I've heard some Ugandans falsely cite a
"study" that one in four homosexual men have sex with children. This
view is no accident. It's pure propaganda straight from the most extreme
parts of the American right wing.
Is it any wonder that we are beaten, and
attacked, and raped? Is it shocking that our own government sanctions
cruelty and murder? With such hate flooding in from overseas, is it any
surprise that gay Ugandans who dare to speak up – like my friend David
Kato – have lost their lives?
I have seen the ugly extremism of a few
anti-gay Americans, but I have also witnessed kindness and courage from
many more. Hundreds joined me this week in vigils for the Ugandan dead.
And my friends at the Human Rights Campaign tell me that since they sent
the message below more than 36,000 of you have signed a petition
calling on radical American pastors to stop exporting hate abroad. I
cannot tell you how much I thank you.
We simply want our neighbors to understand
that gay and lesbian Ugandans deserve dignity and respect. My
organization, Sexual Minorities Uganda, has fought the "kill the gays"
bill and will continue to advocate for the freedom to be who we are. But
we need your help to stop American extremists who are making our struggle
so much harder.
Thank you for speaking up.
Stand with HRC's Religion
and Faith program. Tell American right-wingers to stop hateful
proselytizing in Africa.
U.S. pastors are exporting
bigotry to Uganda, with brutal results.
This is an issue close to my
heart, because I've spent over a decade working for equality as a
lay leader in my own church, and now, as acting director of HRC's
Religion and Faith program – which helps religious leaders of all
stripes speak out for equality and fight back when hatred is
promoted in the name of religion.
On Thursday, that perversion
of faith cost Ugandan gay rights advocate David Kato his life.
He was bludgeoned to death in his home after his name was among
those listed in an anti-gay magazine, under the headline "Hang
Since at least 2009, radical
U.S. Christian missionaries have added anti-gay conferences and
workshops in Uganda to their anti-gay efforts in the U.S. – and now
they're beginning to ordain ministers and build churches across East
Africa focused almost entirely on preaching against
These American extremists didn't
call for David's death. But they created a climate of hate that
breeds violence – and they must stop and acknowledge they were
We'll deliver your signature to
three men who have gone out of their way to promote
Lively of Massachusetts held an anti-gay conference in Uganda
with two other U.S. pastors. A few months later, a bill was
introduced in Uganda that would make homosexuality punishable by
Engle, a Missouri preacher whose rallies draw tens of
thousands in the U.S., spoke at a rally in Uganda this year that
focused on praying for the bill's passage. (Engle claims not to
support some parts of the bill, but internal documents show he
came to speak about "the threat of homosexuality," and defend the
Ugandan government's efforts to "curb the growth of the vice using
Carl Ellis Jenkins of Georgia is presiding over a group
that's opening 50 new churches in Uganda to "help clean up bad
morals, including homosexuality" according to his staff.
They have been stirring up
hostility in a country where homosexuality is already illegal,
violent attacks are common, rape is used to 'cure' people of their
sexual orientation – and a shocking law has been proposed that would
make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment or even death.
And they're in lockstep with
some of the largest and wealthiest right-wing groups in the U.S.
When the U.S. Congress considered a resolution denouncing the
grotesque Ugandan death-penalty-for-gays bill, the extreme-right
Family Research Council – now classified as a hate group by the
Southern Poverty Law Center – spent $25,000 lobbying to stop the
resolution from passing.
Religion should never be used to
spread hate. These men do not speak for me or the millions of
diverse religious people who support equality not in spite of
our faith, but because of it.
That's what our Religion and
Faith program is all about: helping people of faith from all
different traditions speak out so we can reclaim the core religious
values we hold dear in America.
At the heart of every
religious tradition is love of humanity and love of creator – not
hatred for our neighbors. Creating a climate of hate runs
contrary to the very idea of faith – but that's exactly what the
right wing in America is doing.
Whether or not we're people of
faith, we cannot stay silent or stand idly by while a radical
minority pushes a hateful agenda in God's name. Please stand with us
and speak out today.
Religion and Faith Program
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