Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The President, the Pope, and the Gay Walk into a Ugandan Bar

     Gay Uganda has a telling blog post today about the Catholic church's involvement in the continuing saga of Uganda's Bill Number 18, which if passes will sentence gays to life in prison and even death.  The blog reports that while the Vatican/Holy See has made a statement to the United Nations condemning discrimination and use of the death penalty and torture against homosexuals, this statement is not getting much play among the Ugandan faithful, where word on the street and from the pulpit is that the church supports the bill.

     Bishops from the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Seventh Day Adventist churches as well as Muslim kadhis agreed to defend the Bill in their centres of worship.
     Dysfunctional mother church is doing what it does best: saying what it needs to say so as to look politically correct at the global level, but not doing anything to challenge the exact opposite being done in the name of the church by its clerics and laity at the level of the local church.

     But it's not just the church that is politically ambidextrous.

     Late last Friday (when stories that the White House doesn't want to get much press are released), the White House finally made a statement about Uganda's proposed law:
     The President strongly opposes efforts, such as the draft law pending in Uganda that would criminalize homosexuality and move against the tide of history.
     I applaud the White House for speaking up, but who is President Obama to preach to anyone about moving against "the tide of history" when it comes to LGBT rights?

     Candidate Obama promised to be part of leading that "tide" and waxed eloquently in his post-election acceptance speech including "gay" in his list of supposedly equal groups of diverse Americans.  I cried as I listened to his words: the first time I'd seen a president (elect) include us gays as equal  Americans.  I had so much hope, but since getting into office, President Obama has done nothing but reinforce the status quo of keeping gays in their place as second class citizens.

     He promised to overturn "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) but men and women's careers in the military are ending daily while Obama drags his heels.  By the way, women and persons of color are disproportionately dismissed under DADT.  How's that for American equality?

     Obama has also remained silent on the popular vote that stripped the appropriately granted (via state legislation) equal marriage rights for homosexual couples in Maine.  Not only that, but Obama has given those wanting to strip same sex couples of their rights every bit of fodder that they've needed by making  repeated statements that according to his religious beliefs, he believes that marriage is only between a man and a woman.  This coming from a man, whose interracial parents were unable to get married because at the time  of Obama's birth religious people were arging that the bible and god's will was that marriage between people of different skin colors was an abomination.

     We LGBT persons who supported Obama are still waiting and waiting and waiting.  In the meanwhile, we're the ones that are supposed to be gracious and patient when Obama showers honors on the likes of Rick Warren who equated homosexuality with pedophilia, beastiality, and incest.  Holy Rick Warren who now lies repeatedly claiming to never had said this and to never have been involved in Uganda's kill the gays bill.

      It's apparent, that when it comes to LGBT rights, President Obama and Candidate Obama share different views, and like the Catholic church, Obama has mastered the ability to reconcile saying completely contradictory things to different audiences.

     That's hypocrisy I can believe in.

     So, how is the public American and Vatican political  pressure against the Ugandan bill doing compared to the private American and Vatican pressure to pass the bill?  The Observer reports:
     Uganda is likely to pass a law within months that will make homosexuality a capital offence, joining 37 other countries in the continent [of Africa] where American evangelical Christian groups are increasingly spreading bigotry. 
     "Learned behaviour can be unlearned," said David Bahati. "You can't tell me that people are born gays. It is foreign influence that is at work."
     Bahati has just presented his anti-homosexuality bill 2009 to Uganda's parliament. The bill, which will be debated within a fortnight and is expected to become law by February, will allow homosexuality to be punishable by death.
     "Most people have misunderstood the bill," Bahati told the Observer. "The section of the death penalty relates to defilement by an adult who is homosexual and this is consistent with the law on defilement which was passed in 2007. The whole intention is to prevent the recruitment of under-age children, which is going on in single-sex schools. We must stop the recruitment and secure the future of our children."
     Bahati's bill is based upon the archaic belief that we gays "recruit" children in the schools. But if we take a moment to follow Bahati's twisted logic, then wouldn't he have to banish the Catholic church and Catholic schools from Uganda?   But that would demand consistency, and consistency is never the mark of a religious fundamentalist.

     Read the remainder of The Observer's article here.  It's quite telling.

     In the embedded video below, Rachel Maddow continues her coverage how the Family, U.S. Politicians, Rick Warren, and now President Obama are involved in the civil rights disaster that is unfolding in Uganda.

Lest thou forget:


Russ Manley said...

"I cried as I listened to his words: the first time I'd seen a president (elect) include us gays as equal Americans."

I cried too, Tom. It was a heartstopping moment, after all these years: finally to be included in the American family, not outside in the cold, nose pressed against the glass, looking in.

Which is why I am nearly heartbroken over Obama's tacit renunciation of all those eloquent, moving words. He is *not* our "fierce advocate" in any meaningful sense. He may not be our sworn enemy like some on the Republican side; but a friend who sits by and trims his fingernails while somebody else beats the crap out of you isn't much a friend, eh?

The one indisputably true thing he said is "WE are the ones we've been waiting for." Not him. Not anybody else. WE have to stand up to the bullies and fight our own battles. Nobody else is going to do it for us, and not Mr. Nice Guy in the White House.

He'll get around to doing the right things if and when he feels enough pressure to do so. Not before.

Heretic Tom said...

True and well put, Russ. Thanks for commenting.

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