A new report from a Boston-based political research group identifies the key conservative U.S.-based Christian organizations that are supporting the anti-gay movement in Africa, including the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda.
Political Research Associates yesterday released their report, “Colonizing African Values: How the U.S. Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa,” and identifies a key Catholic organization, Human Life International, as one of the key players in supporting anti-gay activity.
“The report’s main author, the Rev. Kapya Kaoma, said that while such evangelical groups are in the minority in the United States, they are able to punch way above their weight in Africa, where many oppose homosexuality. Here, many believe the religious right’s contentions that gay men are ‘recruiting’ in schools, Kaoma said.
” ‘Those kind of lies, when presented in Africa, become factual, so we need to worry that they are misleading people with these lies,’ Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia, said in a telephone interview from Boston.
“And conservative groups have access to powerful politicians, including the presidents of many countries.
“Kaoma’s report identifies groups belonging to a loose network of right-wing charismatic Christians. They include Pat Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the Catholic Church’s Human Life International (HLI) and the Mormon-led Family Watch International. All have launched or expanded offices in Africa over the past five years. . . .
” ‘By hiring locals as office staff, ACLJ and HLI in particular hide an American-based agenda behind African faces, giving the Christian Right room to attack gender justice and (the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people) as a neocolonial enterprise imposed on Africans and obstructing meaningful critique of the U.S. right’s activities,’ the report said.
“Anti-gay laws passed in Burundi in 2009, Malawi in 2010 and Nigeria in 2011.
“Uganda’s so-called ‘Kill the Gays’ law, which would levy the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality,’ was thought to have been defeated after Kaoma and Political Research Associates exposed the legislation’s American instigators in 2009. But it was reintroduced in Uganda’s Parliament this February.”
Bondings 2.0 attended a teleconference yesterday with Rev. Kaoma and Frank Mugisha, the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda and the recipient of the 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Kaoma and Mugisha elaborated on the role of the Catholic church in these activities.
“It’s not true that they [Roman Catholics] are not involved,” said Rev. Kaoma, noting that Human Life International has good relationships with the Catholic hierarchy. “Together with Anglican archbishops, certain Roman Catholics demanded the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda be passed.”
Mugisha noted that the Catholic archbishop in Uganda did ask that the death penalty be removed from the bill, but that the Catholic Church still has not taken an official position on whether the bill should be passed.
“In Uganda, they [Roman Catholic Institution] haven’t stepped up to say anything or challenge the bill,” Mugisha said. He added that in fact, the Catholic bishops have joined with other Christian groups to support the bill.
Rev. Kaoma also noted that the Ugandan Catholic bishops had a hand in inviting Ed Silvoso of the International Transformation Network, a reparative therapy group, to speak at a conference in Africa.
At the conclusion of the teleconference, it was suggested that the best way that people of faith in Western countries can help the African situation is to ask their church’s leaders to make public statements against the anti-gay legislation.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
Previous Bondings 2.0 posts on Uganda:
June 15, 2012: More Details on Catholic Support for Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill
March 4, 2012: When Will the Pope Speak Out, Too?
December 26, 2011: Breaking the Catholic Silence on LGBT Human Rights Violations
December 23, 2011: A Gay Catholic in Uganda Speaks; Cardinal George Should Listen