Bachmann staffer Peter Waldron tells stories of arrest and high level connections

He says President Bush got him out of a Ugandan jail with a call to Yowari Museveni. The man at the middle of Michele Bachmann’s victory in Iowa Saturday has lots of stories to tell. Here is an interview in three parts from the Herman and Sharron Bailey Show.

Part 2

Part 3

In this video, among many other things, he accuses Museveni and his wife of maintaining death squads to eliminate enemies. Then he says they are born again Christians and good friends?! I am quite interested in the views of my Ugandan readers on this interview.
UPDATE: Richard Bartholomew has a lengthy background piece on Mr. Waldron – What do Christian Reconstructionists and Moonies have in common?

Bachmann staffer has history of arrest in Uganda

This is a strange story but one worth watching.
An staffer for Michele Bachmann is an international man of mystery according to the Atlantic. The same Peter Waldron who helped Michele Bachmann win the Iowa straw poll on Saturday was arrested in Uganda in 2006 for illegal possession of rifles. And he boasted a familiar Ugandan pastor as a friend:

Mugenyi could not say what Waldron’s Contact America Group is involved in or whether it is registered in Uganda. “We suspect that it could be either an NGO or a lobby group,” he said. Despite Mugenyi’s attempt to link Waldron to Besigye, Waldron says he has close relations with State House.
In an article titled Evangelicals v. Muslims in Africa: Enemy’s Enemy and published in the US news magazine The New Republic in August 2004, Waldron says he had met President Yoweri Museveni. The American doctor also says he is a friend of the first family and a friend of Pastor Martin Sempa, according to the article, written by one Stuart Price.

Waldron liked Uganda according to a New Republic report because it was so conservative and Christian:

“They embrace Americans here,” he said enthusiastically. Indeed, as we sat together, a steady stream of young admirers who had seen Waldron in church came up to greet him. They made complicated handshakes, the way Ugandans do, and Waldron boasted to me that he had met privately with President Museveni and his born-again wife.”
“It struck me that, for many Americans of faith, Uganda – a country where homosexuality and abortion are outlawed, where politicians freely mix church and state, and where outward displays of religious devotion are the norm – represents a kind of haven.” Waldron is said to have talked to several high-ranking government officials on arrest including some powerful ministers.

Quite an interesting guy, perhaps he is the inspiration for the man in the Dos Equis commercials.
Stay thirsty, my friends.
UPDATE: Andrew Rice, the author of the New Republic article mentioned in the Uganda paper, brings us all up to date on his contacts with Waldron. He also reminds us that as recently as 2004, Ssempa was a hot deal for US evangelicals.
UPDATE: Peter Waldron says on his Facebook wall that Michele Bachmann has the annointing of God on her.

HOW CAN ANYONE STAND ON THE SIDELINE? I am simply amazed that some folks are waiting for Saul-like characters who look everything like a king while Michele fights with the anointing of God upon her. She is fearless, fierce in battle, and focused on winning the nomination and securing the White House. Thinking about running, waiting to throw their hat in the ring – foolishness. The battle rages now and Michele needs an army.

Report: Bahati says Anti-gay bill back in November

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill will likely be tabled again but the question is when? MP Otto Odonga told me recently it could come to the floor of Parliament in August. Now a source is saying that Bahati pegs the return for November of this year. Here is the story from a Ugandan blogger who writes that he recently spoke with MP Bahati:

However perhaps even matching its own record on the bizarre and grotesque was the so-called “Kill the Gays” Bill that was introduced by arguably one of the more capable Members of Parliament today, the Ndorwa West MP David Bahati. Last time I had a chat with the MP (who I had incidentally advised against the bill precisely because of the storm it may generate and because I considered it a waste of valuable time), he told me the bill would return to the house in November. “ I am winning,” he said.
These days I am sort of resigned to how disagreeable things can become what with an economic storm, a crisis of the Ugandan shilling and real hurt amongst Ugandan families that I consider this bill largely academic. But just like the bail law some people have suggested to me that the bill is intended for political purposes as well. My sources in parliament also add that because of the world wide storm it generated it will come to the House for debate in stealth not reflected in “ the order paper” of the day.

This would be possible because the Speaker there has great freedom in how the business is conducted. According to MP Odonga, the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, has assured MPs that the AHB will be moved ahead from the last parliament. Thus, it would be old business and could be brought forward at her discretion. Whether or not she will do that is a guessing game.
I have also heard today from sources I trust that ministers are quietly appealing to MPs to pass the bill via letters and emails. The relevance of this is that the movement to get the bill considered is not as public as during the previous parliament.

American Psychiatric Association opposes Uganda's anti-gay legislation

Over the weekend I received this from psychiatrist David Scasta:

Dear Warren:
I want to thank you for keeping me and the American Psychiatric Association apprised of the situation in Uganda regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill – which failed to make it on the agenda of the last Ugandan Parliamentary Plenary but apparently is being resurrected in a modified form for the current Plenary. As you know, the American Psychiatric Association was alarmed that there has been a credible attempt to criminalize homosexuality in Uganda with draconian punishment that includes the death penalty. While the APA likely will not comment on the religious dynamics behind the bill, the APA can comment on the psychiatric implications of the bill and the quality of the scientific pronouncements about homosexuality by Ugandan mental health organizations.
By way of context, the APA is the largest psychiatric organization in the world, numbering almost 38,000 members. On May 14, 2011 the legislative Assembly of the APA passed legislation without dissent putting the APA in opposition to criminalization of homosexuality and reiterating the APA’s longstanding positions about homosexuality that decry stigmatization and discrimination. The Assembly’s legislation made its way up to the Joint Reference Committee and the Council on Minority Mental Health and Mental Health Disparities. The Joint Reference Committee then called upon the APA Board of Trustees to direct the President of the APA to write to the President of Uganda and the Speaker of Parliament expressing the APA’s concern about the health and safety of Ugandan gay and lesbian citizens. Dr. John Oldham, the current president of the APA, sent that letter on July 26, 2011. I attach that letter for your readers’ perusal.
Thank you again for keeping all of us informed about this critical issue for the African continent.
David L. Scasta, M.D., DFAPA
Representative to the Assembly of the APA
Association of Gay & Lesbian Psychiatrists
Vice-chair, Assembly Allied Organizations Committee
Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Temple University Medical School

The letter from Dr. Oldham is attached and is addressed to President Museveni, Speaker of Parliament Kadaga and David Bahati, mover of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. It also is copied to Charles Tuhaise, the President of the National Association of Social Workers – Uganda. That group has endorsed the AHB which seemed to bring motivation to the APA to go on record opposing the bill and criminalization of homosexuality in general.

Wallbuilder's Rick Green defends comments about pediatrics associations

Early last week, I pointed out that David Barton and Rick Green identified the American College of Pediatricians as “the leading pediatric association in America.” In fact, ACP is a group of around 200 members which, in 2003, split off from the real leading group, the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP commented briefly later in the week.
I also mentioned that a reader, Bernie, wrote to Wallbuilders to ask why Barton and Green identified the ACP as the leading group. Rick Green responded and defended their characterization of ACP as the leading pediatric association. Reader and commenter Bernie, included this part of the conversation and asked why they described ACP in the way they did.

David: “The American College of Pediatricians is cautioning educators about what they do with same-sex attraction or symptoms of gender identity or gender confusion in schools.”
Rick: “You’re kidding, this is the Pediatric Association?”
Later, David: “Well that’s a remarkable letter coming from the leading pediatric association in America.”

Bernie pointed out that the ACP is a tiny group compared the AAP. Mr. Green replied with this explanation.

I am not aware of anything from our broadcast that was inaccurate. Nothing in the transcript you sent is wrong or false. We may disagree on what constitutes “leading,” but neither David or I said the ACP was the largest. As often happens, the larger associations become either stagnant or politically correct and lose the leadership qualities that make an organization “leading” in their profession. Meanwhile, a perhaps smaller, but more professional and cutting edge organization begins to lead by stating facts and putting forth truthful research the older organization is afraid to release due to political correctness.

Green said they may revisit the issue in a future broadcast.
None of what Green has to say about the ACP and the AAP is relevant to what it means to lead a profession. The ACP is hardly more cutting edge than the AAP but that even misses the point. A leading group in a profession speaks for the profession to the public and government. The leading group in a profession sets standards for training new members of the profession. The leading group in a profession provides continuing medical education for practicing members of the profession. The ACP does none of that.
While I have not checked this out, I would be willing to bet that no medical school uses any of the standards or materials from the ACP. I strongly suspect that no training programs seek approval or recognition from the ACP. The ACP is not a player in the profession. 
Green’s narrative makes no sense when one considers the way David Barton led into the segment. Here is the lead:

Barton: What’s interesting is, you know medical groups do not tend to be very conservative. Any professional medical group, the American Psychiatric Association, the association of psychologists, even the American Medical Association is a particularly friendly conservative group, they’re not a pro-life group and what’s really interesting is the American College of Pediatricians; now think about that, is that a conservative group?
Green: You’d think they would be, looking out for the kids, right?
Barton: But yeah, don’t spank your kid, don’t touch your kid, you know, and think of the way pediatric stuff has gone, and you don’t want to help shape these kids, let ‘em be what they want to be. And so, all that anti-parental influence, and it’s remarkable that you have the American College of Pediatricians, who has just, they sent a letter to all 14,800 school superintendents in the United States and it’s a letter warning about what’s happening in the schools and the American College of Pediatricians is cautioning educators about what they do with same-sex attraction or symptoms of gender identity confusion in schools.

Barton leads his listeners to think that he is about to tell them some news about physicians who are not conservative, not pro-life, say “don’t spank your kid,” and are “anti-parental influence.” He names the ACP as that group, asking:

…what’s really interesting is the American College of Pediatricians; now think about that, is that a conservative group?

Yes, actually, it is a very conservative group.
The ACP is pro-life, advocates spanking as an option and is pro-parents’ rights. Go check out their policy pages (parenting issues, abortion, and sexuality) and it is clear that the ACP is a conservative, but not leading, group.

Don't bet on Perry if he prays to win the GOP nomination

Back in April, Texas Governor Rick Perry officially proclaimed three days of prayer to bring rain. Texas was already in a bad way at I suppose he and his advisors thought a little prayer couldn’t hurt.  According to the US drought monitor, here is what the nation looked like on April 19, just a couple of days before the season of prayer.

It looked bad then. Now look at the map of the drought for August 9.

As the key shows the darker colors indicate dryer conditions. Since the official days of prayer, the drought has worsened significantly. The last ten months are the worst on record.
Jesus told his followers that they should always pray and not faint. So I am not faulting Perry for praying for relief from the drought. Even though lakes, rivers, and people are fainting, acknowledging God is good religious policy.
But is it good public policy? I think Perry is vulnerable politically because he has lifted up prayer as a kind of last resort for politicians when they face difficult policy questions. To promote his August 6 prayer meeting in Houston, Perry said there are some problems so big that only God can fix them. While I have no problem with asking God for wisdom, I am not and I don’t think most Americans are prepared to “let go, and let God” when it comes to the economy, or national defense. If so, then just pray for Mr. Obama and the economy and watch the charts.
On The Response website, John Adams’ call to fast and pray is cited as a precedent for Perry’s prayer meeting. However, Adams came to regret his proclamation, saying it turned him out of office. Many evangelicals already like Perry, but it will take more than common ground with that large voting bloc to answer his prayers for the Presidency.
Speaking of Texas, I wonder who has been praying for the worst-record-in-baseball  Houston Astros.

Willow Creek Church under the guns

On a smaller scale, I know how Willow feels.
Reminds me of that old Steelers Wheels’ song:

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

So the Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz declined to speak at Willow Creek Church’s Leadership Summit because the church once affiliated with Exodus International. A petition at with just under 800 signatures provoked the CEO to change his plans. I must admit I am puzzled over this. I can understand a gay activist viewing Exodus as a gay change organization but the relationship with Willow Creek ended in 2009.
Now here is why the title of the post says that Willow is under more than one gun. At the same time the petition took Willow to task for ever being affiliated with Exodus, Peter LaBarbera is protesting, with a sign and everything, outside the church’s Leadership conference because Willow broke with Exodus.
What is odd about AFTAH’s protest is that Exodus has not been particularly high on AFTAH’s list of groups either. In 2010, AFTAH accused Exodus of capitulating to gay interests when they dropped the Day of Truth.
Through all of this, Willow Creek reacted in a pretty classy manner. Bill Hybels gave praise to Schultz, wants to meet with the people and to my knowledge has said nothing about AFTAH’s sign. He maintained his beliefs, repeated his view that all people are welcome at Willow and even said buy Starbucks coffee.
Clearly, in America, there is tension between gay rights and traditional religious views of sexuality and we are sorting all of this out in real  time.  Regarding this particular dust up, I think Willow could have handled the break with Exodus better. I think it should have been made public when it happened and clear reasons given. Also, when it did come to light, they did not comment about accusations that they had gone soft on homosexuality, nor make it clear what the issues were.
However, in the present, I like how Hybels handled Schultz’s decision. Reacting with grace is a much better reflection of what he says he believes than retaliation or defensiveness.

Ghana's administration sends mixed signals on gays

Ghana’s President has not spoken but a recent appointee seems to have taken on the role of government spokesperson. Lauretta Lamptey, a recent appointment to the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice clarified the position of her office on Tuesday.
In short, the government is leaving it up to Parliament to either decriminalize homosexuality, to make the penalties stronger or leave things as they are. Lamptey says that being homosexual is not a crime but some kinds of homosexual behavior might be.
I posted on this at Religion Dispatches – the rest is over there
Paul Canning has more on GLB efforts to response to the recent anti-gay rhetoric.

David Barton's claims about gay indoctrination are false says American Academy of Pediatrics

Monday, I posted a rebuttal to David Barton’s claims that the “leading pediatric association in America” called on the nation’s school superintendents to stop indoctrinating kids to become gay.
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Deborah Linchesky, refuted Barton’s claims saying, “the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) – not the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) – sent a letter to school superintendents regarding homosexuality and gender identity.” Linchesky stated the obvious in support of the fact that the AAP is the nation’s leading group of pediatricians: “The AAP, founded in 1930, is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric specialists committed to providing comprehensive health care for all children, adolescents and young adults.”
When I asked Linchesky about the substance of Barton’s claims – that schools were indoctrinating students to become gay – she pointed me to the 2010 statement from the AAP about the ACPeds letter to school superintendents on the AAP website. There the pediatricians say

On or around March 31, 2010, school superintendents may have received another letter from the American College of Pediatricians, which is in no way affiliated with the American Academy of Pediatrics. The letter promotes another campaign titled “Facts About Youth,” which professes to offer guidance to educators on “approaches to students experiencing sexual orientation and gender identity confusion.” Their campaign does not acknowledge the scientific and medical evidence regarding sexual orientation, sexual identity, sexual health, or effective health education.

David Barton should correct  his error immediately. His beliefs are not likely to change because the real leading group of pediatricians did not do what he said they did. But integrity demands that he correct the false impression he created with his followers.

Who drew more people than The Response?

Kind of a question and observation rolled into one: doesn’t it seem like some of the highly touted big Christian gatherings (prayer rallies, solemn assemblies, awakenings) have not lived up to expectations?
Last year, a big rally in MO called by Dutch Sheets was cancelled because of poor registration numbers, the various awakening meetings (Liberty Council, etc.) had smaller than expected numbers, and now The Response drew 30k in a stadium chosen because it seats 80k.
These are ramblings at this point, I might be wrong. However, along the way over the last couple of years The New Apostolic Reformation seems to have grown in influence with Christian public figures but the follow through has not been stellar. I have not looked into this carefully, so confirmation bias might be at work in me here.
I did take a quick look for events that have sold out Reliant Stadium as points of reference and found that the following filled up the place:
The semi-finals of the CONCACAF (soccer) Gold Cup
2010 ML Baseball All-Star Game
2011 NCAA Final Four
The Houston Texans every week
One could see in this comparison a decline in religion, and perhaps there would be some truth in that. However, I wonder if the histrionics of the AFA and their new apostolic partners are wearing thin.
A related thought: The Response was free; none of the events above were free. In fact, they are pretty pricey.