Uganda: What a difference a year makes

A year ago in early March, we were talking about Uganda. We are still talking about Uganda.

On March 2, I posted this:

I decided to post about this after reading an article about an upcoming (this weekend) conference in Uganda on homosexuality. The article begins:

Parents to train on how to handle homosexuality issues

Family Life Network and other stakeholders in Uganda have organized a three-day seminar to provide what they termed as reliable and up to date information so that people can know how to protect themselves, their children, families from homosexuality.

A year and many posts later, the effects of that conference reverberate.  The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is waiting committee action and has not had a second reading. To become law in Uganda, a bill must be read three times and be signed by the President. He could refuse to sign it and then it would go back to the Parliament who could pass it over his refusal.

The bill might languish in committee and not come out for months or years. However, in the mean time, vocal Ugandan clergy such as Martin Ssempa are out in support of the bill with regular rallies. I may be posting about Uganda a year from now.

Read all posts on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill here.

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  • Eddy

    Warren–

    In your topic post immediately preceding this one (Doug Coe) you say:

    It became very clear to me that David Bahati’s involvement with the Fellowship Foundation did not influence him to write the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In fact, he had to ignore the core principles regarding finding common ground and the common humanity of all people in order to write a bill which so badly stigmatizes and attacks homosexuals.

    In this topic post, you seem to indicate a ’cause and effect’ relationship between the March conference and Bahati’s drafting of the bill.

    A year and many posts later, the effects of that conference reverberate.

    Question: is that what you are inferring? Did the March conference serve to inspire the bill or was it exploited to promote the bill? I realize there may be an ‘in between’ position as well.

    Others:

    I am not seeking to exonerate anyone so please spare me any diatribes. I am simply trying to ascertain the level of culpability. Thank you.

  • Michael Bussee

    Question: is that what you are inferring? Did the March conference serve to inspire the bill or was it exploited to promote the bill? I realize there may be an ‘in between’ position as well.

    I favor the “in-between” position on this. Whether they went to inspire it or were “duped” into it, the three fundamentalist Christians who spoke at the conference added fuel to the fire.

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

    Eddy – I am always evaluating this but as of now, I think that the Fellowship core group in Uganda was blindsided by the bill but then was slow to react to it. Once Jeff Sharlet brought the relationship between Bahati and Buturo and the Fellowship out in the open, many Fellowship related people publicly opposed it and took some steps to talk Bahati out of it.

    RE: The conference and those involved. Don Schmierer’s talk there had nothing to do with criminalization as far as I can determine. Brundidge provided confusing responses to questions about criminalization which served to encourage it. Lively was all about keeping homosexuality criminal. He then later supported some mythical second draft that does not exist. Others, like Accuracy in Media are currently providing moral support for the Bill’s supporters.

    The bill would have happened without the Fellowship or the conference in my opinion. However, I do think the conference could have stopped it before it happened if the participants would not have gone, or would have urged them not to do it.

    That is a brief reaction. it is complex of course and the trend was there before last March.

  • Eddy

    Thanks, Warren, I appreciate that.

    And, Michael, I know I don’t say this often, but I appreciated your response as well.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Eddy – your questions were good ones.

    I think we can say that the conference took a sub-optimal situation and made it far, far worse. Beyond that, I don’t know.

    And the support for the bill is continuing in the USA. Even from people who by now must have read it, and realised what it entails. They continue to mis-represent it anyway. In some ways that’s encouraging – because it means they know that if the truth were known and broadcast, their supporters wouldn’t, er, support it.

    We see the same pattern elsewhere: a bill regarding equal employment for GLBT people has to be labelled the “pedophile protection bill” to get support. The same thing that would allow trans and intersexed people to use taxis, buses, and yes, drinking fountains has to be excoriated as a “bathroom bill” that would allow perverts to operate in restrooms, um, un-molested so to speak.

    The majority of people who oppose such bills do so because they’ve been told by people they trust some serious porkies. Some of those that tell them this do so out of ignorance, but I’m afraid to say that the great majority do not, they’re deliberately lying. How do we know? Because the facts have been brought to their attention, repeatedly, over months, and they refuse to engage in discussion. They just repeat the lies louder, and more often.

    There are exceptions. These are few.

    One can speculate as to the motives. But I’ve observed there’s a strong correlation between these scare campaigns and fund-raising efforts. I don’t think it’s personal for many, just business.

  • Michael Bussee

    The bill would have happened without the Fellowship or the conference in my opinion. However, I do think the conference could have stopped it before it happened if the participants would not have gone, or would have urged them not to do it.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Warren’s opinion on this.

    Eddy, Thanks. I occasionally appreciate yours too. :)

  • Michael Bussee

    Does anyone else get the impression that all the negative press has had a momentum-lessening effect?


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