Baptist University professor takes on David Barton's history lessons

Interesting article in the Baptist Standard newsletter online here.
Recently, Dallas Baptist University professor Stephen Stookey took on David Barton’s view of Christian America and linked it with Mormon theology in a way that I had not considered. He also distills three possible reasons for Barton’s appeal.

Three factors lead Christian evangelicals to buy into the Mormon-influenced vision of Christian America expounded by Skousen and promoted by Beck, Stookey asserted:
Historical ignorance. “In general, Americans tend to have minimal knowledge about the details of American history. We highly value our Founders and want to think the best of them. We are familiar with elements of Christianity’s history in the United States. Thus, it is easy to assume a golden age of Christianity once existed in the colonial and early federal period of our national story,” he said.
Cultural tension. “The social upheaval of the mid-20th century has left many grasping for reasons as to why the moral compass of America appears off kilter,” he said. Liberal academicians, activist judges and liberal preachers offer easy targets. “Fear is a powerful motivator of the undereducated.”
Political tensions. “The alleged culture wars appear to have accentuated political divisions—between Democrats and Republicans and within parties,” he said.

I am skimming the surface here, but I encourage you to read the article. Stookey’s descriptions of Barton matches up well with what I have found thus far.

Uganda's Monitor interviews Bahati and gay advocate; Bahati admits bill redundant

Uganda’s Sunday Monitor interviewed Anti-Homosexuality Bill author David Bahati and gay advocate Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera about the anti-gay bill. Here are some highlights:
Bahati continues to say the death penalty will be removed.

Certainly the punishment of death penalty is something we have moved away from- attempt to commit homosexuality is something we have also moved away from.

There are a number of amendments we have made, and those are going to be brought forward. Since we have moved it, we have listened to a number of views from a number of stakeholders, and all those views have been incorporated in the amendments, which will come when we happen to bring it.
But the focus is on inducement, stopping the inducement of our children to this behaviour, and promotion- those two things are the ones that we will be focusing on.

The committee report I have does not remove the death penalty.
In this part, Bahati admits that the bill is not necessary to address defilement. The Monitor reporter asked why the law is needed when laws addressing child protection are on the books.

If protecting children is the focus of the Bill, why does it require an entirely separate bill from current child protection laws?
We are not really singling out anybody. In 2007, we had an Act which stops defilement, the defilement Act, it is already there. We have the Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality in some form, but it is not specific, it’s not effective, it needs strengthening.
The Bill comes in to include other issues that have emerged over time-issues of promotion, it has never happened, it is happening now, issues of inducing children- it was never there, it was happening now.

Do not miss the significance of this. Bahati and Ssempa have been saying that the law is needed to protect boy children. The Penal Code Amendment Act made the defilement laws very stringent and gender neutral.
Finally, note the time frame of addressing a new version of the AHB: a few weeks from now.

The close of this (8th) Parliament is just pressing on the pause button-in a few weeks when Parliament resumes we will begin the process of legislating against homosexuality.

Kasha provides her point of view, and she says they will challenge the bill in court. The current bill would have many problems which would make it immediately vulnerable to a court challenge (e.g., see this excerpt of a longer critique by Makerare University law professor Silvia Tamale).
Finally for this brief post, Kasha reminds us that the GLBT groups in Uganda have condemned defilement and any activities that could be considered “recruitment,” saying

If I found someone trying to recruit children into homosexuality, I would even hand them in myself – he is trying to pretend that he’s protecting children of Uganda, but he’s not doing that.

No action on Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality bill expected this week

Scroll to the bottom for updates.
In contrast to reports attributed to the BBC (at 14:20) that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will soon be taken up by Uganda’s new Parliament, a parliamentary spokeswoman denied today that any action has been considered. When asked about the BBC report that the Ninth Parliament had inherited three bills, including the anti-gay bill, parliamentary spokewoman, Helen Kawesa said, “I don’t know where that news is coming from. No one has said anything here about it.”
Kawesa said the Ninth Parliament was just getting started, and elected Rebbecca Kadaga to the post of Speaker, the first woman to hold that position in Uganda’s history. Kawesa said that bills will not be considered during this initial period when committees are being formed and chairs of those committes are appointed. She also confirmed that no motion to re-introduce or continue bills had been made.
Former chair of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, Stephen Tashobya agreed saying, “We need to get a Cabinet in place, and get committees together.” He said the leadership of the ruling party, the NRM, will appoint committee chairs and organize committees from scratch. Tashobya said he was not sure if he would return as the chair of the committee that recommended passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the Eighth Parliament. Tashobya said he was unaware of the BBC report and said no action was anticipated on any bills for at least “a week or ten days.”
While I cannot confirm the BBC report, it is certainly possible that the reporter, Joshua Male, spoke with MPs who want to enact the unfinished bills and hope they are reintroduced. At this point, however, formal action is not on the agenda.
Although nothing appears imminent, the situation is not predictable. In the waning hours of the former Parliament, David Bahati speculated that the new Speaker might cause certain bills to be carried over. The new Speaker does have some incentive to carry over the Marriage and Divorce Bill and might also include the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, perhaps in exchange for support on getting the Marriage and Divorce bill passed.
UPDATE: The Public Order Management Bill is the first bill that President Museveni’s administration wants the Ninth Parliament to consider. Note in this Monitor report that the government supporter does not expect passage until July or August.

The former State minister for Internal Affairs, Mr Matia Kasaija, confirmed yesterday in an interview that he is working to make sure the Bill is passed.
“Be assured I want it off my desk as soon as the 9th Parliament settles to work. I would have wanted it passed by July or latest before the end of August,” Mr Kasaija said.

This bill will most likely be a priority as the NRM supported Speaker begins developing a legislative agenda.
UPDATE: This Daily Monitor article reports that a handful of bills, including the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will be reintroduced in Parliament during this new session.

First-term MPs will, however, face challenges in dealing with the unfinished 2011/12 budget scrutiny and other key Bills in the House. Some of the Bills expected to be returned to the House include; The Retirement Benefits Sector Liberalisation, Bill 2011, Anti-Gay Bill, Marriage and Divorce Bill, HIV/Aids Prevention and Control Bill, Regional Governments Bill, among others.

What is not clear to me is how this reporter means, “returned.” I fully expect the bills to be reintroduced, perhaps in amended form. This unconfirmed report suggests that there are political motives for the reintroduction. However, the procedural question is whether or not private members such as Bahati will need to go through the process of getting permission first before he tables the bill. If the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 is simply returned to the newly organized Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, and the movement of the bill resumed where it left off, then action on the bill could take much less time than if the procedure was to start from scratch.