In the very first Zingcreed Post, the Zing manifesto I said that Christians must be the first to criticise their fellow believers when they do anti-Christian things; here’s a case in point.
In spite of world-wide protests by human rights organisations, not by Christians you’ll note, the Ugandan parliament has just passed some crushing anti-gay legislation. Life sentences can now be handed out for all forms of activity; and supporting gay causes or just touching a same sex friend ‘with homosexual intent’ can get you 7 years. Charities helping Aids victims have been raided and closed down by the police.
This breaks Uganda’s own constitution and reinforces anti-homosexuality laws from the colonial era which never got repealed. It is a blackmailer’s charter, and the press are having a field day, outing innocent people.
Now, how have men and women of faith reacted to all this?
Did they set an example of neighbourly love?
Did they support the persecuted against the bullies?
Did they support the weak against the strong?
The minority against the majority?
No, of course they didn’t! You know better than that! They led the persecution and the witch hunts. They provided an ideological backing for all the hatred that spewed up.
Take the highly qualified sociologist-cum-Baptist Minister Martin Ssempa from Makerere. He’s been calling for the death penalty for gays for ages -for genocide in fact. On YouTube he can be seen showing gay pornography in church – fisting, anilingus and “eating da poo-poo” (not my words). His congregation, which included children, looked shocked and bewildered, as well they might. He led a march and five hour inter-religious rally in Kampala to celebrate the passing of the anti-homosexuality bill in Parliament.
Those attending the rally included President Museveni, MPs, the Speaker of the House, Stanley Ntagali the Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, as well as Catholic, Muslim, and Pentecostal leaders.
Marchers’ placards read “Museveni, thank you for saving the future of Uganda”, “Homosexuality + Aids = 100%”, and “Obama, we want trade not homosexuality”. Speaker after speaker extolled Museveni for his “courage” and “strong leadership” in signing the bill into law in the face of intense international opposition.
It is Anglican leaders like Ntagali that brought despair to the Archbishop of Canterbury at the last Lambeth Conference. The Anglican community almost split in two over the issue of gay priests, with the US and English hierarchies in one corner and the more numerous flocks of African homophobes in the other. No wonder
Captain Birdseye, Rowan Williams, resigned. There’s no easy compromise here. It remains to be seen if his successor Oilwellby , Justin Welby, can do any better at the next international Anglican shindig.
There are thousands of gay Ugandans. Fewer than 20 are out and still living in the country. They are more than upset, they are terrified and afraid to leave their homes for fear of being identified and attacked in the street.
(What did Jesus say about gays? Nothing!)
Zingcreed’s Christian-Atheist reactions to homophobe Ssempa (in no particular order):
- He’s evidently good at manipulating people and mobilising them – he’ll probably be a top politician before long;
- If fringe gay porn can be used to make a whole class of people and their bedroom antics appear unacceptable, then logically gay Christians could call for the killing of straight people on the basis of snuff movies and rape scenes in films;
- As a clergyman in the Baptist church, he should know all about arse-licking, all rigidly hierarchical institutions like his exhibit it!
- What about the country’s real problems: lack of clean drinking water, under-equipped schools, malaria, Aids……shouldn’t the clergy be concentrating on them?
- There is so little love in this world, let everyone find it where they can – surely Christians can’t object to that?
- At least eating faeces can’t be described as ‘unnatural’ – some animals like rabbits do it every day (trust me – I was a biology teacher!) It’s called ‘coprophagy’;
- Apart from the aesthetic and hygiene objections to the 3 aspects I saw on YouTube in Ssempa’s porn video, it has to be asked – if these acts were between consenting adults in private – then who suffered? Were these not victimless ‘crimes’? Perhaps infecting yourself knowingly with someone else’s intestinal parasites could be considered an offence? It’s not merely gut flora, we’re talking BAD worms in Africa – you don’t want them at all, plus which you may become a burden on the country’s health services if you get infected. In my view that’s self-inflicted harm!
- When you think about it, many lesbian and gay activities are practised by straights too: cunnilingus, fellatio, anal penetration….If Ssempa objects to these too, is it just because of the gender of the participants, in other words is he trying to prevent gays performing acts which straights have been known to indulge in? That’s discrimination.
- In fact, thinking about this while out for a walk from Oakwood to Cockfosters tube station (honestly! – no puns intended), I drew up a mental list in my head, a table with columns and rows. In the first column went all the sexual activities I could think of. Then on top of the next 5 columns I put the column headings: Man to man, Man to woman, Woman to man, Woman to woman and Self-inflicted. Having created this table I then put ticks in all the boxes where an activity was theoretically possible. To my surprise it was just about all of them – especially if you bring dildos into it. (How many Christian blogs mention them? There are no holds barred on Zingcreed! [Smile!]) Now because an act is theoretically possible doesn’t mean it actually happens. I know, but I bet it does. If something’s possible then someone somewhere has tried it: in fact someone is probably doing something surprising on this list right now!
- In other words, at some point in history, it’s a pretty sure bet that straight people have practiced all the forms of contact Ssempa attacks;
- (Some catholic couples are driven to try anal penetration because they are forbidden from using condoms. They want intimacy but not babies. Thus the church itself creates ‘perverts’!)
- I am reminded of the only moslem jihadist I have ever met. I asked him what he thought of socialism. He replied that socialists were people who had sex with donkeys! Well, for all I know, maybe some of us do. He got this idea from a conversation he had at school with a teacher who was in the (British) Labour Party, who had apparently defended the notion that if people wanted to practise bestiality then they should be allowed to get on with it.
Ergo, all socialists practise bestiality. Likewise one gay film depicting a particular fringe activity does not mean all gays and lesbians spend all their waking hours practising this activity. Could be they’ve never even heard of it;
- The reverend Ssempa’s whipping up of a climate of disgust at the enemy is a way of demonising them, of making these people, some of our fellow human beings, seem like animals, as being worthy of extermination. In the words of a letter writer taking part in a Catholic anti-gay letter writing campaign in the Caribbean press “If you don’t feel disgusted then you ought to!” To which I can only say that it depends on your perspective. To a virgin or a celibate (or a gay or lesbian) the heterosexual sex act may well seem pretty disgusting too.
- Indeed, I remember a pre-pubertal 11 year old at the end of a sex education class I was teaching turning to a classmate and saying “I can’t believe my mum and dad ever did anything so dirty when they made me!”
- I often ponder St Paul’s words in Corinthians (I think!) “Ye are all one in Christ Jesus; Jew and Gentile, Freeman and slave, gay and straight, male and female, black and white…..” or words to that effect. Or if he didn’t say precisely that then I think he meant to.
- I think I may start a new Zingcreed category of Post “Evil Christians” as opposed to the “Red Christians” I admire. Martin Ssempa will certainly be an early target!
Meanwhile, as I write, gay couples are going on trial in Africa. Some of them are God-fearing church-goers. Their crime? Loving. We can’t wait for the church to do anything. All people of good will must take a stand against this 21st century witch hunt.
Written 4 months later: I was delighted to find this on Tatchell’s website “Uganda strikes down anti-gay law. Judges rule Anti-Homosexuality Act unlawful.” See (i) for details.
Photos taken from Peter Tatchell Foundation website. (Permission requested.)
(i) Peter Tatchell Foundation.org/Uganda
(iv) Penny, Paul “Ugandan anti-gay law passes” Solidarity no. 320 9 April 2014 (Alliance for Workers’ Liberty)
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