The New York Times was late to the game. But, now that the newspaper is paying attention, they are doing an excellent job spotlighting the dire situation for LGBT people in Uganda. Hopefully, this will drive home the message to the would-be mass murderers in Uganda’s government that there will be a heavy price to pay if they continue promoting butchery and barbarism.
Uganda’ government, which has a shameful record of discrimination against gay men and lesbians, is now considering legislation that would impose the death sentence for homosexual behavior. The United States and others need to make clear to the Ugandan government that such barbarism is intolerable and will make it an international pariah.
Corruption and repression ‚Äî including violence against women and children and abuse of prisoners ‚Äî are rife in Uganda. According to The Times’ Jeffrey Gettleman, officially sanctioned homophobia is particularly acute. Gay Ugandans are tormented with beatings, blackmail, death threats and what has been described as “correctional rape.”
The government’ venom is chilling: “Homosexuals can forget about human rights,” James Nsaba Buturo, who holds the cynically titled position of minister of ethics and integrity, said recently.
What makes this even worse is that three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” gays and lesbians have been widely discredited in the United States, helped feed this hatred. Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer gave a series of talks in Uganda last March to thousands of police officers, teachers and politicians in which, according to participants and audio recordings, they claimed that gays and lesbians are a threat to Bible-based family values.
Now the three Americans are saying they had no intention of provoking the anger that, just one month later, led to the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. You can’t preach hate and not accept responsibility for the way that hate is manifested.
We don’t have much hope that they will atone for their acts. But right now the American government, and others, should make clear to Uganda that if this legislation becomes law, it will lose millions of dollars in foreign aid and be shunned globally.