Uganda: The other shoe drops

According to this article from Ugandan news source, New Vision, a bill was introduced and then tabled in the Ugandan parliament yesterday.

The bill would make homosexual relations with someone under 18 punishable by the death penalty.

Here’s more:

The Bill, entitled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, also states that anyone who commits the offence of homosexuality will be liable to life imprisonment.

This was already the case under the current Penal Code Act.

However, it gives a broader definition of the offence of homosexuality.

A person charged with the offence will have to undergo a mandatory medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.

The bill further states that anybody who “attempts to commit the offence” is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

“The same applies to anybody who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality” or anybody who keeps a house or room for the purpose of homosexuality.

The bill also proposes stiff sentences for people promoting homosexuality.

They risk a fine of sh100m or prison sentences of five to seven years.

This applies to people who produce, publish or distribute pornographic material for purposes of promoting homosexuality, fund or sponsor homosexuality.

Where the offender is a business or NGO, its certificate of registration will be cancelled and the director will be liable to seven years in prison.

Failure to disclose the offence within 24 hours of knowledge makes somebody liable to a maximum sh5m fine or imprisonment of up to three years.

This chilling development was promised by those who promoted the ex-gay conference back in the Spring which featured three Americans, Scott Lively, Don Schmeirer and Caleb Brundidge. Lively backed measures to keep homosexuality illegal at the time.

This bill would make ex-gay ministry such as promoted by the conference impossible as just knowing about someone who is gay could lead to fines or imprisonment.

For previous posts, click here.

Another article on the bill. Boxturtlebulletin has the text of the bill. Here is a plank justifying the harsh measures:

This legislation further recognizes the fact that same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic and that people who experience this mental disorder can and have changed to a heterosexual orientation.  It also recognizes that because homosexuals are not born that way, but develop this disorder based on experiences and environmental conditions, it is preventable, especially among young people who are most vulnerable to recruitment into the homosexual lifestyle.

I don’t think one’s view of etiology matters in the context of freedom. Determined or not, people are free to engage in relationships as adults and of course the state should protect minors. However, it now seems clearer than ever that the ex-gay conference was designed to give the government cover for the line of thinking presented in this bill. All involved in the ex-gay conference presented out-dated, easily falsified information in the Kampala conference. All involved have refused to bring their theories under the scrutiny of science and research. What if the Americans who went to Uganda presented accurate information about homosexuality to the Ugandan authorities? Would the authors of this bill been able to present this inadequate view of etiology unchallenged?

UPDATE from the BBC:

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  • Michael Bussee

    Has Exodus spoken on this development? I know Exodus has miniscule power, but it still has great responsibility.

  • Michael Bussee

    “chilling”

  • David Blakeslee

    There has been so much damage done…and it is horrifying that it is fueled by Christians.

  • http://randythomas.info Randy

    I am totally speaking on my own behalf here.

    Warren said

    This bill would make ex-gay ministry such as promoted by the conference impossible as just knowing about someone who is gay could lead to fines or imprisonment.

    Agreed… there is so many violations of freedom and the right to self-determination here. I agree pursuing sex with minors should be an offense but not punishable by death. Good grief this is astounding! Private property rights, personal body rights, unfair stigmatization, duty to warn turned into duty to punish and much more … alllll kinds of wrong on many levels. It’s heartbreaking.

    Not sure that a statement from Exodus will happen. As for the past, Don never needed our permission to spend his own money to attend a non-Exodus conference to talk about topics from his books. He is one of the most caring people I have ever met and am glad those folks had a kind person to minister to them. That said I’ll be praying for doors to open for ways to try and speak love and redemption into what is obviously a very hostile environment.

  • Michael Bussee

    Not sure that a statement from Exodus will happen

    Of course it won’t. I expect nada. Zero. Zip. Nothing. Not even if I hound them mercilessly. Even though they sent a rep to the Uganda conference. Guilt by association only applies to democratic presidential appointees.

  • Michael Bussee

    Back in March of this year, Box Turtle Bulletin commented:

    “To date, we’ve not heard back from Alan (Chambers) as to whether he, Schmierer, and the rest of the Exodus leadership denounce the theme of Schmierer’s conference or if they too endorse criminalization of homosexuality and forced ex-gay therapy. Until we hear otherwise, we must assume that their silence is an indication that their board member is representing them in Uganda and that they endorse the positions taken by the conference.”

    On March 10, I called the EXODUS office about this. The receptionist was unaware of the conference, put me on hold and then this: “EXODUS has no statement at this time.”

    Why not? As Eddy said about Jennings,

    “If he’s not connected…not endorsing…not in favor…then it should be a very easy statement to make. Why, in the light of the circumstances I listed in my last post, is there such resistance to this simple request?

    To me, this is way more important than whether or not Jennings did or did not give more advice than “wear a condom” to a boy who may or my not have existed and may or may not have been having sex with an adult. The boy who says he is him, may or may not even be him and he says “No.”

    As Warren said, this bill “would make ex-gay ministry such as promoted by the conference impossible as just knowing about someone who is gay could lead to fines or imprisonment.” What would happen to Gay Christians? Or Christians who admit that they are still SSA? And wouldn’t ex-gays be vulnerable too? How on earth would they prove they are not still gay?

  • Lynn David

    Warren said…. This bill would make ex-gay ministry such as promoted by the conference impossible as just knowing about someone who is gay could lead to fines or imprisonment.

    No it wouldn’t… the sanctimonious and self-righteous always get a free ride in such a culture. Those seeking a way out via a ministry would be protected by such a ministry….. they’d just better not fail.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    “…they just better not fail.”

    That is one of many problems with thinking that any serious approach could work. It would be a sham at best. Those who “failed” would be served up to the authorities and others would lie or never come in again.

    I will be watching to see if any American ex-gay entities partner in any way with a Ugandan ministry. It should not happen. My guess is that Richard Cohen will be in line based on his recent newsletter…More about that soon….

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Randy – Thanks for your comments.

    Please note the update to this post. I think a start for Exodus to have a redemptive approach to this situation would be to issue a statement in opposition to the bill indicating the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience.

  • Eddy

    Randy–

    Thanks for dropping by to comment. Is there any way to prompt Don to make a statement about why he went to Uganda and how this isn’t how he intended his visit to play out?

    Michael–

    You quoted me correctly but it seems you didn’t fully comprehend the second sentence that you quoted:

    Why, in the light of the circumstances I listed in my last post, is there such resistance to this simple request?

    Those circumstances went beyond the ‘Fleming/Brewster’ incident. They included a GLSEN talk to teens where it was suggested that ‘fisting’ had been given a bad rap and was actually an extremely intimate behavior and a questionaire (again directed to teens) he endorsed that asks, in essence, ‘how do you know you’re not gay until you give it a try?’ Jennings has a pattern of ambiguous response to teens and sex and also seems to think very highly of Hay without any statement re Hay’s very public support of teen sex with older men. To date, we’ve not been able to unearth a single comment from Jennings that suggests any restrictions whatsoever on gay teen sex.

    Now, on to Uganda. For whatever the statement would be worth, I hope EXODUS makes one; I believe that Don Lively NEEDS to.

    There is a distinction between EXODUS and Jennings that I’d like to point out. On the Jennings issue our complaint is that there’s evidence of a somewhat ambiguous stand and no statements from which we can determine his actual point of view. Exodus, however, has a very clear statement on violence as a response to human behavior (I think we can agree that state-sanctioned execution is a form of violence). Their ‘Bullying Statement’ actually goes beyond addressing bullying in the schools. I believe the second paragraph gives a clear indication of their distance from the Uganda policies. Still, I agree, that for whatever it’s worth, I do hope they’ll take this opportunity to further clarify their position re not singling out any individual or group for unique persecution and to include Warren’s emphasis re ‘the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience’.

    Exodus International affirms that gay-identified individuals and those who struggle with same-sex attraction are persons for whom Jesus Christ died and loves equally. Therefore, we strongly oppose bullying, name calling and acts of aggression against any individual or group of individuals for any reason. These actions have no place in our society and we must, instead, affirm behavior that validates the personal worth and dignity God bestows upon every human being.

    In addition, every individual deserves equal protection and every offender should receive equal punishment. We call upon other organizations concerned with preserving the essential equality of all individuals to exhibit impartiality in their policies, rather than singling out some for special treatment.

  • Eddy

    oops.Don’s last name isn’t Lively. …I think….

    I hadn’t planned to comment on this thread until Michael brought me into it.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    and to include Warren’s emphasis re ‘the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience’.

    Yes, a whole ‘nother can of worms.

  • Mary

    This is just scarey.

  • Michael Bussee

    I think a start for Exodus to have a redemptive approach to this situation would be to issue a statement in opposition to the bill indicating the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience.

    Any Exodus allies here who would be willing to call Alan Chambers and suggest this?

    I believe the second paragraph gives a clear indication of their distance from the Uganda policies.

    Eddy, I practically helped write the first parahraph of their bullying statement, with Alan sending me drafts of it as they went along — after I pushed like hell for them to do it. It was like pulling teeth — deeply impacted teeth.

    The second paragraph was added after Alan and I spoke, and its intent was to express opposition to any “special” rights for gays. It hardly “gives a clear indication of their distance from the Uganda policies.”

  • Michael Bussee

    In addition, every individual deserves equal protection and every offender should receive equal punishment. We call upon other organizations concerned with preserving the essential equality of all individuals to exhibit impartiality in their policies, rather than singling out some for special treatment.

    This does not cry out against what is being proposed by Uganda. All it says is that “every individual and every offender deserves equal justice and equal punishment.” So as long as Uganda applied their proposed opressive laws impartially…?

    It should be known that Alan was very resistant to the bullying statement because he thought I wanted him to issue a statement in favor of Hate Crime laws. I think he finally wrote it just to shut me up.

    Alan added the second paragraph (without my knowledge and after I told him the first paragraph was pretty good) because he did not want Exodus’s bullying statement to sound as though Exodus was in favor of Hate Crime laws — since he views those as given unequal protection and unequal punishment.

  • Michael Bussee

    So Debbie, are you going to call Alan? Will you, Eddy? Mary? David? Warren?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    Not sure Alan needs a call from me…Randy has checked in here and I’m sure he and Alan will be touching base on this if they haven’t already.

    One reason I won’t be calling is that I don’t want to give you the excuse of saying that ‘he only responded after being barraged by telephone calls and emails that I inspired’.

    And, mostly, I won’t heckle EXODUS any further until I get a report back from you as to how your requests to Jennings for a ‘distancing statement’ went.

  • Michael Bussee

    One reason I won’t be calling is that I don’t want to give you the excuse of saying that ‘he only responded after being barraged by telephone calls and emails that I inspired’.

    So you won’t do the right thing because you don’t want me to take any credit? Lame, Eddy.

    And, mostly, I won’t heckle EXODUS any further until I get a report back from you as to how your requests to Jennings for a ‘distancing statement’ went.

    Will you do it if I send you proof that I did?

  • Michael Bussee

    I intend to send a request for Jennings to clarify TODAY if Warren will supply a link. WIll you do the same? I will do it even if you won’t. I am not worried about it looking like you heckled me into doing it.

  • Michael Bussee

    You don’t even have to call Alan or email him. Post it here. I am sure it will get to him. Warren already did:

    I think a start for Exodus to have a redemptive approach to this situation would be to issue a statement in opposition to the bill indicating the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience.

  • Michael Bussee

    How about,

    Eddy and I, even though we come from different sides of the “gay/ex-gay” issue, with no pressure from each other to do so, willingly, on the basis of our own inidividual conscience, today call upon Exodus to issue a statement in opposition to the bill — indicating the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience.

    How about well ALL do this. I don’t want any credit, for Christ’s sake. It’s the right thing to do.

  • Michael Bussee

    I hadn’t planned to comment on this thread until Michael brought me into it.

    Why not, Eddy? Doesn’t it warrant one?

  • Michael Bussee

    If I were still ex-gay, still with Exodus and still on the Board, I would have resigned over something like this. Now I will let it drop. I will not call, email or harras Alan. That just tends to make him dig in his heels — as it has in the past.

    EIther Exodus will do the right thing — as Warren has suggested — or they will not. If they don’t, it speaks volumes about their lack of moral courage. Enough said. You know where I stand. Let’s see where they stand.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    1) I already said that I would. I don’t have a reputation as a liar so please accept my original statement as the truth.

    2) You’ve really got no business why I would choose not to engage in a conversation but since you asked…No, I didn’t plan to get involved in this particular conversation because I was already in way too deep with the Jennings’ threads…an awful lot of conversation and–guess what–as usual, NOTHING accomplished. And I’ve still been digging and reading on that one. Disillusioned with people thinking that talking equals action and feeling a need to sort through my own issues there. And, then, and God please forgive my sin of not wanting to post a comment, I’ve got some personal life stuff occupying me in the real world…horribly shallow stuff like prepping for tonight’s karoake. So, I was going to stay involved in the Jennings’ conversations and try to go into ‘read mode’ only for anything new for the weekend. Had no idea that my silence on a topic was fuel for speculation. Hmmm…people reading into silence…now where were we talking about that?????

  • Michael Bussee

    1) I already said that I would. I don’t have a reputation as a liar so please accept my original statement as the truth.

    Not imply that you are a liar. I must have missed where you said you would or already had. I can’t find it. Glad to hear that you have or that you will. I took your

    “One reason I won’t be calling is that I don’t want to give you the excuse of saying that ‘he only responded after being barraged by telephone calls and emails that I inspired’.”

    to mean that you hadn’t called and wouldn’t be calling. I am confused again.

    What I am saying is that, not only would it be the RIGHT thing morally for Exodus to do, bu it would seem to be in Exodus’s OWN self-interest to issue such a statement, since as Warren pointed out, these laws would make “ex-gay” ministries an impossibility there.

  • Michael Bussee

    Wondering out loud. How many of the groups of individuals who are objecting to Jennings will also object to this — and just as loudly?

  • Michael Bussee

    Just found this on Alan’s blog:

    So what’s the answer in these countries? I don’t know. Sadly, there seems to be no good way to respond because coming at this from a Christian viewpoint in Muslim countries is pointless. And while others jump on the bandwagon of the United Nations and government sanctions I cannot support going in to a country and forcing them to deal with this issue as the gay activist community would suggest.

    No good way? Pointless? How sad. You speak up because it’s the right thing to do — even if you think it will do no good. No one is suggesting “going into a country and forcing them” to do anything. Just a public, official statement from Exodus — along the lines of what Warren suggested, and not just comments on your personal blogs.

    Make it clear where Exodus stands, officially, as an organization (even with its miniscule power). A simple press release would do. Alan knows how to write one.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    In my brief post where I answered your challenge to a number of us re contacting Alan, here’s my closing sentence:

    And, mostly, I won’t heckle EXODUS any further until I get a report back from you as to how your requests to Jennings for a ‘distancing statement’ went.

    I used plain English. Please read it as conventional English. If I say, I’m not going to use my umbrella until it rains…doesn’t that say that I AM going to use my umbrella when it rains. I’m beginning to get very frustrated with whatever filter you’re using that obscures common English comprehension. It’s very wearying to have to say things over and over again because somehow the first common English usage eludes you.

    LOL. And you’re always at your unbiased best when you feel the need to ‘wonder out loud’ for our benefit. As a number of us have stated time and time again, you can judge us for hypocrisy if we demonstrate it, but we won’t answer for the hypocrisy that goes on ‘out there’…we detest it too. Hypocrisy is an unfortunate fact of life, I don’t plan to let it become the focus of every uncomfortable conversation.

  • Michael Bussee

    I cannot support going in to a country and forcing them to deal with this issue as the gay activist community would suggest. — Alan Chambers

    Did I miss something? Has the gay activist community actually suggested going into Uganda and forcing them to do anything?

  • Michael Bussee

    Sorry Eddy, My ability to understand plain English must be getting really bad. When you said you “wouldn’t heckle Exodus any further” and “”wouldn’t be calling” did that mean you had already contacted Exodus? Sorry if I misunderstood. Have you calledf him or not?

  • Michael Bussee

    I know it seems very plain to you, and maybe I am getting a touch of pre-senile dementia. Is it: (1) I have already made such a call to Alan, (2) I will not be making such a call to Alan because I don’t want it to look like Michael heckled me into it, (3) I will make a call once Michael proves that he has made his to Jennings? Just a number would help me. 1,2 or 3?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    Please stop! It doesn’t matter. I’ve already stated that I’ve got other things on my agenda for today and I haven’t the patience to play nit-picky word games with you.

    I’ve made it clear that if you contact Jennings requesting that he ‘distance himself’ from endorsing adolescent sexual engagement and especially NAMBLA, that I would counter with contacting Alan re Exodus making a statement. It honestly doesn’t matter whether I’ve already done that once…I haven’t…not on this issue…but I have gone to him with several others that I picked up here at the blog and I’ve said that I will appeal to him if you appeal to Jennings. That’s the focus. No trick wording. A simple conditional exchange. Got it? I hope so. I plan to be karaoke focussed for the duration of the day.

  • Michael Bussee

    OK. I wasn’t playing a game and did not intend to be nit-picky. I really wasn’t clear on what you had already done or would do. NOW it is clear. I will go first. I got it. Got to tell ya, though, the “I will if you will” seems kinda like a game Think we BOTH should do what’s right regardless of what the other is doing.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Warren, on what are basing your statement about the problems for those working in ex-gay ministry in Uganda if the bill in question were to be considered and passed?

  • Michael Bussee

    Debbie: All I know is if the ex-gays there “fall” they could go to prison for life — or if someone suspects they may still be homosexual, they will be “will be liable to life imprisonment”.

    “Failure to disclose the offence within 24 hours of knowledge makes somebody liable to a maximum sh5m fine or imprisonment of up to three years.”

    That would be YOU if you failed to report that someone had committed “the offence”. Three years for not turning in a struggler. Will YOU call Alan?

  • Michael Bussee

    Does the proposed law exempt “ex-gay ministry workers” if they don’t report the “fall”? You see, groups like Exodus can only exist where gayness (and not reporting it) is not a crime. Warren said,

    However, it now seems clearer than ever that the ex-gay conference was designed to give the government cover for the line of thinking presented in this bill.

    It doesn’t matter that the EXODUS board member paid his own way to get there or wasn’t speaking on behalf of Exodus. Whether he intended to or not, he played a part in “giving the government cover”. Exodus needs to make it very clear that they oppose this.

  • Michael Bussee

    I am sure every Exodus Board member has a computer with email. Several have their own blogs. Draft a statement — a press release — and send to to each other for comment and revision. Then issue it. Even if it’s not unanimous.

    It’s what we would have done if we Exodus Board members had had internet back in the 1970′s. The statement would have been swift and clear. And I would have dumped Exodus then — even as an “ex-gay” — if they had failed to do so.

    I think a start for Exodus to have a redemptive approach to this situation would be to issue a statement in opposition to the bill indicating the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience. — Warren Throckmorton

    Sometimes, it seems that Exodus refuses to do the right thing because “gay activists” push for it. They don’t want to be seen as supporting a “gay agenda”. For fear of looking too “pro-gay”, they sometimes fail to do the right thing. I hope they don’t do it this time.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    “Failure to disclose the offence within 24 hours of knowledge makes somebody liable to a maximum sh5m fine or imprisonment of up to three years.”

    Well, that’s pretty clear, Michael. Thanks. As for somebody approaching Alan, as Eddy said, Randy has already weighed in here (unofficially), and he certainly would be the one to do that. I can’t imagine Alan doesn’t already know just what is going on. It’s beyond outrageous.

    I already have one request in to Alan (about a feedback/accountability tool for affiliate ministries), as you may recall. Let’s see how he does with that one.

    Uganda certainly is a walking contradiction, isn’t it? They were the first African country to substantially reduce their HIV rates through the ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful, Condoms) approach. Now this?

  • Michael Bussee

    Debbie, I am tired of people from Exodus weighing in “unofficially”. Maybe I am too hot-headed and impulsive, but I would have taken the risk and said:

    “I think I speak on behalf on my colleagues at Exodus that this is a chilling and outrageous development. I think I can safely say that Exodus strongly opposes such a thing.”

    And what if the other Board members and affiliates did not agree with that? So what? What would Exodus do to me if I had said such a thing? If I had gone out on a limb and denounced this — not just with a first name or privately, in an off -the-record sort of way, but boldly? Would I be kicked off the Board or punished in some way?

    Maybe we would be praising Exodus’s “take-the-risk-and-do-the-right-thing” tactic instead of bugging them to take some sort of official action and then getting the same old stall tactics and excuses.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I hear you, Michael. We all do. There is a right thing to do here. Alan and others at Exodus know that. You are tired of giving them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s cool our heels about it for a bit, shall we? Your indignation has been duly noted. Thanks.

  • Michael Bussee

    In fact, by now, 30+ years after its creation, you would think that Exodus would have long ago created a number of official statements covering such things as bullying, hate crimes, criminalization of homosexuality, etc., that they could just re-issue at times like these.

    Damn, I wish I was still on the Board! We could get those things done within a month — and never have to be hounded and heckled again by the likes of someone like me — to say how Exodus stands on these issues.

    Our stand on criminalization? Right here. Our stand on forced treatment? Right here? Bullying? Civil rights? Same. Easy. These issues are not new issues. I find myself scratching my head — hard — as to why Exodus hasn’t already done this — years ago. They could have saved themselves a lot of aggravation.

  • Michael Bussee

    Let’s cool our heels about it for a bit, shall we? Your indignation has been duly noted. Thanks

    OK. I will if you guys will about Jennings and Hay. Just kidding. :) I know that issue is more imporant than this one.

  • Michael Bussee

    For what it’s worth, I just made my request by email for Jennings to clarify the issues in question. If someone can supply a phone number, I will call as well.

  • Michael Bussee

    Tag, You’re it.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    Got to tell ya, though, the “I will if you will” seems kinda like a game Think we BOTH should do what’s right regardless of what the other is doing.

    Not really a game, Michael. I’m deeply disturbed by Jennings silence and feel that he needs to hear from people who he can’t pigeonhole as ‘those darn conservatives’. Since I had already requested that people ‘take action’ re Jennings on one of the posts and had ZERO response to my suggestion; I felt that your repeated insistence that we ‘do something’ was a bit cheeky. So, I did boil it down to a challenge.

    OK. I will if you guys will about Jennings and Hay. Just kidding. I know that issue is more imporant than this one.

    NO ONE, I repeat, NO ONE has suggested that either issue is more important than the other. There is absolutely no call for you to make that snide dig.

    Let’s cool our heels about it for a bit, shall we? Your indignation has been duly noted.

    Do you realize that out of the 44 comments so far on this post, 29 of them are from you and all but a few of them are your commentary on what Exodus has or hasn’t done, what they ought to do and how they ought to do it. That’s in a period of less than 24 hours!!! I’m desperately trying to remember the wording of your promise not to speak ill of EXODUS…besides your suggestions re what they ought to do, you’ve presumed motives, predicted responses and behaviors, painted a pretty negative picture…

    —–

    I’ll send an email to Alan no later than tomorrow. (I may still send it tonight.) I happen to know that he’s out of the office due to illness. Can you share with us the email address you used to contact Jennings? I figure if I’m going to be emailing Alan about this issue, I might as well email Jennings as well. I promise that the email to Alan will come first.

  • Michael Bussee

    I’ll send an email to Alan no later than tomorrow.

    Thanks. Dr. T can give you the address.

  • Michael Bussee

    Sorry for all the posts. This news horrified me.

  • Michael Bussee

    To express your concerns about the Jennings matter:

    John White, Press Secretary

    (202) 401-1576

    john.white@ed.gov

  • Michael Bussee

    And, in case anyone feels led on the Uganda issue:

    Alan Chambers

    Exodus International

    P.O. Box 540119

    Orlando, FL 32854

    http://www.exodusinternational.org

    The “pretty negative picture” is based on past experience trying to get Exodus to clearly denounce these things — Bullying, Cameron, NARTH, etc. Believe it or not, I actually want Exodus to look GOOD. Enough said. I will cool my heals. No more posting for a week. I have done more than my share.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    Thanks for the contact info. I suppose all of us can go to Warren for the email address for Jennings.

    No need to stop posting for a week….maybe just stop posting about what Exodus is or isn’t doing long enough for something to happen. That was my main point…and I think that was Debbie’s as well.

  • Lynn David

    The act’s provisions allow for someone to always take on the role of “victim.” In that way they take on the role of government informer and immediately elevate the crime of the other person to “aggravated homosexuality.” Something that seems to prurient desires of the Ugandan anti-gay ministers and press. As long as an ex-gay ministry has a “victim” on its hands, they’ll get a free slide.

  • Michael Bussee

    …maybe just stop posting about what Exodus is or isn’t doing long enough for something to happen.

    OK. Could be a very long wait. Lord, give me patience… :)

  • Eddy

    Lord, teach him that patience very often exceeds 24 hours.

  • Michael Bussee

    Amen.

  • Michael Bussee

    Ahem. I have been patient. It’s been more than 24 hours. Alan was asked to do this months ago.

    http://www.alanchambers.org/just_think/2009/04/confessions-of-an-evangelical-christian.html#comments

    I’m not really good at math, but that was more than 5,000 hours ago — and he made it pretty clear then that Exodus intended to say nothing officially. Maybe that how I get a “pretty negative picture”.

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  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I believe Alan Chambers and Exodus made an unfortunate and classic PR blunder back in March when they could have taken stronger action to distance themselves from the Uganda conference flap. Folks rightfully scratched their heads over how Don Schmierer could appear with Scott Lively at that conference. How did that decision pass muster in the first place? It placed the Exodus board member in the position to have to backpeddle and do word gymnastics to explain his role there. And it put Alan and all of Exodus in a very delicate spot.

    Jim Burroway did make one misstatement in his piece at Box Turtle Bulletin today, however, when he said, “There was no attempt to make their position known to leaders in Uganda, not even to the evangelical Ugandan leaders who hosted the conference where the three Americans spoke.”

    Alan stated in a post, which appeared at his blog on April 23, “This is not a position that I understand or support. And as I have been in touch over the course of the last month with numerous church officials in Uganda I have shared my thoughts on that–some agree with me and others do not.”

    We don’t know what the tenor or the substance of those conversations was or what is being done in Uganda by church leaders to offer redemption to those struggling with homosexuality. One focus seems to be on the problems in the prison systems and fears that Uganda will become “the next Brazil.” I don’t know enough yet about that comparison without doing more research. Do we know what freedoms pastors in Uganda even have (or had) to address the problem without facing imprisonment themselves as aiders and abettors?

    BTB still seems to want Alan to assume the role of God somehow and influence both the Uganda press and government. Why does this have to rest only on Alan’s shoulders? I do not excuse his lack of responding in a clear and strong manner at the outset of this flap. But c’mon. He is not an American diplomat. Neither, of course, are Scott Lively and Don Schmierer, and their role in Uganda was over the top.

    Alan has made statements clarifying the Exodus position. Clearly, he and Exodus do not support criminalization of homosexuality in Uganda, and for BTB to keep raising that rhetorical question is out of line.

    Why are those still calling for a pound of Alan’s flesh not doing all in their power to get our government to denounce this proposed bill? I’ll bet Hillary Clinton could get some press.

    Michael, your beef is with Uganda and every other country in the world — there are many — that take a Sharia-like stance toward homosexuality. It is with the devil, himself. Alan has become the scapegoat in many ways because of Don Schmierer’s status as an Exodus board member. Why not focus the fight where it can do some good? You’ve got a lot of energy to invest, it seems. Can you lay aside your Exodus angst for a moment and see the bigger picture?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Debbie – You are correct that Alan spoke out after the fact. I have no idea what the Exodus board is doing now but I suspect this issue is on the agenda. I would like to see Mr. Schmierer come out with a strong statement that he does not support the bill and that his presence there was in no way to support such a bill. I feel sure he is a gentle man as Randy has said. He can be a gentle man with a big rhetorical stick if he comes out strongly and soon with such a statement. I believe Exodus should follow suit.

    I also think that Debbie is correct regarding out energy being directed where the most good can be done. American Christians need to be more vocal in this regard. Christians are the objects of similar repression in many countries where just expressing beliefs is against the law. Our brothers and sisters in Uganda must hear from us that such laws are contrary to freedom. Conscience cannot be coerced by the state. Any compliance with Christian morality based on coercion is not a pleasure to God but a return to bondage.

    Further, churches and ministries which work in Uganda must help them understand the inherent evil in such coercion as well as the practical hindrance to the work of the church.

    The government here particularly the state department must hear from us as well. While strategies are coming into place, let’s broaden our scope.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    The government here particularly the state department must hear from us as well. While strategies are coming into place, let’s broaden our scope.

    Hear, hear. What do you think the next step should be, Warren? Could you run point in getting us the contact information? This is a demonstration worth putting on.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    FWIW: Uganda: A Flashpoint in the Gay Culture War

  • http://someguysarenormal.blogspot.com Brady

    So, I was just thinking about all of this. All of this anti-gay stuff really took off (again) in Uganda around the time of the ex-gay conference there, and has really been gaining steam since.

    So, did the ex-gay conference cause things to get started, or is it possible that people in Uganda wanted to come down harder on homosexuality and essentially used the ex-gay conference as cover. Meaning, they knew bringing these Americans in to speak out against homosexuality would allow them to take this legilsation to the next level. So the Americans were just a pawn in the overall goal. Just a thought.

  • Michael Bussee

    From BTB:

    So the question remains: What is Exodus International’s position on the criminalization of LGBT people? And if their position is any different from these two examples posted on their official web site – as Alan Chambers implied in the Christian Post — then why can’t they just say so on their own web site?

    Debbie, you say that Alan has become the “scapegoat in many ways because of Don Schmierer’s status as an Exodus board member.” And why not? Why shouldn’t Alan bear most of the responsibility for the “huge PR blunder”? It’s the cost of leadership. The buck stops there.

    Alan is the president of Exodus and the head of the Board — so he has a greater responsibility and should play the lead role in making Exodus’s position clear. I agree that it is a huge PR blunder. It does not rest only on Alan’s shoulders. It’s on the shoulders of every Exodus Board member.

    Time for them to get crackin’ and do it TODAY. There is no good reason not to. Quit stalling. Quit making excuses. Draft a position paper on the criminalizaton of LGBT people, pass it around my email and get it DONE.

    I am totally with Warren on what Exodus and Schmierer should do:

    I would like to see Mr. Schmierer come out with a strong statement that he does not support the bill and that his presence there was in no way to support such a bill. I feel sure he is a gentle man as Randy has said. He can be a gentle man with a big rhetorical stick if he comes out strongly and soon with such a statement. I believe Exodus should follow suit.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Michael, your points are well taken, but you are still not seeing the bigger picture. Exodus didn’t cause Uganda to be anti-gay and they do not have the power to turn that around with statements and position papers or whatever. This is a MUCH LARGER problem. WHERE ARE THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF UGANDA? Who is capable of swaying public sentiment and pressuring the government there?

  • Michael Bussee

    Brady asked:

    So, did the ex-gay conference cause things to get started, or is it possible that people in Uganda wanted to come down harder on homosexuality and essentially used the ex-gay conference as cover?

    Warren has voiced his opinion on it. It seems he feels they were used:

    However, it now seems clearer than ever that the ex-gay conference was designed to give the government cover for the line of thinking presented in this bill.

    Debbie asks:

    How did that decision pass muster in the first place? It placed the Exodus board member in the position to have to backpeddle and do word gymnastics to explain his role there. And it put Alan and all of Exodus in a very delicate spot.

    It’s not an IT Debbie. It’s WHO put “Alan and all of Exodus in a very delievate spot”? Alan and the Board did. They shot themselves in the foot. They did it to themselves. Debbie says:

    BTB still seems to want Alan to assume the role of God somehow and influence both the Uganda press and government.

    No. We are asking him to assume the role of a leader – and LEAD his organization to do the right thing. Denounce this. Clearly. Officially. Today.

  • Michael Bussee

    Michael, your points are well taken, but you are still not seeing the bigger picture. Exodus didn’t cause Uganda to be anti-gay and they do not have the power to turn that around with statements and position papers or whatever.

    Debbie, I do see the bigger picture. I am not naive. I do not expect that Exodus’s denunciation of this will cause the Uganda government to reverse its position. But an Exodus Board member was part of the conference — and he was used.

    The fact that Exodus may have “mininscule power” (as David pointed out) does not exempt Exodus from from its moral responsibility to do and say the right thing.

    What if, during the persecution of the Jews, religious organizations had said, “We have no power to change the Nazis. Why speak out officiially? What can our little church do about it?”

    You speak out against evil simply because it’s evil. Lots of people and lots of organizations ALL speaking out may have a big impact. Even if it does not, Exodus should add its small voice.

    It’s the right thing, the Christian thing, to do. They can do it on less important issues. I have seen them do it.They are stalling because they know they have egg on their faces. They should swallow their pride and wipe it off.

  • Michael Bussee

    This is a MUCH LARGER problem. WHERE ARE THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF UGANDA? Who is capable of swaying public sentiment and pressuring the government there?

    Maybe Exodus knows some of these religious leaders? Maybe Exodus could take the moral lead in contacting them and asking them to speak out? I am with Jim Burroway on this:

    This is a cop out. They knew about the conference long before it took place, when it was still possible to do something about it. And since then, they’ve tried every way they knew how to wash their hands of their board member’s handiwork. And they’ve refused to address the situation in Uganda where it really matters — in Uganda. This isn’t beyond their facility to do so. Uganda media has telephones, fax machines and email just like everyone else, and Don Schmierer has contacts over there. Exodus is not helpless or without resources.

    The fact that Exouds can do little does not mean they should do NOTHING.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Good grief, Michael. Did you even read my response to that false statement from Burroway?

    Your personal animosity toward Alan and Exodus is not a healthy thing, and it is causing you to come off as intemperate and unChristian in ways you are not aware of, apparently. And it is not like we haven’t been here before.

    Obviously, the buck stops with Alan at Exodus. We get that, and so does he, I’m pretty sure. But what if Alan dances to your tune? What then? Are you going to let it drop and go away smugly congratulating yourself while Uganda sinks further into legal despotism over gay/human rights? Will this indignation of yours spur you to take a stand on a stage where the Big Boys might listen? That’s how you will show us this is about more than Alan and Exodus to you.

    I wonder how many times this blog will be subjected in the future to your resurrecting the Alan-fiddled-while-Uganda-burned mantra. I can think of other folks who were used by non-freedom-loving (or secular) countries with a corrupt agenda, all in the name of attempting to do a noble thing. Rick Warren’s 2006 trip to Syria comes to mind. Where do we even start in listing the Jimmy Carter blunders? And let us not forget Obama’s speech in Berlin (he’d wanted it at the Brandenburg Gate) or his Middle East gaffes.

    Diplomacy is a tricky thing, separate and distinct from ministry. Humanitarian efforts are supposed to transcend politics. Exodus appears to have acted naively in that regard. But to lay the blame for Uganda’s tough stance on gays at the feet of Exodus is a mighty big charge.

  • Michael Bussee

    But to lay the blame for Uganda’s tough stance on gays at the feet of Exodus is a mighty big charge.

    Debbie, I never did make that charge and you know darn well I didn’t. I don’t blame Uganda on Exodus. I lay blame on Exodus for not speaking out — officially – against it.

    No, I had missed your link to your blog. I have now read it.

    How can we sit safely in our homes, more concerned about gay marriage and Obama’s gay government appointees than we are about the lives and liberties of our fellow human beings in Uganda and other oppressed nations? I, for one, cannot and will not do that. When the appropriate course of action has been identified, I will announce it here.

    Thanks. I eagerly await it — and hope it’s official. Or are you speaking only of your personal course of action?

    You ask, will I walk smugly away congratulating myself? NO. I actually take no pleasure in making Exodus look bad. Will my anger spur me to take action beyond pressuring Exodus — with the “big boys”? YES.

    Not sure how to do that, but I will use whatever means I have to determine who they” are and how I might influence them. I am just one man — not an organization — but I believe my one voice matters.

    Warren, you know I will follow through on this. It’s not solely about Exodus’s troubling involvement and lack of action. It’s about justice and compassion. Any idea who I should contact? What action might be appropriate? Maybe something all of us here on your blog could do?

    Could we help organize a group of Christian organizations, gay and ex-gay, to speak with one voice on this? I will try to round up as many gay Christian organizations as I can find. Perhaps Exodus could do likewise with their affliates.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    But to lay the blame for Uganda’s tough stance on gays at the feet of Exodus is a mighty big charge.

    Debbie, I never did make that charge and you know darn well I didn’t. I don’t blame Uganda on Exodus. I lay blame on Exodus for not speaking out — officially – against it.

    Good, ’cause it sure was sounding like you were doing that. Why not blame all the others, then, who are not speaking out against it? Is it not the collective fault of the Church, in many ways? I am particularly interested in knowing more about those Ugandan Christian leaders’ reactions to Alan’s conversations with them months ago.

    I hope in the days ahead we will formulate a workable means of action. I know you don’t want to sit on your hands any more than I do.

  • Michael Bussee

    Why not blame all the others, then, who are not speaking out against it? Is it not the collective fault of the Church, in many ways?

    As you know, Debbie, I have a special interest in what Exodus does and how Exodus presents itself on the world stage because I helped create it. It was born at our ministry in Anaheim, CA Parents care how their kids turn out, you know? We want to be proud of their moral character. I want to be proud of Exodus.

    Every Christian denomination or organization should join with one voice against this. Let’s do it. Where do we start? Who do we contact? I am a Presbyterian Elder. I will call the PCUSA today to find out what the Presbyterian Chruch is doing. There may already be some larger response in the works. I will research it.

    I am sure there are political and secular avenues as well, but perhaps we should focus on a unfied Christian response. Will Exodus join in? Other ex-gay/post-gay/former-gay ministries? Focus on the family?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    As you know, Debbie, I have a special interest in what Exodus does and how Exodus presents itself on the world stage because I helped create it.

    Perfectly understandable. Thank you for your efforts in seeking to connect the voices.

  • Michael Bussee

    I found this in the Christian Post, March 13, 2009:

    In response, Exodus International said it applauds its board member Don Schmierer, who attended the Uganda conference, for his effort to convey an “alternative message that encompasses a compassionate, biblical view of homosexuality,” according to a statement by Exodus International president Alan Chambers to The Christian Post on Wednesday.

    Exodus (I guess this means Chambers) says neither Schmierer nor the ministry agrees or endorses Uganda’s criminalization of homosexuality law, imprisonment of homosexuals or compulsory therapy. Rather, the ministry (Chambers) says it “unequivocally denounces” the positions the government of Uganda has towards homosexuality.

    http://www.christianpost.com/article/20090313/sexuality-expert-uganda-anti-gay-seminar-takes-wrong-approach/index.html

    Really? They unequivocally denounced the positions the government of Uganda has towards homosexuality? Alan? Speaking officially on behalf of Exodus and its position? Right on!

    So since it seems Alan did officially make such an unequivocal statement to the media — then why not just re-issue the statement and show that the ministry denounced this months ago? Why would Randy have to give only his “personal opinion” if Exodus had already made it official?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Michael, Box Turtle Bulletin discussed that statement, and just about every other syllable uttered by Alan or “Exodus” on the subject. To them, The Christian Post wasn’t big enough to count. I figured you knew of all people about that statement from Alan.

  • Michael Bussee

    Nope. I was completely unaware of it. Now, just repeat it. Officially. On the Exodus website. See? How easy was that?

  • Eddy

    then why not just re-issue the statement and show that the ministry denounced this months ago? Why would Randy have to give only his “personal opinion” if Exodus had already made it official?

    1) why not just re-issue the statement and show that the ministry denounced this months ago? For what purpose? Show to whom? I thought you’ve been claiming that it’s the government of Uganda that needs to be addressed but here it seems like it’s the gay detractors who need to be satisfied. (Will re-issuing the statement have ANY impact in Uganda? It appears it didn’t have impact the first time.)

    2) Why would Randy have to give only his “personal opinion” if Exodus had already made it official? Michael, you are bent on finding fault. Perfectly logical explanation. The issue grieves Randy personally. He follows it online. He chooses to jump into the conversation here. BUT…he wants to speak freely so he uses the standard caveat, ‘note these are my personal opinions’. That way he can say who is; he can speak but he doesn’t have to feel responsible to say it ‘precisely’ or ‘canned’; he doesn’t have to have a meeting to discuss what he plans to say. One ill-chosen, ill-spoken word would have had the potential of adding ‘fuel to the fire’. I’ve been the victim of such here many, many times. Randy’s not stupid and he knows that this site is frequented by folks who delight in disparaging EXODUS.

    Speaking of ‘WHY’ questions. I’m wondering myself why you felt comfortable posting Alan Chambers contact information but, with Jennings, you directed us to contact Warren for his email address. I’m fine with you posting Alan’s info; I’m just puzzled why you didn’t post Jennings’.

  • Mary

    This is shameful – that there are many peopole who read this blog and go unannounced and there is yet to be a bold statement against the Ugandian law that was set in motion by those representative from Exodus. Whether or not they were there on “official” Exodus missions is beside the point since they hold positions at Exodus and have supported the criminalization of homosexuality. Well, here it is. Death.

    This is shameful. Why are we discussing this and those in a position to take action have been silent.

    The Catholics have a penance thing they say before taking communion and it talks about the sins we have committed in thought or deed, and the sins we have committed through failure to take action – in what we have left undone. Always found that apt to most of us and expecially at a time like this.

  • Michael Bussee

    Speaking of ‘WHY’ questions. I’m wondering myself why you felt comfortable posting Alan Chambers contact information but, with Jennings, you directed us to contact Warren for his email address. I’m fine with you posting Alan’s info; I’m just puzzled why you didn’t post Jennings’.

    I asked Warren who I should contact and I posted what Warren gave me. I don’t have any other contact information.

  • Michael Bussee

    There is yet to be a bold statement against the Ugandian law that was set in motion by those representative from Exodus. Whether or not they were there on “official” Exodus missions is beside the point since they hold positions at Exodus and have supported the criminalization of homosexuality.

    My point exaclty, Mary. And it IS shameful. Warren thinks it would be a good idea and has said so, above.

    (Will re-issuing the statement have ANY impact in Uganda? It appears it didn’t have impact the first time.)

    It”s not about Exodus having any power to change Uganda. Do we only speak up only when we have the power to change something? They blundered. They were used. Exodus’s name is forever connected to this. It’s not about satisfying its critics. Do we only speak up when we are pressured by critics? It’s about making it clear where Exodus stands since Exodus did play a part.

    It’s a matter of principle, not power. Where does Exodus stand, officially? Are Alan’s comments to the Christian Post still Exodus’s “unequivocal”, official stand? If it is, Exodus should be proud of it and put it on their website. Why not make it immediately available to anyone who may not be sure how Exodus feels about this? Issue a press release to clear up the confusion. Isn’t that sort of what you guys have been asking Jennins to do?

  • Michael Bussee

    Show to whom?

    The world, I guess.

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren urged action:

    I think a start for Exodus to have a redemptive approach to this situation would be to issue a statement in opposition to the bill indicating the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience.

    I would like to see Mr. Schmierer come out with a strong statement that he does not support the bill and that his presence there was in no way to support such a bill. … I believe Exodus should follow suit.

    I am starting a list of really lame reasons not to do what Warren has suggested:

    (1) It wouldn’t do any good.

    (2) Uganda wouldn’t change anyway.

    (3) It might make it look like Exodus goofed.

    (4) It might make it look like Exodus was somehow to blame for Uganda.

    (5) It might make it look like Exodus caved in to the gays.

    I am sure we can come up with a few more, but number 5 is probably reason enough not to do it.

  • David Blakeslee

    I would contact Rick Warren…

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    Please stop comparing this to Jennings. It’s really unfair. You see, EXODUS has issued one public statement clarifying their position. Jennings has issued NONE.

    SO–if Exodus did issue one but now urgently needs to issue another in light of this new development–how does that take Jennings off the hook for issuing even one statement? The more you demand that Exodus issue a new statement, the more you support the notion that Jennings still needs to issue his first. As persistent as you are being re Exodus offering another statement, that only justifies all the more our persistent requests that Jennings offers a first one.

    —-

    I feel that you are all within your rights to request that Exodus address this issue; you are out of bounds when you demand that they do it in a particular way. As we’ve noted, their first statement seems to have had no effect.( Mary, please note that EXODUS did issue a statement back in March.) I believe that Debbie suggested that we discuss ways to address this issue and actually have some impact. It has been stated and noted that EXODUS needs to respond. We got that! Continued badgering about that rather than trying to discuss an effective response that could impact Uganda…seems rather silly and pointless to me. And who knows, maybe if we could come up with some constructive ideas, EXODUS could employ them.

  • Mary

    Eddy – I am aware that EXODUS issued a statement in March – that was before the consequences of the actions of those people were realized. I would like to see another statement. MPO

  • Mary

    Eddy,

    We could form our own group and go over to Uganda and protest in the name of Christ this injustice. Can we get some sponsors for those who are ex gay and know and understand the journey (that can never be perfect )?

  • Mary

    Come to think of it – we could all be arrested upon entry into the country. How exactly does the law read and how is it being interpretted?

  • Eddy

    Mary–

    Check out Warren’s first link in the lead article. I’m thinking they’ve captured the essence of the entire bill as they address various scenarios involving individuals, houses, businesses, the issue of reporting, etc.

  • Michael Bussee

    Lame excuse # 6: Jennings should do it first.

  • Eddy

    It’s impossible for Jennings to do it first! Exodus already did it FIRST back in March; Jennings has yet to step up AT ALL.

    No one is using the excuse that Jennings needs to step forward before EXODUS will. What we are saying QUITE EMPHATICALLY is that we are adults capable of multi-focus. Yes, Uganda is an uglier situation than the one we have with Jennings but it DOES NOT take Jennings off the hook. The explanation is warranted and as a part of ‘we the people’, I intend to continue to press for it AND be attentive to the Uganda situation as well.

    I’m genuinely at a loss to think of anything constructive that could be done in that situation but all evidence indicates that there’s no real interest here in anything constructive anyway…just focus all of the negative energy on EXODUS. Then, if an when they make a statement, criticize it for bad wording, bad timing, the incidents that led up to it. Rail here, at boxturtle, at Timothy’s site…stir three or four times (minimum) a day…and, presto, Uganda will be all fixed up. (And Jennings will still remain silent on the questions before him.)

  • Michael Bussee

    It wouldn’t do any good. Gays would criticize it. Jennings (who has NOTHING to do with this) needs to do it.

    Excuses 1,2,3,5 &6. Why don’t you just call Alan and ask him to do what Warren thinks he should do? Why do you disagree with Warren?

    Have you called him, Eddy? Have you, Warren? Debbie? If not, why not? If so, what response did you get?

    I have already used the contact Warren gave me to voice my concern about Jennings. If anyone has a more direct way of contacting Jennings or adding my voice to those who are calling for Jennings toissue a statement– I will do it TODAY. No excuses.

    Will you do the same?

  • Michael Bussee

    Try to understand this. It is NOT about Exodus trying to fix Uganda. It has NO POWER to do that. It’s about taking a moral stand, saying offically and clearly what you believe.

    Will this “fix” Uganda? No. But what EXODUS can and SHOULD do — without delay –is to release an official statement — along the lines of Warren has suggested — BY Exodus, FROM Exodus, as an OFFICIAL statement of Exodus’s position — with all of the Board Members’ names on it, on their website and as a press release — not tucked away in some obscure interview with some Christian publication that took me some searching of the internet to find.

    You should be able to “click on Exodus and find it instantly under the heading:

    What’s New

    Press Releases | (press room)

    Exodus Troubled by ELCA Vote to Affirm Same-Sex Relationships

    LOVE WON OUT TRANSITIONS TO EXODUS INTERNATIONAL

    Exodus in the News

    Citizenlink.com: Activists Push for Expanded Anti-Bullying Bill in New York

    Christianity Today: No Straight Shot

    They can do it about Love Won Out, Gay marriage and Anti-bullying legislation. They can do it with this as well.

  • Pingback: Ugandan travelogue from Caleb Brundidge and the International Healing Foundation — Warren Throckmorton

  • Michael Bussee

    I continue to believe it was a mistake for the Americans to support what could turn into a violent situation there. — Warren Throckmorton, March 27, 2009

    I think a start for Exodus to have a redemptive approach to this situation would be to issue a statement in opposition to the bill indicating the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience.

    I would like to see Mr. Schmierer come out with a strong statement that he does not support the bill and that his presence there was in no way to support such a bill. … I believe Exodus should follow suit.

    How come you don’t challenge Warren on this? He also seems to think that issuing a “strong statement” would be “a start” and “redemptive”. Do you disagree with him, Eddy? Or is that just when I suggest it?

    Excuse # 7: Bussee might gloat.

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    You pick your sentences of interest and I pick mine. You have a tendency to pick one or two while I have a tendency to reply to a bit more than that.

    Warren said:

    You are correct that Alan spoke out after the fact. I have no idea what the Exodus board is doing now but I suspect this issue is on the agenda. I would like to see Mr. Schmierer come out with a strong statement that he does not support the bill and that his presence there was in no way to support such a bill. I feel sure he is a gentle man as Randy has said. He can be a gentle man with a big rhetorical stick if he comes out strongly and soon with such a statement. I believe Exodus should follow suit.

    I also think that Debbie is correct regarding out energy being directed where the most good can be done.

    Warren suspects the issue is on EXODUS’ agenda. I do too. Randy commented here and EXODUS is likely trying to consider the best way to address this. (You can believe what you will…the venom you harbor towards EXODUS clearly steers your thinking….yes, even when you claim that you only want their best.)

    Warren then went on to agree with Debbie’s comment that our energies are best directed where the most good can be done. I agree wholeheartedly. Your focus, however, remains solely on statements from Don and from EXODUS.

    I believe you pulled one sentence out of all that Warren said while I took it all in context. . The statement you pulled is one that I also expressed agreement on. I believe Don also needs to make a statement and I said that in a posted comment. I also want to note that Warren said that yesterday morning at 8:32 AM. Some of my follow up comments did indeed touch on what he said. Since that time, you have posted 16 times…offering very little, if anything, new and banging out the same damn note relentlessly. That would explain why I keep responding to you (you keep talking) and not Warren (who went silent after a more rounded statement).

    Your demands that EXODUS post this on their webpage are silly given your stated reasoning. I would think that the Christian Post has a much wider circulation and a broader scope of people reached than the EXODUS home webpage. LOL. You cite you had trouble finding the Christian Post. Please tell me how finding the webpage for EXODUS is any easier. What was it, a year ago, when we learned that many of the people commenting here didn’t even understand what EXODUS was (an umbrella for affiliated ministries)? That’s .a rather clear indication that even they had never visited the page.

    By the way, I agree wholeheartedly with your statement that Jennings has nothing to do with this. Now please review the comments in this thread and take note that it was YOU who brought his name into the thread on Oct. 15th early in the morning. (I believe it’s within the first 10 comments posted.) Will you please rebuke yourself for introducing a comment into this thread that has, by your own admission, nothing to do with it?

  • Michael Bussee

    OK, so Eddy agrees that both Exodus and Don need to make a statement. So why are we arguing?

  • Michael Bussee

    Likely to be on their agenda and “suspecting” they will take action.. Ok, how long? Another six months?

  • Michael Bussee

    (You can believe what you will…the venom you harbor towards EXODUS clearly steers your thinking….yes, even when you claim that you only want their best.)

    Why do I have venom against Exodus, Eddy? What’s you best guess? You think maybe their repeated faliures to speak out loudly and clearly against stuff like this may have made me a bit TESTY?

    It doesn’t seem that you think that’s the reason, so I am curious. Why do you think I am so mad at Exodus?

  • Michael Bussee

    The statement you pulled is one that I also expressed agreement on. I believe Don also needs to make a statement and I said that in a posted comment.

    So why have you been arguing so emphatically that it would do no good? Maybe I was arguing with someone else. Oh, Well… Cool. Eddy is on record that he agrees that definitive statements need to be issued — as Warren has suggested.

    I think a start for Exodus to have a redemptive approach to this situation would be to issue a statement in opposition to the bill indicating the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience

    .

    And, not just on their homepage, Eddy. And not just in a Christian Magazine. A general press release. LA Times. New York Times. Exodus knows perfectly well how to do them. Something Warren could post, here. Something any individual or organization could easlity access under “Exodus denounces Uganda legisation”.

    In any event. I will stop arguing with Eddy about something only Exodus can do…………….. (we suspect it’s on their agenda)…………..(sounds of crickets chirping)……………….(likely trying to consider the best way)………………………..the suspnse is killing me.

    Someone wake me when it’s done.

  • Michael Bussee

    By the way, I agree wholeheartedly with your statement that Jennings may nothing to do with this.

    Jennings (the man) doesn’t have anything to do with this, but the same PRINICPLE applies. The need to stand clearly against evil.

    Don’t you get that?

    When it looks as though one might be soft on evil, it becomes extremely important that the group or individual make strong official statements that they are NOT.

    I brought Jennings up because of all the the demands that Jennings needs to issue a clirfication RIGHT NOW — while Exodus gets a 6 month pass..?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Been doing a little research. Interesting. Not ready to summarize yet, but I will give a report ASAP with the aim to clarify some things and find a method of action.

  • Michael Bussee

    Good reasons to do it:

    (1) It’s the right, moral thing to do.

    (2) It would make it easier for Exodus to respond to its critics.

    (3) it would make things clear, not ambiguous.

    (4) It would make Exodus look good.

    (5) It would be done — no need to do it over and over,

    (6) It could be released to the press for quick response.

    (7) It’s something Exodus could be proud of.

    (9) It would be redemptive.

    (10) It might set an example for other Christian organizations.

    (11) It might become one of many smalll voices that could have a collective impact.

    (12) Mike would lay off.

    Number12 is the least important. But wouldn’t it be nice?

  • Eddy

    Debbie–

    Anxious to hear the results of your searching…very eager to talk in a constructive vein.

  • Michael Bussee

    Undeniable FACT: If the proposed legislation in Uganda had been to criminalize Christianity, imposing life sentences for practicing Christians and 3 year terms for folk who knew Christians and did not report them, Exodus would have released an official statement the VERY SAME DAY. When it’s about imprisoning gays, it is “likely on their agenda”…

  • Michael Bussee

    Overall, I am surprised that an Exodus board member would go to a conference like this in a country where criminalization of homosexuality is still an issue. My impression is that Exodus had no position on such things or if there was a position it was that homosexuality should not be considered a crime.

    For a change, I agree with Exgaywatch that it sends the wrong message for these people to go where the agenda is not simply congruence with religious teaching but also on state intervention in private behavior. –Warren Throckmorton, 3/2/09

    Warren probably said this only because he has venom against Exodus.

  • Eddy

    The ‘undeniable fact’ is, in fact, pretty deniable. Exodus really doesn’t have much of a ‘statement making’ history…and I can’t think of one that wasn’t in some way tangent to the issue of homosexuality. But feel free to speak as ‘undeniable facts’ the things the voices in your head declare. Rave On, Dude, Rave On!

    It’s also good to note that we have no trouble with the death penalty for sex with minors and sexual acts by people with AIDS. That law, which pertained to opposite sex couplings, has been on the books for some time. Where were the letters…phone calls…protests…statements? The cries of outrage? Anyone????

    Also interesting to note that ‘the offense of homosexuality’ already carried the penalty of life imprisonment, this new law simply broadened the definition of what those offenses were. (That first link in Warren’s original topic is definitely worthy of a careful reading or two.)

  • Michael Bussee

    Are you saying that Exodus would NOT have spoken out clearly, quickly and loudly if the Uganda bill was about criminalizing Christianity? That would make Exodus even more disgusting than it is now.

  • Michael Bussee

    I thought you said you agreed that Exodus should make an official statement. Why are you back-peddling now? What is your real objection to Exodus doing this? If you want to re-read something, re-read this:

    For a change, I agree with Exgaywatch that it sends the wrong message for these people to go where the agenda is not simply congruence with religious teaching but also on state intervention in private behavior. –Warren Throckmorton, 3/2/09

    It doesn’t matter what others or Exodus didn’t do in the past. It can redeem its stupidity NOW.

  • Michael Bussee

    Exodus really doesn’t have much of a ’statement making’ history…

    HOGWASH!!!

    It has done it repeatedly on issues that it really cares about — like gay marriage, anti-bullying programs, The Day of Silence, etc. You want me to post some examples?

  • Michael Bussee

    Be grateful you don’t live there. An “ex-gay” like yourself could go to prison for life if you “fell” — and an ex-gay worker could spend three years if he didn’t turn you in.

    Have you called Alan yet?

  • Michael Bussee

    The ‘undeniable fact’ is, in fact, pretty deniable.

    That’s truly disgusting. Are you saying Exodus would not have spoken out boldly and officially on the criminilization of Christianity or Exodus-type ministries in other countries?

    What good is it then? What good is one’s faith if it doesn’t translate into action — in this case, speaking out clearly against evil and injustice?

    Not speaking out against sin is sin.

  • Michael Bussee

    Jews should be imprisoned for life. Those who know of them and don’t report them should also be imprisoned. Think Exodus would speak out against that?

    Nah. What’s all the fuss about? There were already anti-Jew laws on the book before they got involved. It wouldn’t really change anything. It would look like they caved in to their critics. I think they said something in a Christian magazine somewhere. Nothing really official — directly from Exodus headqaurters — although a couple of them gave their personal opinion. That’s enough, right?

    In any event, Exodus really doesn’t have much of a ’statement making’ history…and I can’t think of one that wasn’t in some way tangent to the issue of homosexuality.

  • http://www.truthwinsout.org Wayne Besen

    Randy Thomas:

    Exodus should do more than put out a statement. Don should be dismissed from your board. You should personally fly to Uganda to lobby against this bill.

    Until you do so, Exodus will be held responsible for atrocities in Uganda. You personally will be considered a party to these barbaric actions – as you are a senior officer in this organization. Exodus basically gave the moral justification to rationalize this horrific persecution. Where do you think the following part of the bill came from?

    “It also recognizes that because homosexuals are not born that way, but develop this disorder based on experiences and environmental conditions, it is preventable, especially among young people who are most vulnerable to recruitment into the homosexual lifestyle.”

    What Exodus did was profoundly immoral, ethically appalling and downright disgusting. Some might say satanic or evil. I’m sure those who are imprisoned, tortured or murdered will feel better knowing that Don is a nice guy.

    How you sleep at night I will never know.

    Wayne Besen

  • Lynn David

    Michael Bussee……. That’s truly disgusting. Are you saying Exodus would not have spoken out boldly and officially on the criminilization of Christianity or Exodus-type ministries in other countries?

    What good is it then? What good is one’s faith if it doesn’t translate into action — in this case, speaking out clearly against evil and injustice?

    Not speaking out against sin is sin.

    Sin? Immoral? Evil? Injustice? That’s a joke. Everything in the Ugandan bill has a Biblical base. Why should Exodus apologize for a board member speaking out against homosexuality, supposedly in a ‘compassionate’ way as well as the other two guys (including the Nazi revisionist)? Even if they spoke for the currently tabled Ugandan bill concerning homosexuality, such punishment are Biblical, so Exodus doesn’t have a dang thing to apologize for.

  • Pingback: Truth Wins Out - American Evangelicals Play Role In Uganda Effort To ‘Wipe Out’ Gays

  • Michael Bussee

    Such punishment are Biblical, so Exodus doesn’t have a dang thing to apologize for.

    You have a point.

  • Michael Bussee

    Used to stone us. In public. God commanded it. Maybe Uaganda is progressive.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    There are some important differences between IHF and Exodus on this one. First, let me say that I believe Exodus should issue a statement yesterday condemning the proposed bill.

    Now the differences. Exodus did not send Don Schmeirer, he went on his own. IHF sent Brundidge as a mission. Exodus has issued a statement opposing criminalization. IHF has done nothing, except published this surreal article which is used essentially to thank donors and ask for more money.

    Any emails, call etc. that are made to Exodus should be made double to IHF.

    Phone: (301) 805-6111 / Fax (301) 805-5155

    Email: IHFinfo@ChangeIsPossible.com; ihf90@aol.com.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Warren makes a good point above.

    I am breaking this report up into three sections as it has a lot of links.

    Wayne Besen said:

    Where do you think the following part of the bill came from?

    “It also recognizes that because homosexuals are not born that way, but develop this disorder based on experiences and environmental conditions, it is preventable, especially among young people who are most vulnerable to recruitment into the homosexual lifestyle.”

    Uh, Pastor Martin Ssempa, maybe? I’m sure Wayne knows about him. How about Stephen Langa, the director of Uganda’s Family Life Network? These men and their associates in Uganda have far more to do with Uganda’s “religious war” on homosexuality than Exodus (whose “crime” was naivete in its associations) does.

    Gay rights activists allege that Ssempa is financially and ideologically propped up by Colorado-based WAIT Training and (surprise!) Scott Lively’s Abiding Truth Ministries. Incidentally, Lively calls Ssempa “one of the leading media figures in the nation.” He appears on radio and TV a lot, apparently. Langa he has referred to as “Uganda’s equivalent of Dr. James Dobson.” Lively made those statements in this report from an African missions trip.

    Ssempa’s Web site says he has been fighting HIV/AIDS in Uganda for nearly two decades. He speaks of the need for all Ugandans, regardless of tribe, to love each other, citing Jesus’ second great commandment. I believe I heard him speak in my area a few years ago, but I can’t recall for sure. Whomever I heard compelled me to begin following the Uganda success story — HIV rates drastically dropped through the ABC approach (abstinence, be faithful, condoms).

    Ssempa has clearly been more about abstinence while others have wanted to focus more on condoms. Problem, that. South Africa has had abysmal success with the condoms-only approach, so folks started getting the message that there really was something to the abstinence thing. But it is a tough go in Africa, given the entrenched cultural habit of multiple, long-term sexual partners. Still, something appeared to have been working in Uganda and a few other African countries utilizing the ABC approach.

    Samaritan Strategy Africa lists as one of its outreach strategies: “Disciplines of love- small practical demonstrations of Christ’s love carried out by local churches, aimed at addressing the wholistic (sic) needs (physical, spiritual, social and mental) of their communities, using their own resources.” Langa is the Eastern Africa Coordinator of this outreach. Some of the information on the site is dated, but it looks like a legitimate Christian ministry to me.

    There is a pastoral rivalry problem in Uganda, along with the tribal rivalry problem. A lot of backbiting between gays and Christians. Ssempa and Langa have been implicated (don’t know their guilt or innocence) in attempts to bring down other religious leaders through the supposed outing campaign. There have been accusations of blackmail or extortion attempts from both sides. Just ugly all around. How “practical demonstrations of Christ’s love” can be found in any of this is anyone’s guess. Sign of the times, I guess.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Shifting gears, let’s look at PEPFAR.

    This statement appears at the PEPFAR site: “The Emergency Plan is committed to evidence-based best practices in prevention interventions to achieve the Plan’s prevention objectives. Interventions in countries such as Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Cambodia, and most notably, Uganda, indicate that promoting behaviors aimed at risk avoidance and risk reduction will likely avert the largest proportion of new infections and reduce the spread of HIV.”

    I just ordered a book called The Invisible Cure: Why We Are Losing the Fight Against AIDS in Africa, which speaks about all this in detail.

    PEPFAR originally allocated a third of its funding for abstinence. Then Congress was lobbied (I wonder by whom) to drop that proviso. Ssempa pressured U.S. religious and government leaders (including Rick Warren, who sometimes tries to wear both hats) to focus more on abstinence. Ssempa had some folks in his Uganda church (Makerere Community Church in Kampala) come out as ex-gay. They began speaking rather forcefully about the need to eradicate the gay problem, especially the “recruiting” being done in schools, which these ex-gays admitted they had done in the past. (Here’s where we could bring in the Kevin Jennings/GLSEN narrative if we wanted to). GayUganda, a blog written by an anonymous gay Ugandan, and various news outlets have talked about the public outings of alleged gays in Uganda as one tactic Ssempa and others have employed in their gay eradication campaign.

    The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) put out a press release in 2007, several paragraphs of which I quote:

    According to the U.S. Embassy in Uganda’s website, Makerere University Community Church received a grant under a program designed to provide funds for AIDS prevention, treatment and care programs in Africa. Mr. Ssempa and his coalition, which includes Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, and Evangelicals, have threatened the safety of Ugandan LGBT rights activists by posting their names, photos and addresses on a website (My note: the site no longer exists).

    PEPFAR is a $15 billion Bush administration fund to fight AIDS in Africa. According to IGLHRC’s 2007 report, “Off the Map: How HIV/AIDS Programming is Failing Same-Sex Practicing People in Africa,” less than U.S. $1 million targets HIV programs for men who have sex with men in Africa, despite strong evidence that HIV has a disproportionate impact on LGBT communities throughout the continent.

    “What we do know, is that few PEPFAR dollars are being used to fight HIV among gay men in Africa,” said Cary Alan Johnson, IGLHRC Senior Specialist for Africa. “Not only have African men who have sex with men been largely ignored with regard to HIV prevention services, but avowedly homophobic organizations are receiving funding for programs that will only further stigmatize homosexuality.

    Radical Paula Ettelbrick’s organization is saying this. FYI, this highlights the double standard: we need to focus on the MSM (men having sex with men) HIV spread in Africa but here in the U.S., where it is also a higher risk factor, we are to hush it up. And the stigma problem? How does criminalizing homosexuality not drive it farther underground and worsen the already-atrocious HIV problem?

    And the U.S. wants to lift the ban on HIV-positive foreigners coming here. Just another little twist.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Now, for the action part.

    Seems a few folks keep wanting to bark up the wrong tree. If you want to get at the folks who are most responsible for Uganda’s problems, go to the key Ugandan players, especially Ssempa. Here’s an e-mail address: ssempam@gmail.com. Here’s his Web site: http:// http://www.martinssempa.com. Here’s his U.S. (?) phone number: (702) 639-7108. Then, you can start working on the PEPFAR folks. Stephen Langa’s e-mail is stephenlanga@yahoo.com.

    David Blakeslee mentioned contacting Rick Warren the other day. Actually, Warren and Ssempa are friends. Ssempa has appeared at one or more of Warren’s AIDS conferences at Saddleback Church, and Warren has referred to him as a “brother.” Warren has been implicated in some political backroom stuff relative to Uganda, but I can’t confirm it. So, if you want to lean on Warren and Saddleback, give them a holler at (949) 609-8000 or e-mail them at info@saddleback.net.

    And when Wayne Besen feels like commenting on the Kevin Jennings debacle (seeing how we’re being so forthcoming on Uganda here), perhaps he can start by explaining this quote from his TWO press release:

    “Kevin Jennings is a hero that has saved the lives of many students and is eminently qualified for his position. Thanks to his work, countless gay youth were able to concentrate on scholastic success instead of basic survival or even suicide.”

    And you also can tell us, Wayne, why you inserted the little bit about Mel White, addressing a gay group in Florida at your invitation, supposedly said his former employers (referring to evangelical leaders he ghostwrote for) “want you dead.” Seems you and Mel have a fixation on death and dying. The U.S. is not Uganda. We tend to bend over backward to protect GLBTs.

    And it would be nice if TWO, Ex-Gay Watch and Box Turtle Bulletin would post the contact information I have included here rather than just asking folks to hound Exodus. If they do, they will prove this is not merely an Exodus witch-hunt.

    If you check Warren’s blog history on the Uganda conference, you’ll see he has previously mentioned some of these players.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    My action comment -— part 3 — is awaiting moderation. The blog software made links of the URLS I did not link to. Warren, can you post it?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Good links Debbie. If anyone hears from Pastor Ssempa, please let me know. I have emailed twice with no answer.

  • Mary

    Debbie,

    Thank you so much for the time and effort to find and report this information. This is a huge help.

  • Eddy

    Debbie–

    I’ve also greatly appreciated your diligence here. I’ve been searching on my own over the weekend but so much of what’s out there falls under the ‘propaganda’ category. So glad that you were able to get beyond that and find some solid info and contact info.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I guess we should spread the word around and multiply our efforts. Couldn’t hurt. I have tried to be sensitive to the propagandizing, as Eddy points out. But if you follow the various trails, it is clear something unChristian and politically motivated is afoot. I am supposing Alan Chambers was in touch with pastors like Ssempa and Langa, of course.

  • Michael Bussee

    I will use all of the links above to espress my concern. I will do it today. Will Exodus issue its statement any time soon?

    The point is not that Exodus is repsonsibile for Uganda. It’s about taking a public moral stand that matters — even if it does not a damn bit of good in terms of changing Ugandan policy. Why such resistance to that?

  • Michael Bussee

    Not sure why Debbie is talking about condoms and abstinence. This is about putting SSA folk in prison for life and jailing those who don’t thurn them in.

    I called and spoke briefly with Rick Warren just now. He said he was not aware of the legisaltion an was “running out the door”. He asked me to leave the information with his assistant. I emailed Ssempa.

    Have you guys called Alan to ask him to do what Warren has suggested? Warren, have you contacted Alan?

  • Michael Bussee

    Debbie, have you asked Alan to do it? Have you, Eddy?

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Michael, I have been in touch with Alan. What I said is nobody’s business but ours.

    You actually got Rick Warren on the phone? I’m impressed.

    I am doing all the contacting you are doing.

  • Michael Bussee

    First, let me say that I believe Exodus should issue a statement yesterday condemning the proposed bill

    .Amen and amen. How come Debbie, David and Eddy don’t object when you say so, Warren?

    Now the differences. Exodus did not send Don Schmeirer, he went on his own.

    I don’t buy it. He went with their blessing. They applauded his participation. That he bought his own plane ticket is irrelevant..

    Exodus has issued a statement opposing criminalization. IHF has done nothing, except published this surreal article which is used essentially to thank donors and ask for more money.

    If you are talking about the quote in the Christian Post article, it’s not enough. I punched in “uganda” on the Exodus website and got NO REFERENCES. Why are they silent where it matters most — on their own website?

    Any emails, call etc. that are made to Exodus should be made double to IHF.

    I just called IHF/Cohen and left a message. Have you guys called Alan?

  • Michael Bussee

    Michael, I have been in touch with Alan. What I said is nobody’s business but ours.

    I am not asking you to divlulge your private conversation. Just waiting for Alan to do something. Waiting for Exodus to do something. Thanks for contacting him.

  • Michael Bussee

    Just called Exodus and left a message asking Alan to do what Warren has suggested. I will continue to email and phone all of the contacts you can provide.

  • Michael Bussee

    Feels like I am doing what Exodus should be doing.

  • Michael Bussee

    Box Turtle Bulletin has contact information for the Ugandan legislature: http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/tag/uganda

  • Lynn David

    Debbie Thurman…. And it would be nice if TWO, Ex-Gay Watch and Box Turtle Bulletin would post the contact information I have included here rather than just asking folks to hound Exodus. If they do, they will prove this is not merely an Exodus witch-hunt.

    To what good end would there be for gay people to email Ssempa or Langa? I learned years ago that trying to talk to someone set in their bigotted ways was useless. As they follow the Bible they consider gays to have a reprobate mind; so just how much attention do you think they would give even a well-worded, yet respectful argument in favor of gay people of Uganda?

  • Michael Bussee

    There are two things here that need attention:

    (1) Direct action to put pressure on Uganda

    (2) DIrect action to put pressure on Exodus.

    I am doing both. Has anyone besides Debbie called Alan?

  • Eddy

    Michael–

    1) You don’t know what EXODUS is doing. You have a lot of assumptions, most of them very negative…and you can justify your negative assumptions all you want…they’ll still be assumptions.

    2) We didn’t ‘object when Warren said it’ but because Warren made a simple statement of belief…he believes they should have responded yesterday. That’s quite unlike your incessant demands. More than 30 posts, often 4 or 5 posts in a row..minutes apart.

    3) No, I haven’t contacted Alan yet. As I began to study this issue, I saw even less value in a statement than I did originally. I agree that something needs to be done but I see a ‘statement’ as virtually worthless and possibly even a negative step. I realize that many of you live by these ‘statements’ but I see most of them as ‘politically correct busywork’.

    4) Debbie’s info came in just before I needed to go out for awhile. I’ve read her postings but haven’t had time to digest and mesh them with the little bit of research that I’ve accomplished. When I do, I’ll contact Alan with my ‘two cents’.

    5) What was interesting in my research was that the meeting that you are so upset about barely ever came up in any discussions of the Uganda bill…EXCEPT when it was presented as the ‘be all, end all’ in the United States blogsites who relentlessly bash EXODUS. Even pro-gay groups that weren’t part of this EXODUS-bashing network were strangely silent. That’s the propaganda piece of the puzzle that I’ve been trying to sort through.

    6) All that is to say that ‘yes’, I still plan to contact Alan. I do plan to recommend that EXODUS take some steps to see if they can have any impact at all on the Uganda bill. Currently, I also plan to add my ‘two cents’ that a ‘statement’, unless it would be a reissue of their March statement, is, IMHO, a waste of time and effort. Michael, you cited that they should have published their statement somewhere with a broader circulation than the Christian Post. With your firm belief in the value of a statement, perhaps you could circulate their original statement to a source with a wider circulation. I can suggest that to Alan as an option for EXODUS to pursue as well.

    7) Flash Update: Consider Alan contacted. I’ve decided to copy and paste most of this post in an email to him immediately after posting here.

  • Eddy

    I have just emailed Alan.

    Lynn David has twice touched on a point that comes close to my reservations regarding a ‘statement’. BoxTurtle had an early version (don’t know how much it’s changed, if at all) of the complete Uganda Bill…it contained not only the proposed law but a complete framing of their approach to it. Not sure if that’s the way to put it…but it demonstrated ‘their mindset’.

    Lynn David was right earlier in suggesting that Uganda wouldn’t listen because, among other things, they’d have literal Old Testament to appeal to. From the ‘mindset’ portion of the bill, it’s also quite clear that Uganda is in ‘crisis management’ mode regarding AIDS; Uganda wants to be seen as a leader in AIDS managment and in upholding morality; Uganda believes that much of the world (and I would suspect, especially, the western world) is morally corrupt.

    A statement from EXODUS, if not thoughtfully and prayerfully constructed, could get EXODUS dismissed as just another agent of corruption closing any doors to having any impact in the future. (Yeah, some of you believe that would be a good thing believing as you do that EXODUS impacted the current bill in a negative way. I challenge that the current bill did not increase penalties…what it did was clarify what ‘aggravated homosexual offense’ was and what ‘homosexual offense’ was). If I understand it correctly, the standards for ‘aggravated homosexual offense’ directly parallel the standards for ‘aggravated heterosexual offense’. There seems to be no special singling out of homosexuals nor does there seem to be a greater penalty for homosexuals than heterosexuals. So this one isn’t so much a gay rights issue as it is a discussion of the ‘death penalty’.

    I personally have a very difficult time comprehending any society that endorses the death penalty for any crime. My reasoning is that death takes away the option of eventual redemption. (i.e. if you believe that an individual has committed a horrendous crime, by killing them you are saying that they are beyond redemption…or, at the least, that you don’t believe they should have that option.)

  • Michael Bussee

    A statement from EXODUS, if not thoughtfully and prayerfully constructed, could get EXODUS dismissed as just another agent of corruption closing any doors to having any impact in the future.

    Then do it thoughtfully and prayerfully — but do it. If this law passes, ex-gay groups could not function. You could go to prison if you didn’t turn in a struggler, as Warren pointed out:

    This bill would make ex-gay ministry such as promoted by the conference impossible as just knowing about someone who is gay could lead to fines or imprisonment.

    I think a start for Exodus to have a redemptive approach to this situation would be to issue a statement in opposition to the bill indicating the chilling effect on ministry and freedom of conscience.

    Furthermore, yes, it might get Exodus dismissed as “just another agent of corruption”, but that is the risk you take when you take a moral stand, isn’t? Are we going to let the fact that we might be misunderstood or dismmised keep us from doing the right thing?

    P.S. Thanks, Eddy, for doing what you did. I honestly do not understand why anyone would hesitate to do so.

  • Pingback: Ugandan Government Poised to Harshly Prosecute Homosexuals : Exodus International Blog

  • Michael Bussee

    I think we have lame excuse #8 — Uganda might think Exodus is light on sin. Uganda might think so no matter how thoughtfully and prayerfully Exodus expresses itself.

    But how will Exodus look to the rest of the world if it does not? Exodus could get “dismissed as just another agent of anti-gay corruption, closing any doors to having any impact in the future.”

    Exodus has put itself in a very tough spot. They are kinda damned if they do and damned if they don’t — but hey, they did this to themselves by not being more thoughtful and prayerful in the first place.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Good for Randy (and Don). I had been to the Exodus blog earlier today, hoping there might be something there or forthcoming.

  • Michael Bussee

    What Randy wrote on the Exodus blog:

    The Ugandan government is seeking to further stigmatize and criminalize (to death or extreme punishment) people who deal with homosexuality. It seems that the government has no respect for freedom. Especially as it pertains to free will or self-determination on what a person does with their own same sex attractions.

    This sweeping, hateful, public policy being promoted threatens anyone struggling with same sex attractions, and their loved ones, with death or imprisonment.

    Can I now assume that this is Exodus’ official stand on the matter on that Randy is not just stating his own opinion? It sounds pretty official. It’s on their blog. If so, thanks.

  • Pingback: Exodus comments about Ugandan situation on blog — Warren Throckmorton

  • Eddy

    Michael,

    If it’s on the Exodus blog and has no caveat (i.e. “I’m speaking personally here”) then it’s safe to assume that it can be considered an Exodus position. If nothing else, they’d need to answer to it since it’s on ‘their’ blog.

    Also, since this statement pretty much echoes the statement Exodus made back in March, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s an official stand. Nice to hear it again but it’s no more official than it was back in March and there was nothing in the interim to suggest that Exodus had changed their mind. But I’m so glad that it serves to appease those who were in need of a fresh statement. (Ah, but I’m waiting…I predict that, by the time I log back in again, we’ll already have our first ‘but it isn’t enough’ comment.)

  • Eddy

    Randy also said this which partially explains some of the ‘attitude issues’ I’ve been contending with on the side :-) LOL. Thanks, Randy, for saying it so well.

    That said, it is interesting how American militant gay activists demand that Exodus has no right or authority to speak into public policy here in the states (where we have 230+ Member Agencies facing potential threats to their religious liberties) but then demand that we speak into public policy in other countries like Uganda where we have 0 Member Agencies. These same activists then don’t consistently speak out about other countries or cultures that have enormous human rights abuses (along these same lines or worse.)

    I’m really not interested in debating that point; I’m sure it’s one where no one would be swayed from one point of view to the other. I present it as an ‘interesting observation that resonated with me’…especially after googling my way through pages and pages of anti-Exodus flame speech.

  • Michael Bussee

    Let Alan say, “It’s official”, and it’s good enough for me. It is the right thing to do morally — even if it has no direct impact on the Ugandan government.

    I know some folks here think I am trying to make Exodus look bad. Actually, the reverse is true. For Exodus to stand officially against this “sweeping, hateful, public policy” that “threatens anyone struggling with same sex attractions, and their loved ones, with death or imprisonment” is to Exodus’ credit. And I am glad, if it is Exodus’s official stand, that it did not take as long as I expected.

    Now, we need similar statements from the other players — and I pray that Exodus ask them to join Exodus in its official and unequivocal denunciation of this legislation, about which Randy rightly observes: “It seems that the government has no respect for freedom. Especially as it pertains to free will or self-determination on what a person does with their own same sex attractions.

  • Eddy

    Michael:

    I think we have lame excuse #8 — Uganda might think Exodus is light on sin. Uganda might think so no matter how thoughtfully and prayerfully Exodus expresses itself.

    But how will Exodus look to the rest of the world if it does not? Exodus could get “dismissed as just another agent of anti-gay corruption, closing any doors to having any impact in the future.”

    Exodus has put itself in a very tough spot. They are kinda damned if they do and damned if they don’t — but hey, they did this to themselves by not being more thoughtful and prayerful in the first place.

    I believe I’ve endured this tackiness of yours long enough. Either have the courage to discuss your exceptions to my logic with me…rationally and point for point…or remain silent. This rephrasing and repackaging my content disrespects honest and truthful discussion. It certainly complicates it needlessly.

    1) Did I say “light on sin”. No. My words went more to ‘being morally corrupt’. We’re dealing with cross-cultural understanding and misunderstandings here…why you feel the need to change my words is beyond me. (‘light on sin’ speaks to the issue of judgement; ‘morally corrupt’ speaks to being impaired and tarnished. There’s a difference even if you can’t see it.

    2) Thoughtfully and prayerfully may be just a meaningless phrase to you…but, while prayer may only take minutes, thought (including research and seeking advice and counsel) can take days. I waited patiently several days…while I researched and while Debbie researched…and offered Alan more thoughtful advice than if I had written him on Friday or Saturday. Get over it. Thoughtful response isn’t a bad thing and thoughtfulness takes time.

    WARREN: This next point warrants your attention

    3) I request a formal apology for this one:

    Exodus could get “dismissed as just another agent of anti-gay corruption, closing any doors to having any impact in the future.”

    I’ve copied and pasted this from Michael’s post. The quotation marks are his…implying that this is a direct quote, not a paraphrase, of someone’s words. And, you’d think they were my words…except Michael added the words ‘anti-gay’ in front of ‘corruption’. It changes what I said; it distorts my meaning and it violates the ethics of quoting.

  • Michael Bussee

    Again, thanks to Exodus for making it official.

  • Michael Bussee

    In making this statement today, Uganda could dismiss Exodus “as just another agent of corruption closing any doors to having any impact in the future.” Your words. And yes, that is a risk.

    MY point was: If Exodus had not made this statement, the general public could dismiss Exodus as just another agent of “anti-gay”(my word, not Eddy’s) “corruption closing any doors to having any impact in the future”.

    I was not quoting you, There were risks for Exodus either way. I was trying to point out that the dangers for Exodus NOT making the statement might be greater then the dangers of doing the good thing they did today.

  • Eddy

    No, Michael–

    You took 17 very recent words of mine, in the order that I wrote them, with the punctuation I used….then you put them inside quotation marks. Quotation marks indicate that you are quoting something already said. Except you added words I didn’t use and didn’t intend to use that were not part of what I was saying and, in fact, changed the essence of what I was saying…I was speaking more globally.

    That’s something that’s not proper by rules of the English language. (Read up on the rules for using quotation marks.) It’s unfair; it’s impolite; it’s misleading; it’s a waste of my time…I take my time when I post and I carefully consider my words. Having you follow me, respond to what I’ve said and then slightly alter my words while pretending it’s a quote…that’s an offense, especially in the sticky conversations we have here.

    I note that you offered an explanation; I’ll continue to wait for the apology.

  • Michael Bussee

    I did not mean to imply that Eddy had used the word “anti-gay”. The two statements (his and mine) are similar in thay they point out the big risks that Exodus took today. Either way, Exodus could be “dismissed” as “corrupt.”

    I apologize to any person who may have gotten that impression that my words were Eddy’s. I did not intend to use punctuation to make it seem as though Eddy was saying something that I was saying.

    I apologize for my sloppiness in my use of quotations. Here is what Eddy said:

    A statement from EXODUS, if not thoughtfully and prayerfully constructed, could get EXODUS dismissed as just another agent of corruption closing any doors to having any impact in the future.

    The following are MY words — not a quote from Eddy — but using some of his sentence structure and word choice to make MY point:

    The failure or refusal by Exodus to issue an official statement condemning the Ugandand legisation could get EXODUS dismissed as just another agent of anti-gay corruption closing any doors to having any impact in the future — Michael Bussee

    I am grateful Exodus took the risk.

  • Michael Bussee

    Curious. Maybe I am not finding it. Is there a link from the Exodus homepage to the Exodus blog? I checked under “press releases” and could not find a statement and I could not figure out how to find the blog from the webpage.

  • Lynn David

    From Randy Thomas on the Exodus Blog [http://blog.exodusinternational.org/2009/10/19/ugandan-government-poised-to-harshly-prosecute-homosexuals/comment-page-1/#comment-1024]: I asked Don… about his thoughts on what is happening now in Uganda. He responded:

    What this David Bahati is introducing does not reflect the Ugandans that I have ministered too. The only place where I have run into this thinking is from some former Russian hardliners and that was only a very small percentage of the participants attending my seminars. After some challenges from me (except for one person) they softened up and came around to a more redemptive position.

    ____________________________________

    How does Schmierer’s statement compare with what one of his associates in Uganda, Stephen Langa of the Family Life Network, has been doing – after the conference Schmierer attended, for instance [http://www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/news/Homosexuality_threat_to_Ugandans_activists_83727.shtml]:

    Activists against homosexuality in Uganda stormed parliament on Tuesday protesting against the practice and demanded a probe into the practice in the country. The activists who were holding banners denouncing the activity were led by the Family Life Network in conjunction with religious leaders.

    The groups led by the Executive Director of Family Life Network, Mr Stephen Langa while handing over their petition to the Deputy Speaker, Ms Rebecca Kadaga said the Parliamentary select committee should also assess the extent of the damage homosexuality has caused to children and Ugandans.

    …Mr Langa said the homosexuals under the group Sexual Minorities Uganda spend huge sums of money to recruit University students and those in secondary schools into homosexuality. They did not give details.

    ____________________________________

    Another Uganda news outlet, UGPulse [http://www.ugpulse.com/articles/daily/news.asp?about=Civil%20society%20petitions%20Parliament%20over%20homosexuality%20vice&ID=9749], reported that Deputy Speaker Kadaga “promised to push for the amendment of Article 31 of the Constitution which prohibits homosexual marriages. Langa had earlier noted that the article prohibits gay marriages but not the actions.”The Daily Monitor’s article indicates that the group explained that they wanted the proposed amendment to be broadened to “openly prohibit homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality and other related practices.”

    ____________________________________

    Then there was the time Langa sponsored a press conference in which another allegedly “former gay activist” Paul Kagaba accused a very popular Catholic priest and gospel singer, Fr. Anthony Musaala, of being gay.

    ____________________________________

    The blogger GayUganda is has reported that Stephen Langa, the director of Family Life Network, spoke on Ugandan FM radio stations advocating the arrests of Ugandan LGBT leaders. [http://gayuganda.blogspot.com/2009/03/anti-gay-agenda.html]

    ____________________________________

    Now how is it that these actions by Langa are not supportive of Bahati’s bill on homosexuality? Schmierer certainly didn’t “soften up” Langa and get him to “come around.”

    … … …

  • Pingback: American Evangelicals Play Role In Uganda Effort To ‘Wipe Out’ Gays | The Church of Jesus Christ

  • william mccallum

    The opposition being expressed to the new Ugandan legislation against homosexual practice just underlines how far astray we have movede in the West.

    Because of the extremely differing views existing the subject and in the interests of fair reporting surely it should be recognised that the approach being taken in Uganda deserves as much respect as the approach being taken in the UK. Otherwise it sounds like a fundamentalism which never questions whether it may be wrong has taken over reporting such issues in the West..

    It should always be remembered that when we claim to be wise we may still be fools!


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