For any and all of my readers in the New York area, there will be a rally at noon tomorrow at Uganda House, 336 East 45th Street, to protest the imminent passage of the "Kill-the-Gays" bill that would criminalize all homosexual acts, harboring homosexuals, failing to report homosexuals to the authorities, and any and all positive literature about or advocacy of homosexuality. Some repeat offenses would be considered capital crimes under the new bill.
This bill has been condemned as a gross offense against human rights by the United Nations, the European Union, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the State Department of the United States under both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.
I will not be able to make it, but for those of you who can, I urge you to go make your voice heard.
Here is the Facebook page for the group organizing the protest, Uganda: The World Is Watching.
Our enemies would love to see legislation like this here. From the Family Research Council:
Ugandan President Leads Nation in Repentance - Longtime President Yoweri Museveni observed Uganda's 50th anniversary of independence by publicly repenting of personal and national sin. "I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. "We ask for your forgiveness... We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation. We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft...shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal..." After confessing many more sins, Museveni dedicated Uganda to the Lord. Bloodshed, violence and political unrest persisted for years after Idi Amin's demise. But Uganda began to recover after pastors began to unite in desperate prayer for their nation. FRC has joined in prayer with pastors and leaders from across Africa, including Ugandan Pastor Laban Jumba, a prayer pioneer during the Amin regime who birthed Intercessors for Uganda in the 70s. Believers across Africa are praying for America, that God will send revival and awakening, our nation's only real hope (read Michael Carl).
- Thank God for leaders who stand boldly for Jesus, understand the curse of sin, and know God and His blessing are a nation's greatest possession. May God raise up such leaders in America and every nation! (Ex 18:21; 1 Sam 16:1, 7, 11-16; Ps 75:6; Jer 23:5-6; Lk 22:25-27; 1 Tim 2:1-8)
Remember David Kato and Fanny Ann Eddy and don't let Africa become the ideological laboratory of the American far right!
From Fanny Ann Eddy's address to the UN Human Rights Commission in 2004 (she was murdered soon after returning to her native Sierra Leone):
My focus of interest is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, which most African leaders do not like to address. In fact, many African leaders do not want to even acknowledge that we exist. Their denial has many disastrous results for our community.
We do exist. But because of the denial of our existence, we live in constant fear: fear of the police and officials with the power to arrest and detain us simply because of our sexual orientation. For instance, recently a young gay man was arrested in Freetown for being dressed as a woman. He was held in detention for a full week without any charge being brought. Though I personally was able to argue with the authorities to release him, most people like him would have been held indefinitely because there are very few of us who are able to speak up.
We live in fear that our families will disown us, as it is not unusual for lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgender people to be forced out of their family homes when their identity becomes known. Many people who are forced from their homes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity are young with nowhere else to go, and thus become homeless, have no food, and resort to sex work in order to survive.
We live in fear within our communities, where we face constant harassment and violence from neighbors and others. Their homophobic attacks go unpunished by authorities, further encouraging their discriminatory and violent treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
When African leaders use culture, tradition, religion and societal norms to deny our existence they send a message that tolerates discrimination, violence and overall indignity.
This denial has especially disastrous results in the context of HIV/AIDS. According to a recent research study published in December 2003 by the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association in collaboration with Health Way Sierra Leone, 90% of men who have sex with men also have sex with women, either their wives or girlfriends. Of that group, 85% said that they do not use condoms. Clearly the message of sexual education and transmission of HIV is not delivered to these men in Sierra Leone. It is clear that many men get married not because that is what their inner being desires, but because that is what society demands—
because they live in a society which forces them to fear for their freedom or their lives because of their sexual orientation. The silence surrounding them— the refusal to acknowledge their existence or address their health care needs— endangers not only them but their wives and girlfriends.
Yet, despite all of the difficulties we face, I have faith that the acknowledgement by the Commission of the inherent dignity and respect due to lesbian, gay people can lead to greater respect for our human rights. As evidenced by the liberation struggle in South Africa, where the constitution bars discrimination based on sexual orientation, respect for human rights can transform society. It can lead people to understand that in the end, we are all human and all entitled to respect and dignity.