Uganda Watch: Evangelicals and Ugandans on the Defensive

Ugandan politicians and evangelical leaders have been on the defensive for different reasons since the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni. Many evangelicals are having to account for support for the bill which arose from the far right element of the evangelical world and Ugandan leaders, facing loss of aid from donor countries, are spinning the bill beyond recognition.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey posted a thoughtful article at Religion News Service (picked up by WaPo)  earlier this week which included reactions of various evangelicals to the bill (yours truly among them). Bailey noted the strong opposition to the bill from Rick Warren. Warren felt the need to repeat his opposition recently as apparently some critics were erroneously blaming him for influencing the bill’s passage. Russell Moore was also vigorous in opposing the bill but sadly was incorrect in at least one of his statements:

Decrying laws in countries such as Uganda and Russia, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said he knows no evangelicals who would support legislation like Uganda’s.

If you count Scott Lively, Bryan Fischer and Darryl Foster among evangelicals (I would rather not), then Moore isn’t correct. Maybe Moore means he doesn’t personally know anyone.  I must say I was glad to hear from the Southern Baptists. I do wish they had spoken out louder and sooner.
Among Ugandan leaders, Uganda’s UN envoy has the unenviable task of defending the indefensible. About the law, Onyanga Aparr said

“It seeks to protect our children from those engaged in acts of recruiting them into homosexuality and lesbianism,” he said.
The law also sought to curb the use of paid homosexual sex to induce disadvantaged and vulnerable people, he said.

This is a farce. There are already laws on the books that criminalize any sexual contact with people under 18. If prostitution was in view, then why did the law not address only those transactions? In truth, the law criminalizes consensual relationships with the threat of life in prison. Perhaps, the UN envoy has not read the bill. He can read it here.