Kill the Gays and the LCA. We are SO on the wrong path!

A post by Neil Hart homosexuality, LGBT, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.

On Wednesday, March 14th, a lawsuit was filed by New York’s Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in the U.S. District Court in  Massachusetts, against Pastor Scott Lively. The charge: “crime against humanity of persecution.” (1)

Pastor Scott Lively

The charge comes about because of Lively’s involvement with the Ugandan Anti Homosexuality Bill of 2009 which proposes death by hanging for “serial” homosexuals and imprisonment for 3 years for anyone who knows a homosexual and doesn’t report them to the authorities within 24 hours.

No. I’m not kidding: Welcome to the wild and wacky world of Evangelical Uganda’s “Kill the Gays Bill”  :’-(

This is a longish post but worth the 10 minutes you will invest in reading. And while you read, ask yourself… can we in the LCA really pretend that we are not a part of spreading the hate?

In the first part of 2009, Lively, together with  Don Schmierer from Exodus international and Caleb Lee Brundidge of the  International Healing Foundation ran a workshop in Kampala focusing on the dangers of homosexuals to society and promoting the idea that gay people can be changed to be straight. Lively also addressed Ugandan lawyers and Members of  Parliament urging them to oppose the gay rights movement in the country. (1) He even had personal discussions with the Ugandan “Minister for Integrity and Ethics”  James Nsaba Buturo who along with David Bahati MP formulated and presented the Anti Homosexuality Bill of 2009 to the Ugandan Parliament.

Lively’s  Litany of Hate

Lively supported the Ugandan policy of criminalising homosexuality, He warned that without this legal ban it might be impossible to stop the corruption of homosexuality from spreading. He advocated that people who were arrested should be given the opportunity to undertake conversion therapy rather than face the required prison term.

He spoke of the homosexual agenda to distort the minds of children and “homosexualize” them.

He saw no distinction between rape, sexual abuse in boarding schools, child prostitution and homosexuality. To Lively they are all a part of the same evil.

He spoke of the sexual anarchy that would come to the country if western European and US  gay activists were allowed to pursue their agenda in Uganda. He believed that these groups would undermine the traditional family as the fundamental basis of Ugandan society. (2)

 Other Players

Scott Lively and his colleagues were not the only US fundamentalist Christians involved in this sorry affair.  Buturo and Bahati the two ministers responsible for the Bill are members of a US based organisation of Christian Legislators  called “The Family”. The Family, among other things, are responsible for organising the annual  American National Prayer Breakfast which is attended by members from both houses of Parliament. US politicians from The Family have close associations with Uganda and have exported their Prayer Breakfast idea. It was at the October 2008 Ugandan prayer breakfast that Bahati first discussed the Idea of the death penalty in a private meeting with Parliamentary colleagues. The Anti Homosexuality Bill was then presented soon after the Scott Lively’s  Pray-Away-the-Gay conference in March 2009. (3)

Well known US Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Community Church has a somewhat lesser but still important part in this story. Warren also has close asociation with Uganda and in March 2008  he launched his “Purpose Driven Living” program in Kampala. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest reported to the Rachel Maddow program that Rick Warren’s book  “Purpose Driven Church” was a “second Bible” for most Evangelical pastors there. Later  that year Warren declared Uganda to be a “Purpose Driven Nation”. Warren is influential in Uganda. His words carry weight.

According to Kaoma,  Warren stating  that because homosexuality was not a normal way of life it should not be tolerated and is therefore not a human rights issue. He has compared homosexuality to pedophilia, incest and bestiality.  Warren made several trips to Uganda in 2008 including one trip to protest the Lambeth Conference. He believed that the Anglican Church’s views on homosexuality were  too liberal and objected to its  promotion of the use of condoms to help stop the spread of aids. (4)

Pastor Martin Ssempa is one of Uganda’s most outspoken anti gay campaigners. He has preached on several occasions in Warren’s Church and has close connections with the Ugandan Ministers who are driving the “Kill the Gays” Bill.  He once burnt a condom at Warren’s church “In the Name of Jesus”.  (5) ( I didnt even know they could burn! Was he wearing it at the time??)  Regular You Tube connoiesseurs may well be familiar with Ssempa’s “poo-poo” videos. (Dont ask, Just google it sometime. Seriously, I couldnt make this stuff up if i tried. )

Reader, just so you know that this isnt a gossip peice, have a look at US Diplomatic Cables   from Uganda in 2009. (Thankyou Mr Assange and Wikileaks)  (6)

So, among the Ugandan Christian hate mongering and with more than a little push from Evangelical US politicians and pastors, the Ugandan government set about legislating to protect their children, their families and their state from the “homosexual agenda”. They spawn the Anti Homosexuality Bill of 2009.

Here is some of the actual wording…

The Anti Homoserxual Bill 2009 Uganda

PART II — HOMOSEXUALITY AND RELATED PRACTICES.

2. The offence of homosexuality.

(2) A person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.

3. Aggravated homosexuality.

(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the

(f) offender is a serial offender

(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.

14. Failure to disclose the offence.

A person in authority, who being aware of the commission of any offence under this Act, omits to report the offence to the relevant authorities within twenty-four hours of having first had that knowledge, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding three years. (7)

It seems that the presentation of the Bill caught all the Americans off guard. I assume they were all a little shocked and embarrased by its content. Lively said that he spoke to legislators to oppose the death penalty but everyone else, US “Family” members included,  went very quiet indeed.  And Rick Warren? Remember Warren’s intimate and influential  involvement with the African nation?

“I Declare Uganda a “Purpose Driven Nation!”

Well, here is the statement Warren eventually released after months of media pressure questioning his and other prominent Americans’  involvement in the development of the Ugandan Bill.

It is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations. (8)

Laughable, yeh?

Kill the Gays and the LCA.

The Title of this Blog suggests a link between the Lutheran Church of Australia and the Kill the Gays Bill. I have 2 reasons for this.

I. We need to learn that faith and politics make very bad bedfellows. Historically it has ALWAYS ended in tears and often blood. Any statement that the LCA might make on homosexuality, pro or con, will be a statement of faith, based on the scriptures and the confessions. That statement is not meant to be a part of the Australian Government’s legislative framework.

So, LCA, what are we doing sticking our manipulative little fingers into the Australian Governments Marriage Equality debate?  (just a question…yeh?)

2. And this is the important one.

WE need to take responsibility for all of the implications and effects of our doctrinal stand and the statements we make, publically and privately. We need to be fully aware of the path we are on and where it leads.

Every statement made by Lively and Warren about homosexuality to the people of Uganda, all of the words that incite such hatred and fear as to bring about this bill, I have heard and read from LCA statements and LCA pasotrs in the last few weeks.

I have a comment from a member of the CSBQ about his fears that gay people might convert school children to homosexuality.

The irrational idea that homosexuality will undermine traditional marriage is being spoken again and again by almost everyone, almost everywhere.

That gay rights are not human rights has been at least hinted at in submissions from the LCA to various government enquiries.

That there is no distinction between same sex couples in loving committed relationships and criminal acts such as pedophilia, rape and bestiality and incest has been argued in the comments of this blog and in other LCA discussion forums by pastors of the LCA.

That gay people’s sexuality is distorted, perverted and deserving of the punishment of God is the approach that is taken by the LCA statement which, although under review and widely acknowledge as horribly out of date, is still availble for public access via the LCA web page.

I see very little difference between our view and the views that were expressed in Uganda that gave rise to this horrible piece of legislation.

A Story…coz I like stories.

Every day my son and I looked through the fence at the Muslims next door. The women wore funny things on their heads and faces. I told my son that they didnt know Jesus, that their views were wrong, that there are lots of people in Australia like them… more and more. They come in the boats.

And my son heard me talking at the dinner table with my brother. He is in the army. He talked about the “rag heads” and Afganistan and Taliban and comments like…”just kill the lot of the bastards” would sneak out. He would say how they would throw stones at army vehicles in Sydney and would deliberately try to cause accidents. We would talk about how un-Australian they are and how they should change if they want to live in this country.

And them the little girl next door lost her ball over the fence…she came to get it…and my son was scared and yelled ” Go away. You are bad people!”.  She said, “We are not!” and he picked up a stick and so did she and our dog, sensing the tension, acted defensively and bit her around the face…smothering her and refusing to let go..as was its nature…until the little girl’s body was limp and dragging on the lawn.

And I walked outside and looked at the girl and the dog and my son and the stick in his hand and said…

“My God son!  What have you done!”

As our church continues to classify our gay brothers and sisters as deviants and dangerous we jouney down a very evil path. It is as old as sin and it has always lead to hate and fear and division and violence and war. It seems to me that we not only walk that  path now but somehow have the temerity to extol its virtues.

We are responsible for where that path leads and for every word we speak that takes us one more step in that direction. We are responsible for the hatred, fear and  prejudice that confronts the LGBT community every day. We are culpable, just as Scott Lively is culpable. He has an international law suit to remind him of his irresponsibility. We only have our conscience.

Lively,  Warren and the Family had an interesting approach. They sign posted and paved that fateful path. They even erected street lights and toilet stops. But then, as the path got closer and closer to its horrible but inevitable destination they simply pulled funding and stuck up a hand writted sign that said “Stop. Travellers be advised that makers of this path take no responsibility for the consequences of further travel.”

The real answer is to recognise the path for the evil that it is and not even get on it in the first place. or, if you are on it…recognise where it heads and…

Jump man! Get off as quick as you can!

Because there is another path, another Way. This path has acceptance as its starting point.  The journey is filled with careful listening and the only words spoken are those that encourage and inspire. On this path no one points fingers at others but all are quick to examine themselves. On this path the very paving stones are the unconditional love of God and they support every step that is taken. Isnt THAT a path worth walking? A journey worth taking?

Yes reader… I hear your complaint…

“Sure Neil! Nice path!  But WHERE ARE THE TOILETS??!!)

Take a shovel.

This path is beautiful and natural and  earthy and  peaceful and  REAL! But it certainly isn’t a convenient path. It was never meant to be.

BTW The Kill the Gays Bill has not yet passed into legislation. Because of all the international controvercy, it was withdrawn. I understand, however, that it was represented last month unammended. Stay tuned I guess

(1) http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/2012/03/15/crimes-against-humanity-case-brought-against-springfield-pastor-scott-lively/

(2) http://www.defendthefamily.com/pfrc/archives.php?id=2345952 and elsewhere.

3) Jeff Sharlett. The Family: The secret Fundamentalism at the heart of American Power Harper Collins 2009

(4)http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#34372297

(5) http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/01/07/the-truth-about-rick-warren-in-africa.html

(6) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/241596)

(7) http://wthrockmorton.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/anti-homosexuality-bill-2009.pdf

(8) Newsweek 29 Feb 2009.