The American fundamentalist group, The Family, has to make an important strategic choice. It can have its influential National Prayer Breakfast each February in Washington, or it can have its Anti-Homosexuality Bill become law in Uganda. It likely cannot have both.
It would be naïve for this secretive and powerful organization to believe that it can turn Uganda into a concentration camp for gay and lesbian people without transforming its signature affair into a symbol of such oppression. It would be madness for The Family to think it can sell the loving Higher Path Jesus at their breakfast, while unleashing its anti-gay Psychopath Jesus in Kampala.
If The Family does not kill the Anti-Homosexuality Bill before it becomes law, the cruel piece of legislation will end up killing The Family, by stripping it of its moral authority and tying its members to genocide. What respectable politician would want to attend an event marred by protests and hosted by human rights abusers?
Last year, a prominent member of The Family, David Bahati, wrote and introduced The Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda’s Parliament. In Jeff Sharlet’s latest book, “C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy”, the bill’s author said he believes that homosexuality is worse than murder and calls it “a threat to our existence”.
Aside from persecuting LGBT people and snuffing out their right to exist, the bill punishes anyone who offers support or friendship. Some of its provisions:
• Three years in prison for failure to report a gay person to authorities within 24-hours of disclosure
• Seven years in prison for “promotion”, which includes activism or simply acknowledging that homosexuality exists
• Life imprisonment for one homosexual act
• The death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” (which includes sex while HIV-positive, sex with a disabled person, or sex more than once, marking the person as a “serial offender”)
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was put on the backburner last year after the National Prayer Breakfast was protested. The efforts to shine a light on The Family’s activities led to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the bill at the event.
Unfortunately, Bahati has revived the bill, claiming it will pass and “close the door to homosex”. Last week, he made a trip to The United States to furtively rally support for his efforts. The Ugandan legislator says that he has strong support in America, but his prominent evangelical friends are afraid to publicly back him because they fear reprisals.
Indeed, Bahati believes he is vindicating his American friends who have lost the culture war against LGBT equality. The grand plan is for Uganda to be used as a proxy in a global war against homosexuality. Once the bill passes in Uganda, the hope is to spread copycat bills throughout Africa. These conservative African nations can then be used as vivid examples to Western countries of how to re-stigmatize homosexuality. Of course, the larger utopian fantasy is to use homosexuality as a wedge issue to establish theocracies across the planet.
We should take this effort very seriously and make it clear to The Family that there will be consequences for such bloodlust. A few of the options include:
• Working to have Congress cut off all foreign aid to Uganda
• Large demonstrations at The National Prayer Breakfast
• Denying Ugandan officials visas to America
• Denying prominent members of The Family visas to Uganda
• Stripping David Bahati of his degrees at the University of Cardiff and the University of Pennsylvania
• Exploring efforts to prosecute Bahati, and others affiliated with this bill, for crimes against humanity.
• A media campaign exposing The Family
Bahati justifies his planned purge by disguising it as a morality campaign to protect Ugandan children from predatory Western gay men. However, he has put forth no credible evidence to back his bizarre assertions, and all available information points to an eliminationist witch-hunt against innocent people.
Bahati also rationalizes his cruelty by saying that Ugandans support his bill. Of course, the bill’s popularity and the demonization of LGBT people are only maintained through artificial means. To tar homosexuals as despised villains, Bahati and his goons have to create a repressive culture where free speech is stifled, LGBT people can’t come out, pro-gay allies are punished for “promoting” homosexuality, the media is cowed, and a robust smear campaign is relentlessly waged with no opposition.
Incredibly, Bahati plays the imperialist card, arguing Americans should stay out of his nation’s business, even as he hypocritically does the bidding for American evangelicals that made his career.
In the name of God, these thugs and theocrats are playing God with the lives of LGBT people across the globe. The only Family these tyrants remind me of is The Sopranos – except they are more sadistic. It is time civilized people stand up to such Bible-based barbarism before it is too late. A good place to start is at The National Prayer Breakfast.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”