( – promoted by lowkell)
Many of us are at least fleetingly aware of Uganda’s so called “kill the gays bill,” a bill before their parliament which would make homosexuality punishable by death.
Those of us fortunate enough to live in more civilized parts of the world have doubtless been relieved to know that the odds of us personally having to face such legislation is remote at the very worst, but Scott Wooledge’s excellent article up at Daily Kos today shines some alarming light conservative American Christian movement’s response to this bill.
Let’s pretend for a moment that fracking, something which I suspect many of us on this site oppose, was about to be declared illegal by Uganda. Surely we would rejoice at that, but wouldn’t we also temper our enthusiasm if the bill contained the death penalty for anyone found to have engaged in fracking in any way, shape, or form, and provided for other severe penalties for anyone who even knew a fracker?
The answer, of course, is that we would.
On the other hand, Tony Perkins, Scott Lively, and Bryan Fischer, three prominent voices in the conservative American Christian movement, see things very differently. Perkins has tweeted that the “Ugandan Pres. is leading his nation in repentance.” Lively calls the bill “a huge blessing.”
Even more concerning is Fischer’s statement about the bill that “it can be done” in America. In other words, the heads of the American Family Association and the Family Research Council, two major American Christian organizations, are on the record as being in full support of executing homosexuals, and at least one of them supports the implementation of similar legislation in our country.
As best as I can tell, they have faced no public backlash from their organizations or their membership for saying so. This leads to a truly unsettling conclusion about the conservative American Christian movement’s attitude towards the queer community. We’ve seen them push some seemingly nonsensical measures and make some crazy statements in the past, including the legalization of anti-LGBT bullying (while simultaneously denying the existence of anti-LGBT bullying in the first place. Our appeals to that community on those issues and others, including marriage, have been based in an appeal for compassion, empathy, and respect.
With their celebration of the advancement of the Ugandan law and their call today for the American criminalization of homosexuality, these groups have abandoned any pretense that they are even remotely based on decency. Their “hate the sin, love the sinner” talk is now officially an antiquated joke. They have given up their right to even pretend that their attitudes towards the queer community are anything other than those of pure hatred.
Call me cynical, but I suspect that these so-called religious leaders have found that whipping their followers into a froth pays financial dividends, much like Limbaugh and the other shock jocks in the conservative entertainment complex. The other option is that they truly believe in the implementation of fundamentalist biblical law.
On second thought, a combination of the two is also completely plausible (and perhaps the scariest option). In either case, these fanatics would have no choice but to stand down if their followers would stand up to them. Surely the rank and file of the conservative American Christian movement; the millions of decent, honest, hard-working Christian folks in rural America, regardless of their personal unease with the idea of homosexuality, aren’t ok with the idea of executing queer Americans. Surely these folks will tell Fischer, Perkins, and Lively that they’ve gone a step too far…right?
If they don’t, their silence will speak even louder for them.
The author is an outdoor educator, activist, and first responder from rural Virginia who currently resides in Missouri.