One cable I found particularly interesting came after Rick Warren was forced to distance himself from the Ugandan bill and its proponents, because it so completely captures how and why anti-gay sentiment is being used to distract the people’s attention from what’s really wrong in that country. It happens all over Africa every day, and in many other countries around the world. Indeed, it happens in our own [see: Tea Party movement], and it’s what happens when ruling classes learn how to train their citizens to react like peasants, ready to scapegoat a minority at a moment’s notice. Here’s what the US diplomat had to say at that time:
Recent condemnations by Warren and other U.S. based individuals have further isolated Bahati. His homophobia, however, is blinding and incurable. Bahati, Buturo, and particularly Ssempa’s ability to channel popular anger over Uganda’s socio-political failings into violent hatred of a previously unpopular but tolerated minority is chilling. XXXXXXXXXXXX described Ssempa as an anti-homosexuality “extremist.” XXXXXXXXXXXX said he opposes the legislation not because he favors homosexuality, but because legalizing persecution of homosexuals is the first step toward state sponsored persecution of other minority groups.
Emphasis mine. But doesn’t that sound familiar? Think back to every Republican “family values” campaign in the past thirty years, as they have scapegoated gay people, who have nothing to do with the admitted failures of the patriarchal “family” model in the United States. I have said many times that we should be careful not to simply think of Uganda as “over there,” but, especially with the influence American Evangelicals have had on the process in that nation, understand that patriarchal, “pro-family” forces will simply do what they can get away with in a given society. They know that their views are increasingly socially unacceptable in modern, civilized nations, but when they go to Uganda and other places, it’s a far different story.
The full cables and more analysis are over at Box Turtle Bulletin.