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Vatican speaks out against Uganda anti-gay laws

Published on : 17 December 2009 - 4:17pm | By Paddy Maguire
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Pope Benedict is opposed to 'unjust discrimination' against gay men and lesbians, according to a statement addressed to a United Nations panel by the Vatican's legal attaché, the Reverend Philip J Bene, today.

The statement is being seen as a response to a bill being considered by the Ugandan parliament, which would introduce the death penalty for 'aggravated homosexuality' in the east African country.

David Bahati, the Ugandan MP behind the bill, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide his reasoning for putting the new laws forward.

Foreign influence
He said that foreigners use money to recruit young people into homosexuality and that in Uganda homosexuality is perceived to be a learned behaviour, that can also be unlearned.

“Also, according to our constitution, homosexuality is not a human right. We believe that the traditional family was meant for man and woman, and anything contrary to that will be a distortion of the nature of order and it is already illegal in Uganda. This bill is trying to consolidate all these laws into one piece of legislation that will sum up the spirit and aspirations of Uganda as a society.”

The bill will be debated in a fortnight and is expected to become law in February.

Hate crimes

The international community have called it a serious violation of basic human rights - and a major step backwards for Africa, which will usher in a new era of hate crimes.

Mark Bromley, of the Council for Global Equality, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that Uganda was contradicting human rights laws it had already accepted under UN treaty provisions.

“Our response is that this is a basic human rights issue. Uganda has accepted basic human rights standards that come with being a part of the community of nations in the UN and those standards are under direct attack in Uganda. This isn’t about western or European governments imposing their social views on Uganda. It’s a basic human rights struggle of the kind…where governments go after demonized or minority communities to score political points.”

Christian evangelists
In March this year, Mr Bahati attended a conference in Uganda held by anti-gay US Christian evangelists who have promised to wipe out homosexuality. He drew up his bill within weeks of the meeting.

Mark Bromley says there are clear substantial links between evangelical communities in the US and some of the communities and religious institutions that are now supporting these criminalisation efforts in Uganda.

“Fortunately there are a number of religious leaders in the US, including some powerful and conservative religious leaders, who have come out against the bill and its now time for the political and religious leadership in Uganda to take a stand for basic human rights and basic dignity for all.”

International pressure

For his part, Mr Bahati maintains that pressure from the international community will not sway him.

“The potential for homosexuality to destroy our family is so huge that if you don’t act now in the coming years our society will be finished. There is no amount of pressure, of intimidation, of noise, that can stop us from defending the tradition of family values, from defending our children and from defending our country and our continent.”

The bill’s classification of ‘aggravated homosexuality’, for which the death penalty could be passed, includes HIV-positive gay people and repeat offenders.

If Uganda passes the bill, which is very likely, it will join 37 other African countries where US-backed evangelical Christian groups are spreading an anti-homosexual message. 

 

Discussion

Vanesa 24 March 2010 - 12:55am

I'm a catholic but what's the Vatican's business with the Uganda anti-gay laws?
______________
lawyer Boston MA

Stan james 2 March 2010 - 11:12pm / USA

Welcome to the American southern religious evangelical culture. The people who bullwarked slavery and then created the KKK and segregation. A religious culture so bereft of meaning that they always need someone to hate to sell their brand of so called "christian love"

One big bomb on the reichstag about 1935 would have prevented WWII and 50 million deaths. It would be childs play for us to solve the problem of the Ugandan Parliment, just a nice little trip in a stealth bomber.

And that would begin to deliver a message to Africa. Where lots of these countries have this mentality due to the devils in disguise.

And to show the absolute irrationality of these so called chistians, note how now they join with the race of people they enslaved and called less then human. To mass murder another minority group.

Kim Schultz 18 December 2009 - 8:27pm / United States of America

This Anti-Homosexuality Bill is so degrading and so monsterous that I can't even begin to explain the extent of what I am feeling. I've been following this for a little while now and I feel so sickened, and feel emotional pain for our LGBT brothers and sisters there. To treat those people so inhumanly and not having the proper education about homosexuality and the lies that are spread around about it. To know that U.S. religious fundamentalists gave them such ides in Uganda it makes you wonder what they will do over here next. Religious fundamentalists have already gotten involved with human rights here, and in California took some rights away from people. So much of this hatred is spawned from uneducated people who do not know the truth about homosexuality and they just want to believe what their religious leaders tell them. This is not right and we need to stop them and start correcting them. Their ought to be jail time for the people who go for this Uganda bill, both in the U.S. and in Uganda.

valentines day 18 December 2009 - 11:49am / UK

It is as diverse as anywhere. I would be surprised if Bahati lives to see 2011. Like McCarthy in America, Bahati's crusade leads me to speculate that he is probably gay himself.

Abdul Okaka 18 December 2009 - 9:21am / Netherlands

Who is this Okaka Obina? It appears we share the same name—I’m Abdul Okaka and comment regularly on Radio Netherlands and NRC Handelsblad websites.

As an African, I think this law is repulsive. Why not just let people be for heaven’s sake. We are all human beings and should seek to protect one another. While I would certainly not describe myself as an advocate for the gay cause, I dare say that statements such as “homosexuality is un-African” are not only unhelpful but outright wrong.

Homosexuality has prevailed in several cultures through the centuries.
In the Islamic North of Nigeria, the yan-Daoudous are known to be effeminate men who sometimes sleep with other men. The culture there tolerated them, even with Islam. But these days, they appear to be frowned upon.

Uganda should let its homosexual and lesbians be. There is no such thing as one African culture. Africa is too diverse to be united by a single set of ideologies. Note that while I would not teach my kids that it is okay to be gay, if they opt for such a lifestyle, they would remain who they are—my kids and I will accept them that way.

Jude 18 December 2009 - 1:31am / United States

This law is horrific, immoral and useless. There is a lot of scientific research that being homosexual is NOT a choice. There is no reason to imprison a person for being gay. I would be delighted if every country pulled all funding from Uganda. Your government needs to consult with scientists and with religious leaders who do not preach hate. Human rights? This is genocide. You could murder every single gay person today and tomorrow one will be born. Because it is biological.

Uganda has been a success story when it comes to battling AIDS. Murdering people is not the way to go. Is this what Jesus would do?

1EqualityUSA 18 December 2009 - 12:12am / USA

If the United States of America threatened to pull it's half billion dollar funding, this clown would change his tune

Okaka Obina 18 December 2009 - 12:51am / Kampala, Uganda

Please take your handouts. You need them more than we do because 1 in 8 of you Yanks are on food stamps. Our morals are not on sell

Anonymous 18 December 2009 - 4:14am / USA

Your morals? What moral doctrine dictates murder of groups of people? The Bible? What form of Christianity tells you this? I am not Christian but I thought it says something about, "Thou shalt not kill" and "Love thy neighbor." Sadly, you do not know what morality is. And worse, you are so ignorant you think you are discussing the morality of a behavior when you are actually discussing the inherent nature of an entire group of people. It's like saying, "Black people are immoral." How do you feel about that one, honey?

Anonymous 18 December 2009 - 1:11am / USA

Your morals are immoral and reprehensible. Puninshing people for what comes natural to them. That is not moral at all. That is terrible. No one is hurt by gays. Your views are sick.

Hiram 17 December 2009 - 7:32pm / USA

"Pope Benedict is opposed to 'unjust discrimination' against gay men and lesbians, according to a statement addressed to a United Nations panel by the Vatican's legal attaché, the Reverend Philip J Bene, today."........Pope Benedict, is "unjust discrimination" the reason why homosexuality among priests is not corrected in the Catholic church? If homosexuals are being persecuted why not allow them to immigrate to the Netherlands. Please use your influence in the one-world order to allow such a move. They in the Netherlands are proud of their Gay Capital status of the world.

Jeff Stephens 17 December 2009 - 5:38pm / USA

Okaka wrote: "As usual, in the end --AFRICA WILL PREVAIL ."

Curious: How do you define "prevail?" Can you name a single historical instance in which Africa, as a cohesive entity, prevailed in any circumstance? As for Africa having a unified set of "values", that is simply incorrect. It is as diverse as anywhere.

I would be surprised if Bahati lives to see 2011. Like McCarthy in America, Bahati's crusade leads me to speculate that he is probably gay himself. I also appreciate the fact that he uses the western name, David. Nothing like a Christian name to reflect your pure Ugandan values. He also uses cell phones, cars, and watches satellite TV, as instructed by the Ugandan constitution.

Denouncing the west, while voluntarily consuming western products, seems hypocritical. This whole issue makes Ugandan government seem like a joke. Or more accurately, a branch of Nazism.

Okaka Obina 17 December 2009 - 6:03pm / Kampala, Uganda

Jeffs Stephens ...
1- Just to refresh your small brain-washed brain... We prevailed our colonialism and apartheid.
2- Since you are a Yanke.., why not go and get your food stamps? 1 in 8 people in the US depend on food stamps. You should thank China for bailing you out.
3- Does being modern or living in 2011 mean that we should all become homosexuals?
4- The name David.., is a Middle Eastern name..read your bible and see its origin.
5- Do you know who the Nazis were? probably your grandparents

Anonymous 18 December 2009 - 4:21am / USA

Oh, Okaka my dear. You really do embarrass yourself talking about Ugandan values when you all follow your slave religion - after all, you follow your colonial masters religion, don't you? But, alas, your entire country is becoming the laughing stock of the world right now. The comments your fellow Ugandans leave on sites that discuss this issue make you look like a bunch of ignorant fools that know nothing about human rights or what Christianity really is for that matter. Finally, while 1 in 8 Americans may be on food stamps, 1 in 1.1 Ugandans are living on the aid that allows you to have a budget at all. I would love to pull every dime away in lending and aid. Your economy would come to a screeching halt faster than I could say, "Amen, Jesus." I would just LOVE to bankrupt your homophobic society.

Jeff Stephens 17 December 2009 - 9:29pm / USA

Okaka-
1: If you prevailed over colonialism, then what is the problem? Funny how you celebrate the end of the policy of apartheid, while condoning even more severe bigotry.
2: I don't understand this comment.
3: When did I suggest we all become homosexuals?
4: re: David. You are right. I should have said "Christian" name. You certainly haven't prevailed in the Christian takeover of your traditional beliefs.
5: I know who the Nazis were. And by supporting the systematic eradication of a certain group of non-violent people, you embody Nazism's deepest principles. Happy?

James_ 17 December 2009 - 5:23pm / San Diego, California, USA

Don’t give up on Uganda. The country recently outlawed the savage practice of cutting the clitorises out of their females.

I have no respect for religious tyrants: people are too sexy for their hate, too sexy for their lies, and too sexy for their self-righteous genocide. We must expose the religious tyrants for the evil control freaks that they are.

Corrupt officials, religious tyrants, and mass murderers should all move to the front of the death penalty/save the family line!

Okaka Obina 17 December 2009 - 4:50pm / Kampala, Uganda

As an African myself, I fully understand that African culture is threatened by the new global ethic which aggressively seeks to persuade African governments and communities to accept new and different meanings of the concepts of family, marriage and human sexuality. This is a cultural challenge. We face a second wave of colonialism, both subtle and ruthless at the same time. We Africans have a duty and obligation to protect my values from Western contamination and intellectual cynicism.
Just as we defeated slavery, colonialism, and apartheid, this challenge will be overcome. A few people will always side with these colonial agents. The aim of Bahati's Bill is to give these agents a final blow and restore our values.
As usual, in the end --AFRICA WILL PREVAIL

Anonymous 18 December 2009 - 4:25am / USA

Oh yes, Africa has prevailed. It is leading the world in every dimension. The glorious Lord's Resistance Army, the armless child soldiers, the magnificent Idi Amin, the genocide next door to you, the genocide on the other next door to you. Yes, you have a whole lot to be proud of in your homeland, don't you Okaka? And yes, it's a big, giant global conspiracy of gay imperialism to take over the world and make the whole world gay. That's how it works. God, I am surprised you are smart enough to learn how to even turn on a computer.

Okaka Obina 17 December 2009 - 4:46pm / Kampala, Uganda

As an African myself, I fully understand that African culture is threatened by the new global ethic which aggressively seeks to persuade African governments and communities to accept new and different meanings of the concepts of family, marriage and human sexuality. This is a cultural challenge. We face a second wave of colonialism, both subtle and ruthless at the same time. We Africans have a duty and obligation to protect my values from Western contamination and intellectual cynicism.
Just as we defeated slavery, colonialism, and apartheid, this challenge will be overcome. A few people will always side with these colonial agents. The aim of Bahati's Bill is to give these agents a final blow and restore our values.
As usual, in the end --AFRICA WILL PREVAIL

Anonymous 17 December 2009 - 8:03pm / US

If Uganda passes this bill the streets will be filled with blood and hate. In the end your country will be regarded as Germany was after the genocide of the Jews. The American people will turn their focus to the American organizations funding your evangelical Christian hate churches and your money money will suffer as your country will. You were probably in favor of killing tootsie as well. Look where that got you. Your hate and fear to scramble against the change that time brings to the world will never succeed. And you did defeat slavery! how dare you condemn others for something they do not choose. Do you really think a human being would choose death for fun in your country? If your own child grew to be a homosexual you would probably put him to death yourself. What does that say about you, your country, and your god?

Anonymous 16 November 2011 - 3:18am / Canada

Hey Okaka Obina,

I certainly hope Africa gets taken over by the right western influence to eradicate Africa's 'culture de merde'. And don't forget this; your great African values are being enforced by American Evangelicals and they are not your own. So stop pretending that Africa is being corrupted by wicked westerners who want to make everyone gay.
Deep inside you're just homophobic.I know one when i see one.
Besides, what business is it yours who I sleep with? If it's between two concenting adults it's none of your business. What do I tell my children? Should someone be killed because you don't want to sit down and talk to your ugly kid for 5 minutes?
You're just looking for ways to justify homophobia.
And BTW, the death penalty of a group of people is a family value? Really?

Africa's current culture is just a wart on the ass of God. You need us secularist. God help your twisted mind.

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