05 January 2010

America to Uganda to America

With this article in the New York Times, the MSM are starting to notice the issue of the American Christian Right's involvement in Uganda'a already-notorious "kill the gays" law. Three American evangelical preachers, of the sort who go around spouting what are more or less the equivalent of blood libels, took their act on the road to Uganda last year, thus lending a veneer of legitimacy to the prejudices already rampant in the country. Aside from a brief note that the chief perpetrator of the Ugandan law "boasts of having evangelical friends in the American government", there's no mention of "The Family" and its extensive ties to Ugandan fundamentalists.

Absent stronger evidence than I've seen so far, I don't think we can claim that American fundamentalists were actually the driving force behind this law, in the sense that it would not have been proposed without their influence. It's more a matter of fundamen-talists in different parts of the world thinking alike (which is hardly surprising -- the Old Testament says what it says) and cooperating with each other. Uganda, being more a traditional society and much less further along the road to modernity than the West is, is thus that much more susceptible to carrying this kind of mentality to its logical conclusion. A few centuries ago, when the West was still a traditional society and still actually took religion seriously, it didn't need any outside incitement to burn witches (or to kill homosexuals) either.

PZ Myers, as he so often does, cuts to the core of things: The ultimate goal of fundamentalism, whether in America or Uganda or wherever, is to turn the clock back inch by inch until the unthinkable becomes thinkable again. Hitler didn't start building gas chambers on his first day in office either. First demonize the target group with lies, dehumanize them, then persecute them, and finally the stage is set for mass killing. They won't succeed -- not here, at least -- but it baffles me that anyone is surprised by something like the Ugandan law. The Old Testament says what it says.


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Good Morning Mr.Infidel!

I thought this was a real nice posting this morning, and the link up's with the Times and YouTube of Rev.Rick and his explaining his position. I like Rev.Rick, although I dont know much in depth about him yet, and even if he doesnt approve of same sex marriage or homo play or whatever, it's cool with me ... however .... KEEP IT OUT OF LAW AND POLITIC'S is my motto. I didnt like either his forum where he sat McCain and Obama down to pry about faith during the campaign, even though he was fair to both men, so I was cool with that part. I am just really opposed to any religion, faith, or any of it being a pre-requisite for a campaign drive and issue. I also feel that gay people should only have to pay half tax in our country ... since they only have half right's .... the whole sex thing and marriage thing to me is just an endless annoyance from organized religion. And you are right when you say .... the bible say's what the bible say's, because it does .... and it CLEARLY speak's against homosexuality. I love the bible and would never change it, as a piece of our earliest literature, but I NEVER took any of it as the word of God, because it is clearly the word of man (and only men, as far as gender) .... is God's signature at the end or him endorsing it? .... is what I tell christian people. No I am not suprised what is happening in Uganda or any of these other shit-hole's around the globe on this issue, and sure as Hell dont want their crap expanding to our nation either .... what they do is their damn business .... and in America .... keep it out of our damn government is my attitude. And it just isnt gay's that concern's me .... but bisexuality too. Because even many who live straight live's, like to indulge time to time in same sex practice's. But this was an enlightening piece for me .... since I hadnt been on the up and up on this. Geeeez ... when the Hell are we as a species going to get the Hell over this sex-phobia crap? All these shithead's do is fuel the fire generation to generation. And we ALL lose as a species in the long run for wasting so much time on worrying about what other's do sexually.

Later Guy ........

05 January, 2010 05:59  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

You would think that Christians going overseas to spread the word, would talk about Jesus Christ and promote the New Testament as opposed to the rather bigoted, angry book that is the Old Testament.

05 January, 2010 06:14  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RC: The reason what happens in Uganda matters to us is that every country has some effect on what is considered globally normative. The drives for gay marriage and health-care reform in this country have been helped by the fact that some other countries are ahead of us in those areas. Similarly, the success of reactionary forces overseas gives encouragement to reactionary forces at home. It's true that we can't, and maybe shouldn't, have too much influence on what other countries do, but I think it's wise to take a stand at what are clearly egregious human-rights abuses.

HE: Well, on some level the bigotry and anger is their point, I think. As for the New Testament, Jesus does explicitly say that all Old Testament laws continue in full force and will never "pass away". So one can't really separate the two.

05 January, 2010 06:40  
Anonymous rita said...

Thanks for an excellent & informative post.
Homophobia is alive & well in the world, I see.

A clear example of Fundamentalist Christians using fear & loathing as evangelizing tools or should I say weapons?
"The ultimate goal of fundamentalism, whether in America or Uganda or wherever, is to turn the clock back inch by inch until the unthinkable becomes thinkable again." So true.

05 January, 2010 07:33  
Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

A get-you-to-thinking kind of post. I'm not too comfortable with what I'm thinking, however. To follow Rita: " Hitler didn't start building gas chambers on his first day in office either."


05 January, 2010 08:38  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Unfortunately -- and this is something we tend to forget -- much of the world is still very backward about these things. Sub-Sararan Africa is probably the most homophobic culture in the world, although the fact that South Africa has legalized gay marriage is a promising step. Eastern Europe and Latin America are generally much more hostile. East Asian countries are generally more racist than the West. The Islamic world, of course, is in the Dark Ages on just about everything.

It's easier to turn the clock back in the places where it doesn't have so far to go.

05 January, 2010 12:40  
Blogger Oso said...

Christian fundamentalists spewing their usual hate. The Christian Right's gift to the world.

05 January, 2010 20:11  
Blogger mendip said...

Interesting. This is not the first controversy involving Christianity in Uganda. I heartily point to the Battle of Mengo in 1892 in which Protestant and Catholic missionaries went to war with each other as to who would introduce the sweet love of Jesus to the population. I'm not positive, but believe this conflict was the first white-on-white use of the modern machine gun. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, indeed!

06 January, 2010 04:01  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Oso: Religion is largely about taboo-enforcement, which means denouncing people who don't abide by the taboos as evil, which means hating them. It will always end up like this to some degree, I think.

Mendip: I'm sure you've heard the saying: "The revolution devours its children, but unfortunately not all of them." It's too bad they've never managed to wipe each other out and leave the rest of us in peace.

06 January, 2010 05:25  
Blogger TRUTH 101 said...

I can see these preachers trying to convince Ugandan authorities to let them in. They hit on all the subjects: abortion, taxes, mercy, love, salvation. After a bunch of yawns, they bring up hating Gays. That excites the authorities. Bash Gays it is. Welcome to Uganda Reverend.

06 January, 2010 19:09  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

And I'm sure that in other contexts they would be equally willing to put demonization of something or someone else to the forefront, if it will gain influence.

07 January, 2010 05:47  

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