The Christian Right and Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill

The Christian Right and Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill February 10, 2012

Kristin Rawls has a long article at AlterNet looking at the many connections between the American religious right and Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, which was put back on the legislative schedule this week. Though many religious right figures have spoken out against the bill, many others have promoted the bill inside Uganda from the start.

Imagine a self-proclaimed “homosexuality expert” who says he knows more about his subject than anyone else in the world, teaching you that gays were responsible for the worst genocides of the 20th century. That’s precisely what Scott Lively of California’s Abiding Truth Ministries did before a crowd of Ugandans at an anti-gay conference in Kampala in 2009.

This would be an explosive point of view in any country. And it is absurdly irresponsible given that many Ugandans believe homosexuality to be a Western, or colonial, import. But this didn’t prevent Lively from telling his 2009 Ugandan audience that gays were “probably” the perpetrators of Rwanda’s genocide. Nor did it stop him from promoting the lie on which he’s built a career: the idea that gay men oversaw the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany. The chilling footage of Lively’s speech, in which gay men are cast as “brutish sociopaths,” child rapists and mass murderers, is worth watching…

Gay rights activist Jim Burroway says his LGBT contacts in Uganda live in what sounds like a constant state of siege. Founder of Ex-Gay Watch and editor at Box Turtle Bulletin, Burroway has been tracking developments in Uganda since 2009. His Ugandan LGBT contacts report increased violence against people in their communities. They claim that things have escalated slowly since American missionaries stepped up their demonization of LGBT people about a decade ago. Some say they lived in relative peace back then. But many now go into hiding or seek asylum in other countries.

This is the video mentioned above:


The whole article is worth reading.

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  • eric

    A white US preacher tells Ugandans that if they will only do what he says, they can solve a problem he thinks was caused by colonialism. And doesn’t see the irony.

  • Chiroptera

    So does this show us that Christian Sharia is a threat to the US, that Christofascism is a worldwide movement that spreads across borders, and that Christians in general can’t be trusted to be good, loyal citizens of the Republic?

  • otrame


    No, it shows that some Christians are evil fucks. Most Christians are perfectly nice people. We hear a lot about the bad guys here, most of whom are religious, but it’s important to remember that most Christians are not like that. With most Christians, their only real fault is that they think that if someone claims to be Christian, that they will both pay more attention to them, and will hesitate to say, “That guy is an evil fuck.”

  • Chiroptera

    otrame, #3:

    My point was that when we were discussing, say, the beheading of women in Nigeria by Islamicists, we heard exactly these arguments from the Christain Right about the dangers of Sharia.

    My point was about the lack of self-awareness of those in the extreme Christian Right.

    Yeah, I guess snark doesn’t always travel too well across the intertubes.

  • raven

    So does this show us that Christian Sharia is a threat to the US, that Christofascism is a worldwide movement that spreads across borders, and that Christians in general can’t be trusted to be good, loyal citizens of the Republic?


  • raven

    I’ve never been able to tell the difference between fundie xians and satanists.

    1. Worship a Sky Monster check.

    2. Religion based on hate check

    3. Religion based on continual lying check

    4. Practice human child sacrifice check

    5. Genocidal mass murder wannabe’s check

    About the only difference is satanists more or less don’t exist but fundie xians definitely do.

    Someone on Pharyngula yesterday reported a study adding up all the people killed by god in the bible versus those killed by satan.

    God 2.5 million.

    Satan 10

    There is a good chance that the fundies really are worshipping a god called….satan.

  • Chiroptera

    raven, #5:

    I explained the point I was trying to make in the previous point.

    That what I wrote was also literally true was an accident.

  • timberwoof

    When Monty Python presented this sort of thinking in the scene with Bedemir and the witch, it was funny.

    But this guy’s broken logic that since gays caused all those genocides, you must kill all the gays … hurts.

  • jba55

    @raven modern cite please (not asking for defense, just for reference) What xtian’s practice human child sacrifice? Or did I miss something (always possible)?

  • exdrone

    It’s a form of the far right’s “Fight them there, so we don’t have to fight them here” anti-terrorism strategy, except that in this case it is “Victimize them there, so we can eventually do the same thing here.”

  • raven

    @raven modern cite please (not asking for defense, just for reference) What xtian’s practice human child sacrifice? Or did I miss something (always possible)?

    1. Fundie xians kill their kids by withholding medical care. It’s called “faith healing”. The numbers aren’t well known but it is believed to be between 10 to 100 a year in the USA. It’s likely to be closer to 100.

    2. Sometimes they just torture and beat them to death. This is a strong current in fundieland, corporal punishment that is excessive. In the last few years 3 kids have died this way. That we know of. Many more are scarred for life.

    Google the Pearl’s book, To train up a child. Look up what happened a few months ago in Sedro whooley Washington.

  • timberwoof

    100 per year? That’s five times as many as murders by Islamic terrorists in the US.

  • raven

    Child Protective Services said there are reports that Hana had lost a significant amount of weight before her death. And the night she died, she was out in the yard naked on a rainy evening, with temperatures in the low 40s.

    Further investigation revealed that Hana had a number of injuries on the night she died, including a large lump on the head, bloody marks and injuries “consistent with disciplinary impacts with a switch,” according to court documents released Friday.

    Those same documents describe the hellish life that Hana endured in the months before her death – which included systematic withholding of food, forced times outdoors in the cold or locked in a dark closet, interspersed with regular spankings or beatings with a plumbing tool.

    In interviews with the parents and other children in the household, investigators determined that the Williams withheld food from Hana as a punishment for being “rebellious,” court documents say.

    deleted for length

    Other punishments included locking Hana inside a dark closet for hours or days without food while the parents played the Bible on tape and Christian music for her while she was locked inside, according to court documents.

    Hana also was forced to sleep in the barn on some nights or kept outside for hours in the cold without adequate clothing or shoes, court documents say – but she was allowed to wear shoes if there was snow on the ground.

    There you go. Fundie xian human child sacrifice by torture and murder.

    Fundies commit a lot of atrocities. Uganda is Scott Lively’s big chance to commit a lot all at once. This is genocide, not highly thought of in some circles. But what do I know, I’m just an atheistic Pagan.

  • Akira MacKenzie

    Though many religious right figures have PUBLICLY spoken out against the bill…

    Fixed that for you, Ed.

  • In other news, The Gays were also responsible for causing Hurricane Katrina, swine flu, the Boxing Day Tsunami, September 11, the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period, the bombing of Hiroshima, the meltdown at Chernobyl, Nicki Minaj’s single “Stupid Hoe”, and all the Transformers movies.

  • Taz

    How do you fix this? Even if every Christian leader other than Scott Lively speaks out against this in the US, it won’t carry much weight in Uganda. The only way to combat this here is by diminishing Lively’s influence as much as possible. This worthless asshole must be opposed whenever and wherever he crops up.

  • Uncle Glenny

    To expand a bit on what Raven posted at #11 and #13:

    – The use of punishment – extreme behavioral and directly corporal – is a thread that runs through many of the fundie xian sects, in various degrees of extremism, and in contrast to the evolution (Hah!) of the standard of child rearing in this country to one of much more moderation up to the banning of or lack of toleration of corporal punishment. (IIRC New Jersey banned corporal punishment in public schools over 100 years ago.)

    – Withholding of science/evidence-based medical treatment in favor of prayer, and withholding of vaccinations for whatever reason, may also result in permanent injury over and above what few deaths seem to be documented

    – demonization of LGBTQ causing a caustic psychological environment and possible suicide

    These things, especially non-fatal injury, have traditionally gotten a pass because of the distinguished position religion (especially christianity) receives in our society. They also are difficult to measure.

    I could add to this the collateral damage from, for example, environmental toxins, due to political resistance to governmental regulation/interference (not just relegated to extreme right-wing religion but also those simply excessively opposed to that for ideological or just plain selfish reasons). I believe a good example of this is lead contamination; although it’s been regulated for some time, only recently have the more subtle effects (possible cause of aggression, for instance) been able to be measured because of advances in the sensitivity for detection and improved epidemiology.

    I’ll stop before I go off on more tangents, but point out that religion – especially fundie – provides very strong tribal support for rejection of evidence-based medicine and science in general. And oh that pesky CDC and that interfering EPA and rights-violating Department of Education!

  • Michael Heath

    otrame writes:

    Most Christians are perfectly nice people.

    “Nice” has nothing to do with this topic. Can a person be “nice” while voting for issues and candidates that would prohibit gays from the equal exercise of their rights? And if so, who cares if some of these bigots are nice or not when determining the character of someone who would suppress the exercise of the very rights they enjoy?

  • kmitch

    Scary stuff. There is something on the Lord’s Resistance Army in the book Buddha is an Atheist.


  • Freeman

    @raven #11:

    I lived in Sedro-Woolley for about five years of my youth. Very small, rural town back then. Pretty isolated, quite a ways to the nearest urban area. Lots of small farms (ours was only two acres).

    As I recall, my Christian mother used to make me cut my own switches from the back-yard Willow tree when we lived there – maybe there’s something in the air or water….

    That said, I’m not claiming mistreatment. She never left more than a welt or two and I probably deserved it most of the time, though amusingly I can’t recall any of the specific lessons I was “taught” through such “discipline”.

  • Aquaria

    @raven modern cite please (not asking for defense, just for reference) What xtian’s practice human child sacrifice? Or did I miss something (always possible)?

    To add to Raven’s points in #11 and #13, some of the more horrific tales of Christian “love” for children, circa 1989:

    A volunteer Sunday School teacher, music teacher and groundskeeper at Bethel Baptist Church, Novoto, CA, CONFESSED to raping and murdering a 13 year old girl on April 13. (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/21/89)


    BARTLEY J. DOBBEN was judged mentally ill and guilty of 1st degree murder for putting his 2 sons, ages 2 and 15 months, in a red-hot foundry ladle on Thanksgiving Day.

    Dobben said ” God had dictated through the Bible” that he kill his sons since they were going to die anyway. He had joined Emmanuel Fellowship whose preacher violently attacked his own mother and checked himself into a psychiatric hospital in late April. (AP 5/4/89; Mohave Valley News, 5/18/89)


    Four members of the Ecclesia Athletic Association were convicted of 1st degree manslaughter for beating an 8 year old girl to death on Oct 13. Dayna Broussard was the daughter of the group’s founder. CONVICTED were: WILLIE K. CHAMBERS, 35; BRIAN K. BRINSON, 31; CONSTANCE Z. JACKSON, 38; and FREDRICK P. DOOLITTLE, 28. (Sacramento Union, 5/13/89)


    Florida authorities say twin girls, 7 months old, were deliberately suffocated. They were left alive in the care of REV. JOHN W. HEFLIN JR., 45, of Belleview, their babysitter.


    MARK RIPPBERGER and SUSAN MIDDLETON-RIPPBERGER were sentenced to 5 years’ probation and fined $5,000 on Nov. 2 after being found guilty of criminal negligence in the death of their 8 month old daughter in 1984 from untreated meningitis.

    “She was not beaten to death or starved, but she’s dead just as if she were beaten and starved,” said the prosecution. The judge ordered the couple to take a family health or first aid course, read Good Housekeeping’s “Family Health and Medical Guide,” and authorize emergency medical care for their other school-age children. The Christian Science Monitor accused California of ” unhidden antagonism toward Christian Science” for prosecuting the case. With 1,945 churches, it is the largest US religious organization shunning medical care. (Reuters/Newark Star-Ledger, 11/5/89; Washington Post, 11/11/89)


    A mother who starved to death her daughter, 4, in order to exorcise her of evil spirits, received a 7 year prison term for 3rd degree murder. The Florida mother, DARLENE JACKSON, 33, agreed to testify against MARY NICHOLSON, an evangelist charged with influencing Jackson to withhold food from daughter Kimberly McZinc. Jackson told the judge she would devote herself to “exposing people like Mary Nicholson.”

    Nicholson’s trial is in February. The girl died on Feb. 8, 1988. The home had been investigated for neglect prior to her death, but a state agency had taken no action. Jackson, who has a master’s degree, was also ordered to pay $23,000 in court costs and serve 8 years’ probation. (AP/Miami Herald, 7/27/89; Pensacola News Journal, 11/30/89)


    LARRY AND LEONA COTTAM, found guilty in Wilkesbarre, PA in September of starving their 14 year old son Eric to death, are free on bail pending an appeal. Eric’s 69-pound body was found Jan. 4, 1989 after the family had fasted for 6 weeks. Larry, a former Seventh-Day Adventist minister, had $3,700 but would not buy food with it, saying it belonged to the Lord.


    Their daughter Laura, now 13, who weighed 77 pounds when she was found after her brother’s death, is in foster care. The Cottams are basing their appeal on grounds that the boy starved himself to death to express his freedom of religion. (Scranton Times, 8/29/89; Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/2-9/89; AP, 12/26/89)

    There’s 9 that FFRF found that year, and it’s 9 too many.

    I got these from a page that lists case after case of religious nuts caught committing horrific crimes against children, with a few of their adult victims thrown in as freebies. Nearly all the articles are sourced. I listed only the lethal cases that I could find on a quick search. If anyone can stand to read about the other crimes against children, especially, without wanting to vomit, then here’s the link:

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