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Uganda: Citizens Required to Inform on Gay Neighbors

Gay Uganda

What Gay Uganda looks like, when he's being himself.

A bill introduced last month in the Ugandan parliament would require citizens to turn in the names of suspected LGBT people so the government can put them to death. I kid you not.

Having Gay sex in Uganda is already a capital crime. I kid you not—the death penalty.

Ugandan LGBT activists have asked supporters in the international community to protest at Ugandan diplomatic missions around the world a week from today, Nov. 9.

I’ve been contacted about this by an activist-friend in Chicago. There are no definite plans at this time, nor any word on actions at the Ugandan embassy in Washington.

I have suggested to my friend the response I consider most appropriate. It’s in the pulled quote below.

Meanwhile I’m watching in amazed disbelief the reaction of The Episcopal Church to this news. They want Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to ride to the rescue of Ugandan Gay people.

Not a snowball’s chance in hell—no one would believe Rowan if he tried—but he’s not going to try.

Yet here are Episcopalians thinking he’s s’posedta Do Something.

How foolish can you get? How naive?

Uganda is one of the most Christian countries on earth (officially anyway). Some 40% of Ugandans are Catholic, 35% Anglican, 5% Muslim, and most of the rest follow native religions.

Considering that the pope is the world’s leading Gay-basher, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine has bankrolled that state’s referendum tomorrow for a “people’s veto” of the new Gay marriage law—a diocesan staffer is Yes on 1’s campaign manager, and parishes have actually passed the plate at Mass for donations to save Maine from queers—what do you suppose is the position of Ugandan Catholics on the bill to require every citizen of the country to turn informer?

The Anglicans are with them every step of the way to Stamp Out Homos Once and For All. (That’s where the Archbishop of Canterbury’s supposed to come in, to tell them not to—the same Archbishop who convened a thousand Anglican bishops last year for a theological tea party, except for the Gay bishop of New Hampshire, who wasn’t invited.)

Yet my church, the most progressive of American mainlines, actually thinks that writing e-mails to England is going to save Lesbos and queerboys in Uganda.

The blog Episcopal Café posted an item today about the proposed law, “The challenge Uganda is presenting to the (Anglican) Communion,” which has prompted 10 comments so far, all from opponents of the bill. A few people, some of the church’s better minds, are teeth-gnashing a bit over this extreme example of unchristian Christianity. But their proposed action, e-mails to Lambeth Palace in London, is like asking a slave-trader to weigh his conscience before proceeding. Slave-traders weighed their boats and totted up the profits.

It’s a pathetic display of gutless liberalism. Propose an action, as I did to my friend Brent in Chicago, that would actually get the attention of the Ugandan government, and the Episcopal conversation ceases.

No wonder we’re still apologizing for our complicity in slavery 150 years later. We didn’t lift a finger for the slaves way back when, and we’re not lifting a finger for black-skinned queers today.

Don’t take my word for it; go to the Gay Uganda blog. See for yourself.

Here’s what I wrote on Episcopal Café. It went over like a lead balloon.

Sexual Minorities Uganda, a GLBT activist group, has issued a call for international protests at Ugandan diplomatic missions a week from today, Nov. 9.

In response, some interest is stirring in Chicago, but Uganda doesn’t have a working consulate there. I don’t know if there is action planned in DC.

I think it’s foolish to expect anything out of Rowan. He lost his moral authority years ago. The last thing he’s going to do is to stir the Gay pot.

Ditto with TEC. A hundred bishops went to Lambeth, but the Gay one had cooties. This is a job for the laypeople.

+++

My suggestion: go to Starbucks or Whole Foods and dump Ugandan coffee for the cameras. THAT will get attention in Kampala like nothing else.

(Pay for what you dump, of course.)

Dumping Ugandan coffee would be, well, impolite. Un-Episcopalian. Civilly disobedient perhaps. Attention-getting. A bit gauche, actually. We like the nice people at Starbucks, you see, and Whole Foods too.

But boycott Ugandan coffee and the president will hear about it; that’s why I suggested that method.

Uganda is so poor economically (rich in other ways, and please bear that in mind) that the Kampala government is trying its damnedest to open the country to development, open up to tourism, and recover from Idi Ah-Mean. Uganda wants to sell product—if only so the profits can line the military’s pockets. Threaten their coffee crop and they’ll be on it like flies on poop.

Amidst a massive national paranoia about the dangers of queerdom (which, of course, diverts attention from what’s actually wrong with Uganda), the only way to hit these people is with dollars.

That’s what they expect wicked Americans to do, yet it’s never occured to them we might go after their coffee crop. It’s one of the few ways they make money.

But Episkies think that’s, like, rude or somethin’. Not the Middle Ground we think we’re famous for. (No one else thinks we’re famous for anything.) We must work through channels, you see; so let’s give Rowan what-for, as if he has any influence whatsoever on Uganda, and as if he would exercise it even if he did.

The esteemed Archbishop is under strict orders from the Crown: “Do not allow the Anglican Communion to break up while we are alive.”

I don’t blame the Queen at all for that. But I do blame Rowan. He is the Neville Chamberlain of church politics, an appeaser constantly outflanked by ruthless men.

Never, ever, ever appoint a theologian as Archbishop of Canterbury. Appoint a church politician who’s ready for the slings and arrows; get a professional. Rowan Williams is an amateur, cowardly, intimidated.

My message to Episcopalians: Never put your hopes in this guy, who’s stabbed you in the back repeatedly.

If the dialogue on Episcopal Café is any indication, “the most progressive mainline church” can’t even dump a cup of Ugandan coffee in protest.

What would it cost, two bucks?++

3 Responses

  1. Paying for Ugandan Coffee (dump it or not) defeats the purpose…maybe we ought not drink coffee at all since many of the ¨growers¨ exploit the ¨pickers¨ worldwide (did you know they pick several times during one picking season and are pretty much impoverished nomads?)…of course there are many ways to demoralize our fellow human beings…naturally only a few of the campesinos/pickers (who earn about 50 cents U.S. a day around here) are Gay and many of the little white coffins that are hand carried down the main street of my little village are children of finca workers…on the otherhand gug, or Gay Uganda has been appealing for our help for months and months…you do what you can do…. I´m certain he´ll appreciate you´re HELP…I´ll do what I can do and have been doing…if HE had the answers (to some very scary questions) wouldn´t require outreach for DESPERATE HELP! Not to worry…Have some Puerto Rican Coffee (Cafe Rico is good), at least you´ll know all the pickers can apply for food stamps if things get tough and the nightlife won´t get you killed (unless you´re caught in someone elses bed)! Easy, don´t worry, be happy!

  2. Or visit our Gap Year Uganda and Volunteering Uganda sections. Sexsling

  3. To Leonardo: excellent points, from one who knows better than I do.

    I look at our complacency and think, “How can people struggling in their own culture with poverty, unemployment, foreclosure and political upheaval be motivated to care about Gay people in a distant land?”

    Simple fact, they can’t. The workslaves of American consumer culture don’t have time to think.

    Uganda is very far away, and who cares when we’re hurting too?

    I haven’t heard back from Brent in Chicago. He’s as international as they come but he can’t do more than he can do.

    No protests at Starbucks or Whole Foods. All we can do is blog.

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