Sunday, August 24, 2014

Uganda's Anti-Gay Law Struck Down; Scott Lively Responds

Figures from the America Religious Right have promoted anti-gay messages in Uganda and other African countries for years. The relationship between the American Religious Right and affronts to LGBTQ rights in Africa have been explored in Box Turtle Bulletin's "Slouching Toward Kampala" series, documentaries such as God Loves Uganda and Missionaries of Hate, and reports from Political Research Associates. Now, one Religious Right figure is reflecting on anti-gay upheavals in Uganda. Anti-gay activist Scott Lively has responded to a struck-down homophobic law in Uganda with both relief and acrimony toward his critics.

Lively, author of The Pink Swastika and founder of Abiding Truth Ministries, has a long history of promoting homophobic messages in the U.S. and abroad. In 2009, Scott Lively presented at a conference on the alleged "gay agenda" in Kampala, Uganda. During his presentation, he condemned homosexuality as sinful and disparaged the LGBTQ rights movement as "an evil institution" that seeks to "defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity".

Shortly after the conference, Ugandan MP David Bahati introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which proposed harsh punishments for same-sex sexual acts. Lively called the anti-gay bill "a step in the right direction", according to Liberaland. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed the bill into law in February 2014, drawing disapproval from international observers. However, Uganda's Constitutional Court struck down the law earlier this month on a legislative technicality.

On March 14th, 2012, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court against Scott Lively and four other men on behalf of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). The suit alleged that Lively's anti-gay activism in Uganda and his role in the creation of homophobic legislation constituted persecution of Uganda's gay community. Lively sought to have the suit dismissed, but a federal judge ruled that the suit could continue.

In an August 2nd blog post, Lively shared his thoughts on the fate of the Ugandan anti-gay bill, with scathing words for CCR, SMUG, and others critics. He mocked his critics as "Marxists" who supposedly painted him as a Svengali. To boot, he blasted modern critics of Uganda's policies as "disgusting modern example of the same “blood libel” used against the Jews by the Nazis."

"Now that the Ugandan government has shown itself capable of self-governance, I’m waiting for calls of apology from media outlets around the world who for years have insinuated (or outright insisted) that the Ugandans were merely my puppets in a nefarious scheme to persecute homosexuals there. That lie is also, of course, the premise of the “Crimes Against Humanity” lawsuit filed against me here in U.S. Federal Court by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and their Marxist New York attorneys of the ironically named Center for Constitutional Rights.

The SMUG lawsuit claims that my preaching against homosexuality in Uganda overpowered the weak-minded African natives and turned them into rampaging bloodthirsty savages bent on “gay” genocide. Never mind that there has not been any actual violence there — except for the murder of SMUG leader David Kato by his “gay” lover. Never mind also that Kato’s murderer was convicted by this same Ugandan judiciary and is now serving a 30 year sentence. And never mind that in the paltry few other instances listed in the SMUG lawsuit where alleged wrongs were committed against homosexuals – instances which I condemned and had nothing to do with – the same Ugandan courts have held the wrongdoers responsible – which decisions I applauded."
Lively wrote that he is "not unhappy" about the fate of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act, mainly because it did not include provisions for "prevention" of "homosexual disorder".
"I am not unhappy that the Ugandan law as written has been nullified. I have always said it was too harsh and did not emphasize prevention and therapy for homosexual disorder. The law’s enactment and quick repeal conclusively demonstrate that Ugandans can think for themselves, are capable of self-governance, and do not need “enlightened” Marxists and homosexual militants from the West to shape their public policy and uphold the rule of law." 
Sadly, it seems that Scott Lively has learned nothing over the years. He still insists that homosexuality is a "disorder" to be prevented, despite evidence to the contrary. Criticism from human rights supporters over his anti-gay activism has failed to produce any self-reflection on his homophobia. In a twisted reversal, he claims that LGBTQ rights supporters are somehow infantilizing Ugandans, ignoring ways that homophobia he encouraged is disempowering LGBTQ Uganans. Finally, he fails to recognize anti-gay legislation as harmful in and of itself.

The future of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act remains to be seen. Unfortunately, Scott Lively's homophobia and the legacy of his anti-gay messages won't be going anywhere.

12 comments:

  1. Welcome back to blogging!

    While Lively is of course being his usual loathsome and condescending self here, he does have the ghost of a valid point. American liberals have tended to overemphasize the role of American religious nuts in promoting homophobia in Africa. While people like Lively have undoubtedly made a bad situation worse, sub-Saharan Africa has long been the most homophobic region of the world, and the responsibility for laws that get passed in Uganda rests primarily with the Ugandans who pass those laws. There are good reasons why people like Lively focus their efforts to promote anti-gay hatred on Uganda and Nigeria rather than on Denmark or France. They go where there's a receptive audience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Infidel -- The Ugandans who created and supported the anti-gay bill are definitely responsible for their actions. The stereotypes and misinformation on the ground are a big part of that. Having said that, Lively added fuel to the fire and has worked diligently to promote anti-gay messages around the globe, for which he should be criticized.

      Thanks for welcoming me back!

      Delete
  2. The Religious right in this country bears much responsibility for the draconian actions taking place in Uganda...Shame on such "missionaries" and their agenda of hate..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sherry -- Globalization isn't just about markets. Ideas, both good and bad, are traveling the globe as well. Global anti-gay networking disturbs me.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Donna -- Thanks for the warm welcome back.

      Delete
  4. I'm sad that there's still news like this to report, but happy you are here doing it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle -- Thanks. It's good to be back.

      Delete
  5. Scott Lively is a cretin, liar, and not a real minister. He literally received his theological "training" and "ordination" from someone in a mobile home in the desert. He has no intellectual integrity and does not represent the love of Jesus Christ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous -- There's very little love in him, that's for sure.

      Delete
  6. Welcome back.

    Lively is a fool, he does not even realize why the law was struck down. Unfortunately, I heard the Uganda Parliament are trying to amend it and get it passed through again in super quick time. Hopefully this time the President will veto the bill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christian -- Good to be back. The law was struck down on a technicality, rather than on principle, which makes me worry. Let's keep an eye on it.

      Delete

All comments are subject to moderation. Threatening, violent, or bigoted comments will not be published.