Where’s our human rights advocate?

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    ( – promoted by lowkell)

    Crossposted at Equality Loudoun.

    Where are you, Frank Wolf?

    Sometimes, when I suggest that you share the opinion of my humanity held by the likes of Dick Black, Sideshow Bob, and our professional bigot in Sterling, I’m told that no, you are a champion of human rights.

    I think that a champion of human rights would have been more concerned about the developing situation in Uganda, one in which extremists with media access have defamed gay people by name and called repeatedly for their murder, calls which have now produced a result. Human rights activist David Kato (photo above from facebook) was found beaten to death in his home Wednesday, after having received several death threats. Kato was an out gay man who was one of those named in a hate tabloid, along with his photo, under the headline “HANG THEM; THEY ARE AFTER OUR KIDS!!”

    Pepe Julian Onziema, a spokesperson for Sexual Minorities Uganda said of David Kato, “he had told me that he was not feeling safe; he was being harassed in bars and when we went to court people would be waiting for him outside, taunting him.”

    The current pogrom against the GLBT community in Uganda has been forming since about 2007, but it really got a boost in 2009 from some exported American activism:

    LGBT Activists in Uganda point to a virulently anti-gay March 2009 conference put on by three American Evangelical activists for inciting the latest round of violence and intimidation against the local LGBT community. Among the three were Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Lee Brundidge, who is a protege of ex-gay advocate Richard Cohen. Lively, who blamed gay men for the rise of Nazism and the Rwandan genocide, proudly declared his talk as being a “nuclear bomb” against LGBT advocacy in Africa. (You can read about all of the events of 2009 and early 2010 here.)

    The bill introduced following this conference would provide for the death penalty in some cases for gay and lesbian people (it’s already illegal in Uganda to be gay), and would prohibit all forms of advocacy and human rights work by or on behalf of gay and lesbian people. Kato was also a leading voice in opposition to this bill.

    Maybe this will help explain Frank Wolf’s silence. Much of the content of the bill and propaganda in support of it “relied heavily on American anti-gay activist groups.” Making connections between fundamentalist leaders within other countries and these powerful, well-funded American activist groups is exactly the mission of what is known variously as “the Family”, “the Fellowship”, and “the C Street house.” The Family’s goal, “according to one internal document, is to create a ‘hidden structure’ of ‘national and international world leaders’,” or “key men” – and they are not picky about the ethical caliber of their international partners. The Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced by David Bahati, a Member of Parliament who had been recruited into the Family, and who explained to journalist Jeff Sharlet that what he really wants to do is “to kill every last gay person.”

    We know that Frank Wolf, as a long time key member of the Family and the C Street “frequent fliers club,” is well aware of these developments. After exposure of the death penalty provision attracted international condemnation, some congressmembers, including Frank Wolf, stated their opposition to the pending bill in its current form. While some of them have tried to distance themselves from Bahati, neither Wolf nor any other member of the Family has denounced the criminalization of homosexuality, or addressed the deadly anti-gay hysteria unleashed by the American extremists. If such a campaign of defamation and death threats, and now outright murder, were being waged against one of his favored groups – like persecuted Christians – I think we would be seeing a very different Frank Wolf. Wolf has consistently defended exceptions to nondiscrimination law to exclude gay people in the name of “religious liberty,” and still regularly appears with the disgraced pastor who ran defamatory full page ads targeting the GLBT community in Loudoun a few years ago, so we must wonder about his unbiased commitment to human rights as well.

    Secretary of State Clinton issued a statement that included this declaration:

    ..this is also an occasion to affirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons.

    Either you agree with this, or you think there should be some “exceptions.” Frank Wolf, which side do you choose?

    • lenorebeadsman

      There are plenty of reasons to pick on Frank Wolf, but I’m not sure this is one of them. To claim that Wolf has been silent or that he hadn’t denounced the Uganda legislation is simply untrue. Over a year ago, Rep. Wolf joined with other Republican members of the House Human Rights Commission to write President Museveni, describing the Ugandan bill as “wrong,” “inappropriate,”and antithetical to “the inherent dignity and worth of all men and women” and urging that the bill be withdrawn or vetoed.

      (See full text of letter here: http://allafrica.com/stories/2

      There are things in the letter I deeply disagree with (such as the support for the Manhattan Declaration), and I would love to see Rep. Wolf and other members ostensibly interested in human rights more active and this and other human rights issues, but let’s give credit where credit is due.