Speaking out against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009
This is truly appalling. According to TIME magazine’s Zoe Alsop, an exceptionally harsh “anti-homosexuality bill” is being proposed in the African nation of Uganda, with frightening consequences.
The medic shifted a battered fedora over his eyes. “I am the gay doctor,” the physician whispered to me, making sure nobody around heard. […] In a matter of weeks, the Ugandan doctor’s admission to TIME could land him in jail and his patients on death row. An anti-homosexuality bill now before Uganda’s Parliament would include some of the harshest anti-gay regulations in the world. If the bill becomes law, the doctor, who asked that his name not be published, could be prosecuted for “aiding and abetting homosexuality.” In one version of the bill, his sexually active HIV-positive patients could be found guilty of practicing acts of “aggravated homosexuality,” a capital crime, according to the bill.
I would hope that it goes without saying that this is a cruel and dreadful idea. It should also go without saying that this would be a disaster for anti-AIDS efforts in Uganda. Time and time again it has been demonstrated that oppressed or marginalized groups — people who have to hide within their society — are at special risk for HIV, especially if they are already at increased risk for other reasons. A law like this has disaster written all over it, even aside from the immense moral objections.
Disturbingly, these political developments in Uganda seem to have been supported by certain American Christians. Put bluntly, that horrifies me. While I only recently heard about this story, apparently it’s been brewing for months now. Rick Warren of Saddleback Church — who has been very involved in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS among American evangelicals (admirable) and has developed a great deal of social and political influence in some African countries (more problematic) — only recently spoke out against the bill, after coming under considerable pressure. I could say all kinds of things about my thoughts on Warren’s political involvement, but I’ll confine myself to this: as someone who has been and continues to be extremely vocal, this was not the time to be silent. (You can read a message Warren gave to Ugandan pastors, condemning the bill, on another blog.)
I hope that other Christians will join me in speaking out against this bill, and praying for God’s love to prevail among His people around the world.