official Home Office policy and procedures. A British judged responded by ordering the Home Office to return Nyombi back to Britain. Nyombi arrived on March 6. According to Gays Without Borders:

He fled to the UK from Uganda where homosexuality is illegal and carries a punishment of life in prison.

His case has attracted publicity in Uganda. Mr Bosco said in a statement seen by the court that, on his return to his homeland, his circumstances had become “quite desperate”. He had been beaten up during a period in detention and he had now gone into hiding to avoid being interviewed by the police about his homosexuality.

The judge said the evidence before him made it perfectly plain that Mr Bosco had come to the notice of the authorities, and this had added to the risk of his human rights being breached by reason of his homosexuality.

Mr. Nyombi’s March 6 return to Britain coincides with an anti-gay conference led by Exodus International board member Don Schmierer and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, which was in its second day in Kampala, Uganda. On that very same day, conference leaders announced a new recommendation that Uganda’s already draconain law against homosexuality be strengthened to force convicted gays and lesbians into sexual reorientation therapy.

EU Group Condemns Ugandan Conference

Jim Burroway

March 9th, 2009

A European Parliament intergroup has issued a press release condemning the Ugandan anti-gay conference, and called out the three Americans by name:

European Parliament’s Intergroup condemns Ugandan parliamentarians for meeting anti-human rights militants.
European Parliament’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights strongly condemns the meeting of 5 March between several Ugandan parliamentarians and Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Stephen Langa of the USA and Uganda-based groups working to diminish human rights of LGBT persons.

“It is very sad that representatives of Ugandan parliament who should work for the rights of every Ugandan citizen, gravely discredit themselves by meeting people who work to spread hate and diminish rights of other human beings”, said Michael Cashman, President of the Intergroup. “It would never be acceptable for any member of the European Parliament to meet for example representatives of Ku Klux Klan thus I do not understand the rational of those Ugandan parliamentarians who agreed to the meeting with anti-gay militants.”

Raúl Romeva, Vice-President of the Intergroup for the GREENS/EFA added, “If these Ugandan parliamentarians are serious about respecting the constitution of their country and in particular Chapter 4 on Protection and promotion of fundamental and other human rights and freedoms, they should instead be working towards abolishing those discriminatory laws of Uganda which still deny full human rights to gay and lesbian citizens.”

Don Schmierer is a board member of Exodus International. This is the first time that I’m aware of that an activity by an Exodus board member has earned the condemnation of an official governmental committee. Today marks the tenth day since we made Exodus president Alan Chambers aware of the actions of a board member. We still hear nothing but silence from Exodus.

[Hat tip: Andy at UK Gay News]

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Uganda Anti-Gay Conference: Day Three — Gays Blamed For Rwandan Genocide & Pedophilia; More Exodus Ties To Holocaust Revisionism

Jim Burroway

March 8th, 2009

Extensive Updates (March 9): Those who read this post yesterday are urged to read it again today. We have more details about Lively’s comments at the conference, namely his claim which equate homosexuality with pedophilia, as well as conference leaders’ views on Ugandan law which currently provides for a life sentence on conviction of homosexual acts.  Those details have been added below.

According to anonymous blogger GayUganda — as we said, Ugandan gay bloggers need to remain anonymous for their own safety — American Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively provided the much-anticipated red meat on day three of the anti-gay conference taking place in Kampala.

On Saturday, Lively repeated his discredited historical revisionist theory in which he claims that the cornerstone of  Germany’s Nazi lies firmly in the gay movement, and that the gay movement today, if left unchecked, will result in a similarly murderous fascism wherever it goes. In Kampala, he went further by expanding his examples of what he calls homosexuals’ murderous impulse by blaming the 1994 Rwanda genocide on gay men.

Lively is one of three Americans speaking at that conference, along with Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and a relative unknown Caleb Lee Brundidge, of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation. Brudidge is also a member of Phoenix-based Extreme Prophetic ministries, where he goes around to area mortuaries trying to raise the dead. On the second day of the conference, leaders called for a new Ugandan law mandating ex-gay therapy for convicted gay men and women, in  addition to the current maximum life sentence upon conviction of of homosexuality.

Scott Lively’s Pink Swastika
To understand Lively’s demented assertions, it’s important to read his book, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, In it, he contends that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” A brief outline of his book is presented on the LeadershipU web site. His book is also available for free online in its entirety, and it was also offered for sale at the Uganda conference, with Lively referring to it throughout his talk.

The essence of Lively’s thesis is this: The Nazi party’s idealized view of masculinity was a significant draw to “butch” homosexuals. He cites as his principle evidence the rumored homosexuality of Ernst Roehm, the leader of the early Nazi paramilitary group known as the Brownshirts. Lively claims the Brownshirts trace their origins to the Wandervogel youth movements, which he says was “dominated and controlled by the pederasts… and its leadership was rife with homosexuality.” Lively also claims that Adolph Hitler was probably gay and a homosexual prostitute while in Vienna (the unsubstantiated phrases like “probably homosexual,” “almost certainly homosexual”, “may well have been homosexual,” and “it is assumed” pop up with astonishing regularity in his book) — while elsewhere say Lively concludes that Hitler was “probably not” gay. But in either case, he concluded that Hitler “knowingly and intentionally surrounded himself with practicing homosexuals from his youth.”

Lively adds that “There is no question that homosexuality figures prominently in the history of the Holocaust,” saying that German gays were eager to target Jews for extinction because of Judaism’s traditional prohibition against homosexuality. He doesn’t explain why Christianity’s traditional prohibition against homosexuality — which held a far greater moral influence throughout Europe — was ignored.

As for the estimated 15,000 gay men who were sent to concentration camps under Germany’s notorious Paragraph 175, Lively contends that the Nazis almost never used the law against actual gay men (the law was silent on lesbians), claiming that most of those who were convicted weren’t gay, but political enemies. Or if they were gay, then it was because they were effeminate. He writes, “There is evidence to suggest that only the effeminate homosexuals were mistreated under the Nazi regime — and usually at the hands of masculine homosexuals.” In fact, Lively is very fascinated by what he considers “the enduring Butch/Femme conflict among German homosexuals.”

The very few historians who have bothered to take his book seriously have dismissed it out of hand. They point out that most of Lively’s source material comes from Nazi political opponents, and that it was a common practice in Germany’s political culture to charge that one’s political opponents were overrun by homosexuals. Before coming to power, Nazis themselves used this tactics against the Wiemar Republic as well as against their Bolshevik and Socialist opponents. And they weren’t alone. Social Democrats, Conservatives, Bolsheviks, Socialists, Liberals and Centrists all used the same charges against the Nazis, as well as against each other, often with little or no reality behind the charges.

Lively however used only one set of those charges — those against the Nazis — and ignored the political context to maintain that the Nazis were overrun with homosexuals, specifically “Butch” gay men. He only raises the specter of “baseless charges” when discussing the evidence that the Nazis themselves persecuted gays throughout their reign of terror.

Lively’s book also goes beyond Nazi Germany, claiming that Nazis’ murderous tendencies wasn’t an aberration of homosexuals’ power, but a natural consequence of it. “From the ashes of Nazi Germany,” he writes, “the homo-fascist Phoenix has arisen again — this time in the United States.” He claims that “eight of the top ten serial killers in the United States were homosexual, and that homosexuals were responsible for 68% of all mass murders.”

Macho Gay Men and the Rwandan Genocide
Lively has a way of throwing red meat to the crowd wherever he speaks. When he spoke in Novosibirsk, Russia in 2007, Lively excused the murder of Satendar Singh in Sacramento, a 19-year-old gay Fiji man who was murdered by Russian immigrants. The Russian audience broke into cheers and applause as Lively described Singh’s murder.

At his talk in Uganda, Lively added a new twist, blaming the 1994 Rwanda genocide on gay men.The anonymous blogger GayUganda attended the conference and listened in horror:

He [Lively] is a Conspiration Theorist. A person who forms a theory on causation, and then goes ahead to wrap all perception of his world around that theory. His theory explains all perceptions. Whether it is the gay agenda wrapped in the Nazi supremacy, or the macho gay men who caused the Rwanda Genocide. Anything that seems to question his theory is attacked, dismissed, irrelevant. And, if you dont believe him, you are of a reprobate mind, or you are a closet homosexual following the Homosexual agenda.

No. I am not joking. (I wish I was)

Gays and Pedophilia
The Rwandan Genocide wasn’t the only red meat that Lively threw out at the conference. A blogger with the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) reports:

The gay movement has capitalized on teenagers with same-sex attraction, sending messages urging them to act on their impulses. Teenagers indulge in sex and then they get hooked.

Equating homosexuality with pedophilia, Lively argued that there is a whole network trying to keep young people in the movement, including “predatory homosexuals who are always out to satisfy their sexual desires.”

This is very much in line with the charges that local Ugandan anti-gay extremists have made during previous acts of anti-gay vigilantism, when private LGBT Ugandan citizens were identified in the media with calls for their arrest or worse. When people like Scott Lively make claims like this, it goes straight to the worst fears that uninformed people have about gay people, despite the fact that social-science research clearly demonstrates gays are no more likely to molest children than straights.

But this slander has been effective in Uganda, forming one principle foundation for much of the public anti-gay vigilantism that Uganda has witnessed over the past several years. Stephen Langa, of Kampala-based Family Life Network and organizer of the conference, was quoted as far back as 2004 as saying:

FLN has also found out that homosexuality and lesbianism are spreading like wild fire in schools,” Langa said.  “There is rape inside schools and sex among students themselves. We have also found incest and cases of teachers molesting children and a lot of abortions,” he added.  Much of the promiscuity is germinating from viewing pornography in the media and the Internet and blue movies.  “If nothing is done to address the present state of affairs, the present generation of parents will find themselves having to bury their children instead of their children burying them,” Langa stressed.

Conference leaders and Ugandan Law
Lively was asked about the current state of Ugandan law, which provides for a life sentence for homosexuality. Lively reportedly approved of the existing law, and endorsed adding a provision mandating forcing convicted gay men and women into ex-gay therapy. Conference speakers had called for such a law on the second day of the conference.

According to another report, Lively made the utterly unsupported claim that until “the gays took over the clinics” there were very effective treatments for homosexuality. In fact, there has never been any independent evidence based on long-term followup reviews to suggest that attempts to change sexual orientation have ever been “very effective,” or even anything more than minimally so.

Another report had this comment on the conference participants view of Ugandan law:

At the end of the day, all the international presenters at the seminar commended Ugandans for taking a strong stand against homosexuality through their constitution, which criminalizes homosexuality, as well as through efforts like conferences that encourage parents and concerned citizens to come up with strategies against homosexuality.

Adding more fuel to the fire, GayUganda had earlier noticed that this apparent press release was posted on The Earth Times:

Kampala Anti-gay activists in Uganda Saturday formed a pressure group to discourage homosexuality, following a two-day conference of religious leaders, teachers and social workers in the capital Kampala.

The group, to be called the Anti-Gay Task Force, is intended to “fight against the spread of homosexuality and lesbianism in the country,” spokesman for the group Stephen Langa told reporters. Same sex-relationships and marriages are illegal in Uganda, and human rights groups have criticized the government for harassing homosexuals.

The task-force said that it would one day “wipe out” gay practices in the African state.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

The task force to “‘wipe out’ gay practices” was discussed again at the conference on Saturday, and conference organizers have called for a followup meeting in Kampala on March 15.

The threat to “‘wipe out’ gay practices” is not an idle threat in a nation that provides a life sentence for those convicted of homosexuality. Further, Uganda witnessed at least three separate campaigns of government sanctioned and media-led vigilantism between 2005 and 2007. The last spate of violence was sparked by a press conference of LGBT leaders calling on the nation to simply allow gays and lesbians to live in peace. The LGBT leaders at that press conference wore face masks out of fear of being identified.

This conference poses a very dangerous development in a country with such a volatile history in how it treats gays and lesbians.

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer, a speaker at the conference in Kampala

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer, one of three American speakers at the Kampala conference.

Exodus International’s Links To Scott Lively
This is the volatile environment that Exodus Board member Don Schmierer decided to join. Schmierer, who spoke during the first two days of the conference, is arguably most qualified person at the conference to speak on the ethics of forced conversions and criminalization of homosexuality. Media reports in Uganda and elsewhere have consistently identified him as being a member of Exodus’ board, and so when he speaks and acts, it is seen as being on behalf of Exodus International.

Schmierer’s participation at that conference, absent any other statement from Exodus’ board and leadership, appears to constitute at least an implicit endorsement of that policy, if not overt endorsement. It has been nine days since we contacted Exodus International President Alan Chambers to ask for a statement on Schmierer’s participation. We know Alan Chambers received our email because two days later he replied with a very brief and insubstantial off-the-record email. He has yet to offer any explanation for Schmierer’s actions or Exodus policy on the record.

Schmierer isn’t the only link between Exodus International and Scott Lively. In fact, there’s a literal one right there on Exodus’ web site. Exodus International maintains an extensive library of online articles. In the Exodus library, under the topic of “society”, the Exodus web page maintains a link to Scott Lively’s LeadershipU post based on “The Pink Swastika.” The link from Exodus contains this blurb:

Homosexuality and the Nazi Party
The pink triangle, symbol of the “gay rights” movement, is familiar to many Americans. As the badge used by the Nazis to designate homosexuals in the concentration camps, the pink triangle perfectly expresses the message of “gay rights.”

Exodus website featuring Scott Lively's article, "Homosexuality and the Nazi Party" (excerpt highlighted, click to enlarge)

Exodus website featuring link to Scott Lively’s article “Homosexuality and the Nazi Party” (Article and blurb highlighted. Click to enlarge.)

With such a direct link to Lively’s article on the Exodus International web site, Exodus gives its endorsement to Lively’s discredited historical theories. That approval is strengthened with the Exodus board member’s participation alongside Lively in Uganda, as they call for forced conversions and blame the Rwandan massacre on gay men. This is particularly dangerous in an environment where gays and lesbians have been hunted, tortured, and forced into hiding during several spates of officially-sanctioned and media-led vigilantism — the very same dynamics, ironically, which led to the Rwandan genocide.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Uganda Anti-Gay Conference: Day Two

Jim Burroway

March 6th, 2009
Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

The Uganda anti-gay conference continues for a second day, with no further explanation on conference leaders’ endorsement of a parliamentarian proposal to upgrade Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law to include forced “therapy” on those who are convicted. Ugandan law already provides for a life sentence on conviction.

Exodus board member Don Schmierer has been a highly visible speaker at that conference. We contacted Exodus International President Alan Chambers expressing our concerns and seeking his comment a week ago, but his response was off the record and noncommittal. With Schmierer speaking at that conference for a second day — and as all accounts of that conference repeatedly identify him as an Exodus International board member — we eagerly await an official policy pronouncement from Exodus International on whether they support criminalization of homosexuality and the forced “conversions” of convicted gays and lesbians.

The blog of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) continues its coverage of the Uganda conference. Schmierer was again the featured speaker for the morning session. Kasha Jacqueline was there, and relayed her observations to IGLHRC blogger Victor Mukasa:

The facilitators for the first half of the day were still members of the Ugandan organization Family Life Network, together with Don Schmierer, a member of the board of the American “ex-gay” organization, Exodus International.

The workshop started with a recap of the first day of the conference. Participants were asked to share what they had learned or what captured their attention. Kasha Jacqueline told me that the first participant had nothing else to say except, “Homosexuals are sick and dangerous.” In response, she raised her hand and asked, “What disease was discovered yesterday that you claim they are suffering from?”

After someone claimed that homosexuality is unnatural, Kasha asked, “Who decides what is natural?” Schmierer responded directly to the second question saying that his role at the workshop involves teaching about family values; other facilitators would answer questions about homosexuality being unnatural later in the conference. For the rest of the morning, Schmierer continued with his teachings on family values and how to manage children in the family.

I would presume that when Schmierer pointed to “other facilitators [who] would answer questions about homosexuality being unnatural,” he’s referring to Scott Lively, a co-founder of virulent anti-gay extremist group Watchmen On the Walls and author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party,in which he writes that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” At a Watchmen conference in Riga, Latvia in 2007, Lively claimed that gays were evil “followers of the Father of Lies.” He further described gays as being “sick,” claiming that gays don’t really want to be gay but are trapped in the grip of a militant homosexual leadership. Earlier that year, Lively excused the anti-gay hate crime murder of Satendar Singh before an audience in Novosibirsk, Russia.

The IGHRC notes that a film was shown just before lunch featuring American ex-gays:

A film was shown during the session before lunch featuring “ex-gay” Americans testifying about how they were “cured” of homosexuality. All described abuse and violence in their families during childhood and poor relationships with one of their parents. All were “born again Christians” who had “healed” from homosexuality.

Participants were shocked to hear such testimonies for the first time. They asked questions like, “How long does it take for one to heal from homosexuality?” and “Does it hurt?” One of the “ex-homosexuals” on the film testified that he had a poor relationship with his father. This led him to wanting to be with men looking for a father’s love. After the film one participant asked, “If he was looking for a father’s love from men, how did those relationships turn sexual? Would he have become sexual with his own father had they had a good relationship?”

There are two possible films which may fit this description. One is the 2004 film “I Do Exist.” That one features Noé Gutierrez, who has since denounced the ex-gay movement and says that he is no longer ex-gay. An earlier film, “It’s Not Gay,”features Michael Johnston, who then headed Karuso Ministries. That film came out in 2000. In 2003, Johnston was forced to shut down his ministry after it was discovered that he had been hosting orgies with other men, taking drugs, and practicing unsafe sex without disclosing his HIV seropositive status. The American Family Association still sells “It’s Not Gay,” desipte Johnston’s very public downfall. There are very few ex-gay films, and I can’t think of any others which fit this description off hand. I’m trying to find out more about it, and will pass along what I’ve learned.

[Update: Another, perhaps more likely possibility for the film is the 2006 "Homosexuality 101," which was produced by NARTH president Julie Harren. It features Alan Chambers, Julie Harren, Mike Ensley (recently laid off as  Exodus Youth Analyst), Christine Sneeringer (head of Exodus-affiliated New Creations Ministry), and Jack Harren (Director of West Palm Beach, Florida's Family Ties ministry and, at that time, head of a local PFOX chapter). Of the three films, "Homoseuxality 101"  is the only one being sold by Exodus.]

The conference’s afternoon session was given over to Caleb Lee Brundidge, of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation and the Phoenix-based Extreme Prophetic ministries, where he goes around to area mortuaries trying to raise the dead. So far, he reports no successes, which no doubt approximates his success rate as a counselor for Cohen’s hug-and-cuddle cures for homosexuality. His presentation at Kampala appears to have been similarly unimpressive:

An LGBTI activist told me that Caleb was contradicting himself. “First he testified that he didn’t have a good relationship with his father. Later, when a participant noted that there are a lot of homosexuals that she knows that come from great families and have good relationships with their parents, Caleb interjected and said that he had a great relationship with his father. That was contradictory!”

GayUganda sums up the mode of the conference:

[Stephen] Langa was the first to take the floor. A harangue. Uganda is going into total moral collapse. It is worse and more serious than economic collapse. Soon, the world will turn inside out and upside down, and homosexuals will be presidents….! You get the gist, hey? Rallying up the troops. Making sure that people get the message.

Don [Schmierer] handles prevention of homosexuality. Lee [Brundidge] is the ex-gay, and Scot [Lively] is the guy who handles advocacy. And Langa rallies everyone up. In apocalyptic, fire and brimstone terms. Question- it gets old when I am blamed for the worlds ills. So, thanks, but no thanks. And by the way, volunteers wanted for the formation of Homosexual Prevention Clubs in Uganda. Any takers?

…And he [Brundidge] then went ahead and described the steps to take in the Reparative Therapy. Much counseling, touching, listening, backsliding and some casting out of spirits.

Scott Lively takes the stage tomorrow. That’s where the real fun begins.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Exodus’ Silence About Uganda: Day Five

Timothy Kincaid

March 6th, 2009

On Friday, February 27, we inquired to be certain that Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, was aware of the character and history of those participating at the Uganda anti-gay conference. Alan’s response was off the record. But because he responded we know he received our email and was therefore aware of the list of presenters and of our concerns.

So on Monday we asked him to let us know if he and the Exodus leadership would develop a position on Don Schmierer’s activities in Uganda.

Since that time, conference speaker Scott Lively has endorsed the criminalization of gay persons and declared that the Ugandan government should “subject the criminals of homosexuality to a therapy”.

To date, we’ve not heard back from Alan as to whether he, Schmierer, and the rest of the Exodus leadership denounce the theme of Schmierer’s conference or if they too endorse criminalization of homosexuality and forced ex-gay therapy. Until we hear otherwise, we must assume that their silence is an indication that their board member is representing them in Uganda and that they endorse the positions taken by the conference.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Exodus Board Member Participates In Uganda Conference Calling For Forcing Gays Into Conversion Therapy

Jim Burroway

March 6th, 2009

Nazi Revisionist Scott Lively has talked Ugandan anti-gay activist Stephen Langa and a Ugandan parliamentarian into proposing a law forcing people convicted of homosexuality into ex-gay therapy:

The Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo has today told a conference organized to discuss the ways to fight Homosexuality that he will soon submit a bill on pornography and homosexuality for discussion in Parliament. …

Buturo says the government will not only end at making laws against homosexuality but will also engage in sensitizing schools and churches in the fight against this vice.

The President of Defend the Family International, Scott Lively says it is good for the government of Uganda to criminalize homosexuality but the government should subject the criminals of homosexuality to a therapy rather than imprisoning them.

Lively says this is aimed at the criminals recovering from homosexuality which is the main objective of those fighting homosexuality and not to punish homosexuals through imprisonment. He says even schools should borrow this idea of therapy in dealing with gay students.

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus International boasts that it is “the largest Christian referral and information network dealing with homosexual issues in the world.” As Exodus Internationals board member, Don Scmhmierer, who is speaking at that conference, carries the most credibility — such as it is — of the three to speak out on ex-gay issues. He is certainly the only one who can credibly speak to ex-gay policy, and specifically the policy of Exodus International. He spoke yesterday at the conference, but so far reports show him as silent on this proposal.

Exodus International now has the moral imperative to to state unequivocally its position on both the criminalization of homosexuality, as well as its position on bills which would force unproven, unsanctioned, and unregulated ex-gay “conversion” therapies on gays and lesbians.

And Exodus International also has the moral imperative to publicly face its own responsibilities in participating in a conference with those who excuse violence against gay people, and who actively promote a style of “therapy” which Exodus at one time had publicly condemned. It was just one year ago in which Exodus appeared to signal an intention to move to a more responsible position in its policies. Exodus’ official policy is to denounce the “extremes” of those “who respond to homosexuals with ignorance and fear.”

If there is any meaning whatsoever behind Exodus’s words, then Exodus International’s leadership and board have no choice but to clarify its positions on the legal aspects of homosexuality and forced conversions, especially now that a recognized Exodus board member is actively participating in a conference which has publicly advocated such draconian measures. Exodus must now, both here and in Uganda, forcefully, loudly, unequivocally and unambiguously condemn this proposal.

It is time for Exodus President Alan Chambers and board chairman Bob Ragan exercise leadership by acting boldly and swiftly. Anything less will be seen as silent assent, carrying the board’s stamp of approval.

Update: Warren Throckmorton calls on Alan Chambers and Richard Cohen to have their representatives make public statements distancing themselves from this latest proposal. “And they should come early,” he warns. David Roberts at Ex-Gay Watch warns that Exodus has a “very short window in which to soundly renounce the entire conference, the idea of forced therapy and, as we suggested earlier, call for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Uganda and the rest of the world.”

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Anti-Gay Conference Kicks Off In Kampala

Jim Burroway

March 5th, 2009

The IGLHRC blog has someone at the conference, and Victor Mukasa has the goods:

The workshop began at 8:30 a.m. after a meeting between Stephen Langa, leader of Family Life Network (the Ugandan organization hosting the workshop), his American guest speakers and Ugandan members of parliament.

…Kasha Jacqueline told me that Stephen Langa was telling immense lies, claiming that gay rights activists recruit young people into homosexuality. Langa testified that he knows 2 girls at a particular boarding school who were given a lot of money by gay activists in Uganda to recruit their colleagues into lesbianism. He claimed that by the end of the year, they had managed to recruit 13 friends, all of whom were given money to recruit others.

Kasha was incensed by these claims: “To be sincere, I have spent a long time as a leader in the gay struggle in Uganda and sometimes we cannot afford to do our advocacy work because of lack of funds,” she said. “How then can we give out money for recruitment. That’s not logical and it is a huge lie he was telling to Ugandans.”

Langa began his talk by saying that Uganda law, which provides a life sentence for those convicted of homosexual acts, isn’t strong enough. This is also a country that has had three successive years of public witch hunts to root out LGBT people from among ordinary citizens — witch hunts which have included arrests, beatings, torture, and public humiliation. But Langa thinks that’s not enough.

The rest of the day’s conference appears to have been devoted to Don Schmierer’s talk, which centers on the blame-the-parents view of homosexualty that dominates the American ex-gay movement:

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

The rest of the workshop was dominated by Don Schmierer, a member of the board of the American “ex-gay” organization, Exodus International. His presentation was focused around his understanding of family morals and values. He told participants that one of the biggest causes of homosexuality is the lack of “good upbringing” in families—children should be brought up in proper Christian ways.

He said that 56% of homosexuals experience abuse and violence in their families during their childhood. The abuse leads to pain, anger and hatred in the life of a child and this turns them into homosexuals. He emphasized that “good” family values play a big role in preventing homosexuality in children and encouraged parents to ensure that these values are observed in their families.

Got that? Children from families with “bad upbringing” become homosexuals. I guess children from good families grow up to be Don Schmierer. I’ll take my family any day.

Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation and the Phoenix-based Extreme Prophetic ministries will be on tap for tomorrow. That will likely be a very entertaining, if not necessarily enlightening talk. Between beating pillows and the cuddle cure, and attempts to raise the dead — thus far, all attempts to do so have been unsuccessful — it’s hard to predict what will happen.

Nazi revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively will be on tap to speak on Saturday. He is also the author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, in which he writes that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” If past behavior is any guide, that talk will be the highlight of the conference. We already know he agrees with Langa on one thing: Lively too, believes that all “homosexual advocacy” should be criminalized.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Warren Throckmorton Speaks Out Against Uganda Conference

Jim Burroway

March 5th, 2009

The very same Ugandan online portal which broke the story about the three American anti-gay activists speaking at an anti-gay conference in Kampala has an update featuring comments by American psychologist Warren Throckmorton.

The Uganda Pulse web site originally broke the story on February 22, in an article which was little more than a press release by Stephen Langa of the Kampala-based Family Life Network. That article revealed that Nazi revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation will be conducting a seminar on homosexuality in Kampala beginning tomorrow today. Throckmorton’s response appeared in the same online portal today, in an article whose title appears to identify Throckmorton as a gay activist:

…Throckmorton says that he believes it is a big mistake for these US people to go to Uganda and discuss prevention of homosexuality when they are not scientists and have no training to discuss these matters in a reliable or factual manner. He says people who are involved are not qualified to speak about the causes or change of homosexuality.

“None of them have any research on the topic or scientific qualifications to understand the research on the subject. They will be spreading old ideas about homosexuality which even Christian psychologists in the US and Europe have dismissed as without support,” he says.

He says that one of the presenters has a significant problem with credibility. “Caleb Brundidge is affiliated with Extreme Prophetic here in the US. He leads groups to mortuaries to attempt to raise the dead! He believes God drops jewels and gold dust on worshippers but refuses to gain verification of these claims. He also claims he was gay and changed. Given his other claims, it is difficult to take any of his claims seriously.

I also believe it is dangerous for those who might struggle to admit their struggle in Uganda when it might land them in trouble with the authorities,” he says in a commentary sent to our reporter after we broke the story of the Conference.

“Mr. Schmierer is a board member for Exodus International and he should not be promoting questionable theories of prevention in a country where just admitting being gay can lead to serious consequences,” he adds.

In 2004, Dr. Throckmorton produced the ex-gay video “I Do Exist,” which came about as an outgrowth of his association with PFOX. Since then, he has become increasingly critical of PFOX, NARTH and Exodus, and he has spoken against the particular form of ex-gay therapy known as “Reparative Therapy.” He continues to support “sexual identity therapy” for those who request it, and he supports the right of providers to counsel their clients to “find congruence between religious beliefs and sexual feelings.” Last year, Noé Gutierrez, the star of “I Do Exist,” denounced the ex-gay movement, and said he now considered himself gay and Christian. ”I Do Exist” is still available, Throckmorton says, on a limited basis.

You can read more about Throckmorton’s criticisms of the Kampala conference here and here.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

International LGBT Group Expresses Concern About Uganda Conference

Jim Burroway

March 5th, 2009

The Uganda seminar featuring three American anti-gay activists is starting to attract international attention. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, along with Sexual Minorities Uganda, has issued a press release denouncing the appearance of Nazi revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation at a conference to be held this weekend in Kampala. The IGLHRC said:

“This seminar is just another way of encouraging hatred and abuse,” said a spokesperson from SMUG.” We condemn their discriminatory words and actions that only lead to violence. Suffering is all that they are bringing to Uganda—all in the name of God.”

“There is a lot of misunderstanding about human sexuality,” said Ugandan Bishop Dr. Christopher Ssenyonjo, who was expelled from the Anglican Church for supporting gay people. “This workshop is going to bring more conflict, greater hostility, increased intimidation. We need love … in the long run, love will overcome.”

The U.S. religious right has a history of exporting homophobia to Africa. With support from anti-gay organizations and faith leaders such as Family Watch International and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, Pastor Martin Ssempa from Makerere Community Church has attacked not only gay men and lesbians, but also women’s rights and HIV activism. Pastor Ssempa has stated, “there should be no rights granted to homosexuals in this country.” In 2007, he organized a multi-denominational rally against LGBT rights in Kampala, where one cleric called for the “starving to death of homosexuals.”

As I said before, Uganda has a history of being a virtual powder keg when it comes to anti-gay violence and extremism — including publicly identifying them in the media and encouraging the public to hunt them down. There have been successive public anti-gay campaigns in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, where conviction can earn a life sentence.

This is life-and-death stuff. If history repeats itself, these three Americans may well have blood on their hands. Let’s all pray this doesn’t spark another convulsion in 2009. One thing you can count on: we will be watching this very carefully.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Anonymous Ugandan Blogger Wants Answers From American Anti-Gay Activists

Jim Burroway

March 2nd, 2009

Hello, Exodus? Someone in Uganda has some questions for you. And so do I.

An anonymous Ugandan gay blogger — gay bloggers are well advised to remain anonymous in Uganda — provides a fairly comprehensive backdrop against which three American anti-gay activists will be stepping. Nazi revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge of Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation will be conducting a seminar on homosexuality in Kampala next weekend. The conference is being organized by Stephen Langa, Director of Kampala-based Family Life Network.

GayUganda examines a new release by Langa announcing the conference, and he takes issue with Langa’s so-called “facts”:

[Quoting Stephen Langa, Conference organizer] ‘Uganda is under extreme pressure to dicriminalise homosexuality’, Uhhh? A stupid un-truth. Who is putting Uganda under pressure to decriminalize homosexuality? Why should a citizen’s sexual orientation and act of love be criminal, subject to the state’s intervention, criminal law and censorship? Why is it so important to be threatened with life in prison for making love to my lover? Too many questions, ..!

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge

Ugandan newspaper headlines. Click to enlarge

Today in Uganda, a conviction of homosexual activity can bring a life sentence. That law is a legacy of British colonial law, which originally only provided for a maximum term of fourteen years in prison. Ugandan lawmakers strengthened the law in 1990 to raise the penalty to life imprisonment.

But beyond the threat of life imprisonment, simply trying to live and get along can bring many hardships and dangers to gay Ugandans. Max Blumenthal wrote of a very recent reign of terror conducted by Ugandan evangelical pastor Martin Ssemp in 2007:

In August 2007, Ssempa led hundreds of his followers through the streets of Kampala to demand that the government mete out harsh punishments against gays. “Arrest all homos,” read placards. And: “A man cannot marry a man.” Ssempa continued his crusade online, publishing the names of Ugandan gay rights activists on a website he created, along with photos and home addresses. “Homosexual promoters,” he called them, suggesting they intended to seduce Uganda’s children into their lifestyle. Soon afterwards, two of President Yoweri Museveni’s top officials demanded the arrest of the gay activists named by Ssempa. Terrified, the activists immediately [went] into hiding.

Ugandan newspaper calling for arrest of a suspected gay man. Click to enlarge.

Ugandan newspaper calling for arrest of a suspected gay man. Click to enlarge.

According to Doug Ireland, one newspaper sported the bold headline, “HOMO TERROR! We Name and Shame Top Gays in the City,” and provided details “so precise — physical descriptions, residences, places of employment, and the kind of cars they drive — that those targeted, almost all from the capital city of Kampala or its environs, were easily identifiable to their neighbors and co-workers. The newspaper’s list includes doctors, businessmen, clerics, broadcasters, lawyers, bankers, actors, musicians, and non-profit group staffers.”

Newspaper article from the 2006 campaign. Click to enlarge

Newpaper article from the 2006 campaign. Click to enlarge

That 2007 public reign of terror was a backlash against a press conference held on August 16 by a coalition of LGBT groups in Uganda to launch the “Let Us Live in Peace” campaign. Clearly, that call for peace didn’t get very far. That press conference, in turn, was in reaction to a similar media-led crackdown in 2006, urged on by the same daily newspaper which trumpeted the 2007 campaign. That newspaper, the Red Pepper, is owned by a government minister. Another government owned newspaper led an earlier crackdown in 2005 which led to several high-profile arrests.

Ssempa regularly conducts a poolside fellowship known as “Prime Time” at the Makerere University Swimming Pool. This Saturday, that venue will host the Americans in a special event for university students.

GayUganda continues:

And, something I find really pathetic. And part of what set me off on this rant. The case that he [conference organizer Stephen Langa] mentions. “Langa says that Uganda is now under extreme pressure from the same group to de-criminalize homosexuality. This group recently scored a landmark victory in a court case against the state in December 2008.”

The case he cites is a pure civil rights issue. A Ugandan was hauled to police, house broken into, undressed to prove his sex. And he challenged the state. The issue was, you don’t do this to any Ugandan. Period. And, the excuse that you did it because the Ugandan is a homosexual is not good enough.

…Langa, showing his true colours, uses this case to illustrate his point. Anything is okay against homosexuals.

So these are the dangerous waters that the American activists are stepping into. GayUganda is understandably upset about this latest foreign import into Uganda, especially considering that Uganda already has a very healthy domestic industry:

Ok, my friends from over the seas. Now, I can actually say there is proof that you do export homophobia. First it was the British with the law. Now, it is the Americans in a more insidious state. Bet you it will not be the last time. So, Africa, here comes our own involvement in the ‘Culture Wars’

Returning his attention to the Americans in his more recent post, GayUganda adds:

I kind of pity the Americans who are coming to preach. Imagine, in their country, being gay is not criminal. But they are coming to impress on poor Ugandans why some Ugandans should be imprisoned for life. Just because they are gay. If there was any justice, these guys should be asked some interesting questions.

GayUganda never gets around to actually posing any questions for the three Americans. He instead challenges us to demand answers. So yes, I do have some interesting questions myself, but only for one of the three Americans.

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Scott Lively, who describes the Nazi Party as having been “entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history,” is capable of saying pretty much anything. So I have no questions for him. And since Caleb Lee Brundidge, in addition to being a member of Richard Cohen’s discredited ex-gay ministry, is also active in a Phoenix ministry that goes around to various mortuaries trying to raise the dead, I don’t have much to ask him either. (Yeah, I know, that’s probably worth a whole post by itself.) I don’t think trying to engage either of them would be worth my breath.

But Don Schmierer, as an Exodus International board member, will use his credentials to speak out against gays in a country where LGBT people have very recently been literally hunted in the streets and in the media. And he will be speaking alongside and lending legitimacy to some of the more infamous American and Ugandan anti-gay firebrands.

So as I reflected on this, there are literally dozens of questions which popped into my mind — beginning with, “What on earth are you thinking?”

But in the end, it all comes down to this: given what gay Ugandans have been through the past few years, isn’t it about time Exodus let them live in peace?

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Exodus Board Member Joins Nazi Revisionist At Uganda Conference

Jim Burroway

February 24th, 2009

A Uganda-based anti-gay group has announced that American Nazi revisionist and anti-gay extremist Scott Lively will appear at a three day conference in Kampala, Uganda beginning on March 5th.

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer

Joining him will be Exodus International board member Don Schmierer. He heads a group called His Servants, and is the author of five books related to ex-gay counseling. He’s been quite a globe-trotter lately, having traveled to Seoul, South Korea, in March of last year, as well as to the Ukraine last summer.

Also joining them will Caleb Lee Brundidge, a staff member at Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation, which advocates the controversial “holding” or “touch” therapy to cure homosexuality.

Scott Lively is co-founder of the international anti-gay extremist group, Watchmen On the Walls, which has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. He is also the author of The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, in which he writes that “the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.” In other words, it was gay people who brought World War II to Europe, built the gas chambers, and sent as many as twelve million people to their deaths.

Scott Lively speaking at a Watchmen conference in Riga, Latvia

Scott Lively speaking at a Watchmen conference in Riga, Latvia

Lively’s brand of rhetoric is unusually vitriolic, even by some of the more ardent anti-gay standards. He regularly describes gays as being sick and “followers of the Father of Lies.” When the Watchmen On the Walls held a rally in Novosibirsk, Russia, Lively excused Satander Singh’s murder in Sacramento. Lively contends that “civilization and homosexuals” are engaged in a full-blown war, which is part of the Devil’s design to destroy civilizations:

There is a war that is going on in the world. There is a war that is waging across the entire face of the globe. It’s been waging in the United States for decades, and it’s been waging in Europe for decades. It’s a war between Christians and homosexuals. … Now, the homosexual movement has been winning this war in the United States, and it has been winning this war in Europe. And we’re looking at the future collapse of Western civilization.

This sort of extremist, paranoid rhetoric will probably go down well at in Kampala. Stephen Langa, Director of Kampala-based Family Life Network which is organizing the event, sees gay people posing the familiar sinister threats to children:

[Langa] says homosexuals in the country were boosted by a December 2008 Court victory which declared that it is unconstitutional to discriminate against homosexuals and that they should enjoy the same rights as enjoyed by other Ugandans.

Langa in a statement today said several homosexual groups are active in Uganda and are busy recruiting school boys and girls at an alarming rate using a variety of methods.

Lively struck up a friendship with Langa (PDF: 1.7MB/22 pages) during a tour of the African content Lively undertook in 2002. Like Lively, Langa is not immune to spreading demonstrably false conspiracy theories on this so-called recruitment drive (PDF: 8 pages):

In most cases, porn is a tool used by the homosexuals as the first step toward introducing homosexuality (sex between people of the same sex) to a conservative society like Uganda. They know that if they come directly, they will not be accepted, So what they do is introduce pornography first to that society. The porn then corrupts the minds and morals of that society. After that goal has been achieved, they then introduce homosexuality as an acceptable alternative to heterosexual (sex between a man and a woman) sex. This is because it is much easier to introduce homosexuality to a porn addict than a non-consumer of porn. For example, the founder of Playboy Magazine, was a self-professed homosexual.

In 2004, Langa spoke out more specifically on what he sees as the threat to schoolchildren:

“FLN has also found out that homosexuality and lesbianism are spreading like wild fire in schools,” Langa said.  “There is rape inside schools and sex among students themselves. We have also found incest and cases of teachers molesting children and a lot of abortions,” he added.  Much of the promiscuity is germinating from viewing pornography in the media and the Internet and blue movies.  “If nothing is done to address the present state of affairs, the present generation of parents will find themselves having to bury their children instead of their children burying them,” Langa stressed.

This conference will be taking place on very dangerous ground for LGBT citizens and residents of Uganda. Martin Ssempa, the influential evangelical pastor at Makerere Community Church, has called for open season on LGBT people:

August 2007, Ssempa led hundreds of his followers through the streets of Kampala to demand that the government mete out harsh punishments against gays. “Arrest all homos,” read placards. And: “A man cannot marry a man.” Ssempa continued his crusade online, publishing the names of Ugandan gay rights activists on a website he created, along with photos and home addresses. “Homosexual promoters,” he called them, suggesting they intended to seduce Uganda’s children into their lifestyle. Soon afterwards, two of President Yoweri Museveni’s top officials demanded the arrest of the gay activists named by Ssempa. Terrified, the activists immediately into hiding.

This is no idle threat. Homosexuality is officially illegal in Uganda. Conviction can lead to a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, while sodomy carries a penalty of fourteen years to life.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Warren’s Counterproductive AIDS Efforts in Africa

Timothy Kincaid

January 7th, 2009

Last month, I commented on how Rev. Rick Warren’s efforts to fight AIDS in Africa seemed to be more of a means by which to influence religious doctrine and public policy in several African nations than a charitable effort. My analysis seems confirmed by an article for the Daily Beast by Max Blumenthal, in which he investigates Warren’s AIDS efforts and finds them closely tied to anti-gay political activists and driven by dogmatic ideology.

In addition to the Anglican Bishops that are seeking to destroy the Church of England and remold it under their personal control, Warren has aligned himself with an evangelical pastor in Uganda, Martin Ssempa. This pastor quickly became interested in AIDS prevention after the US allocated 15 billion dollars (the PEPFAR program). While taking a salary from US taxpayers, he implemented efforts to remove condom use from Uganda’s successful ABC (abstinence, be faithful, condoms) anti-AIDS efforts.

By 2005, billboards promoting condom use disappeared from the streets of Kampala, replaced by billboards promoting virginity. “Until recently, all HIV-related billboards were about condoms. Those of us calling for abstinence and faithfulness need billboards too,” Ssempa told the BBC at the time. A 2005 report by Human Rights Watch documented that educational material in Uganda’s secondary schools falsely claiming condoms had microscopic pores that could be penetrated by the HIV virus and noted the sudden nationwide shortage of condoms due to new restrictions imposed by on condom imports.

Due in part to these efforts by Ssempa, HIV began to increase in the country.

AIDS activists arrived at the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto in 2006 with disturbing news from Uganda. Due at least in part to the chronic condom shortage, HIV infections were on the rise again. The disease rate had spiked to 6.5 percent among rural men, and 8.8 percent among women—a rise of nearly two points in the case of women. “The ‘C’ part [of ABC] is now mainly silent,” said Ugandan AIDS activist Beatrice Ware. As a result, she said, “the success story is unraveling.”

This should have given concern to those most familiar with AIDS in Africa. However, Rick Warren did not seek to return to the success of ABC. Rather, he took personal action to continue the program that had been shown to increase HIV infection – abstinence only.

In February 2008, Rep. Tom Lantos sought to reform PEPFAR to lift the abstinence-only earmarks.

His maneuver infuriated Warren, who immediately boarded a plane for Washington to join Christian right leaders including born-again former Watergate felon Chuck Colson for an emergency press conference on the Capitol lawn. In his speech, Warren claimed that Lantos’ bill would spawn an increase in the sex trafficking of young women. The bill died and PEPFAR was reauthorized in its flawed form.

But Ssempa was not content to put his anti-sex agenda ahead of the AIDS-prevention efforts of his nation. He also used his political connections and US backing to advance a harshly homophobic political atmosphere in their nation.

August 2007, Ssempa led hundreds of his followers through the streets of Kampala to demand that the government mete out harsh punishments against gays. “Arrest all homos,” read placards. And: “A man cannot marry a man.” Ssempa continued his crusade online, publishing the names of Ugandan gay rights activists on a website he created, along with photos and home addresses. “Homosexual promoters,” he called them, suggesting they intended to seduce Uganda’s children into their lifestyle. Soon afterwards, two of President Yoweri Museveni’s top officials demanded the arrest of the gay activists named by Ssempa. Terrified, the activists immediately into hiding.

The more I learn about Rick Warren’s AIDS efforts in Africa, the less I respect him. He has endorsed policies that he knows are not the most effective and he has befriended and supported some of the most homophobic religious leaders in Christendom in their anti-gay political actions.

It is commendable that Rick Warren feels compassion for those suffering from AIDS in Africa. It is not commendable that he has used this suffering as a way to get a political and religious foothold in the region or that he capitalized on – and encouraged – hatred against gay people in the process.

Rick Warren’s Religious Takeover in Africa

This commentary is the opinion of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of other authors at Box Turtle Bulletin.

Timothy Kincaid

December 22nd, 2008
Rick Warren and Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Rick Warren and Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church loves to tell time and again about all the good he and his church are doing for AIDS victims in Africa. But what else is he doing on that continent?

From all evidence, it appears that he is meddling in the Church of England’s internal conflict over homosexuality. As we have discussed, the Anglican Church worldwide is threatened with schism because Bishops in Africa and Asia think that the American Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans are too pro-gay. Since the 2003 ordination of gay Bishop Gene Robinson, several Bishoprics have been in open rebellion.

One of the rules of the Anglican Church is that each geographic location is distinct. You do not poach churches. But some of the African Bishops have gone so far as to work with rebel US congregations and to declare that they are now under their jurisdiction (or that of a South American Bishop).

Although Rick Warren is not Episcopal and has no business whatsoever in intruding himself into the debate, that has not slowed him at all in taking sides with the anti-gay Africans and encouraging schism.

In March, AllAfrica reports:

“The Church of England is wrong and I support the Church of Uganda(CoU) on the boycott,”Dr Warren said on Thursday shortly after arriving in Uganda.

The Bishops are protesting the Church of England’s tolerance a homosexuality. Announcing the boycott in February, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi said that Uganda’s action had been prompted by the invitation of bishops of The US Episcopal Church (TEC) who in 2003 elected as bishop, Gene Robinson, a divorced man living in an active homosexual relationship.

Dr Warren said that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right. “We shall not tolerate this aspect at all,” Dr Warren said.

And for those who think that perhaps the divisions are not solely over gay issues and that Warren isn’t just being anti-gay by taking sides, on August 1, Dr. Orombi stated that the division was over this issue in no uncertain terms.

The American decision disregarded biblical authority by violating clear biblical teaching against homosexual behaviour. For this reason, the Church of Uganda and other Anglican provinces broke communion with the Episcopal Church in America in 2003, and we continue in that state of broken communion today.

Another of those African Bishops in “broken communion”, is Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria. In 2006 – 2007, Akinola led the charge for a bill that would

provide for five years’ imprisonment to anyone who “goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex,” “performs, witnesses, aids or abets the ceremony of same sex marriage” or “is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same sex amorous relationship directly or indirectly in public and in private.”

Akinola must have really impressed Rick Warren because on April 30, 2006, Warren wrote a piece for Time Magazine in which he acknowledges his anti-gay activism and said

New African, Asian and Latin American church leaders like Akinola, 61, are bright, biblical, courageous and willing to point out the inconsistencies, weaknesses and theological drift in Western churches.

With nearly 18 million active Anglicans in Nigeria, Akinola’s flock dwarfs the mother Church of England’s membership. And since he is chairman of the 37 million—member Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, when he speaks, far more than just Anglicans pay attention. Akinola has the strength of a lion, useful in confronting Third World fundamentalism and First World relativism.

I believe he, like Mandela, is a man of peace and his leadership is a model for Christians around the world.

Behind Warren’s AIDS support in Africa appears to be a less selfless motivation. It seems that Warren seeks to build a “Purpose Driven” empire in Africa. He first effort was in Rwanda which adopted his Purpose Driven Living program in 2005 (in 2007 the President of Rwanda supported a law criminalizing same-sex conduct), followed by his trip to Uganda in 2006.

“Uganda should be a purpose-driven nation as well,” [Orambi] said. “But it takes people of purpose to build purpose driven-churches, purpose-driven communities, and a purpose-driven country. Someday, we will have a purpose-driven continent!”

During a meeting with Ugandan church leaders, the American megachurch pastor said that he believes the future of Christianity is not in Europe or North America, but in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

It appears to me that Rick Warren seeks to replace the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury with himself and to direct Christianity in the African Continent according to his own theology and ideology. And to do so he has joined with those who seem to determine orthodox Christianity solely by the extent to which one mistreats gays. And he has no hesitation in aligning himself with those who come to the United States seeking to damage the internal integrity of the Episcopal Church. And it’s all over the issue of homosexuality.

But his meddling in the Anglican Church raises a much larger objection than just that of the gay community. Why is Barack Obama honoring a man who is an activist in a religious secessionist movement? Having Rick Warren give the Invocation is a slap in the face of every Episcopalian in the nation and every loyal Anglican around the world.

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, should officially object.

Anti-Gay Anglicans Refuse to Condemn Violence

Timothy Kincaid

June 23rd, 2008

In a rather disturbing report, Ekklesia tells us about Anglicans at the breakaway conference in Jerusalem, GAFCON, electing to condemn gay persons and not those engaged in inhumanities towards them.

When given the example of a lesbian women from Uganda who had applied for asylum in the UK after being jailed, raped in the police station, and marched for two miles naked through the streets of Uganda, Archbishop Akinola said: “That’s one example. The laws in your countries say that homosexual acts, actions are punishable by various rules. I don’t need to argue.”

“If the practice (homosexuality) is now found to be in our society” he continued, “it is of service to be against it. Alright, and to that extent what my understanding is, is that those that are responsible for law and order will want to prevent wholesale importation of foreign practices and traditions, that are not consistent with native standards, native way of life.”

Today in History: AIDS in Black Africans

Jim Burroway

March 19th, 2008

As we’ve mentioned before, by the time 1983 came around the panic surrounding the emerging HIV/AIDS crisis had already reached epic proportions, with anti-gay groups and individuals pinning everlasting blame on the gay community. When they had bothered to notice, some would acknowledge that Haitians, drug addicts and hemophiliacs were also at risk for AIDS. But it was the gay community which bore the brunt of the responsibility for the new “plague.” In 1983, Pat Buchanan would thunder:

The poor homosexuals — they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.

Ignorance among many Americans was running a fevered pitch, but things were very different in Europe. Belgian and French doctors had noticing something for quite some time: they had been treating wealthy African immigrants from their former colonies who were suffering from diseases which were remarkably similar to those reported by AIDS patients in America. Finally, twenty-five years ago today, on March 19, 1983, the rest of the world would learn what they have been noticing with the publication of this brief letter in the respected journal The Lancet:

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome in Black Africans

SIR,-Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has been described in homosexual or bisexual men, in drug addicts, in haemophiliacs, and in Haitian immigrants. To our knowledge there is no report of AIDS and opportunistic infections in previously healthy Black Africans with no history of homosexuality or drug abuse.

Tables I and II show the clinical and immunological data on five Black patients seen in Brussels and who were from Central Africa (Zaire and Chad). Three of them had been living in Belgium, for between 8 months and 3 years. All were of good socioeconomic status. They presented with prodromes of fever, weight loss, and generalised lymphadenopathy, and extensive investigations did not reveal any neoplasia. Patients A and E died; the three survivors are still ill.

These patients fulfilled all the criteria of AIDS. …

This preliminary report suggests that Black Africans, immigrants or not, may be another group predisposed to AIDS.

Indeed, the world would soon learn the horror that had been stalking the Congo river region for decades. This small letter to the editor would later prove to be the canary in the coalmine. It is the first published indication of a pandemic which had already taken countless lives in Zaire and Chad, and would very soon engulf much of an entire continent.

Source:Clumeck, N.; Mascart-Lemone, F.; de Maubeuge, J.; Brenez, D.; Marcelis, L. Letter to the editor: “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome in Black Africans.” Lancet 1, no. 8325 (March 19, 1983): 624.

See also:
Opportunistic Infections

What I’ve Been Reading Online

Jim Burroway

January 26th, 2008

I have my Google RSS Reader loaded with several score of blogs and web sites feeding me several hundred posts each day. It’s partly how I keep up with what’s going on. I’ve managed to collect a lot of interesting and boring links along the way. They are almost all North American, with a smattering of European and Russian blogs sprinkled in here and there.

There aren’t many gay blogs from Africa. But I ran across one, Gay Uganda, a few weeks ago. Whenever his posts pop up on my RSS reader, they always stand out for being the most lyrical of all the standard-issue blogs that flash across my desktop. Gay Uganda, who remains unnamed, waxes poetic (often literally poetic) about being gay in Africahis life with his partner in Kampala, and the greater kuchu (gay) community there.

Sen. Barak Obama wrote a book called The Audacity of Hope. I haven’t read it, but I’ve always loved the title. Gay Uganda shows us how audacious hope can be. And along the way, he shows us what beauty is also.

PBS Frontline Examines True Cause Of Uganda’s Success In War On AIDS

Daniel Gonzales

July 14th, 2007

2007_7_12_rc52_uganda_lrg.jpg

Religious right groups often point to success in Uganda in fighting the AIDS epidemic claiming a religiously based abstinence-only campaign is the cause of such dramatic results. PBS’s Frontline program takes a look at the impact of American policy on Uganda’s war on AIDS. Click here to watch the entire segment.

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