Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The War Over David Kato's Legacy

There is now a struggle over how David Kato's murder is to be understood. The Ugandan police, in moves strikingly similar to what police departments once did routinely in this country thirty years ago, is explaining away David Kato's murder with a "gay panic" defense, that he was murdered by a man he had hired as a prostitute. Somehow, this story, if true (and I think not; it's too clumsy and too obviously self-serving), is supposed to absolve Uganda's religious and political leadership (and their right-wing American backers) from their responsibility for creating the toxic atmosphere of paranoia and hysteria that puts the lives of Uganda's small LGBT community in great peril. We're supposed to assume that there was absolutely no connection between a major national tabloid putting Kato's picture on it's cover page under a banner headline that said "Hang Him!" and his murder a week or so later. We're supposed to assume that there is no connection between the unhinged and violent rhetoric of American evangelicals like Scott Lively, and the even more violent and unhinged rhetoric of their Ugandan followers and Kato's murder.

Fr. Mark Harris has some good commentary on the struggle over Kato's legacy, but what's really fascinating is the war going on in the comments thread. There's more fighting in the comment thread here. Yours truly freely fesses up to jumping in there and duking it out.

In one sense, the Phobes are right. David Kato had it coming. He was not a nice man. He did not play nice. Far from being a civil-at-all-costs Anglican, he fearlessly challenged the conventional wisdom of his country, calling people out and calling them names. He dared to live openly as a gay man in a country that wants to criminalize people like him. He knew he was in a minority, a tiny hard-pressed despised minority, but he dared to tell the majority of his countrymen that they were wrong. He paid for it with his blood.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no middle ground in this struggle. One side wants freedom and dignity for sexual minorities. The other side wants all sexual variation purged from the face of the earth. It doesn't matter if the means are the violent and final means used by Kato's murderers, or somehow "curing" the homosexual, the end result is the same. Same sex people and same sex attraction are exterminated.

Michael and I have made a nice home together over the last 7 years. I'll do what it takes to defend that home. I'm not going back to the bad old days without a fight. I'll do all I can by any means necessary to keep the clock from being turned back.

And there is no shortage of people who want to turn the clock back for sexual minorities, and then some. Take a look at what's making its way through the Iowa House.


Our enemies are the best! They alienate everyone around them including their own supporters.

Thanks to Mary O'Shaughnesy for this one.

No comments: