Metro Weekly

Have your tax dollars helped Evangelicals set stage for gay execution bill in Uganda through Bush’s ”AIDS Relief” program? [video]

”Homosexuality will not be promoted, encouraged or supported in Uganda…. It is never, ever, a standard practice in the civilised world for a diplomat to address the press of a country in which he or she is serving on how the host country is handling affairs of its land…. It is clear to government and whoever cares to understand the complexities of corruption, that it will take more than the government alone to defeat the corrupt.”

James Nsaba Buturo, the Ethics and Integrity Minister of Uganda, an African country that is fast approaching the passage of a bill that’s anything but ethical in its demand for the execution of gay people. As the bill moves forward, many ties to America’s anti-gay Evangelical leaders, the US ex-gay movement, conservative US politicians, and funding of religious extremists through George W. Bush‘s “AIDS Relief” program, PEPFAR, are being discovered as exacerbating factors in the development of this policy. News anchor Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, the Daily Beast website, Public Eye, and many others are fast exposing the past support by Americans of Ugandans involved in crafting this bill and their ties to the misappropriated US tax-payer funds for the “AIDS Relief” program called PEPFAR. (Daily Monitor)

Several western countries’ governments, like Sweden, Canada & Britain, have begun to express their grave concern over this insane piece of legislation. But Buturo and other Ugandan leaders appear to remain defiant despite consequences that certainly should begin with the loss of foreign assistance. It has been reported that part of the Ugandan support for this bill is the likening of homosexuality in general to pedophilia and, specifically the case of sexual abuse of an 11-year-old boy earlier this year, allegedly by a youth councilor. It is reported that the bill also specifies that the death penalty should be applied to those who have sex with a minor or disabled person.

Uganda is also the home of Henry Luke Orombi, an Anglican Church leader in that country that has blamed gays Uganda’s problems on numerous occasions and played a critical role in the American Episcopal Church‘s recent problems by publicly criticizing their welcoming stance and the ordination of openly gay Gene Robinson. 

”They [politicians] are exploiting the traditional and cultural abhorrence to same-sex relationships to their advantage. They know that if they criminalise homosexuals, homosexual tendencies and homosexual acts, they stand a better chance of winning votes from the majority of religious followers and leaders, because most of us may not be able to distinguish what may be considered ‘unacceptable’, from the point of view of religious and cultural belief and opinion, from what is ‘criminal’, from the point of state law that is meant to keep peace, order and justice.”

Canon Gideon Byamugisha, reportedly a prominent member of the Ugandan Anglican church, and one of the too few voices coming out of that country in opposition the the proposed ”kill the gays” bill which requires life imprisonment for just being gay, hanging for gays who have sex more than once or are HIV-positive, extradition of gay citizens in other countries back to Uganda for punishment, and three years in jail for anyone who knows of a gay person and does not report that person to the government immediately. (Guardian)

”I think I would do more harm than good by connecting our resources to respond to the epidemic to making them dependent on a behavior that they’re not willing to engage in on their own. My role is to be supportive and helpful to the patients who need these services. It is not to tell a country how to put forward their legislation.”

Eric Goosby, President Obama’s pick for US AIDS Coordinator in charge of PEPFAR, a global AIDS relief fund created by George Bush. He is responding here for a suspension of funds from PEPFAR to be given to Uganda since indications are that a bill will pass that calls for the imprisonment and execution of gay people. It is reported by some sources that funds from PEPFAR’s tens of billions of dollars have been given to people like Martin Ssempa, an extremely anti-gay pastor who has in the recent past been closely allied with members of the American Evangelical movement and their increasingly questionable interests in the AIDS epidemic. (Newsweek)

”I emphasise the importance of creating a social environment conducive for HIV prevention and to refrain from laws that criminalize the transmission of HIV and stigmatize certain groups in the population…. These laws can only fuel the epidemic further and undermine an effective response to HIV.”

Elizabeth Mataka, the United Nations‘ Special Envoy in Africa, speaking out against the proposed “kill the gays” bill that is about to be passed in Uganda. (PlusNews)

JD Uy has been a Metro Weekly webmaster, distribution manager, blogger and videographer since 2002.