For months, many Americans have paid close attention to whether the Supreme Court will take up the issue of gay marriage and put the U.S. on the fast track to legal acceptance. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community advocates in the U.S. are vying for legal equality, while elsewhere in the world they have to fear for their lives.
In Uganda, the government is currently considering the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, (nicknamed “Kill the Gays Bill”). The proposed bill calls for the “crime” of homosexuality to be punishable by prison sentences and possibly even the death penalty.
The bill was originally discussed in 2009, but abandoned amid harsh international criticism. But according to a Dec. 18, 2012 article in The New Yorker, Ugandan Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said she planned to pass the bill as a “Christmas present” to the people of Uganda.
Under the proposed bill, one could even be disciplined for simply failing to report a known homosexual.
The disturbing legislation itself is deeply troubling. But perhaps
more troubling is that a certain population of U.S. citizens are playing a role in supporting it.
American Christian Evangelical groups like anti-gay activist Scott Lively’s Abiding Truth Ministries, have taken a special interest in supporting Uganda’s anti-homosexuality movement. They seem to be taking the fight they’re losing in the U.S. to new and fertile ground, where they can spread homophobic beliefs with virtual impunity.
This specific case provides us an opportune moment to examine the
scope of influence that comes with the American voice. With regard to “solving” the Ugandan culture war, (because most of us intuitively recognize institutionalized killing of a segment of a population seems immoral) we have to toe a very fine line.
After all, it would be hypocritical to acknowledge the insertion of American Evangelical Christian influence regarding social issues globally is at least partially inciting hatred of the LGBT community by their own people in Uganda, while acting as if an American perspective on the situation can solve the major problems involved.
Because some of our own citizens are fueling Ugandans anti-gay fire, the rest of us are implicated by our inaction. I do not have to elaborate on what massive atrocities can occur when those who have power refuse to use it in defense of those who need it most, at home or abroad.
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