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Obama Needs To Speak Out On Uganda

on December 1st, 2009 by B.Graff

On this World AIDS Day, an ugly development in Uganda shows how gay people, HIV, and homophobia are intertwined.

Last year, Uganda received $287 million American tax dollars for HIV prevention. The funds were part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The latest round of money is now under scrutiny due to the Ugandan government’s proposal of an Anti-Homosexuality Bill. If passed, the legislation would mandate a three year prison term for people who fail to report lesbians and gays to the authorities, and the introduction of a class of “aggravated homosexuality” as an executable offense.

The combined weight of the law would “criminalize key aspects of comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention education and imprison health-care workers who refuse to report sexually active gay patients to police,” according to Truth Wins Out.

Writer James Kirchick penned an article for the Los Angeles Times calling for President Obama to withhold the funds if the legislation becomes law.

What is behind Uganda’s virulent treatment of gays and lesbians? American missionary groups. Missionaries met there earlier this year to argue that Uganda needs to crack down on homosexuality.

Rick Warren, the conservative preacher whose ties to Uganda were revealed by the Daily Beast has gone on record that he won’t condemn the bill because he “never takes sides” in politics.

Claiming to be apolitical flies in the face of his vocal and public support for Proposition 8, and calling abortion a “holocaust.” And how does a preacher justify supporting a law that violates the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”? Hopefully this duplicity will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for people who were drawn in by Warren’s folksy brand of “Christianity.”

More troubling than Rick Warren is the reaction of PEPFAR chief Eric Goosby. Rather than call Uganda on its blatant hatred, he says “My role is to be supportive and helpful to the patients who need these services. It is not to tell a country how to put forward their legislation.” Does he not realize that the people who “need these services” are the very ones targeted by this bill?

This story has not received much attention beyond some gay media outlets. I suspect this is because gay lives are generally devalued by the public, and more so if they are African gay lives. But there is so much WRONG with this story – everything from Obama’s tacit approval of a genocidal policy (Uganda borders Kenya) to the colonialist manner in which white religious groups are infiltrating Africa.

I can only hope that more people become aware of the kinds of policies their tax dollars are supporting.

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Tags: , , , , | Posted in gay, health, homophobia, ignorance, racism

4 Responses to “Obama Needs To Speak Out On Uganda”

  1. [...] There is an update to the heinous situation for LGBTs in Uganda. [...]

  2. [...] the past few months I have been writing about the horrendous proposal to criminalize LGBTs in [...]

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