It's not so invisible anymore: 'The Family's' influence in Uganda
'The Family's' influence in Uganda is not so invisible anymore according to Jeff Sharlet, author of "The Family", an investigative look at a US fundamentalist group at the heart of Uganda's anti-gay law.
"He appears to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes their Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which The Family has poured millions of dollars working through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda."
And how did Sharlet discover the connection? "You follow [the] money," he said. You look at their archives. You do interviews where you can. It's not so invisible anymore. So that's how working with some research colleagues we discovered that David Bahati, the man behind this legislation, is really deeply, deeply involved in The Family's work in Uganda, that the ethics minister of Uganda, Museveni's kind of right-hand man, a guy named Nsaba Buturo, is also helping to organize The Family's National Prayer Breakfast. And here's a guy who has been the main force for this Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda's executive office and has been very vocal about what he's doing, in a rather extreme and hateful way. But these guys are not so much under the influence of The Family. They are, in Uganda, The Family."
Under current Ugandan law, homosexuality is a crime punishable by life in prison. The proposed law would not just condemn HIV positive gay men and "repeat offenders" to death, it would also jail for three years anyone who knows a gay man but refuses to report them to authorities. Further, anyone who defends in public the rights of gays and lesbians would be subjected to a seven year prison term.
In his NPR interview, Sharlet said the bill would "very likely" pass and become Ugandan law. He added that the nation's president, whom he called a "dictator," has long been in The Family's fold.
"The Family identified [Museveni] back in 1986 as a key man for Africa," he said. "They wanted to steer him away from neutrality or leftist sympathies and bring him into conservative American alliances, and they were able to do so. They've since promoted Uganda as this bright spot - as I say, as this bright spot for African democracy, despite the fact that under their tutelage, Museveni has slowly shifted away from any even veneer of democracy: imprisoning journalists, tampering with elections, supporting - strongly supporting this Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009."
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has joined Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in condemning Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill. Both prime ministers are attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this weekend in Port of Spain. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is this year's Chairman of the CHOGM.
"Addressing the Commonwealth People’s Forum, Stephen Lewis, the former UN envoy on Aids in Africa, said that the Bill made a mockery of Commonwealth principles," the Times Online reported. "Nothing is as stark, punitive and redolent of hate as the Bill in Uganda," Lewis said.
"We needn't tell you: The implications are dire," opined Queerty. "It's not abnormal for foreign heads of state, like Museveni, to have ties to American politicos. But he's deeply routed in a secretive organization that promotes hatred under the guise of loving Jesus. And the very people — America's elected officials who believe in human rights — we would expect to pressure Uganda's lawmakers not to make such a bill law are turning out to be its biggest supporters."
US fundamentalist group at heart of Uganda's anti-gay law (November 26, 2009)
Uganda anti-gay bill has potential to divide Commonwealth leaders (November 25, 2009)
Museveni claims European gays are 'recruiting' Ugandan citizens (November 23, 2009)
Jefferson Awards winner recognizes genocide looming in Uganda (October 21, 2009)
Uganda's Daily Monitor raises its voice on behalf of defenseless (October 20, 2009)
Did Exodus conference in Uganda unleash anti-gay vigilantism? (October 19, 2009)
Human rights groups blast Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 (October 18, 2009)
Exodus International Holding Bryce Faulkner Hostage? (July 16, 2009)
Most Recommended Comment
North Tonawanda, New York, United States