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Ugandan Diaspora News | Letter from the Editor | March 2014 | The Homosexuality Debate, Past, Present & Future Trends

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Posted March 1, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Editorial ~ 4,679 views

     

Dear Readers,

Greetings from the cold Northern hemisphere,

This month, in a break with tradition, we shall be devoting our editorial to the subject of homosexuality which has been the cause of great debate and has sharply divided many. For our readers we are going to try and portray the subject in a neutral manner to allow you to consider the facts.

For starters, society attitudes toward same sex-relations have varied over the years. In early biblical times or according to the law of the Torah you may recall that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed and Lot and his family were spared in part because of the homosexual lifestyle that cast a shadow on these cities. In many of the Abrahamic religions, homosexuality/sodomy was a divine transgression under the law and predates Christian beliefs. In the Old Testament scriptures like Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 describe these abominations and how they were punishable by death.

In the Quran too – the Moslem faith also speaks out against such abominations punishable under the Islamic law.

In many African societies this lifestyle is abhorred and in most cases treated as a taboo. Though criminalized by many of our former colonial masters, homosexual practices started gaining acceptance as more nations embraced western lifestyles. Although the debate still continues sodomy is banned by some European countries, in the US the debate is now back as some legalization and protection of this lifestyle has been attained and made a right while to others it is deviant behavior that is learned and can therefore be unlearned.

The debate has also had an effect on organized religion. In 2008 the Anglican Church split following the decisions made at the Lambeth Conference which sanctioned the appointment of gay priests. The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage and the social acceptance of homosexuality, though it advocates for respect of homosexuals while emphasizing protection of traditional marriage as an institution.

How does science view this subject?–vice or lifestyle, depending on your outlook. A few years ago sexual orientation was referred to as sexual preference. Preference is something chosen while orientation is merely what defines us, according to researchers. Therefore the gay and pro-gay promoters have indicated that the lifestyle is also a result of genetics. But their science fails to explain the aspect that they cannot procreate or multiply their numbers. Which, of course leads some to wonder how this lifestyle is sustained or learned. Are homosexuals born or made? That is the debate I will leave to you the reader but I will also add that I am against the recruitment of young boys, by those with deep pockets — something that is an element of concern to many in Uganda.

The evangelical movement too has not been spared of homosexual related scandals —  in 2006 the head of the National Association of Evangelicals in the USA then (2003-2006) -Pastor Ted Haggard who founded, the Life Giving Churches based out of Colorado was also accused and admitted to allegations that he paid a male escort for sex. This was one of biggest scandals to hit the evangelical church in the US. Other hugely televised scandals involved catholic priests accused of abusing and molesting minors within the Catholic church.

Having lived in the West now for over 12 years, the one thing I applaud are the systems in place to protect the rights and civil liberties of people here. However in many of these nations, including the US, the issue of homosexuality is still debated and the law is not uniform from state to state. Some states, for example, do not recognize same-sex marriages while others like Arizona have strict anti-gay laws in place. This is present-day America. In France, same-sex marriages were illegal under the law until the past year. In Singapore, India and Russia this lifestyle is also criminal under their judicial system. I cannot help but wonder why Uganda has come under so much fire when in Nigeria, Malawi, and many African countries this lifestyle is also abhorred. Instead of respecting Uganda’s position, millions of dollars in foreign aid accounting for about 20% our national budget from the World Bank, Europe and the US is either being withheld, diverted to NGOs away from government or under complete reconsideration. The new law in Uganda has already divided Ugandans, as some televised debates between strong proponents on the issue have shown. One of the thornier parts of the new law is the duty to report homosexual activity to the authorities.

And how can we ignore the power of the gay lobby. Someone once said if you control the media you control the conversation. The list of professional media personalities that have “come out” on liberal-leaning networks is growing– Anderson Cooper (CNN), himself a Vanderbilt, Rachel Maddow and Melissa on MSCNBC, Robyn Williams on ABC are among the top TV personalities in the US. On the other hand Hollywood films have also portrayed gay relationships in a sympathetic light – Brokeback Mountain went on to be nominated for an Oscar, Hollywood’s highest honor. American daytime TV hosts Ellen DeGeneres and Queen Latifah, singers Elton John and George Michael are some of the well known artists that are openly gay and use their celebrity status to further this lifestyle on television and in their music. Finally, we have professional athletes that are now coming out of the closet, another reminder that the world we live in has perhaps been changed forever.

In conclusion, where do we go from here?– let’s all agree to disagree and remain civil. I don’t hate gay people as long as they don’t infringe on my civil liberties or invade my space with their lifestyle. God says pray for the sinner and hate the sin. Newspaper articles that expose or present lists of gays as we have seen happen in some cases in Uganda must not be encouraged. In my view, this only promotes hatred, stereotypes and increases homophobia.

Today science and education can make us accept and assimilate all types beliefs and cultures. Just because it is okay to eat dog and monkey meat in China does not mean we should be forced to embrace the same. I notice that people are so afraid to comment on the gay question” that those who disagree with the lifestyles are now afraid to speak out because they might be fired, accused of discrimination or looked at as being backward since this lifestyle is now socially acceptable.

Therefore we say to President Obama what is good for goose might not be good for the gander. Uganda instituted a law to protect the vulnerable members of our population –they will not support a gay lifestyle or the recruitment of their children by those advancing gay rights — a growing trend in Uganda. Let’s respect that decision knowing that many other African countries(and 78 countries worldwide) have some laws in place banning or limiting the spread of homosexual practices. Just as we can never impose our views on Americans, they should also respect our sovereignty and desist from blackmailing Uganda (yet during apartheid era they looked the other a way when our people’s human rights were violated for years!).

Turning off aid to sectors and would be recipients that badly need it to prove a point sends the wrong signals. Granted that the law could use some amendments. Uganda and her Citizens should be left to legislate and determine their destiny as a nation. My prediction is that this development will hurt our Tourism sector since Uganda has been trending negatively on the international newswires, politically don’t be surprised if Uganda’s 2016 election is determined in-part by this recent law!

For someone who is now a resident of the US – there are things I will never agree with, but as they say, if it is the law of the land you abide by the laws.We should learn to respectfully disagree and avoid imposing our will or subservient behavior on others, for coercion only begets hatred and is the reason why the wounds of slavery, apartheid, imperialism and colonialism still linger on today! My only concluding question to this debate would be — What would Jesus do???

For God and My Country!

Ronnie Mayanja
Ugandan Diaspora News | www.ugandandiasporanews.com |
Ugandan Diaspora Network | Event website | www.ugandandiaspora.com |
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Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja |


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

7 Comments


  1.  
    David

    You almost sound like a PERSON.

    ALMOST.

    The first Ugandan response that doesn’t sound like a heartless Nazi.

    I didn’t know much about this country until this bill was passed, and the more I learn about Uganda, the more repulsed and horrified I am. I don’t really even know how to respond to the seismic levels of hate and rage and cruelty and bigotry and ignorance. It is beyond anything I’ve seen — save for fascist regimes, Stalin and the Nazis and so on.

    I wish everyone in Uganda peace and I hope your nation can come to terms with its own ugliness… because the more suffering you inflict, the more you suffer.




    •  
      RUTANIAHANSI

      I thought this gentleman started a dialogue and to me it sounded accommodating to whoever you’re, but your tone here sounds horrible; I mean, what is it that you’re terming “ugliness”?? Uganda is a small country tens of thousand miles faraway from all the western countries, and it’s society is deciding that they’re not ready to embrace this lifestyle; however, they’re not insulting you who feel like it is so deserving, and moreover the standard of living in Uganda is no where to be compared to that of USA or any other country in Europe. For instance, there isn’t any reasonable healthcare system in Uganda, it is so bad that even when the President and his family, Government officials and members of parliament and those who feel that they’re well moneyed, seek for their treatment from Kenya, India, England, United States, China, Singapore, you name it…. we always hear some of them die when God says “that is enough” in any of the hospitals in those Countries!! We all know that this kind of lifestyle which is so dear to the western society comes with so many complications to human life most of us can’t fathom what it is you people are craving for from that kind of lifestyle!! For so many years we’ve been hearing it aired that in USA, HIV started from Blacks and Hispanics because so many of them are Homosexuals and drug addicts, somehow meaning that many tend to share syringes while infusing drugs into their veins; now, how is that any good to any body?!! You people, carry on with your thing but leave us alone.




  2.  
    Francis Ezeu Okiror

    Dear Editor,

    Thank you for trying to bring some calm to the debate. There are many differing opinions regarding the the Uganda anti-homosexuality law. I applaud your attempt to illuminate this.

    However, I do not think you succeeded entirely in your endeavor to “portray the subject in a neutral manner”. The debate is not simply between anti-gays, gays and gay promoters. One does not necessarily have to be a pro-gay promoter to be an opponent of the law.

    I for one have no interest in gay issues, yet i staunchly disagree with the law. I believe that government should, as much as possible, stay away from legislating on issues of peoples private matters, especially when such legislation is almost impossible to police – and could be used against people for ulterior motives.

    I have no interest in promoting homosexuality, but I feel strongly about the human rights of all individuals, including homosexuals. This law prohibits me, and threaten me with legal action and punishment for merely voicing my opinion against harsh treatment of homosexuals.

    So now that the law is in place, how will it be policed? Will there be peeing Toms peering through peoples windows to see if people are practicing gay sex? Many Ugandans support this law, but they fail to understand that its the thin edge of the wedge regarding our civil rights in general.

    Yours sincerely
    Francis Ezeu Okiror




  3.  
    Francis Ezeu Okiror

    Sorry for typo: peeping, not peeing Toms.




  4.  
    Kato Kajubi

    Mr. Mayanja thanks for sharing your opinions regarding this matter. While it is understandable for Ugandans to be concerned and angry with America and the rest of the world for trying to impose their will on Uganda regarding this law, surely this displeasure should not be the reason for passing the law. This debate should be about determining the merits of the law and whether or not the law is good for Uganda. Does the law violate the constitution of Uganda in as far as individual liberties are concerned? Secondly is the law enforceable and given the history of Uganda can the citizens of Uganda expect the government to enforce the law indiscriminately? What is the position of the Attorney General of Uganda as it relates to this law? Does the law grant General Edward Kalekezi Kayihura and his Black Mamba the authority to make raids in the dead of night if they suspect homosexual activity is going on? I am inclined to think there will be many arrested under the guise of this law who will not be homosexuals (one man’s opinion).

    Talk about protecting vulnerable populations. In general the primary reason for having a constitution is not to protect the rights of the majority or those in power but to protect the rights of minority and vulnerable populations. I for one think the most vulnerable population we have in any society is the individual and that is why most constitutions of the free world place emphasis on protecting individual rights. The rights of the majority can only be guaranteed if individual rights are guaranteed. In order to maintain the civility needed for individuals to live freely in a society, individuals have to think and live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom and rights of other individuals, including the rights of those you disagree with morally, religiously, politically, sexually or otherwise. This law has far reaching implications pertaining to violating this basic principle which is supposed to be guaranteed under the constitution of Uganda. If the reason for passing this law is to protect a vulnerable population, I thought Uganda already had laws pertaining to sexual abuse and I imagine these laws apply to violations that are both heterosexual and homosexual (equal protection under the law). Why then single out homosexual acts?

    Many people quote moral or religious reasons for why the law is needed. Well one of the ways civility, morality and compassion are judged in society is to look at the ways society treats those in the minority or those who are most vulnerable. In my opinion individuals who steal (such as corrupt government officials) or those who commit heinous crimes such as murder and rape are infringing on the rights of their victims and therefore deserve to be punished for the crimes they commit. This begs the question. Are consenting adults practicing homosexuality in the privacy of their homes infringing on the rights of anybody else? Many individuals may not agree with homosexuality (for moral or religious reasons and that is within their right) but is it morally okay to make criminals out of individuals who are otherwise not infringing on the rights of anyone else?

    There are those who say it is okay to have such laws because many other countries have similar laws. If we were to compare countries that have such laws to those countries that don’t, it is likely citizens who live in countries that allow such freedoms probably enjoy more freedoms than the citizens who live in countries that ban such freedoms. This is not by accident. This is probably because countries that allow such freedoms are also more likely to allow a lot more other individual freedoms.

    All this should be food for thought for all of us as the struggle for freedom and individual liberties continues on in Uganda. I for one think Uganda would be better served in the long run if Uganda focused on establishing or reinforcing laws that better protect individuals from rape, sexual abuse (especially of children) and sexual discrimination rather than focusing on homosexuality per se. The debate of whether or not homosexuality is immoral or sinful should be left up to individuals and their God.

    A Luta Continua!!




    •  
      Sahmu

      Kato Kajubi, what you may not know is that in Uganda, almost all gay people were recruited as young children using money. I was once gay and that is how I was introduced into the practice. When I left school, i left the filhy practice completely and never turned back. I know most of the gays and I know what sustains them into the practice…money. If there is any poor person born gay in Uganda, please show him/her to me. This is a practice that is imposed on our children. No white person can love our children more than we do. Please, let the West give us a break!!!!!! No amount of words will make us budge…Until we prove that the law is not working. Othwerwise, you will shout your voices hoarse.





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