Religious Rally Against Homosexuality in Uganda

Calls for media censorship, deportation of journalist, arrests, dismissal of academic

A few weeks ago I blogged on the case of Julius Lukyamuzi, a Ugandan who alleges that he suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of Grace Kitaka, a Pentecostal pastor. Kitaka’s alleged activities were allegedly covered up by Pastor Imelda Kula, one of the country’s most famous Pentecostal preachers. At the end of my piece, I wrote that

If the charges against Kitaka stick, there will hopefully be some questions about why she was not willing to deal with a “scourge” closer to home – and one that could have been dealt with without recourse to supernatural means. However, in the notoriously homophobic Uganda, it is just as likely that a conviction would be used to fuel a panic concerning “gays”, rather than to assess the problem of sexual predators among an unaccountable clergy.

In fact, I was only half-right; over the past two months Uganda has been rocked – and entertained – by accounts of pastorly misconduct that rival the events of 1987 in the USA. However, the anti-gay backlash has also now come into being:

CHRISTIANS opposed to homosexuality will hold a rally today, just days after gays addressed a news conference for the first time demanding respect for their rights.

…Pastor Martin Sempa, a key organiser of the event, told reporters yesterday that the rally is a direct reaction to the gay community’s quest for equal rights.

…The rally theme is, A Call for Action on Behalf of the Victims of Homosexuality. “It is a crisis before us because people are suffering, seeking for justice and are confused of their gender; they do not know what to do after being sodomized and molested,” Pastor Sempa said.

Sempa’s website can be seen here. As with similar anti-gay campaigns in Jerusalem and Moscow, the rally has brought the faiths together – the event was “organized by a coalition of Christian, Muslim and Bahai groups”.

The protestors – who call themselves the “Interfaith Rainbow Coalition” – 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.

A rainbow banner declaring “God created us like this, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI), Let Us Live In Peace” hung above the row of seven panelists, some of whom wore elaborate masks to hide their identity.

…A man wearing a mask, and a name card with the alias “Douglas,” condemned the brutality and corruption of police treatment of LGBTI people. “The goal of the police is to protect all people within the borders of Uganda,” he said. “It is not legal for the police to beat or bribe people.”

However, LGBTI people report that police have repeatedly demanded sexual favours or personal bribes in exchange for release from custody. “This is not protecting Ugandans, it is threatening people for profit. That is certainly not within the law,” exclaimed Douglas.

Sempa makes his case on this webpage (note the Fred Phelps-inspired logo), which is part of the official website of the Kobs Rugby team (their stadium was the location for the rally):

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.

These propaganda stories, which have mostly worked in the service of homosexuality, have been written by two writers. Katherine Roubos an American who is listed on the internet as a president of a homosexual organization based in the United States called Querillas. She is helped by Val Kalende who is also listed as a Lesbian leader for two homosexual propaganda groups, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) as listed on the homosexual internet site (OutRage).

It is terrible that this newspaper is being used by two people to promote a criminal behavior in the country. It is important that government takes appropriate action to ensure that the issue of homosexuality is not covered by homosexuals who are bent on giving Ugandans one side of the story.  This is not journalism, rather it is criminal propaganda.

A call for media censorship follows, along with a denunciation “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 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.

“God created Adam and Eve and urged them to go and reproduce. He did not command Paul to wed John or Maria to live with Esther and have children,” he said, drawing applause.

The Government, Buturo added, will not tolerate anyone who lures others into lesbianism and homosexuality.

“They should not be allowed to pursue an agenda of indoctrinating our children to homosexuality,” he said.

He cautioned the media against promoting gay interests. “Must press freedom be used to undermine one of the cardinal provisions of the laws?”

He said the Government was investigating reports that homosexuals had spread their influence to schools and that some victims had died.

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.”

We’ve come across Buturo before; 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.”

(Name variations: Martin Ssempa, Nasaba Botoro)

11 Responses

  1. There’s a non-copyrighted article titled “God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up” on Yahoo and Google that says it all. Readers may appreciate your airing it. Bruce

  2. I have noted that Nsaba Buturo is obsessed with denying gay people media coverage. That seems to be the real problem with the lady journalist. She has met us, and is talking to us and bringing fair reporting, a fair ground to play on. And that is what they are fighting. You can contrast the articles that are appearing in the New Vision. Defanged to say the least. During the Vagina Monolugues debate, he insisted that the New Vision only reports the view of the Govt, which seems to mean Nsaba Buturo’s view.

  3. […] Christian statements against homosexuality are the in thing just now; I blogged on a rally in Uganda a couple of weeks ago, while Protestant Christians in Ukraine are currently […]

  4. […] in the past: as well as the practice being illegal, religious rallies and government officials have called for media censorship against any pro-gay statements. One Ugandan lesbian is seeking asylum in the […]

  5. […] blogged on Buturo’s anti-gay obsession before; his other ministerial efforts include banning the Vagina Monologues (”the idea was to […]

  6. […] blogged on Kayanja here; he has long-standing links with Benny Hinn. Pastor Martin Ssempa held a high-profile anti-gay rally in 2007, and he works closely with Rick Warren; Warren’s wife has gushed over him as her […]

  7. […] as I blogged back in May, Kayanja has long-standing links with Benny Hinn, while Ssempa (who held a high-profile anti-gay rally in 2007) works closely with Rick Warren; Warren’s wife has described him as her […]

  8. […] in bringing forward the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, while keeping a lower profile than Martin Ssempa and some of the other religious figures backing it: Oyet is a self-designated Apostle and leader of […]

  9. […] The article is not quite accurate: the Facebook page where the event is advertised shows that it took place on 2 April 2009, rather than yesterday. At that time, Ssempa was not yet quite so notorious for his anti-gay activism, and he enjoyed links to pastors such as Rick Warren – although his views were on record, as I first blogged in 2007. […]

  10. […] the 2004 report by Andrew Rice cited above by the Atlantic noted his presence at Pastor Martin Ssempa‘s church (this was before Ssempa had become notorious for his anti-gay “they eat the […]

  11. […] Another student group created by KPIC is High Rise, which in 2009 hosted Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa. This was before Ssempa’s had become infamous for a viral video in which he conflated gay sex with coprophagy, but his views were very much on record. […]

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