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Posts for March, 2009

Ugandan Gov’t Poised to Take “Stern Action” Against Gays

Jim Burroway

March 26th, 2009

This morning’s Uganda Pulse reports this worrying development:

The government has threatened to take stern “action” against promoters of homosexuality and lesbianism in Uganda.

The State Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo said today that the government is working on stern modalities to fight homosexuality especially in schools.

This follows a petition by parents under the Family Life Network NGO claiming that homosexual promoters are very active in Uganda and are luring students into the practice with cash gifts and promises to needy students from unstable or poor families.

The Executive Director of Family Life Network, Stephen Langa told journalists in Kampala that many children had been psychologically tortured and traumatized by experiences of homosexuality which the group described as unnatural and anti Christian.

Dr. Buturo says the government is going to act swiftly to stop what he calls “moral corruption” of vulnerable Ugandans, especially children into homosexuality.

He says the practice of same sex relationships is illegal in Uganda and unacceptable to the people of Uganda. The minister did not however specify which stern action was to be taken, given that the High Court ruled last year that all Ugandans, including homosexuals and lesbians are accorded the same rights and freedoms by Uganda’s constitution.

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

More on Uganda Anti-Gay Vigilante Incitement

Timothy Kincaid

March 25th, 2009

This news report came out two days ago – prior to the one we reported today. In it, newly ex-gay George Oundo presented some rather strong claims in Uganda:

A man shocked parents on Sunday when he confessed to recruiting school children into homosexuality as part of a programme to promote the practice in Ugandan schools.

George Oundo said funders gave them “much money” and training abroad and that he would target mostly the needy children who had problems of tuition and pocket money and “others who like outings.”

Oundo describes a rather structured effort

Oundo said he got seriously involved in promoting homosexuality in 2003. “I was taken to Nairobi for training,” he said. “I used to supply pornographic materials in form of books and compact discs showing homosexuality to young boys in many schools,” he explained.

And Oundo identifies the culprits

The training, he said, was facilitated by Gay and Lesbian Coalition. “I also got the pupils’ telephone contacts. We used to meet with both girls and boys in schools during ceremonial parties,” he asserted.

Oundo said homosexuality was spread by international human rights organisations.

In the West most readers would recognize this as rather outlandish and not be quick to believe Oundo’s statements. Uganda, however, is fertile ground for these statements and it is almost certain that this seed will grow vines.

It is difficult to know the motivation for Oundo’s actions and statements. But perhaps it helps to know that Oundo was a gay activist who in September was arrested for “recruiting homosexuals”, beaten, denied food and medication, and held for several days until international pressure from human rights organization led to their release. I think that it is likely not coincidental that Oundo’s statements now vindicate the police claim and vilify the human rights groups.

The Christian community in Uganda has now declared war on the lives of gay men and women in that county. And they have been abetted by American leaders in the anti-gay and ex-gay ministries.

Sadly, these Americans wish to pretend that their actions have no consequences, that they were just presenting “a compassionate, biblical view of homosexuality” to the world and that they bear no responsibility for any blood shed as a direct result of their anti-gay missionary efforts.

And make no mistake, there will be blood shed.

Other pastors yesterday told journalists in Kampala the war against sodomy would be long and challenging but must be fought.

In Uganda, “war” is not engaged by polite discourse and ballot box propositions.

It is not often in life that we experience real evil. But I do not hesitate to state that the participation of Exodus International in this conference and the justification of this anti-gay incitement by its president, Alan Chambers, is truly evil.

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

Another Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign May Have Begun In Uganda

Three television stations, two newspapers reporting senstional allegations.

Jim Burroway

March 25th, 2009

Two newspaper (so far) and three television stations in Uganda have reported on a sensationalistic press conference organized by Stephen Langa, director of Kampala-based Family Life Networks, which appears to be the start of a fresh public anti-gay vigilante campaign.

The Ugandan media is continuing to take notice of the recent anti-gay conferences and meetings which have been taking place in Kampala the past few weeks. The most recent meeting was held on March 22. These series of meetings were instigated by a three-day conference organized by Langa and featured talks by three American anti-gay activists, including Exodus board member Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and Richard Cohen protegé Caleb Lee Brundidge.

Ugandan news media have been issuing regular reports of that conference and two follow-up meetings which have been held on successive Sundays since then. The latest one from Uganda Pulse reported on a press conference held today:

Parents in Uganda have expressed concern over the increasing levels of homosexuality, defilement and sexual harassments of children. The parents under the Family Life Network (FLN) says that information revealed from several reliable sources indicates that many children in schools are facing horror, frustration, mental and psychological torture for being cajoled into homosexuality.

FLN’s Executive Director, Langa Steven say [sic] that there are agents involved in recruiting children into homosexuality and lesbianism. Langa says that these suspected groups take advantages children by using deception, manipulation and coercion.

Pastor Joseph Male who addressed a press conference in Kampala with Langa also says that findings show that immorality groups are recruiting children into homosexuality. He says these homosexual promoters hide behind human rights organization and claim to be protecting sex minorities Uganda.

Pastor Male claims that these groups spend about 2,000,000 per week to recruit university students into homosexuality and lesbianism.

Another news outlet, New Vision, reported:

EIGHT more men yesterday confessed involvement in homosexuality and gay activities, which they said they had abandoned. Speaking to journalists at the Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala, the youthful men described homosexuality as abnormal and anti-Christian, and declared war against it.

The tough-talking men were accompanied by George Oundo, who earlier in the week denounced homosexuality and confessed recruiting school children into the practice.

“We have been involved in recruiting homosexuals, spreading the gospel of homosexuality, and we know the operations of homosexuals,” said 27-year-old Emma Matovu, who took to homosexuality 13 years ago. “We shall do all it takes to eliminate the practice in Uganda.”

Matovu, who said he abandoned the practice two weeks ago, asserted: “Homosexuality is dangerous and dehumanising but is growing fast in Uganda.”

According to the New Vision article, the press conference was organized by — you guessed it — Stephen Langa, the same pastor who hosted the three American anti-gay activists during the first week of March.

Past campaigns of anti-gay vigilantism have called out gays by name and description in the public media. This looks disturbingly like the start of a new campaign:

Oundo said the eight men would fight the vice because they were victims with a tormenting experience. “We shall expose those who refuse to abandon the practice and we shall not be intimidated because we are protected by Jesus,” he asserted. “We know their operations, including a restaurant in the city centre where homosexuals wait for clients from nearby hotels.”

He urged his former partners to abandon the practice, saying Uganda should become a role model in fighting the “barbarism”.

He called on Juliet Mukasa, the head of the Sexual Minorities in Uganda (SMUG), Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo, a gay rights activist and headmaster Kisule (other name withheld) to abandon the practice.

…Addressing the press conference, Family Life Network chief Stephen Langa read a statement from parents and concerned citizens, urging the Government to establish a probe to assess the prevalence of homosexuality in Uganda.

The anonymous blogger GayUganda has posted a series of panicked short posts about the news conference which was shown on three national television stations. These latest developments have him understandably nervous:

Our nice, confortable closet is well and truly blown apart. In a homophobic country, our anonymity is torn up, and we are being accused of the most heinous of crimes. We are recruiting, and teaching children homosexuality.

Damage control now is a necessity. What will follow?

Is funny that the lies and sensationalism has so caught up everyone that it is impossible for us to insist that these are lies. The lesson of history. Tell a lie about a small unpopular group, and you are able to sustain the conversation with bigger and bigger lies. Think the Hutus in Rwanda. Jews in Germany…! Stretching the point? Am I?

A witch hunt. Very possible.

Some interesting outings? Possible.

How long will I be able to continue blogging? How safe is my blogging?

But we have survived adversity before now. We will survive even this. Will kind of mean that some of us will have to stand up and take the heat. Problem may be jobs and other things. Can we beat the taint of evil? Homosexuals recruiting! Oh well.

Tough days ahead.

The papers tomorrow will be interesting. Watch this space.

(Remember some prayers for those who are outed, whether or not they are gay!)

Indeed. Remember some prayers.

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

Schmierer’s & Lively’s Uganda Talks Continue to Reverberate

Jim Burroway

March 23rd, 2009

We mentioned earlier that there would be a follow-up meeting for the anti-gay conference held by three American activists, including Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and Exodus board member Don Schmierer. A follow-up meeting was called for March 15. The anonymous blogger Gay Uganda has posted an eyewitness account of that meeting.

Stephen Langa, of the Kampala-based Family Life Network was the principal speaker at the follow-up meeting. For the first part of his talk, he channeled the false pseudoscience of Exodus Board member Don Schmierer and Richard Cohen, a so-called “coach” who has been banned for life by the American Counseling Association. Gay Uganda’s anonymous eyewitness reported:

In his presentation Stephan Langa said homosexuality is not about sex, it is about the search for a fatherly or motherly figure. Children with bad parenting end up becoming homosexuals as they search for mother’s or father’s love.

He also mentioned another cause of homosexuality as child abuse; he said that the homosexuals he has counseled have been abused as children. He sited broken families as another cause of homosexuality.

He mentioned domineering mothers and abusive fathers as another cause of homosexuality, as well as negligent father who are emotionally off with children. Exposure to pornography as another cause of homosexuality.

He said some people are lured into homosexuality by money and other social favors

Rebellion, he said some children become homosexuals because they want to be rebellious, noting that homosexuality is some kind of rebellion.

He also said same sex attraction is a disorder and quoted: Richard Cohen MA. He emphasized the point that all homosexuals can change since all disorders can be changed. Homosexuality is not genetical, it is a learned behavior and what is learned can be unlearned. (Richard Cohen MA.)

These discredited theories, of course, run counter to a significant body of science which has investigated various aspects of the origins of homosexuality. But then, as Dr. Warren Throckmorton, who defends the right of practitioners to offer sexual identity therapy, points out, “This coalition is not dedicated to ministry but political engagement.”

And an important part of the political movement’s tactics has been to emphasize heavily the allegations that children are recruited into the “homosexual lifestyle” through sexual abuse. These allegations were on prominent display at the follow-up meeting. In the clearest use of the allegation, Langa repeated Lively’s fanciful history of the gay rights movement:

He talked about Henry Garber, who was a German American soldier in 1924, that Henry Garber sodomized Champ Simmons and Champ Simmons Sodomized Harry Hay. Then Harry Hay started the whole gay movement that gays follow to date. Source: The PINK SWASTIKA – Dr. Scott Lively.

Scott Lively speaking at a 2007 Watchmen On the Walls conference in Riga, Latvia

Scott Lively

One might be forgiven if they thought that Langa had grossly overly simplified Lively’s history. But on page 150 of The Pink Swastika, Lively provides almost exactly this perverse “genealogy” in just two short sentences: “This ‘peculiar fact’ was that the man who recruited (Harry) Hay into homosexuality (at age seventeen), Champ Simmons, was himself seduced by a former member of the SHR. In a perverse sort of way, then, it seems appropriate that Hay would become known as ‘The Father of the Modern Gay Movement’.” (The SHR, or The Society of Human Rights, was founded in Chicago by Henry Gerber.)

Langa’s presentation of “the gay agenda” followed on these same lines, with repeated emphasis on the false link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse. The so-called agenda began with, “They focus on who they are and what they want. They are after your children.” And it ended with, “They don’t care about you adults they want your sons and your daughters.” The repeated warning of being “after your children,” is especially troubling given that it was an incessant refrain in past Ugandan anti-gay vigilante campaigns. Reactions from the audience, therefore were predictable:

We should investigate homosexuality in Uganda

…Recruit people to become activities against homosexuality, in this case people with in the audience volunteered to be members….Find out what or who is making homosexuality prominent in Uganda.

There are many dangers and anti – social behaviors in schools which are not talked about. This was mentioned while refereeing to head teachers / teachers who are homosexuals. An emphasis that homosexual teachers should be stopped from teaching.

Participants emphasized life career developments and moral uprightness in schools The need for a strategic plan to train, teachers to identify children practicing homosexuality. The laws on homosexuality are weak, hence the need to strengthen these laws.

Parents were encouraged to participant in law making decisions in Uganda so that to strengthen the laws on homosexuality

To establish a unit at Police to deal with homosexuality

At one point in the meeting, there was this disturbing development:

…During the reactions a prominent pastor also said that they have been talking with an ex gay activist who has given them a five year plan for the gay agenda in Uganda. And they have submitted this plan to the ministry concerned, that they await reactions.

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer, a speaker at the anti-gay conference in Uganda

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer, a speaker at the anti-gay conference in Uganda

Is Exodus Board member Don Schmierer the “ex gay activist” with a five year plan? Exodus has been recklessly silent over their board member’s involvement in the conference alongside a well-known holocaust revisionist and two-time entrant on the SPLC’s hate groups list. And Exodus’ silence continues to facilitate the chain of events that their board member has set into motion, events which may well lead to increased dangers for LGBT citizens of Uganda. Already, in this account the tensions appear to be close to the boiling point:

A participant asked a liberal question on issues of sexuality: You have associated homosexuality with all evils, defiles, child molesters etc don’t you think that also heterosexuals defile or molest our children why don’t you address this issue as well. He was answered: We are here to talk about homosexuality, do not divert us. After this question he was intimated, almost thrown out of the meeting.

The meeting ended with calls to “tighten the law on homosexuality.” One participant told the audience that parliament was drafting a new law that “will be tough on homosexuals.” Conviction of homosexual acts in Uganda already carry the threat of a life sentence. Another meeting was called for yesterday, March 22.

Don Schmierer and Scott Lively have set in motion a chain of events which have not yet played themselves out. And Exodus remains irresponsibly silent as these events continue to unfold. We will continue to watch events in Uganda very closely, and we will hold Exodus accountable for their role in lending their name to legitimize these developments.

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

Ugandan Conference Leaders Call For Another Meeting While Pushing Pedophilia Theme; Exodus Continues Silence

Jim Burroway

March 12th, 2009

Ugandan media is reporting the results of the anti-gay Conference held last weekend in Uganda:

Family Life Network and other stakeholders last week organized a seminar and series of meetings on the subject of homosexuality. The Executive Director of Family Life Network Stephen Langa, participants received shocking and worrying revelations about the level of defilement and recruitment of school boys and girls into homosexuality and lesbianism.

Langa says in a statement that some parents asked if there is any safe school in Uganda, given the level of immorality and organized rackets in schools. According to the statement from the workshop, the information available indicates that both day schools and boarding schools are affected by this vice.

It says that during the seminars, it has come to light that organized homosexual/lesbian groups are using money to entice their victims and are encouraging the victims to recruit their fellow students in schools. As such, Langa, also a panelist on Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), says that his organization in conjunction with other stakeholders unanimously agreed to hold a parents’ consultative meeting be held as a matter of urgency.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

Ugandan newspaper headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

This “urgent” meeting will take place on March 15. Uganda has a history of media-led vigilante campaigns, having witnessed at least three such campaigns between 2005 and 2007. Previous campaigns have also deployed the “gay recruitment” theme as part of their rhetoric. The re-appearance of this rhetoric in Ugandan media coupled with an announced meeting of concerned parents and citizens is worrying.

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

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

Exodus Board member Don Schmierer spoke at that conference. Conference leaders voiced support for Uganda’s legal ban on homosexuality, which provides for a life sentence for those convicted. The conference announced that they sought to strengthen that ban by requiring convicted gays and lesbians to undergo ex-gay therapy. When asked about social issues, Schmierer recommended “other facilitators [who] would answer questions about homosexuality being unnatural,” including noted Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively.

BTB’s Timothy Kincaid first contacted Exodus International about Don Schmierer’s participation in that conference on February 27, a week before the conference’s start. That was met with silence. Yesterday, representatives of Truth Wins Out, Ex-Gay Watch, and BTB released an open letter to the Exodus board calling on Exodus to clearly state its position on criminalization of homosexuality and forced therapy, remove Don Schmierer from the board of directors, and denounce Holocaust revisionist and Watchmen On the Walls co-founder Scott Lively. It also calls for Alan Chamber’s resignation. So far, there has been no response from Exodus on any of these points.

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

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.

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.

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.

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