Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill: Prologue

I started a new page where I am going to list articles regarding Uganda and the precursors to the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. It will not be exhaustive or complete but something I add to as I find relevant articles. The articles there now are from 2007. You will recognize some of the current promoters of the AHB in those articles.

Feel free to suggest other links.

Has the Anti-Homosexuality Bill been amended?

Vanity Fair is reporting that Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been amended:

Yet as the Ugandan government prepares to launch its latest anti-gay offensive, the local gay-rights movement is needed more than ever. Though widespread international criticism, especially from the United States, derailed the bill in its original form and forced Uganda to drop its death-penalty provision, parliament is set to discreetly pass amendments that would prevent all residents and local and international non-profit organizations from “promoting,” advocating, or associating any of their activities with homosexuality.
On the removal of the death penalty, I checked with Frank Mugisha, who was quoted in the article. Frank did not know anything about any such amendments or real changes to the bill. Based on what Frank said and what other sources there have not said, I believe it is premature to say the death penalty has been removed or what strategy may be pursued.
The only evidence of a change of direction I have seen and which Frank also mentioned derives from the Cabinet report authored by Minister of Local Government Adolf Mwesigye. The recommendations in that report seem to be what the Vanity Fair article refers to as a settled strategy. The Cabinet committee seemed to favor Article 13 which referred to promotion of homosexuality:
The Mwesigye report then made several recommendations to the Cabinet:
Vanity Fair seems to be assuming that the Cabinet report has been adopted although no source is given for that assumption. As of now, I know of no official amendments or revised bills. As noted by the VF article, Parliament is back in session. It is interesting to note that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is not one of the bills slated to be considered in this session.

Southern Nevada Health District to evaluate partnership with Canyon Ridge Christian Church

Michael Bussee wrote to the Southern Nevada Health District to ask about planned to partnership with Canyon Ridge Christian Church to conduct HIV testing on the National HIV Testing Day. He received this reply from Stephanie Bethel of the SNHD.

“Dear Mr. Bussee:

Thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of the Southern Nevada Health District. We were completely unaware of Canyon Ridge Christian Church’s partnership with Pastor Martin Ssempa or his stance on criminalizing homosexuality. The health district is absolutely opposed to the stated efforts of Pastor Ssempa and plans to evaluate and strongly consider any future partnership with Canyon Ridge based on this new information.

However, due to the timing of the testing event, and the outreach efforts that have already occurred related to this testing site, we do not feel we can cancel this venue for next week’s event. We do not condone the church’s continued partnership with Pastor Ssempa; however, we feel the immediate risk of canceling this venue just days before the scheduled event takes precedent at this time. If just one person shows up at a canceled event and decides to delay getting tested, that will be one person too many.

We share your concerns regarding this issue and remain committed to promoting testing in an environment that is comfortable for our clients. Thank you again for your input and for bringing this important issue to our attention.

Stephanie Bethel

Southern Nevada Health District

Yesterday, I spoke with Rick Reich, Director of the AIDS program at SNHD and he said the agency leans toward providing prevention, testing and counseling services in as many locations as possible. However, their message of reducing stigma and prevention is constant across locations.

Lou Engle’s sermon in Uganda

Current TV’s Mariana van Zeller just posted footage of Lou Engle’s sermon delivered during TheCall Uganda. Roll the tape…

At about 1:28 in, Engle establishes his view that government should reflect his understanding of Biblical teaching. He prays for the government to have wisdom because the homosexual agenda is at work. Uganda has become “ground zero” in the fight against the agenda, according to Engle. This clip makes his news release after TheCall even more puzzling. He says he debated coming to Uganda and we all know from his first statement that the reason he debated not going was because of the controversy over the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Then he says he decided to come to stand with the Ugandans in their stand for righteousness. He prays for the government to stand against the agenda. It is no wonder that David Bahati and Julius Oyet believed that Engle was supporting their bill.

As we now know from Engle’s interview with Sarah Posner, Engle does support the criminalization of homosexuality, but he does not want to see gay people receive the death sentence. He proclaims Jesus as the architect and governor of society but does not know what Jesus wants to do with the gays.

Mariana van Zeller provides some helpful context for the clip she posted over at Huffington Post.