1.29.2011

“He Was All of Us”

David Kato, a gay rights activist known as “grandfather of the kuchus,” died because of anti-gay hostility encouraged in Uganda.

A culture of intolerance can lead to violent consequences. It is far too easy for those in a country where anti-gay attacks are common to forget that only those without sin may cast the first stone. And it is progressing towards legitimacy under Ugandan law. This is why Brenda Namigadde must be granted asylum by the UK.

Stop Deportation of Brenda Namigadde: http://www.allout.org/brenda/getequal

In an official press release, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned that the ‘Anti-Homosexuality Bill’ would bring Uganda into a “direct collision” with established international human rights standards aimed at preventing discrimination.

Pillay went on to say: “The bill proposes draconian punishments for people alleged to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered – namely life imprisonment or, in some cases, the death penalty.”

It also contains a provision that could lead to up to three years in prison for anyone who fails to report the identities of any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered individual they know – including members of their own family – or who overtly supports the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered people, within 24 hours.

Val Kalende, the chairwoman of one of Uganda’s gay rights groups: “The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S. evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood.” In 2009, preacher Scott Lively and two other anti-gay ministers from the U.S. held a conference in Uganda where they condemned homosexuality. Lively recently responded to Kato's death by saying that he may have been "killed by a 'gay' lover." Lively is known for his book entitled "Pink Swastika," which argues that the violent acts of the Nazis were driven by homosexuality. He apparently runs a coffee shop popular among truant schoolchildren in Massachusetts, and at one time employed a convicted sex offender there.

Lou Engle, who apparently wants to "save" Ellen DeGeneres, visited Uganda as well - to preach against "the threat of homosexuality" at a prayer rally that served to lobby for the proposed bill.

Lou's Prayer for Ellen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nr8wGZd9Dw

"I'm not homophobic," says Pastor Carl Ellis Jenkins, from Georgia, "But I can glean from the Bible that God is not pleased with homosexuality." His church, through which he preaches the virtue of "the moral change and economic change that Christ can give if you are obedient and dedicated to the word of God,” is expanding to over 80 branches in Uganda and Kenya. "God did not put us here as judgers. The problem is we use God's word to express our own intolerance and miss the spirituality. I want to focus the heart and mind toward spiritual things." Jenkins doesn't seem to be totally clueless, but he cannot wash his hands that easily of Kato’s blood.

Every religious tradition is founded on love, not hatred. Our nation has historically been considered a beacon for protection of personal liberty and freedom of speech. But these are powerful tools that must be handled with care. We've had our share of issues and still have a lot of work to do in the United States, but exporting the most irresponsible elements of hate into places like Uganda, in the name of religion, must not replace what truly makes us great.

HRC - Stop Exporting Hate: https://secure3.convio.net/hrc/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1013


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