by James Darden
When you hear of a rich church group in the United States sending aid money to a developing country in Africa, it usually sparks a sense of Dudley Do-Right goodness. Sadly, what is going on with many American Christian charities is nothing short of disgusting. Affluent groups across the United States are directly funding violent hate groups and supporting the very controversial Ugandan “Kill the Gays” (KTG) bill.
The KTG bill is a legislative proposal that would further criminalize homosexual activity in the country. The bill makes it possible to enact the death penalty for homosexual acts, and even goes as far as punishing people who simply know gay people or support LGBT rights. In a country where homosexuality is already illegal, it is frightening to think of this as a real possibility.
Reverend Kapya Kaoma is a Ugandan native who has been forced into exile for his show of support for LGBT rights and his demand for equality, love, and peace for all. Uganda is a predominantly Christian nation, with 85% of the country’s population claiming to follow one denomination or another. Reverend Kapya Kaoma discusses the need for global intervention to protect small minorities in this very religious country.
Uganda is also a developing nation in great need of financial support; this combination of need and faith has led to a scary reality for members of the LGBT community in Uganda. Christian fundamentalists in the United States have been taking great advantage of the situation. Feeling the power once held here in the U.S. slipping through its fingers, the Christian church is trying to get its foot in the door in developing nations in Africa. These groups wish to remove what they call immoral activity, and want to impose biblical law. Groups like the International House of Prayer are sending millions of dollars to sponsor missionaries who generally do good work, ensuring clean water and food are provided to the needy.
However, issues arise when missionary groups that are feeding and clothing you now turn around and tell others that immoral sinners are destroying their society and that these “degenerates” have no place in the world. Nobody wants to bite the hand that feeds them. These organizations are directly funding the destruction of civil rights in Uganda and are ruining the lives of so many. The 500,000 LGBT people living in Uganda are scared and being forced to decide between living their lives freely or possibly facing the death penalty.
In the NY Times segment Gospel of Intolerance, the chants of angry mobs shouting “Kill the homosexuals! Kill them for God!” show just how real the danger is. As long as the United States and the Christian church influence the region by imposing intolerance and bigotry, the nation is headed for dangerous times…and all because of religious fundamentalists who failed to impose their religion on society in the United States.