After a burst of media coverage towards the close of 2009, the growing persecution of gays in Uganda seems to have dropped off radar screens not only of mainstream US media but also most of alternative and progressive media, on and off the Internet.
Meanwhile, if things go as planned, next Sunday May 2nd American evangelist Lou Engle, who played a major role in the push for California's anti-gay marriage Proposition Eight, will stage
one of his anti-gay, sexual purity-obsessed prayer rallies in Kampala, Uganda's capital.
In Uganda the issue isn't about gaining marriage rights for same-sex couples. It's about existence. Gay rights groups are desperately working to gain the fickle attention of the US media. But except for a few voices, mainly on the Internet, America is silent.
Today, the The Bishops and Elders Council, convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, will hold a noontime vigil
at Washington DC's National City Christian Church, in protest of legislation before Uganda's Parliament, the Anti Homosexuality Bill, that would allow execution of homosexual Ugandans.
The bill would also create an Orwellian anti-gay police state by requiring citizens to report suspected homosexual activity to authorities or face three years in prison. Homosexuality in Uganda can already be punished by up to life in prison.
As the US Holocaust Museum describes
the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany,
The vast majority of homosexual victims were males; lesbians were not subjected to systematic persecution. While lesbian bars were closed, few women are believed to have been arrested...
Homosexuality outside Germany (and incorporated Austria and other annexed territories) was not a subject generally addressed in Nazi ideology or policy; the concern focused on the impact of homosexuality on the strength and birthrate of the Aryan population. During the war years, 1939 to 1945, the Nazis did not generally instigate drives against homosexuality in German-occupied countries.
...Unlike Jews, men arrested as homosexuals were not systematically deported to Nazi-established ghettos in eastern Europe. Nor were they transported in mass groups of homosexual prisoners to Nazi extermination camps in Poland.
According to the Holocaust Museum, from 1933 to 1945 approximately 100,000 of Germany's estimated 1.2 million male homosexuals were arrested, with 50,000 sentenced and imprisoned. 5,000 to 15,000 of those were sent to concentration camps.
In political discourse comparisons to Nazism are almost always hyperbolic, inflammatory, and inaccurate. But the Anti Homosexuality Bill before Uganda's Parliament is actually more draconian than anti-gay laws passed under Hitler's Third Reich.
The Uganda bill exceeds the 1935 revisions to Section 175 of the German Penal Code concerning homosexuality promulgated under Nazi rule, and it is more severe than the Nuremberg Laws, which stripped Germany's Jews of many of the basic rights of German citizenship. While the Nuremberg Laws stopped short of legislating Jewish German citizens out of public existence, the Anti Homosexuality Bill, as originally introduced in October 2009, would do just that to gay Ugandan citizens.
That is what is so striking about the Uganda bill - it goes where even the Nazis feared to tread. But US media, the American left, and much of the world are for the most part silent.
Hitler's deadly Final Solution was carried out furtively. It was not declared openly as a matter of national policy. But the attempt in Uganda to categorically eliminate an entire strata of Ugandan society, hundreds of thousands of people or more, is happening quite openly, before the eyes of the world.
The building eliminationist
anti-gay campaign in Uganda has been most extensively covered
by the gay rights news service Box Turtle Bulletin, which on April 24 noted
an apparent "stealth" attempt, by Ugandan legislators, to pack provisions of the Uganda Anti Homosexuality Bill into other pieces of legislation, in an apparent attempt to evade media coverage [note: evangelical Christian college professor Warren Throckmorton has also closely covered the Uganda bill
Tuesday's Washington DC religious vigil will also protest the planned rally, scheduled for May 2nd in Uganda's capital Kampala, to be held by American evangelist Lou Engle's TheCall
Gay and human rights activists fear the rally will feed the rising tide of antigay hatred in Uganda. Engle teaches that homosexuals are possessed by demons and has called San Francisco's Castro District a place "where the homosexuals boast the dominion of darkness."
According to the website of TheCall Uganda the planned event is "intended to awaken and revive the young and the old, men and women, church and family, government and the public and to fight vices eating away at our society." Listed "vices" include "Witchcraft and human sacrifice" and "Homosexuality and increased immorality."
During the Fall 2008 push to pass California's anti-gay marriage Proposition Eight voter referendum, Engle's TheCall maintained 8 field offices in the state and staged the capstone rally for the effort, during which Engle and one of his disciples made calls for acts of Christian martyrdom to stop gay marriage and abortion
In December 2008, a month after Lou Engle's November 1, 2008 capstone rally for the Proposition Eight push, Engle brought his TheCall event to Kenya. Now, a year and a half later, Lou Engle is bringing TheCall to Uganda.
Gays are not the only group being demonized in Uganda. Jews are almost non-existent in Uganda but hundreds of thousands of copies of a viciously anti-Jewish evangelical comic book called Manga Messiah
have been distributed
to Ugandan school children, free of charge.
According Boston-based liberal think-tank Political Research Associates
Senior Analyst Chip Berlet, Manga Messiah is, "A colorful comic training manual for motivating young leaders of the next pogrom against Jews. Not just offensive--ghastly and horrific in content with a clear enemy scapegoat identified for venting apocalyptic religious bigotry."
There's historical precedent for the demonizing of both gays and Jews. In late 2005 Rabbi Eric Yoffie, head of the largest branch of American Judaism reminded
a synagogue audience of 5,000,
"We cannot forget that when Hitler came to power in 1933, one of the first things that he did was ban gay organizations," Yoffie said. "Yes, we can disagree about gay marriage. But there is no excuse for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hellfires of anti-gay bigotry."
In late 2009 Political Research Associates Project Director Kapya Kaoma released an extended report, Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, & Homophobia
, accusing American evangelicals of exporting their anti-gay, culture war agenda to Africa.
Kaoma's report especially singled out globally influential evangelist Rick Warren as playing a major role inciting anti-gay sentiment in Uganda. Following considerable public pressure Warren released
a December 10, 2009 statement calling on Uganda's pastors to denounce the Uganda anti-gay bill. In the statement Warren denied that he was "conspiring" with a man named C. Peter Wagner to "rid the world of homosexuals."
As described in Rick Warren's Dissertation Advisor Leads Network Promoting Uganda Anti-Gay Bill
, Peter Wagner leads a global charismatic evangelical movement that has played a significant role in organizing and inspiring Ugandan legislators who have drafted, sponsored, and backed Uganda's Anti Homosexuality Bill.
in C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles are closely tied
to Duke Aiona, the 2010 GOP gubernatorial candidate for the governorship of Hawaii, and they are building electoral organizing machines in cities and town across America - such as in the biggest city of traditionally blue-state New Jersey, Newark
Lou Engle is one of C. Peter Wagner's prophets serving Wagner's Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders.