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Zambian pastor describes how conservative US evangelicals are influencing African policies toward gays.
Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and Dan Schmierer of Exodus International, the anti-homosexuality ministry, told high-profile religious leaders, parliamentarians and concerned parents both at the conference and in other venues that a “gay scourge” is destroying families and harming children, and must be stopped.
Lively is the author of the notorious book, "The Pink Swastika," which blames gays for the Nazi regime. He echoed Warren in claiming that people who espouse “the idea that human rights serves the homosexual interests are absolutely wrong … Many of them are outright liars and they are manipulating history; they are manipulating facts in order to push their [gay] political agenda.”
Under international pressure, even Lively now says the Anti-Homosexuality Bill goes too far — though he still supports criminalizing gays. And other evangelicals, even those at Exodus International, have opposed it.
And while Warren publicly distanced himself from Martin Ssempa, the pastor of Makerere Community Church who is one of the key architects of the persecution of LGBT people in Uganda, Warren’s Saddleback Church continues to have ties with leaders across Africa who have advocated similar penalties against gays.
It is morally imperative that Warren condemn the bill. His refusal to do so raises ethical questions about his goals in Africa. He claims Uganda as a “Purpose-Driven Nation” therefore Warren has an obligation to tell the world whether he approves of what his Ugandan allies are trying to do. And any reticence he might claim about interfering in African politics is rank hypocrisy. During the tribal conflicts that rocked Kenya in 2008, he met with that country’s president and prime minister. If he saw himself as a bridge to healing in Kenya, why should he refuse a similar task in Uganda, where he has even closer relationships with political leaders — including Uganda’s first lady Janet Museveni? Is it because he still believes LGBT persons do not deserve human rights, as he stated last year?
Warren increasingly presents himself as “tolerant” on gay issues in America, but Africans believe he backs their anti-LGBT campaigns. He should understand that the bill is damaging not only to his purpose-driven projects but also to his personal integrity. So, Pastor Rick, what do you say?
Kapya Kaoma is an Anglican priest from Zambia and project director at the think tank Political Research Associates. His new report, "Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia," is available at www.publiceye.org.