Report on U.S. Christian Right & Attack on LGBTI people in Africa

Political Research Associates have published an in depth report on the role played by right wing US religious organisations in encouraging homophobia in Uganda. The report “Globalizing the Culture Wars: US Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia.” was written by pastor Kapya Kaoma of Zambia. The story starts with a meeting last March in Kampala where two Americans were presenting – Scott Lively and Dan Schmierer of the ex-gay group Exodus International and was attended by Ugandan politicians, business men and religious leaders. However as Kaoma points out these are just two of many who are exporting their hate – what he calls “culture wars” to Africa. In other words they are taking their war against an organised ‘LGBTI movement in the US to those countries where activists and their allies are few and less organised at this moment. Why Africa? Possibly because just under half of the Anglican church’s 77 million live in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya- even if fewer than half of the continent are Christian – with a population of 900 million that still means there are possibly 300 million, plus a great deal of money to be made by all. They would also have political influence and the prospect of increasing their allies in the battle over gay clergy, abortion rights and so on. I would also add using the church, were blind faith to the church and it’s leaders is as strong as it is to God, is also an extremely clever strategy in depoliticising people and keeping control over every aspect of peoples lives.

U.S. evangelicals like California’s Rick Warren have turned their attention to Africa as its role in global Christianity has grown. As Warren recently told Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “If you want to know the future of evangelicalism, it is in [Africa, Asia and Latin America.] To give you an example, in 1900 there were only 10 million Christians in all of Africa — 10% of the population. Today there are 360 million Christians in Africa, over half the population.”[4] Warren’s numbers are wrong and fewer than half of Africans are Christian. Still, 30 million of the Anglican Communion’s 77 million members live in Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya.

Kaoma also suggests that “liberal” pro gay views within the Christianity puts them at a disadvantage with Islam in recruiting members. In fueling Islamaphobia – very much an American creation – this is a clever ploy to kill two birds with one stone – gays and Muslims. This raises the question as to whether Islamaphobia is the next export from the US to other parts of the world? The report is the best document I have read so far on the relationship between Uganda, the US conservative churches and homophobia and one which will become useful for LGBTI defendants in a court of law, should the Bill be passed.

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