Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Evils of Organized Religion: Violent Homophobia

If a bill just recently submitted to the Ugandan government is passed, you could potentially receive the death penalty for being a gay or lesbian person in that country. Moreover, if you even admit that you are gay, even in private, the person you confessed to is legally obligated to turn you in (on the threat of criminal sanction). Its biggest backers, not surprisingly, are the same loving Christians who tell us how much Jesus loves us all.

Religious forces behind Uganda's anti-gay bill
GODLESS WORLD / Plus: Will gays bring down Scientology?
Krishna Rau / National / Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A proposed bill in Uganda seeks to completely outlaw homosexuality and its promotion, and it even includes the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality." This would be defined as gay sex with anyone under 18 or with a physical disability — regardless of consent — or if the accused is HIV-positive, regardless of consent or condom use.

According to the website, "The bill seeks to criminalize the 'promotion' and 'dissemination' of materials that are affirming of homosexuality, meaning that a charity that helps any known homosexual, for whatever reason, could fall foul of this egregious and ill-defined law.

"Frighteningly, the bill also mandates that, should an individual reveal their sexuality to a relative or friend, they must be reported to the authorities within 24 hours. If the relative/friend does not report that individual, both parties could be fined or face prison sentences. This extends to those who know of relatives who have left Uganda to enter same-sex partnerships in another country.'"

The bill is reprinted here:

Much of the impetus for this homophobic attack comes from Christian religious groups in Uganda, supposedly with the support and aid of fundamentalist groups from the States.

According to a press release from the queer advocacy group Truth Wins Out, "Sadly, this witch-hunt has the bloodstained fingerprints of leading American evangelicals. The Fellowship (aka The Family), one of America's most powerful and secretive fundamentalist organizations, converted Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni to its anti-gay brand of Christianity, which is the 'intellectual' impetus behind the anti-gay crackdown. The clandestine organization's leader, Doug Coe, calls Museveni The Fellowship's 'key man' in Africa. Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family, writes of the African strongman's conversion:

"'So,' Doug Coe told us, 'my friend said to the president, 'Why don't you come and pray with me in America? I have a good group of friends — senators, congressmen — who I like to pray with, and they'd like to pray with you.' And that president came to the Cedars (a religious retreat), and he met Jesus. And his name is Yoweri Museveni... And he is a good friend of the Family.'"

And according to — another queer advocacy site — much of the planning for the new bill occurred at a March conference in Uganda which featured several of the wackier members of America's evangelical movement:

"American Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively provided the much-anticipated red meat on day three of the anti-gay conference taking place in Kampala.

"On Saturday, Lively repeated his discredited historical revisionist theory in which he claims that the cornerstone of Germany's Nazi Party lies firmly in the gay movement, and that the gay movement today, if left unchecked, will result in a similarly murderous fascism wherever it goes. In Kampala, he went further by expanding his examples of what he calls homosexuals' murderous impulse by blaming the 1994 Rwanda genocide on gay men.

"Lively is one of three Americans speaking at that conference, along with Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and a relative unknown, Caleb Lee Brundidge, of Richard Cohen's International Healing Foundation. Brundidge is also a member of Phoenix-based Extreme Prophetic ministries, where he goes around to area mortuaries trying to raise the dead....

"To understand Lively's demented assertions, it's important to read his book, The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party. In it, he contends that 'the Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history.'"

And before we Canadians start congratulating ourselves on being better, remember that Exodus International — one of those Christian gay therapy organizations — has a Canadian branch.


Once again, it seems homosexuality has succeeded where nothing else could. This time, queers can take credit for healing the centuries-old rift between the Catholic Church and the Anglicans.

As with so many other religious conflicts, the answer appears to lie in a mutual hatred of homos and women. Apparently, the Pope noticed that a number of Anglicans were angry with their church for permitting some congregations to ordain gay priests and women.

Now, some of those disenchanted Anglicans had already turned control of their congregations over to rabidly homophobic Anglican leaders in South America and Africa. So, the Pope appears to have reasoned, why shouldn't the vultures of the Catholic Church — the originators, after all, of religious homophobia — swoop in on some of the carrion?

In his zeal to shore up his sagging numbers in Western Europe and North America, the Pope has even decreed that the new Anglican recruits will not even have to follow long-established Catholic law. For example, those Anglican priests who are married — to women, of course — will still be able to practice as Catholic priests.

Can you imagine what a slap in the face this is for those long-time Catholic priests who have faithfully followed their church's nonsensical insistence on celibacy, with nothing but diddling altar boys and downloading child porn to console themselves with? And, especially, can you imagine how hard to bear this will be for that straight Catholic priest? You know the one.

But bringing dissenting Anglicans into the fold serves two purposes for the Pope. First, it allows him to make up for some of the many Catholics who have deserted the church over its antediluvian stances on contraception and abortion. And second, it allows the Pope to continue to try to build a united front against the ongoing menace of homosexuality, which is apparently destroying the very moral pillars of our society........

Notice that President
Museveni does not have the gall to ask himself, what would Jesus do with gays? The same fellow who saved an adulteress from being stoned, on the apparent bleeding heart notion that people should not judge one another. The same fellow who stated that the purpose of his religion is to love. The same bastard child of Joseph and Mary who claimed that the meek shall inherit the earth, and now I guess the same Jesus who would imprison and kill gay people and throw their supporters in jail for refusing to turn them in. If that is the new standard of Christianity, then Judas Iscariot was a hero for turning in Jesus. After all, Jesus was violating the laws of the local authorities and Judas was merely turning in a lawless heretic.

As much as I dislike my old religion, somehow I have a hard time envisioning Jesus looking at this issue in such a way. And while I can at some level understand that if you are stupid enough to believe in the Bible and call yourself a Christian (knowing that if you ever take seriously your biology class the earth's history is greatly divergent from the one in the book of Genesis), you cannot on the one hand be a believer in redemption for people like Paul (who had Christians persecuted and was a Pharisee) and turn around to preach such a murderous hatred for a group of 'sinners' that even Jesus never bothered to address or mention. I understand what Leviticus stated and what Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians. Nevertheless, how can one be a Christian in today's world and hold such a diabolical hatred toward such a small community in our world? When was the last time a gay person burnt down a church or murdered a Christian solely for being Christian?

You cannot be a fundamentalist Christian and use Leviticus without understanding that the New Testament replaced much of what was in the old (including all of the dietary practices and restrictions in Leviticus not addressed by Paul that today's Christians mysteriously forget to abide by). And how can one reconcile the church's anti-gay bigotry with a dead carpenter who defended an adulteress from stoning, when such adultery commanded death in the same Old Testament? There is no way they can lack cognizance of all of this. At the end of the day, they understand what they are doing is going beyond any and all reasonable responses, even if one accounts for most of those stories in their dear little book likely being the product of someone's imagination. It is at times like this when I feel like I am positing an ethics debate with people who believe Homer's Iliad is fact (on the grounds of using their own fiction against them). It is a strange and ugly world we live in sometimes.

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