Recent report from Voice of America TV2Africa on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the context of the African Anglican Bishops’ meeting in Entebbe.
Note the interview with David Bahati, regarding the reason for the bill. He wants to define homosexuality in more specific terms in order to make the penalties clear. Also, you see a brief appearance by Martin Ssempa.
Sharlet recently traveled to Uganda to speak with Bahati, the bill’s author, which he writes about in a September 2010 Harper’s Magazine magazine piece entitled “Straight Man’s Burden.” He describes how gay Ugandans are struggling to survive — and recounts his meetings with Bahati — in a conversation with Terry Gross on Fresh Air.
“Bahati said ‘If you come here, you’ll see homosexuals from Europe and America are luring our children into homosexuality by distributing cell phones and iPods and things like this,'” Sharlet recounts. “And he said, ‘And I can explain to you what I really want to do.'”
Sharlet accompanied Bahati to a restaurant, and later to his home, where Bahati told Sharlet that he wanted “to kill every last gay person.”
“It was a very chilling moment because I’m sitting there with this man who’s talking about his plans for genocide and has demonstrated over the period of my relationship with him that he’s not some back bender — he’s a real rising star in the movement,” Sharlet says. “This was something that I hadn’t understood before I went to Uganda, that this was a guy with real potential and real sway and increasingly a following in Uganda.”
Sharlet also explores Bahati’s involvement in the Fellowship prayer groups in Uganda:
And he has connections to American leaders. Sharlet explains that Bahati is one of the Uganda leaders of an American Evangelical movement called the Fellowship, or the Family. The secretive fellowship of powerful Christian politicians who wield considerable political influence, both in Washington and abroad.
“I discovered, thinking that there was a more distance change of relationship [between Bahati and the Fellowship,] that there was this very direct relationship,” Sharlet says. “And [the Fellowship members] are emphatic and saying ‘We haven’t killed any gay people in Uganda. This isn’t what we had in mind. We didn’t pull the trigger.’ And that’s true. They didn’t pull the trigger. But there’s a sense in which they built the gun, which was this institutional idea of government being decided by small groups of elite leaders like Bahati, getting together and trying to conform government to their idea of Biblical la(w). And this is what their American benefactors wanted them to do.”
The Fellowship connection may get lots of attention but Sharlet is clear in the interview that the Uganda bill has caused a schism in the group.
“David Bahati has been over to the United States to study the Christian leadership principles of the Family — or the principles of Jesus, as they call them. And he was upset [when I visited,] because he had gotten into a sort of schism with the group. [Because] when the [anti-homosexuality] bill became publicized, the American Family — which organizes something called the National Prayer Breakfast — really tried to distance themselves from Bahati.”
This looks like it will be an important documentary regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In this trailer you see Julius Peter Oyet defending death for gays with his Bible and a Muslim cleric preparing squads to hunt down gays. Thanks to producer Dominique Mesmin for sending along notice of the film.
In the screen capture below from Missionaries of Hate, you can see Julius Oyet sitting next to Martin Ssempa during his porn show.
Oyet was also a main component of the recent The Call Uganda and spoke in favor of the bill just prior to Lou Engle’s speech. Oyet is President of the Ugandan College of Prayer campus. Oyet was also in the gallery with Martin Ssempa and Stephen Langa when the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was authorized from introduction by Parliament.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty reported today on the ties between Canyon Ridge Christian Church and Martin Ssempa. The audio will be up at 7:00 pm but the transcript and a bit more is up now on their website.
Hagerty provides the facts: Canyon Ridge has supported Ssempa since 2007 and Ssempa has become the face of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. She also has interviews with Change.org’s Michael Jones, Canyon Ridge pastor Kevin Odor and me. The interview with Rev. Odor is important for those following this story. Here are excerpts:
Ssempa’s turnaround satisfied Pastor Odor, and he sees no reason to condemn the minister. Nor does he think he should denounce the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
“Why do we, as a church in America, need to say something about a bill in Uganda?” he asks.
The turnaround referred to is what seems to be a shift in Ssempa’s thinking about the penalties for aggravated homosexuality — from death to 20 years in a rehab facility. Odor continues to say that his church has compassion for gays.
Pastor Odor says his church has “a heart” for homosexuals. He notes that Canyon Ridge participates every year in a march for people with AIDS, and for the past two years the church opened its campus for HIV Testing Day.
“We love everybody, including people with AIDS,” he says. “There are two things: How you got AIDS and that you have AIDS. That you have AIDS is a matter of compassion. The church should be compassionate for people with AIDS.”
I suspect they do experience a desire to reach out but what they miss is the incongruity of what they support in Uganda with what they express here. As I note in the NPR segment,
“If you preach compassion here, you have to support compassion elsewhere.”
Odor says that his church is being crucified for simply wanting to help people with AIDS.
I am interested in reader reaction to that claim.
Go read the segment; Audio is below. If the player doesn’t load, click here.