by Jorge Reyes
No discussion is veiled in more hypocrisy but virulent attacks than the issue of gay-rights. By “gay” I also include lesbians and transgendered people. The attacks are usually more virulent if it is faulted for societal problems, such as the cause of a high divorce rate, pedophilia or bestiality even. Never mind that gay men and women can lead happy, long-lasting and healthy relationships and partnerships. Never mind that a sicko can be either straight or gay.
Which brings me to the African state of Uganda, where an imperialistic war of religious values is taking place.
Here's the scoop.
On October 15, the state of Uganda introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, that creates harsher penalties against homosexuals, including the death penalty.
The provision for capital punishment is for “aggravated homosexuality” which is defined as having gay sex with disabled people or anyone under 18, or when the accused is HIV positive.
Anti-gay rhetoric is nothing new in Uganda, or many African countries. What's ironic about this bill is that it has the strong backing of American Christian evangelical groups, many of whom are involved in the so-called “conversion” movement that seeks to make homosexuals straight.
The whole assorted mess begins back in March of 2009, when Family Life Network of Uganda invited three American religious-affiliated groups to a symposium about homosexuality. These groups are Abiding Truth Ministries, Exodus International, and the International Healing Foundation. The symposium's main agenda was to effectuate the political meddle necessary to back up the drafting of this bill with none of the political correctness and coded language they usually use back home in the United States.
The usual rhetoric was used, of course, and it proved to be as lively. Scott Lively, who represented Abiding Truth Ministries, compared homosexuality with child abuse, pedophilia and bestiality. Not to be forgotten, Lively also blamed gays for Hitler's rise to power in the 1930's. He was invited to give a speech in the Ugandan Parliament.
Fast-forward all that fervent religiosity and you get to the end of the tape: the Anti-Homosexual Bill of 2009.
But there others. Among them is Martin Ssempa. If the name doesn't ring the bell, Ssempa is a pastor who in the past has shared the same bully pulpit at Saddleback Church with Rick Warren, famous for his bestseller the “Purpose-Driven Life,” and a man who believes that being gay is unnatural.
Warren distanced himself from Ssempa in 2007, but has never admonished Ssempa's anti-gay views, despite the fact that in the United States he is very careful to give politically correct answers when pressed on the subject of homosexuality. When questioned by Newsweek about this bill and Ssempa's connection to it, Warren simply argued that every person has a right to live his or her life any which way he or she wants, but here's where the double-talk was at its finest, he concluded that as a pastor it wasn't right for him to interfere in the political process of any country.
Is he kidding? When has any religious denomination, at whatever period of history, not interfered with the internal affairs of a foreign country?
Some churches have been eerily quiet about this bill. Other churches, which historically have been on the forefront of social activism have indeed criticized the bill, calling for long prison sentences instead of the death penalty.
Which brings me to my modest proposal; a proposal that goes back to the 17th century.
In the 1790 Jonathan Swift wrote one of the most ironic and sarcastic essays that called for the murder and cannibalism of poor children. What's the point, he argued, of indiscriminate birth by poor women when these children grow up to be nuisances to the aristocracy? These days we call these poor women “welfare queens.” Better to be merciless, but swift, and end what's plaguing society.
In my own sarcastic modest proposal of 2009, I call upon all these US evangelists and political spin-doctors to preach at home what they preach in foreign soils. I implore upon them to draft a US call-to- action that calls for the outright death of gay men in order to end the AIDS epidemic. By killing gay men, we will also reduce the high rate of divorce, which is the single most cause of the destruction of our Judeo-Christian civilization. But, of course, why stop here? Why not stone to death women suspected of infidelity, cut off the right hand of most men who masturbate, enslave black people, and call upon god's grace to bring about a worldwide plague against infidels and terrorist nations? The payoff? A perfect Christian world.
Call it what you want, but religion at its worst is a genocidal virus. At its best, it can be anything anyone wants it to be, which is not that good either. Either way, it becomes a double-edge sword in the hands of dangerous people. As many Americans were reminded in 9/11, religion is still at war in many parts of the world. Imagine if this religious genocide finds fertile ground in less homogeneous countries such as in Sudan.
Of course, religion has never made much sense to begin with, but its message taken too far is one to be vigilant about.
09 December, 2009
by Jorge Reyes