U.S. Evangelicals Are Exporting Bigotry to Africa

According to progressive think tank Political Research Associates, American evangelical groups are doing more than just proselytizing overseas. They’re spreading hatred against gays, lesbians, and women, too:

It identified three organisations that it believes are aggressively targeting the continent: [Pat] Robertson’s ACLJ, the Catholic group Human Life International and Family Watch International, led by the Mormon activist Sharon Slater.

In the past five years, the report alleges, all “have launched or expanded Africa-based offices dedicated to promoting their Christian right worldview. A loose network of rightwing charismatic Christians called the transformation movement joins them in fanning the flames of the culture wars over homosexuality and abortion by backing prominent African campaigners and political leaders.

[Author of the report Dr. Kapya] Kaoma believes the American groups are in retreat in the US and so turning to Africa for quick gains.

“They seem to know they are losing the battle in the US, so the best they can do is to be seen to be winning somewhere.

“This gives them a reason to be fundraising in the US. Africa is a pawn in the battle they are fighting at home.”

This is about power and domination for the evangelicals, but it’s a matter of life and death for the women who need abortions and the LGBT people who live in certain African countries. It was only a couple of years ago when Martin Ssempa (the “Eat Da Poo Poo” guy) advocated for a bill that would put homosexuals to death.

The Religious Right has done more than enough damage in America. They need to be stopped before they ruin more countries, too.

(Thanks to Anh for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://heretichusband.blogspot.com/ Heretic Husband

    They seem to be following the same strategy as American tobacco companies – moving their business to an area that hasn’t heard of them yet.

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    Hemant. Why do you hate Africa? Because Jesus.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Africa is the last frontier for Christianity, as it fades out everywhere else.

  • observer

    Religion: creating the disease while selling you the cure.

    • The Other Weirdo

       Not entirely accurate, though. How’s this:

      Religion: creating the disease while selling you the snake oil.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Religion: selling you the disease.

  • TiltedHorizon

    Hunger, poverty, conflict, genocide, civil war, AIDS, and
    the displacement of millions. Now religion… as if more suffering was needed.

    • amycas

       Africa already had religions before the Christian missionaries showed up. I guess adding one more religion doesn’t help though.

      • lokicat3

        Christianity is toxic, because it’s shaming and emphasizes sin and salvation.  It’s anti-woman and promotes violence. 

        • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

          Absolutely true, but to be completely fair, most of the indigenous religions are just as misogynistic. Christianity combined with other supernaturalism can be particularly dangerous, though. I doubt the current “child witch” persecution would exist without the fusion of indigenous and Christian beliefs.

          • lokicat3

            I had a professor who spoke of the Youriba (sp) religion where god was female.  There’s books and websites on women centered or at least equalitarian beliefs.  Check this out http://mamiwata.com/index8/index12.htm

            I’m with you on the witch persecutions, but I think this is found in many parts of the world when hunger, poverty, disease, etc. lead to scapegoating.  Jesus was a scapegoat for the Romans. 

          • NickDB

             A fair number of the original indigenous religious weren’t misogynistic at all :)

            Before christianity a lot of the african, especially around the central areas had a lot of similarities to paganism.

        • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

          Don’t forget that it also promotes child abuse in the form of witch hunts, where a common sign is crying or someone in the house getting sick. The obvious culprit is the child…

      • TiltedHorizon

         oh pish posh, Christianity is the only religion, everything else is superstition, mythology, or just plain wrong.
        ;)

      • Stev84

        The type of folk religion and/or animism they had before there was relatively harmless. Some traditional African religions are monotheistic too, but they never had the extensive dogma extreme focus on morality that western religion is saddled with

    • Stev84

      The AIDS crisis is greatly exacerbated by religious meddling there. Especially from the Catholic Church.

      Some of the wars there have also been religiously motivated. Mali is the latest example. Nigeria also suffers from religious violence lately.

      • TiltedHorizon

        To be honest, “exacerbated”, is not enough, I would call it genocide. The Church converts those it “helps” to Catholicism only to teach congregants in a country ravaged by AIDs that condoms are bad; even as a means of disease prevention. Gee, I wonder how that worked out for the last 22 years….

  • Sam

    The fallout from these groups, and the hate-mongering they bring with them, spreads across the globe. This article http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10816570 is an interview with someone who managed to escape the persecution.

  • Octoberfurst

     As more and more people begin to think for themselves here in the US and become atheist/agnostic the nuts on the Religious Right are looking for greener pastures to spread their bigotry. So they have picked Africa as a place to make their dreams of a Christian theocracy come to life.
      It is interesting to note that the “Kill the Gays” bill that was introduced into Uganda not too long ago was heralded by the Right–until what was in the bill became common knowledge here in America and they faced a backlash—then they quickly backpedaled.
    “What? Who? Us? No, no we had NOTHING to do with it!’ and “We didn’t want gays killed or imprisoned! Heavens no! We LOVE gay people! We just didn’t want them forcing their perverted lifestyle on all those innocent Africans!”  Yeah—right. They had NO IDEA that gays could be executed because of that bill. No, they would have had no problem with it. (After all, it’s in the Bible.)  They just don’t like the idea that they were caught.
      We need to keep a spotlight on those folks to keep them from destroying people’s lives both here and overseas. 

  • Lucilius

    Jeff Sharlet’s reporting on The Family includes a few tidbits on the links between powerful American political figures and the growth of gay-bashing in Africa. It’s not just evangelical groups promoting it there – it’s their legislative allies lavishing U.S. development funding (our tax money) on African politicians who agree to promote this.

  • Nhills

    My goodness, will Africa EVER catch a break?

  • Drew84

    As long as religion has a tax free status and has millions given to them every year by governments they will always use that money to promote their agenda. I would be surprised that religions are keeping the poorest countries in Africa poor cause the more poor people are the most likely religion will have influence in their lives.

    • Drew84

      I noticed the typo I did on the last sentence so I will redo it. 
      I wouldn’t be surprised that religions are keeping the poorest countries in Africa poor cause the more poor people are the most likely religion will have influence in their lives.

  • ck03

    So the Catholics are pushing for Africans to go after and kill homosexuals, but they have not put any of their male priests to death for loving on little boys…?  Apparently men sexually assaulting boys is not homosexual behavior. 

    Insults aside, what do we do to stop it?

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    The old formula for taking over an African nation was $50,000 and a satellite phone. $50K for the two containers full of second-hand AK47s and ammunition for your army of followers, and a satellite phone to call Antwerp et. al. to sell contracts to the natural resources in the country in which you just led a bloody coup.

    I guess the Religious Right just updated that formula. $50,000, hatred for Gays and a satellite phone to Jesus. And it’ll be just as bloody.

  • Coyotenose

    Note the comments in the Martin Ssempa video: MaryD has been posting bigoted lies on this website for at minimum two years now, and was defending policies that are explicitly murderous to her fellow human beings. Scum.

  • amny

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW…FOLLOWED A LINK TO THIS SITE AND BOY!! I FEEL SO DIRTY JUST READING THIS HATFUL TRASH…BLAAAH,SHOUD RE-NAME THIS MEHTA’S CESSPOOL.COM

  • NickDB

    Luckily we’re fighting the good fight over here too :)

     

  • NickDB

    Luckily atheist communities are growing here in Africa too.

    Fortunately in South Africa we have it a lot easier, most of my work colleagues
    barely lifted an eyebrow when I came out, and haven’t noticed a difference in
    attitude at all. Either I’m very fortunate, or it’s just not a big deal here,
    although I do live and work in a predominately English area, which seems to
    have the same attitude as the UK about religion.

    That been said, the religious do seem to be getting a bit more uppity, but
    it is encouraging that my religious mates often beat me to telling them to shut
    up and butt out.
    We do have contacts with atheist groups in the rest of Africa, and they
    do need support and encouragement. Coming out in some countries means a lot
    more than just losing your job and friends, it can mean losing your life.

  • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

    Can we please stop referring to these bigots as the “Religious Right”? There is nothing “right” about them.


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