As news reaches us of the newspaper article published in Rolling Stone (a Ugandan paper not connected to the U.S. version) which commanded its readers to hang the ‘Top 100 Homosexuals’ in the African Nation and David Bahati’s announcement that he has been promised a second reading of the anti-homosexuality bill in Ugandan Parliament, attention has once again turned to the role of American Evangelicals in the formation of this bill and the fervent anti-homosexuality sentiment found across Uganda.
When news first reached American ears a year ago about the bill that would make homosexuality illegal and punishable by death, the initial outrage was followed by an investigation into the relationship between prominent American Evangelicals and Ugandan leaders by American news sources. At the beginning of this inquiry, the American media focused upon a conference held in Uganda in March 2009 that addressed, as the Ugandan organizer put it,’"the gay agenda – that whole hidden and dark agenda" – and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family’ according to this article by the New York Times that was published in January 2010. Many identified this conference as the beginning of the violent anti-gay feeling prevalent across the country. This video clip by ABC news explains the connection further:
However, later reports found that the relationship between anti-homosexual Ugandan leaders and American Evangelicals began long before the March 2009 conference that featured three Evangelical leaders: Scott Lively, the president of Defend the Family, Caleb Lee Brundridge, and Don Schmierer, a member of Exodus International. According to the New York Times, all of three of the Evangelicals are ‘horrified’ that the bill is seen to be a result of the conference. Rick Warren, who was once friends with David Bahati during Bahati’s time spent in the U.S. and compared homosexuality to pedophelia during a visit to Uganda in 2008, is now distancing himself from both Bahati and the bill. Bahati has also had close relationships with Senator John Ensign (R-NV), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK). Inhofe has traveled to Uganda to teach the people there how to “manage their lives according to Jesus”. He visits Africa about twice a year. Ensign and McConnell introduced Bahati to Evangelicals during Bahati’s time in the U.S., and Bahati reportedly counted on their support of the bill. Ensign released the video below with comments about the bill.