Jesus, Take the Wheel:
In Uganda, support for legislation that calls for harsher punishments for homosexuality has risen due to evangelistic influences.
that because “Uganda is a socially conservative and religious society, the country is predominantly Christian and homosexuality is regarded as ‘un-Godly’ and ‘un-African’. This is a remnant of British colonialism further exacerbated by an onslaught of charismatic evangelical churches — mostly American.”
Mohammed also said that “not only do they have a president who is homophobic, but they live in a homophobic society where they are constantly facing the threat of being exposed, arrested, attacked or killed.”
Some of the loudest supporters of homosexual oppression are the political leaders of the country, like Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who supports the idea of “punishing harshly those who lure minors into homosexuality. We should also punish,” he says, “those who engage in homosexual prostitution,” because according to the country’s leading scientists, “homosexuality is by nurture, not nature.”
Where do these ideas come from…this type of hostile prejudice?
The answer is simple: Jesus…or a least, someone’s version of him. Profiteering Christian evangelicals have outsourced themselves to untapped African markets.
So, who brought this hateful, biblically-based message to Uganda?
Rev. Scott Lively and Senator James Inhofe (R – OK) shouldered the initial evangelistic weight.
According to Jeff Sharlet, a Dartmouth professor and author of The Family, it all started with Sen. Inhofe, and from there, the natural Christian tendencies toward enterprising evangelism took over – which were on full display during Rev. Lively’s five-hour presentation to the legislature regarding the “dangers of the homosexual movement”.
LIVELY, featured in Roger Ross’s documentary, God Loves Uganda, says “the gay movement doesn’t care about what you think, they are focused on your children…” He associates homosexuality with the birth of the Nazi party in Germany and the subsequent holocaust. This and many of his ideas can be found in his book, The Pink Swastika: Why and How to Defeat the “Gay” Movement.
He preaches the “Love One Out” model as a means of “curing” homosexuals of their confusion and disease. Gestapo tactics like correctional rape arrived with Rev. Lively, whom was rumored to have made the suggestion as a means of encouraging homosexual women back into the heterosexual fold.
It’s these types of sentiments, professed by Christian radicals, that concerns Ugandan pastor Rev. Kapya Kaoma: “The beginning of every genocide is to rob your opponent of their humanity. What we are watching is just an introduction to a disaster which we may not even have time to contend.”
So, what does the Bible actually say?
“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, it is an abomination…”
Fundamentalists refer to this passage from Leviticus, but historically, the word “abomination” has meant a separation from traditional or ritualistic norms. The word does not pertain to morality nor suggest anything evil or sinister. Christian fundamentalists have tailored the interpretation of the word abomination to feed the fear and justify the exclusion of an entire group of people from the Christian Church, and in the case of Uganda, an abortion of human rights for the 500 thousand openly gay citizens who are just looking to be left alone.
Ironically, this hostile judgement comes from the same people who were ordered by their Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, to “Not judge, or you too will be judged…and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Lou Engle, who leads a missionary project in Uganda, says that “we do believe that God wants the righteous to rule.”
But, who are the righteous?
Senator James Inhofe flew to Africa 137 times since assuming office in 2004.. His own state’s newspaper called his trips to the country “a Jesus thing”.
Or righteous men, like Rev. Lively, who declared in his lecture to the Ugandan legislature, “you are never going to stop AIDS, until you stop treating homosexual sodomy as a civil right and start treating homosexuality as a form of conduct to avoid.” He maintains that the only way to stop homosexuality is through “public policy” that discourages all forms of homosexuality. “I pray you stop it,” he says.
In fairness, the Bible does contain several politically inconvenient regulations.
For instance, the government – the TEA party’s ideological adversary – to which, ironically, the Christian people are obligated to “submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” Yet, every fire-breathing American can probably agree, America would not exist without the willful criminality – treasonous in context – of America’s revolutionary heroes.
And what about giving all your money to the poor? The Bible could have some objections to some evangelistic profiteering schemes, as The Gospel of Matthew states, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give all to the poor.”
Evangelism is big a business.
Pat Robertson can still be found preaching in a hunched over, senile-stupor on the 700 Club, part of a media platform that reinvented multi-level televangelism, boot-strapped to Robertson’s notion that “with God there is no cap. In the multilevel business, the sky is the limit.” Robertson sold his multi-level media company, International Family Entertainment, to Fox in 1997 for $1.9 Billion. He still preaches daily on the 700 Club, where, on April 30th of this year, he used his media presence to once again warn America that divine punishment will befall the American people if same-sex marriage becomes federally legalized.
James Dobson – the Focus on the Family founder – rakes in $138 Million annually, and as a published author, many of his bestselling books, including The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide, contains these types of statements:
“[The homosexual] agenda includes teaching pro-homosexual concepts in the public schools, redefining the family to represent any circle of people who love each other, approval of homosexual adoption, legitimizing same-sex marriage, and securing special rights for those who identify themselves as gay. Those ideas must be opposed, even though to do so is to expose oneself to the charge of being homophobic.”
Maybe it wasn’t the Jews or the Romans who killed Jesus…maybe, the real culprits are those who, throughout history, have sacrificed the true message of Jesus Christ for the sake of advancing ideologies aimed at a particular dis-topic conclusion.
Today, Lively and his band of evangelical, mutant reindeer – the offspring of Jimmy Swaggart and Tammy Faye – can not get out. They are a fixed part of Ugandan society. The damage has been done, and it harkens back to Bob Dylan’s, Masters of War:
You’ve done nothin’ but build to destroy. You play with my world like it’s your little toy… Even Jesus would never forgive what you do. .
How can people like Lively, who professes to a religion that claims to offer redemption and love, hate and loathe with so much passionate ignorance?
Like the promise of America engraved on the statue of liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
And so too was the promise of Jesus: “whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
VICE asked Uganda’s prime minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, whether or not such oppression would have been possible without Christian evangelists, and he replied, “homosexuality has never been a major issue of contention until recently.”
Sorry Uganda…Sorry that Mr. Lively and Senator Inhofe left Jesus at home when they flew down your chimney, like some loving same-sex caricature of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, masquerading as the chosen disciples for peace, while, bombing the Ugandan people with hateful religious dogma masked as Biblical enlightenment.
A genocide begins by robbing the opposition of their humanity. We are watching the first act now. By the time the TRUE message of Jesus Christ gets to the Uganda people:
It might already be too late.
“Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love…”
In memoriam…David Kato, an active leader in the LGBT community, was murdered in 2011 for being a homosexual. Although, the punishment is no longer death or life in prison – a result of international pressure – being a homosexual is still a crime in Uganda.