Tuesday, February 18, 2014

From Nigeria to Uganda to Russia to Kansas: The Common Thread of Christian Complicity

So here's what's going on in Nigeria right now: 

A mob attacked gay people in a neighborhood in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, dragging young men from their homes, beating them with nail-studded clubs and whips, and shouting that they were "cleansing the community" of gays, several Nigerian activists and a witness said Saturday.

That happened last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in Uganda, here's what's happening: on Valentine's Day, President Yoweri Museveni announced that he'll sign into law legislation targeting the nation's gay citizens, which criminalizes being gay. And as David Badash notes for New Civil rights Movement (the link just above, which also includes video coverage), 

Watch as he announces, "We shall have a war with the homosexual lobby, in the world, backed by these people and you."
Watch as they [i.e., the Ugandan legislators] stand, applaud, and cheer.

As Kapya Kaoma notes for Religion Dispatches, Museveni will not pay a political price for signing this frightening legislation into law: far from it. His political stock will rise in Uganda. And there's also this, according to Kaoma, a longtime observer (pdf) of the anti-gay movement in Africa and its strong ties to the American religious right: 

Unfortunately, this law will also give cover to other African nations to pass similar bills. So it's no longer about how many more nations will move with similar bills, but what will it take to protect the lives of LGBTQ Africans from state-sanctioned violence and persecution. This is the question that needs to be addressed.

At about 42%, Catholics represent the largest religious group in Uganda, by the way. 

All of this is across the planet for some of us. But as Paul Brandeis Raushenbush points out for Huffington Post, 

There is a deplorable common thread that ties together these examples of the global oppression of LGBT people: Christian complicity.

And so Christians in the developed nations are every bit as much a part of the problem (and its solution) in Africa or Russia as are Christians in those places across the globe for many of us. 

Meanwhile, a celebrated American writer with an openly gay son can post a Facebook message applauding an actor for coming out of the closet, and find her Facebook page inundated with hate postings. By Christians.

So that she feels compelled to post a note to these commentators stating,

Our post commending actress Ellen Page for her courage in coming out as gay attracted a lot of hostility and hate and hate speech — as well as positive and substantive comments. I have banned many from the page today. I will no longer tolerate hate speech in the guise of Christian belief with the usual irresponsible pick and choose bible quotes and talk of “sin” and hellfire. I have had enough of it, and I think the world has had enough of it too. 

And then there's Kansas. Where the business community now seems to be backing down the tea-party legislators that wanted to pass legislation turning gay citizens of that state into second-class citizens, but where a bill seriously frightening in its implication for those gay citizens nonetheless did make its way through the Kansas house last week--and with a wide majority of support.

About which Thom Curnutte says at his Faith in the 21st Century blog, 

Now is the time to decide where you stand. And you really don’t have many options, I’m sorry to say. When states begin to legislate segregation–AGAIN–you’re either on the side of love, or you’re on the side of hate. And you can argue nomenclature with me until we both turn purple, but if you support a movement that legally segregates gay people in society, you’re pretty much a hateful person. I wish it didn’t have to be so blunt, but there it is.

And he's right. 

The video at the head of the posting is Matt Atom's "We Are All Connected."

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