Saturday, 20 February 2010

Uganda and anti-gay legislation

I recently read on BBC News that a Ugandan clergyman, Pastor Martin Ssempa (I actually saw him the other day on TV), decided to show gay pornography to his congregation in an attempt to gain support for a proposed law which would see some gay people facing the death penalty. Apparently, some 300 people gathered at his church to watch it, and the audience included children! He wanted people to "learn" what gays actually do.

Why would someone use these radical measures is simply baffling, to say the least. Equating homosexuality with a pornographic rendering of sexual activity is dishonest and mentally sick. Would he portray heterosexuality the same way?

The situation in Uganda is extreme, but it somehow reflects the general position of those who so vehemently repudiate homosexuality. They tend to concentrate on the sex side of it. It makes me wonder if that is all heterosexuals think about when they fall in love, the sex. Maybe it is. Maybe heterosexuals are so obsessed with sex, they project it on everyone else (no, I don't really think this way, I'm just trying to make a point). Sex is often the corollary of being in love and wanting to get emotionally closer to the subject of your affection through physical contact. Sex is a medium, not a goal in itself. Of course, there's sex without love - and there's nothing wrong with that - but this touches all sexual orientations and is not exclusive to gays and lesbians. It sounds obvious, but not to everybody.

I believe the Ugandan pastor in question should in fact be the one condemned for obscenity and moral corruption. I mean, there were children in that church! What does he expect to achieve with this? I know, to create revulsion at what the nasty, monstrous gays get up to in bed. But how can he possibly justify showing pornography to children? I suppose someone like pastor Ssempa does not use logic very often, nor intellectual honesty. Or maybe he's just crazy and abusive. Likely all of these!

Pastor Ssempa may have been playing with fire too. Maybe some of his audience became titillated by what they saw and will try it later in the secrecy of their homes... if they manage to escape their spying neighbours willing to denounce them to the police (the new law, if passed, will make every single Ugandan, including family members, an anti-gay spy, otherwise they too may end up in jail for collusion. They'll have to build a lot of new jails...).

As US President Obama put it, the projected law is "odious", and what is really upsetting is that some US-based evangelical groups are backing it, and supporting people like pastor Ssempa to promote this agenda of hate. Is that what these groups want for the rest of the world, including in the US? Imprisonment and even the death penalty? These people are crazy, but dangerous because so well organised and funded. Watch out! Human rights is really an ongoing battle.

I hope, almost pray, for this law to be defeated, but I fear that it will be passed - with a few changes to keep international donors "happy" (maybe without the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality", for instance) - but still increasing the punishments for homosexuals in Uganda and basically rendering their lives even more nightmarish than they already are. They really need a merciful god to help them. It's a pity god is always looking the other way when these things happen (I'm an atheist, thus I only believe in human mercy).

Pastor Ssempa's desperate tactics seem to indicate that he is close to a nervous breakdown (or he has already had one). The man needs psychological treatment soon. Hatred of this kind usually indicates a sick mental state.

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