American Evangelicalism leads to death penalty for Ugandan homosexuals?

Caught this story in the NYTimes today. Apparently 3 evangelicals from the U.S. spoke in Uganda about how to cure homosexuality and about how terrible it is. As a result, some Ugandan politicians put together a bill that would invoke the death penalty for homosexual behavior. The evangelicals:

Now that’s an American export of which I’m not proud! 🙁


I'm a college professor and, well, a professional X-Mormon. Thus, ProfXM. I love my Mormon family, but have issues with LDS Inc. And I'm not afraid to tell LDS Inc. what I really think... anonymously, of course!

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13 Responses

  1. And Scott Lively’s name is on the Manhattan Declaration. Surprise, surprise.

  2. Chino Blanco says:

    As far as most evangelicals are concerned, is that Manhattan Declaration even on their radar? For all the buzz, the thing itself seems about as interesting (i.e., dull) as any other random steering committee production.

    By the way, a random plug: this crew has done a great job covering the Uganda story:

    Is what we’re seeing now in Uganda the ROI on that $15 billion Bush allocated to AIDS in Africa back in 2003? If so, it’s not only the evangelicals who hastily stitched together program proposals in order to qualify for that funding. Mormon wingnut outfits like United Families International and Family Watch International also fed at the faith-based trough.

  3. Anon says:

    Family Watch International is not affiliated with any religion and does not support its positions with religious arguments but rather with social science data.

  4. Anon says:

    Also, Family Watch International strongly opposes any harassment of or violence (e.g., abuse, torture, or killing) against people because of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Instead, we promote voluntary counseling and treatment for those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction, gender identity disorders, or sexual addictions and adequate treatment and care for those infected with the HIV/AIDS virus.

  5. profxm says:

    Anon… I appreciate you clarifying, but I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of some of the stuff you’re saying. You claim that your work is social science based, yet you push for man/woman and traditional families. There is, to date, as far as I know, no evidence suggesting children raised in same-sex couple homes have worse outcomes (educational, psychological, interpersonal, etc.) than kids raised in opposite sex couple homes. The only thing I’ve read is that they are more likely to be teased and explore their sexuality earlier (the latter not being a problem at all). Otherwise, no deficits. Ergo, why advocate for man/woman relationships when man/man and woman/woman relationships are just as good for kids?

    Also, you actually promote treating people with “unwanted same-sex attraction”! Ughh! That is definitely contradictory to the social science on “reparative therapy”. The American Psychological and American Psychiatric Associations both say reparative therapy is not only ineffective but also potentially damaging. The only people who would NOT want to be gay or lesbian would be people indoctrinated by religion. Ergo, your treating people who are being abused by religion by giving them more religion. Yep, I’m definitely not a fan.

    Kudos to you for advocating for kids and women, but I’m not a fan of some of your positions. I’m not familiar enough with everything your organization does to comment further, but the above issues are sufficient for me to know I wouldn’t support Family Watch International. And you may not be affiliated with a religion, but your claimed “social science” certainly isn’t objective social science. It sounds like a highly selective, pro-traditionalism, religion-laced interpretation of social science research. Why not do what the research says?

  6. profxm says:

    Oh, one more thing – you oppose killing, abuse, violence toward LGBTQs, yet you support reparative therapy? Isn’t that violence towards LGBTQs?

  7. I know that the Manhattan Declaration has been much-discussed on evangelical blogs and at evangelical seminaries. I don’t know how well it’s trickled down to the pew level. Certainly it’s never been mentioned at my church.

    For the record, I honestly can’t stand the evangelical attempts to use government to regulate homosexuality. I firmly believe that as evangelical Christians, it is not our job to ask the government to enforce morality that is rooted strictly in our religious convictions (rather than in concern for the common good) for us. If we want people to stop being homosexual, the church’s function should not be to get Uncle Sam involved; it should be to go out and make disciples of all nations. Unbelievers are not going to accept our religious convictions about morality and we shouldn’t expect them to.

    I’m saddened that there are apparently brothers and sisters in Christ out there who believe they can promote a specific political and social agenda against homosexuality and then act shocked when their teachings spawn hatred and bigotry. Has Christian history taught us nothing?

  8. Chino Blanco says:

    Hi Anon,

    I was born in Gilbert, AZ where y’all are based. Is there anyone on the board or staff at either UFI or FWI who is *not* LDS? I’d be surprised if there were.

    You know, I broke the story of Maine pastor Bob Emrich sending emails out to his supporters *praising* the Uganda legislation. When I got in touch with Bob to discuss it, he didn’t even have the decency to be honest in a one-on-one private exchange.

    Perhaps Sharon ran into Bob during her Uganda visit? More importantly, has FWI made its opposition to the “Kill Gays” bill known to your Ugandan legislative contacts? If not, mentioning your opposition here is merely self-serving.

    Also, Lynn never got back to me about your Marriage Facts Maine website. You know, the one where you present yourself as being local Mainers. I asked Lynn for your local Maine FWI affiliate, but got no reply. If you see this, pls give Lynn a nudge for me, thanks.

  9. profxm says:

    Hi Ms. Jack Myers,

    I’m torn by your comments. It sounds like we agree on some things but disagree on others.

    You don’t want the government to do the bidding of evangelicals when the bidding is firmly rooted in their specific beliefs. Agreed.

    However, it still sounds like you’re opposed to homosexuality. Not sure, as you don’t say that specifically, but it sounds like it. Are you? If so, well, we’re definitely not in agreement there.

  10. #9 profxm ~ I’m opposed to homosexuality as far as religion is concerned, meaning I don’t want to see my pastors teaching that homosexual marriage and behavior is just as morally acceptable as heterosexual marriage and behavior. I don’t know your religious orientation, but I wouldn’t expect anyone who isn’t a conservative Christian of some sort to agree with me on that.

    As far as gay rights are concerned, I believe that the government should offer the same privileges and benefits to all couples regardless of sexual orientation, and I believe they should call it the same thing. So my preferences (in order) are: (1) civil unions for all, (2) marriage for all, (3) civil unions for homosexuals, marriage for heterosexuals. The last option does not meet my desire that the government call it all the same thing, but it’s still an improvement from the current situation.

  11. profxm says:

    Ms. Jack Meyers,

    That seems an odd position to take for an evangelical, but I guess the lesson here is that not all evangelicals are the same. I’m not sure I really understand how you “oppose homosexuality as far as religion is concerned” yet are okay with giving homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals. Per the most common interpretation of the Bible, homosexual behavior is an abomination and warrants death. Which leads me to ask, “How do you reconcile your tolerance of homosexuality with an inerrant view of the Bible?” I’m really intrigued to know.

  12. There are a host of behaviors listed in the Bible as sinful which my fellow Christians seem to have no interest in seeing the government regulate. Adultery and fornication are both on the list. The Bible is also fairly restrictive about divorce, yet no serious Christian groups are pushing the government to ban divorce (the “Protect Marriage—Ban Divorce” movement in California has satirized this inconsistency). I’ve simply taken the next logical step and decided that we shouldn’t use the government to try and regulate homosexual behavior, either.

    The argument that I usually hear my fellow evangelicals making is that America was founded on Christian principles and therefore we ought to give special consideration to the Judeo-Christian marriage system when we write our laws. But I disagree with the idea that our government was founded on Christian principles. It was a Judeo-Christian culture, sure, but most of the founding fathers were deists or freemasons who went to great lengths to keep references to God out of our Constitution. Bottom line, I think that America was founded on the principal of separation of church and state, not as a theocracy. If it were a theocracy, then there would be room to consider what the Bible has to say about homosexuality when we write our laws. But it isn’t.

    As to how I justify the supposed contradiction in my position, Jesus said to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s (Matthew 22:21). Caesar wants there to be religious tolerance and freedom. I have no problem giving it to him.

  13. profxm says:

    Intriguing. Thanks for clarifying. I wish there more evangelicals like you!

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