Martin Ssempa’s campus group dropped from AIDS grant in 2007

 Back in June, I posted several articles which described events in 2007 which were prologue to the introduction of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. One August, 2007 article described an anti-gay rally organized by Martin Ssempa and his views on gays and AIDS programs:

“Homosexuals should absolutely not be included in Uganda’s HIV/AIDS framework. It is a crime, and when you are trying to stamp out a crime you don’t include it in your programmes,” Ssempa said.

These events led to an article by Scott Long, Director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch detailing the threats to HIV treatment and human rights in Uganda. Ssempa then responded to the article in an editorial where he said:

First you [Scott Long] talked about our church, Makerere Community Church, as a recipient of PEPFAR HIV/AIDS funding. The fact is that Makerere Community Church has never received funding.

I found that to be a curious statement since his church is listed as a subpartner on the PEPFAR website for 2004 and then again in PEPFAR grant documents for 2006-2007. Based on these sources, I wrote the following in my June post:

Ssempa said in this editorial that he did not receive PEPFAR funding. However, according to this letter from USAID, his Campus Alliance to Wipe Out AIDS was a subpartner to the Uganda Youth Forum and was subsidized for abstinence based publications. World Magazine identifies a 2004 grant as being $40,000 which came as a subpartner to Population Services International, according to the PEPFAR website. Children’s AIDS Fund reveived 131,666 in Fiscal Year 2007 for work in Uganda. CAWA was one of the subpartners, receiving $50,000 to publish (pg 20) and distribute the newsletter, The Prime Timer. Altogether, groups controlled by Ssempa received at least $90,000 from PEPFAR, according to government records. It is baffling why Ssempa would say otherwise.

I learned last week that I need to make a correction in what I wrote above. Rev. Ssempa did indeed get PEPFAR money via CAWA but not at the level reported on PEPFAR program documents. I spoke last week with Anita Smith, Executive Director of the Children’s AIDS Fund. Since 2005, CAF has implemented the “Preserving African Families in the Face of HIV/AIDS Through Prevention” grant. The grant planned nearly 10 million dollars for abstinence and fidelity education (the AB components of Uganda’s ABC approach) to be spent over five years. One of the subpartners for this operation was Martin Ssempa’s Campus Alliance to Wipe Out AIDS (CAWA). CAWA was slated to get $50,000 as I pointed out in my June post. The funds were proposed for the monthly publication of a magazine directed at college students, called the Prime Timer, for the purpose of promoting abstinence.

However, the group did not get anything close to that, according to Ms. Smith. Why not? According to Smith, CAF ceased their relationship with CAWA due to “lack of performance.” Ms. Smith told me that Martin Ssempa signed the contract in July, 2006 and agreed to produce one magazine per month. However, Smith said she remembered “only one publication that was produced in January, 2007.” 

According to Smith, they were paid $3,950 for the expenses of that one magazine and then the contract was ended in January, 2007. Thus, if World Magazine’s report is accurate and Ssempa’s Global Alliance for Prevention (referred to on the PEPFAR website as Makerere Community Church) received $40,000, then the amount of PEPFAR funding would be $43,950. Here is what World’s Emily Belz said about the use of the funding:

As one result, PSI is no longer fronting abstinence programs in Kampala, and GAP within the last year secured $40,000 in U.S. abstinence-education money. That’s a small sum compared to the $12 million PSI received in the first round of funding, but it’s enough for Ssempa to publish a newspaper promoting abstinence. He distributes the paper on Kampala’s high-school and university campuses.

PSI is Population Services International which was Makerere Community Church’s partner in 2004 according to the PEPFAR website. In any event, it appears that at least some small amount of PEPFAR money was given groups headed by Ssempa.

Ssempa said to the BBC back in February that he receives no funding from the United States (at about 6:10 into the clip). We now know that is a misleading statement since his living expenses and staff salaries are funded by Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas. It seems unlikely that he could have devoted the time and resources to his campaign if he did not have the backing of the church. It is not clear to me why Rev. Ssempa would be sensitive about the funding issue. My guess is that it would undermine some of his appeal to African values which has been one core aspect of his campaign for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Family Feud: Karl Rove on Christine O’Donnell

The Architect is redrawing the plans for a GOP takeover of the Senate given Christine O’Donnell’s primary victory in DE Tuesday night. He doesn’t think she can win and pretty much has the opposition research details covered. Roll the tape:

O’Donnell will not garner many glb votes either as she has a history on the subject. Here the Daily Beast interviews ex-ex-gay Wade Richards who used to work with her in an ex-gay ministry as well as with Peter LaBarbera at AFTAH the First.

Will anyone avoid the Values Voter conference because Bryan Fischer is speaking?

Right Wing Watch asks a similar question in a statement and blog post earlier this week.

Mr. Fischer has blamed the Holocaust on homosexuality and thinks Muslims should not be given citizenship and many more things, some of which I have written about. These are radioactive positions that would ordinarily send politicians running the other way.

Pass the popcorn.

I think the RWW post is worth the read as they are not making things up about Mr. Fischer’s views. They are extreme and regularly leave me scratching my head.

From where I sit, these kind of skirmishes are preliminary to what the next two election cycles will look like. The GOP appears to set to fragment with social and fiscal conservatives fighting for dominance for the tea party movement. Could 2012 be a Ross Perot kind of season where a Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee is denied the GOP front runner status but goes off in third party direction?

At any rate, moderate voters disillusioned by the hope and no change reality of 2010 may well be frightened back to Obama and the Dems in 2012 if the Values Voter heavyweights (e.g., Romney, Huckabee, Pence, Gringrich) ignore or endorse the policies advocated by Fischer. However, it will be hard for them to do anything but show up and smile because the whole shooting match is being co-hosted by Fischer’s employer, the American Family Association.

More signs that the GOP may fail to take advantage of the mid-term malaise.

Karl Rove sounded a depressing tone for Republicans late Tuesday night, warning that surprise Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell has said “nutty things” and has ruined the party’s chances of winning the seat.

“I’ve met her. I wasn’t frankly impressed by her abilities as a candidate,” Rove said during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “One thing that O’Donnell is now going to have to answer in the general election that she didn’t in the primary is her own checkered background.”

Christine O’Donnell was just added as a speaker at the Values Voter Summit according to a news release from Family Research Council.

FRC Action PAC-endorsed candidate Christine O’Donnell is confirmed to speak Friday afternoon, September 17 at FRC Action’s fifth annual Values Voter Summit. This will be the Delaware Republican Senate nominee’s first address to a national gathering of conservative activists since defeating Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) on Tuesday.

National Security: The Musical

Bryan Fischer has discovered the secret to a safe and secure nation:

If you want to know why America has been kept safe since 9/11, I believe we have professional baseball, football, and basketball owners to thank for giving Americans the opportunity to engage in consistent corporate intercession for the safety of this nation.

Thanks to those corporate ministers of goodness and light, those deacons of deliverance – sports teams owners, fans can drink warm beer, eat bad food and deliver the nation because…wait for it

The singing of “God Bless America” has been a staple since 9/11 in virtually every major league baseball stadium, and, inspired by baseball’s example, is now a consistent part of pregame festivities at NFL games and NBA games, as well as college football and basketball games.

It is scriptural after all, I think the verse goes like this:

If My people, who are called by My name, will mindlessly mumble a prayer set to music at contests involving people who are paid obscene amounts of money, then I hear from heaven and keep evil people from blowing up your land.

I think that is in the OT somewhere.

On a serious note, I feel sure that the very patriotic Irving Berlin would be thrilled to know that his song is inspiring to many. He might also point out the roots of the song to his Jewish mother, if Wikipedia’s quote of the Economist is to be believed.

While he was growing up on the Lower East Side, she would say “God bless America” often, to indicate that, without America, her family would have had no place to go. The Economist magazine wrote that by writing “God Bless America”, Berlin was “producing a deep-felt paean to the country that had given him what he would have said was everything. It is a melody that still makes his fellow countrymen want to stand up and place their hands over their hearts.

Bullied student takes his life

Greensburg, Indiana is the scene of another suicide involving anti-gay harassment.


In contrast to some advice givers, I would say Greensburg schools need to talk about sexual orientation related harassment in their schools.

Tonight my local school district rolls out a bullying prevention program. I am on the committee charged with making it work and I have already heard concerns that the exercise is just some kind of left-leaning pro-gay thing. My reply is that my children in elementary school have been called anti-gay slurs. I live in a small town full of truly caring people and we still need to discuss respect for all. They do in Greensburg. I bet they do in your town too.

(Hat tip to Timothy Kincaid)