Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Uganda: The Evangelical Game Plan: Use American Christianity To Exploit Africa

I also hope none of these children are gay.

NCR's Jamie Manson has a very good article this week.  I make it a point to read her articles because I'm jealous of her writing ability and also feel she is a voice the Church needs to hear.  One of the good things about Catholicism, and probably the reason I find it hard to jump ship, is the incredible diversity of views with in the Church itself. 

I could be off base here, but twenty or so years ago things were different when it came to disagreements.  Catholics were more like football fans.  We had our favorite points of view kind of like favorite teams, but that didn't supercede the fact everyone understood no matter what you advocated, everybody cared about the Church. This was not too different from Packer fans and Steeler fans sharing a meta love for football.  Now it seems the discourse in the church is more like arguing about the relative merits of two completely different sports rather than two competing teams in the same sport.  How did this change?  What influence was on the fringes that has Catholics arguing with each other as if we're talking about two completely different sports, instead of two different teams? And what purpose could this serve?  There may be some clues in Jamie Manson's article.

The article is about the Ugandan gay situation, but there were insights in this article which transcend the gay issue and hint at other things the gay issue is masking.  It has a great deal to do with politically and deviously motivated people with in the Evangelical religious right.  Here are the pertinent excerpts:

Another panelist at the consultation, Joseph Tolten, who pastors a church in Harlem, sees the Ugandan crisis as an extension of a battle that began in the U.S a decade ago.

“For years the religious right has pitted black people and gay people against one another” to further their agenda, said Tolten. The Ugandan bill capitalizes on anti-gay anxieties about a family structure under attack in the same way that the fears of African American communities were exploited during the 2008 campaign to overturn Proposition 8 in California.
According to Tolten: “because evangelicals feel they are losing the battle in the U.S., they are globalizing.” (Gee, I wonder at whose expense this globalization happens.)

Jeff Sharlet, an investigative journalist widely credited with exposing the link between the U.S. religious right and the rise of homophobia in Uganda, wrote in a September article in Harper’s:

[F]or years, American fundamentalists have looked on Uganda as a laboratory for theocracy, though most prefer such terms as ‘government led by God.’ They sent not just money and missionaries but ideas, and if the money disappeared and the missionaries came and went, the ideas took hold.
Evangelical leaders insist that they are simply trying to support the African people in their fight against this new kind of colonialism. After centuries of oppression at the hands of white people, Africans, they claim, are now having Western notions of acceptable sexual behavior imposed upon them. (Like that didn't happen with the very first missionaries on the very first day.) 

But, as Tolten points out, “It is amazing that the religious right suddenly wants to raise the voices of African people. African voices never mattered on any other issues like poverty, genocide, and warfare.” (How absolutely true and very telling.)

The consultation at the U.N. church center is one example of a promising new movement among Christians in the U.S. to fight faith-based movements that spur injustice and violence. While Protestant clergy members were in the majority at the consultation, in the Catholic Church lay organizations are leading the struggle....
.......If the Catholic hierarchy does not speak out against this atrocity, it will be in violation of its own doctrine.

What’s more, not only will the church further force itself into collusion with Christian fundamentalists and extremists, it will also perpetuate Christianity’s tragic legacy of turning religion into an instrument of violence.

I believe the rise of the politically motivated Evangelical religious right has been the single biggest influence fueling the pitched battle which currently passes for American Catholicism.  Our hierarchy is front and center in perpetuating the battle.  The USCCB has become the Catholic cornerstone of the Evangelical religious right.  Abortion and gay marriage are the only issues that count and not surprisingly, converted Evangelicals like Deal Hudson and those at EWTN, are taking over as the go to voices for American Catholic opinion.  And so our Catholic hierarchy stays dead silent on Uganda while it excommunicates anyone connected with any form of abortion. 

Why is this?  In the States it has to be the money. In Africa it has to be for access to the resources.  That's why the same front groups and the same politicians and the same money keeps coming up over and over again--and all of it hidden behind 'Christian' rhetoric.  This kind of thing may work for awhile, but eventually Ugandans are going to figure out that while they've been busily gay bashing and witch hunting, their resources and their future has been sold out from under them.  Just like American Catholics will eventually realize this new African exploitation was given legitimacy by the actions and rhetoric of the USCCB and the Vatican. 

American Catholicism is no longer one Church with a diversity of view points.  It really is becoming two very different Churches and I maintain we have the political Evangelicals and the USCCB to thank for that.  In the meantime Uganda moves towards legalized gay executions and organizes child witch hunts while Shell Oil gets richer.  No wonder so many of the twenty somethings refuse to play these games.


  1. Not only that, but I suspect the political evangelicals are using Uganda as a testing ground for the agenda they would love to impose upon the United States.

  2. About 99% of the rare times I have seen a comprehensive Ugandan story on Australian TV channels over the last two years, it has had to do with Uganda’s “draconian” loathing for homosexuals.

    This same message has reverberated all over the Western world. The most recent acerbic attack on Uganda’s anti-gay perception has had to do with the murder of a gay rights activist named David Kato.
    Murder of any sort must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.

    However, this death (even if it had anything to do with homosexuality), should not be an excuse for backing down to Western pressure for us to embrace homosexuality. Because of their money, the West now believes Africa must also sink along with them in the guise of ‘minority rights and liberties’!

    In the likely event that the murder of this man had nothing to do with homosexuality, it begs the question how special their lives are that the whole Western world swings to condemn Uganda? Must we all become homos to get this kind of sympathy?

  3. Is Deal Hudson still around? Maybe cashing paychecks for some foundation backed sinecure?

  4. Anon, I don't think you actually read this article. I did not mention David Kato at all. The point is that wealthy corporate interests tied into American Evangelicals are financing the gay/witch hunts in Uganda. They aren't doing this because the bible says gays are bad. They are doing it so they can freely operate in other areas.

  5. Colleen do you remember something about certain evangelical loudmouths performing "crusades" and whatnot in Australia? They were big on using exorcism to promote their campaign of hate and lunacy there too, it seems (as anon shows us) they will exploit any old uneducated, primitive backwater country.


  6. Anon, people need to get out of the conservative box and the adolescent box to understand human sexuality and politics. No one becomes gay, fyi. No one can make anyone gay either.

    I am glad that the reporting of the "Ugandan story on Australian TV channels over the last two years" is about the "draconian loathing for homosexuals" because that is the TRUTH. It is draconian loathing.

    The Church has a responsibility to denounce the gay bashing anywhere it is going on. David Kato was bashed to death by a hammer and the hammer might have been held by all the evangelist so-called "christians" who have been, guess what - gay bashing!!

    The Church needs to out the rubbish who call themselves priests in the Vatican who are the biggest liars & adolescents regarding human sexuality on the planet right now, in my opinion.

    The international law enforcement community needs to step in against Uganda's genocide campaign against gays, in my opinion.

    Psycho talk and Psychotic Laws against gays has GOT TO STOP.

  7. Kallisti, I haven't come across too much about Evangelicals in Australia but I have come across the harm Neo Cats and other cultic Catholic groups have done using similar kinds of prostelyzation.

    Anon. I wish American gays had access to the kind of money American evangelicals have access to. About all American gays have is the internet, and for some reason, persecuted gays through out the world who also have access to the internet, identify strongly with the human rights message. Maybe they do because the human rights message is true and valid.