Uganda, Anti-Gay Laws, and Liberalism
This week, the United States issued a message of disapproval towards Uganda's anti-gay law which can impose life sentences on homosexuals in the country. The White House described the law as an “affront” to “protecting human rights.” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden stated: "The Department of State is taking measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals[.]" U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) spoke out against the nomination of Uganda's foreign minister to president of the UN General Assembly citing the country's treatment of gay people. She stated: “It would be 'disturbing to see the foreign minister of a country that passed an unjust, harsh and discriminatory law; preside over the UN body.” Several European nations have also cut aid to Uganda to show their opposition.
Reuters reported a senior administration official discussing the sanctions as stating: "The idea is to send a signal to perpetrators and would-be perpetrators that we are indeed monitoring, that we are indeed prepared to take measures, and that there are consequences[.] " Caitlin Hayden also confirmed: “As President Obama has stated, the Government of Uganda’s enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act (AHA) runs counter to universal human rights and complicates our bilateral relationship [.]”
Liberals use Uganda as proof of what a Christian majority voice can impose on an innocent population. The creation of this law has been connected to American Evangelical Christianity as the source. The Huffington Post, for example, implicates Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, in this by stating he once visited with political leaders of Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya and stated: "Homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right." This, they assert, proves he is partially responsible for inspiring Uganda to enact their anti-gay law. Rick Warren has spoken out against this implication and the law itself, stating: "While we can never deny or water down what God's Word clearly teaches about sexuality, at the same time the church must stand to protect the dignity of all individuals -- as Jesus did and commanded all of us to do."
Uganda is categorized as a Christian country but is largely Catholic and Anglican; remnants of British Colonialism. The Anglican Church of England is the established church of England. It remains a mystery as to how England does not also have an equal anti-gay law punishing homosexuality with life in prison. To the point, no other Christian majority country has a law even similar. Despite this, Reverend Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican Priest and citizen of Zambia insists: "…the influence of U.S. evangelical culture warriors has been felt across sub-Saharan Africa. The Christian right has been involved in legislative or constitutional efforts to crack down on the LGBT populations of Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe as well. Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill has become a kind of template for other countries, including Nigeria and Liberia, where similar laws have been proposed." As an interesting perspective, the same Reverend Kaoma observed that: “The nuclear family that Western conservatives promote is foreign to Africans.”
In contrast, President Obama in 2010 on the official White House website stated in relation to a visit with the King of Saudi Arabia: “I want to welcome His Majesty King Abdullah to the White House, and I’m very pleased to be able to return the extraordinary hospitality that he showed me and my delegation when we visited Saudi Arabia...” he gushed “On behalf of the American people, welcome. We appreciate your friendship. And we appreciate your good counsel and look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen the strong bonds between our two countries.”
Saudi Arabia, to which even the Huffington Post laments, has an exceptionally strict punishment for those accused of homosexuality. A man who engages in homosexual acts can be stoned to death and the official religious police regularly arrest large groups of men gathered privately for “deviant” behaviors and routinely sentence them to jail time or flogging. Muslim countries considered allies to the United States that have strict and open anti-gay laws include: Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Kenya, Pakistan, and Yemen. Liberal favorites such as Syria, Gaza, and Iran also strictly punish those accused and convicted of homosexuality.
While the gay left celebrate symbolic actions such as sanctions on Uganda and President Obama promising to sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT workers at companies that are federal contractors, discussed previously as utterly unnecessary, the real issues of human rights across the globe are ignored. As with Russia, it seems the gay left is only concerned about anti-gay policy when it coincides with an agenda they already support. Both cases involved attitudes liberals love to associate with all Christians, Republicans, and conservatives and therefore fits their established narrative of a dangerous world haunted by fundamentalist Christianity. Just as their obsession with the Westboro Baptist Church as evidence of Christian extremism rampant throughout the country demonstrates how far from reality they manage to travel when expressing concern and outrage, the utterly flippant ignorance of Islamic persecution of women, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Apostates, and yes, gays is remarkably offensive.
It goes without saying that Uganda's law is unjust and is an affront to human rights. All people deserve the ability to live freely. But the United States is either the colonial enforcer of Western values or it is not. We cannot smugly demand that we have no right to criticize other culture's values and then selectively and simultaneously demand those same cultures adhere to our version of gay rights. Gays are not in peril because of a handful of Christian leaders preaching the evils of homosexuality from their pulpits. They are in danger because they live in a part of the world where the basic idea of human freedom is alien. All people are in danger as long as governing bodies tightly constrict the lives of their citizens, especially with religious authority. In today's world this is mostly expressed through Islamic governance.
Liberals want to hold signs, create hashtags, and indignantly blather on about how things should be, but actively oppose, fight, and dismantle any attempt to actually fix the problem. To make matters worse they utterly refuse to recognize the true enemy while frantically pinning strings to the wall in a desperate attempt to prove Christianity as the villain. Homosexuality is illegal in 37 African countries. One of them has a Christian majority and no other Christian majority country on Earth mimics it. There are 49 Muslim countries and roughly 36 of them criminalize homosexuality. Why would the one country on Earth, devoted the most to enforcing LGBT rights focus exclusively on the only Christian country guilty of violating them? How is it a victory for gay rights and human rights everywhere if that focus is intentionally blind and arguably apologetic to the vastly larger number of countries who actively engage in what only Uganda is punished for?
Chad Felix Greene (@Chadfelixg), author of Jewish Children’s Books, Non–Fiction and Social Commentary