by Leah Waldron
Boston’s Political Research Associates released a report this week that revealed some shocking world news. The investigative study confirmed that two of America’s favorite anti-gay pundits—televangelist Pat Robertson and California’s evangelical Ricky Warren (minister of America’s 8th-largest church—the Saddleback Church in California) were donating church funds to anti-gay politicians in Africa. In fact, an entire Christian- and Mormon-backed movement is underfoot to politically alter the African social conscience as it relates to homosexuality.
This is not the first time an American religious leader has tried to throw gasoline on Africa’s already homophobic and anti-abortion fire. This year, American Evangelical Lou Engle was charged in a Massachusetts civil trial for fueling Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. Missionary Engle amped up Ugandan converts with his anti-abortion, anti-gay and anti-witchcraft (yes, witchcraft) rhetoric. Engle warned Ugandans that the homosexual rights agenda had sent America—and the Western world as a whole—on an unswerving path to economic and social destruction, and if Africa did not criminalize homosexuality, it was next.
These U.S. “ambassadors” are not only spreading the word of Jesus, they are doing it in the name of America, which is a dangerous and, let’s face it, creepy, postcolonial move.
America’s religious right has realized that North America is tapped for converts. But Africa, a place where you can still kill gays just for breathing, is ripe for the picking/proselytizing. The result? A “Salvation Army” that has crossed the border fully armed with Bibles, cash and political motive.
This is not simply Bible thumping. This is death by Bible.
This mixed message cannot be easy for Africa’s leaders and citizens. Just this past month, the U.S. military announced that it may disarm Uganda’s military (i.e. – take back our guns) if it does not decriminalize homosexuality. The United Kingdom has also threatened African countries that if gay rights are not protected, it will cut off foreign aid.
In essence, the American government (an entity that I cannot imagine is very popular in Africa) has asked African nations to stop killing the gays, while America’s evangelical leaders have asked them to legalize those killings. Money is at stake in both options, but with the latter option, you get rid of the gays AND you are awarded cash.
Which do you think Africa will pick? On the one hand, they will get international military and human aid. On the other: salvation.
We, as Americans, have a responsibility to keep people like Lou Engle and Pat Robertson from spreading their Western-style hate to Africa’s most fragile homophobic nations. An American-based LGBT rights movement is present and active throughout Africa, but without the same level of financial support as the Christian- and Mormon-based missionary movement, the LGBT activists are like Daniel in the lion’s den.
So let’s give Daniel a bit more firepower. Donate cash to the African LGBT rights organizations, write to your state representative, spread the word via social media platforms, and share this blog.
Or, the lion kills Daniel, and an untold number of African victims.