Ugandan Pastor Leads Campaign Against Gay Rights
The protestors - who call themselves the "Interfaith Rainbow Coalition", and include Muslims and Baha'is - have one particular target for their hate, a 22-year-old American journalist working as intern on the Daily Monitor named Katherine Roubos:
"We people of Uganda have values. If this lady cannot respect them then she had better be deported," said Eddie Semakula, a member of the coalition. "She is advocating for the rights of homosexuals in a paper that is read by children even. We must protect our children."
Roubos' dire threat to children can be seen here. Highlights:
LESBIAN, gay, bisexual, and transgender Ugandans held their first-ever press conference at Speke Hotel yesterday to launch a media campaign to advocate for their rights.
Ssempa made his case on a webpage attached to the official website of the Kobs Rugby team (their stadium was the location for the rally), under a banner which appears to have been inspired by Fred Phelps's infamous anti-homosexual logo. According to Ssempa:
...The Monitor Publication has in the recent past run many stories, which are well intended to promote homosexuality. Some of the recent stories include "Lesbians demand their rights", "Why police is not arresting homosexuals" which ran 11th August, 07 and "Homosexuals demand their place in society" 17th of August.
A call for media censorship followed, along with a denunciation of "Sylvia Tamale of Makerere University whose teachings on gender in faculty of Law and public statement have been used as propaganda for homosexuality, abortion and prostitution."
Also supporting the demonstration was Nsaba Buturo, the evangelical Minister for Ethic and Integrity, who backed the call for censorship:
Addressing the rally, ethics and integrity minister Nsaba Buturo said the Government would not change its anti-gay stand.
Back in July, Buturo responded to a constitutional challenge to a police raid on two lesbians by opining that
...the plaintiffs "suffered under the false notion that homosexuality can be a human rights issue" and cautioned that "next time, they will say bestiality should be a human right."
His previous efforts to protect Uganda have included banning The Vagina Monologues on the grounds that "the idea was to promote lesbianism and glorify the vagina - even elevating it to god-like status."
Although it was the press conference by gay and lesbian Ugandans which triggered the protest, there is also a wider religious context: the Ugandan evangelical scene is currently going through a series of scandals which have caught the public imagination in much the same way as occured in the USA in 1987. Some of the revelations have been humourous - such as pastor who allegedly gave his congregants electric shocks and told them it was the holy spirit - but others have been much more serious. In particular, a young man has claimed that he was severely sexually abused by a male pastor for several years, and that one of the country's most high-profile preachers, Imelda Kula, had tried to cover it up. With so much turmoil, Ssempa is ideally placed to emerge as the most powerful evangelical figure in the country.
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