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Uganda, The Family and the reintroduction of "loving punishments"

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A Ugandan newspaper stirred up hatred against gays back in 2010 following the introduction of a harsh anti-homosexuality bill. That bill is being reexamined and will likely be reintroduced.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Internationally condemned two years ago as
brutal, inhumane and against universal human rights, Uganda’s shocking “anti-homosexual
bill,” also known as the “Kill the Gays bill,” is being re-examined by a government
committee and may be soon voted on by that’s nations’ parliament.

As Business Week
reported this week, “Uganda’s parliament voted to reopen a debate on a bill
that seeks to outlaw homosexuality that may be expanded to include the death
penalty for gay people.”

In what MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called one of the more bizarre
interviews
she has conducted on her nightly news and opinion program, Maddow
interviewed the author of the “anti-homosexual bill,” a parliamentarian named
David Bahati back in 2010.

Bahati, when questioned about the so-called “Kill the Gays
bill
,” said that foreigners were interfering with Ugandan citizens and said $15
million in American dollars was being used to influence and recruit Ugandan
children into homosexuality. He said that since the children are in peril, and
Ugandan gays are a menace, laws need to be drawn up to criminalize being homosexual.

“We don’t take (homosexuality) as a human right,” Bahati
told Maddow in the interview. “Homosexuality … is not part of our culture. It is not part of God’s
law.”

And because he follows God’s laws – which says that homosexuality
is a sin and sinners must be punished – Bahati said he wants to protect children
from gay recruitment, Bahati and other likeminded Ugandan politicians want to
promote the anti-gays bill because, as Bahati told Maddow: “This bill is
consistent with the preachings of the son of a Jewish carpenter.”

Although there is no evidence that Jesus ever condemned gays
in his time, fundamentalist Christians, reading their interpretation of the
Bible, are convinced that he did, thereby justifying their politically-charged
attacks on a minority of their population.

Interestingly, Maddow got Bahati to admit that he was a
member of “The Family,” also known as “The Fellowship,” an international
network of powerful politicians who embrace an extreme right version of
evangelical Christianity and are based in Washington. Among their members, as
we have recently reported, are two powerful Republicans from Oklahoma – U.S.
Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn.

The Family has been infiltrated and exposed by author Jeff
Sharlet. He has met David Bahati and spent time with him. His expose’ is
featured in his books The Family and C Street and he spoke about his findings
– and their connection to Oklahoma politicians – on “Radio Free Oklahoma”
several years ago.

“We have friends in the Fellowship,” Bahati told Maddow. “We
have a Fellowship in Uganda that is associated with the Fellowship in
Washington.”

Maddow pressed further, asking if the Fellowship/Family
members discouraged him from introducing such odious legislation, which would
include the extradition of gay Ugandans who engage in homosexual relations in
foreign countries, Bahati said “No one (in the Family) who has discouraged me
and no one who has encouraged me.”

And while the “Kill the Gays bill” did not pass, thanks to
international pressure, including comments against it from President
Obama,  we learn this week at Business Week and other online media
sources that

Bahati’s American handler, Jack Klenk, is a former director
in the Office of Non-Public Education at the U.S. Department of Education.
Klenk housed the Ugandan parliamentarian while in the U.S. and expressed
surprise to Jeff Sharlet when he spoke to him about Bahati and the concern about
the bill at the time. Klenk told Sharlet he was “very familiar with the bill,”
had spoken to Bahati at length about the bill and that the bill’s introduction “comes
from a loving place” and that the extreme punishments they are seeking against
homosexuals are “loving punishments.”

Sharlet said execution may not happen right away in Uganda
in terms of ridding the nation of homosexuals, but Bahati told Sharlet during
his visit with him that “in a perfect world it would” lead to executions but that in a democracy “we
must go step by step.”

Unbelievably, Sharlet said a portion of the bill, in its
2009 form, allowed for people talking about the bill to be imprisoned for seven
years and a three-year prison term for “just knowing a gay person.”

And as Sharlet told Terri Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” the bill
is likely to become law and that “it has support of some of the most powerful
men in Uganda, including the dictator of Uganda, a guy named Museveni, whom The
Family identified back in 1986 as a key man for Africa.”

Sen. Inhofe, in an interview last week on “The Pat Campbell
Show” in Tulsa, was asked about Museveni, who supports polygamy, and Inhofe
said Museveni was “doing a good job.” Museveni is backing the anti-homosexual
bill because, according to the London Guardian,
“European homosexuals are recruiting in Africa” and gay relationships are
against God’s will. Museveni's fear of gays has, according to The Guardian, "raised the level of homophobia in the country," and caused terror within Uganda's gay community, especially following a front page article in a national newspaper calling for the lynching of homosexuals along with a list of Uganda's "top" gays and lesbians, along with names, addresses and photos.

Where does this sort of political reaction come from?
According to Sharlet it’s due to fundamentalist Christian politicians looking
at Uganda as a “laboratory of ideas” where extreme ideas that can’t get
traction in America can be introduced and promoted in a third-world and predominantly
Christian nation like Uganda.

Sharlet told Maddow that it was fundamentalist Christian, Republican politicians like former Sen. and Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft and self-proclaimed
Jesus guy” Jim Inhofe who have frequently visited Uganda and focused on the
problems of homosexuality in third-world African nations. And with
predominantly English-speaking Uganda – they said – their gay problem should be
addressed, “to protect the children,” as Bahati repeated in the interview.

Again, Bahati emphasizes he loves homosexuals but they will
be punished for who they are.

“I am not in a hate campaign,” Bahati complained. “I do not
hate gays. I love them. But I sometime must protect our children being recruited
into this practice.”

Evidence of “recruitment” activities were never offered to
Maddow or MSNBC, despite alleged videos making the rounds saying that “a man
sleeping with a man is ok,” as Bahati put it.

As we have reported in the past few months, Uganda has been
experiencing all sorts of problems, from an ongoing drought, that is causing
food prices to skyrocket to government-sanctioned attacks on Uganda's free press to dictatorial behavior on the part of Inhofe's pal in Uganda, Museveni. And the issue regarding innocent Ugandan farmers made homeless by British corporations who own large tracts of land in Uganda is another scandal we have addressed here at Red Dirt Report, not to mention the selfless efforts of Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe of St. Monica's in Gulu, Uganda. She has helped many of her people and attracted the attention of former President Bill Clinton. Her operation at St. Monica's is also connected to the Oklahoma City-based Pros for Africa charity.

Meanwhile, the ongoing terrorism from the Lord’s Resistance
Army has created a human-rights crisis in Uganda and neighboring countries. Amazingly, two weeks ago, President Obama approved the deployment of 100 “U.S.
Special Forces advisors” to Uganda and the “great lakes region” of east-central
Africa. This operation is to offer support to local government troops who are
fighting the LRA and seeking to eliminate leader Joseph Kony. However, Inhofe
and others have reiterated that  U.S. forces
will not engage in combat during this open-ended deployment which is being largely run in secret and with full support of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Red Dirt Report has contacted Sen. Inhofe's Washington office and assistant Liz Lathrop informed us we may have a comment on the senator's thoughts on the reintroduction of this bill by the end of the day. Stay tuned for updates.

Copyright 2011 West
Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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