Anti-Gay Evangelical Group Gets Public Funding for Work in Uganda

An Ontario-based evangelical group that describes homosexuality as a “perversion” has received funding from the government of Canada to complete a series of projects in Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal and may soon be punishable by death.

Crossroads Christian Communications received $544,813 in government funding to travel to Uganda and help dig wells, build latrines, and promote hygiene awareness through next year. But the group’s attitudes toward homosexuality are oddly similar to statements made by homophobic Ugandan legislators, especially with regards to the proposed “Kill the Gays” bill that would potentially allot the death penalty to LGBT Ugandans.

According to the Ottawa Citizen:

Until Tuesday, the organization’s website carried a list of “sexual sins” deemed to be “perversion”: “Turning from the true and/or proper purpose of sexual intercourse; misusing or abusing it, such as in pedophilia, homosexuality and lesbianism, sadism, masochism, transvestism, and bestiality.”

Lower down the page, the group asks sinners to “repent.”

“God cares too much for you (and all of His children) to leave such tampering and spiritual abuse unpunished,” according to the group’s website.

Just hours after The Canadian Press contacted the group to ask a spokesperson about the site, the page in question disappeared from public view.

Canadian officials have denounced Uganda’s anti-gay climate before. Canadian Foreign Minister John Bairn and Ugandan speaker Rebecca Kadaga quarreled last year at a meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Quebec over Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which Kadaga has promised to pass:

When Mr Bairn warned Uganda not to trample on people’s human rights, Ms Kadaga replied: “If homosexuality is a value for the people of Canada they should not seek to force Uganda to embrace it. We are not a colony or a protectorate of Canada.”

The text of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill asserts that it is “protecting the traditional family” and recognizes that “same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic.”

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at

  • 7Footpiper

    I’m sad that my country would fund this, because we all know that digging wells and building latrines comes with a big fat smattering of proselytising. The trampling of others human right in the name of dog because he loves us so very much is something I don’t want Canada to be involved with.

  • TerraCognition

    It’s an outrage that our taxpayer money is going to fund this type of disgusting discrimination.

    Also, nitpick: the Foreign Minister’s name is John Baird.

  • Lynda

    Just a follow-up to the post, funding has been stopped upon further investigation. That said, I can’t wait for the next election. Please, please lets get the Conservative gov’t out of power. Sigh.

  • LesterBallard

    Is “Canada” another way of saying “Bible Belt”?

  • Paul Little

    Canada is a generally tolerant place. Like anywhere, there are pockets of twelfth century attitudes, but on average, we’re good people. Not immune to mistakes, but good people.

  • Paul Little

    The fact of the Conservative government in Canada is a direct reflection of the lack of any reasonable alternative. Let’s wait and see if the Liberals can elect a good leader, and successfully put the last twenty years behind them, and there may be an alternative in the next election. Although, given the Liberal track record in recent memory, I am not holding my breath.

  • Dorothy

    there are pockets that are religious in certain areas. Small areas within individual provinces that could be known as ‘bible belts’. We have one here in southern Manitoba. But generally speaking Canada is much less religious than the US. Within christianity, there is far less evangelicalism and fundamentalism, and there is also more diversity of religion ie more people who are members of non-christian religions.

  • Wild Rumpus

    Unfortunately, our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is a member of the very fundamentalist East Gate Alliance Church

    Some of their beliefs include, “There shall be a bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust; for the former, a resurrection unto life; for the latter, a resurrection unto judgment.”

  • Thalfon

    Just to add to what the others said, the current government is relatively religious (I mean, our current science minister is a creationist, of all things). It should be noted, though, that that’s probably not why they were elected; in fact, religion played a rather small role, if any.

    The liberal party, who would have been their main opposition, basically imploded themselves with a terrible campaign. Meanwhile Quebec got sick of the separatist party Bloc Quebecois, and almost utterly wiped them from the house of commons. That left the Conservatives and the NDP, and the NDP was never a big runner up until then. Hence, Conservative victory, almost a gimme.

    It might also be worth noting that the political climate’s a bit different than the US. In the US you have a lot of people who are solidly either “blue” or “red” (and of course, many others who are not). Serious supporters of one party or the other. But you hardly see that in Canada, or at least certainly not on the same scale. Nearly everyone here agrees that they’re all rubbish, and you’re just trying to pick the least rubbish one. You won’t meet many people who have something nice to say about whomever they voted for, whether it’s Liberal, NDP, Conservative or otherwise.

  • Trickster Goddess

    A correction for you (and the BBC), the Foreign Minister’s name is Baird, not Bairn.

    Also, he was accidentally outed as gay by a fellow Conservative several years ago.

  • Neal Lindberg

    Update: they will grant Crossroads the fund anyway

    A conservative Christian organization preaches against homosexuality and same-sex marriage, calling them sins? YAWN… if we’ve never heard of this before. That’s what all the conservative Christians believe…add Muslims, Jews (Judaism) and Mormons to that too as well because they believe the exact same thing.

    The religious right is crazy in their attempt to force their religious beliefs on the secular society on same-sex marriage. Yea, some extremist morons in the US’ Bible Belt want gays electrocuted, Westboro wants everyone else in hell, and kids of same-sex parents being kidnapped, etc, but those are fringe idiots. Still, in western countries like Canada…opposition to SSM doesn’t equal a demand for death penalty. In fact, same-sex marriage is LEGAL in Canada, so Canadian LGBT is in a comfortable place, IN THIS RESPECT. Same-sex marriage opponents in Canada are nowhere as vocal compared to their US counterparts. As a Canadian, to my knowledge there’s been no attempt by any religious right organizations (including Crossroads) or even the evangelical PM Stephen Harper, to legally ban same-sex marriage or even reopen the debate.

    ALL conservative Christians believe homosexuality is sinful, but the vast majority don’t ask for criminalization. You hear debates on legalization of same-sex marriage in western countries instead, they’re related issues, but different. The attempt to connect the anti-poverty mission with that despicable bill just because both take place in the same country = desperate media sensationalism by some of these Cdn politicians and their media. Unless there are proofs that Crossroads helps the Ugandan parliaments to pass that evil bill or encourage the people they help to kill the gays, I say, let them do the charity projects—it’s a good cause. Again, given that most religions find homosexuality sinful, are you gonna close all the churches, mosques, and synagogues? I know atheists dream of a world without religion, but the separation b/w church of state will get in the way

  • Neal Lindberg

    Harper is likely to disagree with same-sex marriage. Look at the facts in our country (I’m Canadian too) though, is same-sex marriage legal? YES IT IS…Harper’s been PM for several years, and there’s no attempt by him to ban same-sex marriage. I;m no fan of Harper, but I’m just saying…
    Don’t respect the beliefs of those you disagree with, but respect the SEPARATION b/w church and state.

  • Neal Lindberg

    Promoting hygiene awareness, building wells, building latrines, and giving the poor Ugandans access to clean water is a disgusting discrimination? Isn’t that where the money is going? Hey, if the Cdn government finds evidence that Crossroads collude with the “Kill the gays” bill lawmaker, then I’m all for bringing this organization to justice. Then get an alternative organization take Crossroads’ place in the Uganda project.
    Have you been living under a rock in Canada? Do you realize same-sex marriage is legal? Harper’s gov’t and religious organizations (including Crossroads) in Canada haven’t attempted to re-ban same-sex marriage. There’s a separation between church and state: both sides don’t have to like the other party’s beliefs, but they can’t interfere with each other on what to believe. This means the religious belief by some groups that “homosexuality is a sin” and the legality of same-sex marriage in our country (I’m Canadian) can co-exist…in fact it has been that way for years. This is what the separation between church and state should look like.

  • Pattrsn

    Harper did try to reban same sex marriage, he found that he just couldn’t get away with it. And why the fuck would you think that Crossroads wouldn’t be spreading hate in Uganda when they’re doing it here? How fucking clueless are you that you expect s to believe that Crossroads isn’t going to be proselytizing in Uganda?

  • Pattrsn

    Because there aren’t any non-hate spreading organizations able to do do charity work in Uganda. So we should stick with the group that’s actively promoting evil in a country mired in genocidal madness.

  • newavocation

    I think the word ‘tolerant’ like so many other religious terms needs to be refined. In addition to the ‘what’ we also need the ‘when’ and ‘where’. You put up with a crying baby on a bus, but you would not be expected to put up with that same crying baby in a movie theater.

  • rustygh

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around 500 something thousand dollars to dig pits and show people how to wash themselves? These groups are a bunch of robbers! Spend a year come like a king.

  • The Other Weirdo

    And be replaced by what alternative? I suppose there’s Bob I-am-NDP-no-wait-I-am-Liberal Rae. I don’t even know who the current NDP leader is, not that they even have a national platform other than THIS! IS! KYOTO! There’s a reason the country handed the Conservatives a majority in the last Fed election. True, the NDP made significant gains then, but that was mostly on the strength of one man’s personality and he’s dead now.

  • Guillaume Bérubé

    NPD leader is Mulcair an actually credible politician. Hes keeping Quebecers interested in the NPD wich is an exploit.

  • Camorris

    I agree with your concern, but I won’t go so far as calling the group a bunch of robbers. I expect the members are convinced they are doing God’s work, but I don’t see it that way.

    What I would like to know is how will this government money be used? Will it be for flying volunteers to Uganda so they can physically participate in the manual work? If so, then I have to ask if there is no native of Uganda who knows how to do this?

    Does the government of Uganda not have the knowledge and resources to provide these services? In my opinion our tax payers’ dollars would be better used by helping the Uganda government to train and subsidize local people so they can have employment providing their own services.

  • Erp

    The government in Uganda is better known for a lot of aid money ending up in politicians’ bank accounts. It would be better for good non-hating NGO groups of Ugandans to be supported (there are some small humanist groups who are presumably not pushing the anti-gay measures though they are mostly supporting a few schools not latrines). There are also a handful of Christians who are pushing back (and handful seems quite literal) though at least one has been punished by their church (e.g., retired Anglican Bishop Ssenyonjo who was stripped of his titles and his retirement benefits by the Archbishop).

  • Neal Lindberg

    I’m not clueless about that attempt, but gay relationships are already illegal in Uganda, “kill the gays bill” or not. Most Ugandans..85% are already if they proselytize they might as well preach to the choir.
    The truth of the matter is that same-sex marriage is still legal in Canada. Harper couldn’t get away with his attempt? Good for the country! That’s how separation of church and state should look like. The thing is, same-sex marriage is still untouched although I’m not surprised if some idiots in the Conservative Party secretly want it rebanned. Personally, I have no issue with state-sanctioned gay marriage and I find it dumb when Christians force their views on the gov’t.

  • Shoebutton

    Our present conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, hired a bunch of George W.s’ cronies and is presently slashing through our environmental laws, muzzling our scientists ,and trying to destroy the laws for women’s’ choices and gay rights based on his Evangelistic ideology. It is like he is tearing down a dyke by puncturing a little hole here, a bigger one over there, so it is hard to see the small trickles until the dyke bursts through.I have disliked what past governments have done, but I have never both loathed and feared a government before.

  • Neal Lindberg

    Take the chick-fil-a debacle as an example. I spoke to a gay man who ended up boycotting the restaurant…he told me he was still alright when Dan Cathy “supported traditional marriage” (The Cathys are known to be committed conservative Christians—that they morally oppose same-sex marriage has always been an open secret), but he had enough when it was disclosed that some of the revenues went to Exodus Int’l. That’s the lens by which I view this “Crossroadsgate.” We can’t do anything about what people believe, but we need to hold them accountable with WHATTHEY DO with that belief.
    Let’s not even go as far as some charity work overseas. Look within the country. Muslims are allowed to worship freely in Canada…gov’t guarantees that, most Canadians have no issues with Muslims being Muslims or whether they’re Sunni or Shi’ite. But, if any Cdn Muslim groups pull a Toronto 18 again, then the group must be brought to justice.

    Too be honest why are we still shocked that conservative Christians morally oppose homosexuality? That’s as obvious as how blue the sky is at daytime. Feel free to disagree and disrespect the belief of the religious groups, but gov’t can’t tell religious groups what to believe. Religious groups on the other hand can’t enforce their teachings as the law of the nation. W/ same-sex marriage, religious institutions are free to believe what they believe…whether it’s sinful or not and they are free to marry whatever couples they want to marry…gov’t can’t coerce them marry same-sex couples should they don’t believe in it. These religions shouldn’t be able to coerce the gov’t to ban legal gay marriage. The non-interference b/w church and state goes both ways no ifs , ands, or buts.

    As I’ve said before in an earlier reply to you, to my knowledge Crossroads have made no attempt to re-ban same-sex marriage in the country in spite of their belief. So, they’ve stuck to their end of the bargain in respecting the separation b/w church and state. I also said to you in another reply, most Ugandans are Christians, the law doesn’t permit same-sex relationship already so what need is there for Crossroads to spread hatred when hatred is already widespread in Uganda? Do you think, for example, if there are Muslim missionaries from Saudi Arabia, they will go to another Muslim-majority country like Indonesia to proselytize? Makes no sense. Most churches that do work in Africa, to my knowledge, do these sort of charity works and they help to plant churches/ help churches that are already there. Theologically, they’ve already believed the same thing. Ugandans in general and Ugandan Christians are not as clueless as westerners think they are about what the traditional position of the Bible is on homosexuality.

  • Neal Lindberg

    Then non-hate groups in Canada should start asking the gov’t for funding so that the hate groups don’t do their work. The problem is, unless gov’t rejects their proposals already behind the scene & we citizens don’t know, where are they in the context of this Crossroadsgate?

  • Neal Lindberg

    Is this why you accused him of attempting to reban same-sex marriage? Look, if Harper had at least OFFICIALLY tried to reban it, it would’ve been a MAJOR news in the country. I don’t remember that and this news link is as close as it gets

  • Shoebutton

    Harper’s way is to do small, incremental things .There is now the Freedom of Religion office, and they still haven’t announced what it’s mandate it.Killing bill C398 which would have provided generic drugs to Africa, but it would have helped people with HIV aids.( Side note: a man named Stephen Lewis has given talks on this. Not only does the cocktail prolong life, it prevents infection to partners .We actually have an opportunity to get rid of this scourge.). It will be death by a million sneaky cuts.
    I apologize for ranting today., but I am so angry and upset with this government.

  • Camorris

    If the graft is prevalent as you suggest, then why not subsidize Ugandan villagers to come to the west for training so they can return and do the work themselves? It’s the same story about giving a man a fish as opposed to teaching him how to fish.

  • Mark W.

    The Canadian Foreign Minister’s name is John Baird. He may be a loudmouth imbecile, but he still deserves to have his name spelled correctly. Besides what if some poor schmuck is actually named John Bairn, people will now associate that poor guy with the idiot from Ottawa.

  • chicago dyke

    oh, don’t kid yourself. they’ll likely dig something like two wells and spend the rest of their mission “work” talking about jeebus. and sleeping with the locals, if not raping their children too.

    sort of like Rmoney’s mission “work” in France.

    a lot of these mission outfits are total scams and sometimes downright evil. did you hear about the christian group that went to “help” orphans after the Haiti earthquake disaster? turns out they were to steal children, orphaned or not, to work as slaves in rich xtian homes. they got busted coming back into the US, but i doubt they were the only ones.

  • Tim

    Come on Canada – WTF!

    You are supposed to be the good guys – Eh?