Ugandans call for reason

Two op-eds in today’s The (Uganda) Independent call for reasoned thinking about homosexuality.

Conservatism blocking dynamic thinking in Africa:

[C]owardice is slowly killing African intellectualism and innovation. The mind that does not allow itself to analyse and be critical of its held beliefs because of prejudice, is likely to be limited on how far it can go in innovating solutions for complex problems our societies face.

Those drumming up hate propaganda against gays, base their arguments on religion and culture but fail to present to us any logical arguments, other than those rooted in religious dogma. Yet they fail to live up to Jesus’ teachings and actions which were always tolerant. Of course the other cheap argument is that homosexuality is un-African and a western lifestyle being promoted in Africa.

The strength of western civilisation has its roots in studying and analysing phenomena they did not comprehend and where they found it was in interest of their society to shift thinking even when it was unpopular and against their held beliefs. Good examples are giving women the right to vote, abolition of slavery and eventual abolition of racial discrimination in America where such practices directly contradicted the spirit and values of their constitution and capitalism as an economic mode of transacting business.

A particular problem with Ugandan society is its low levels of openness

Our challenge is how to foster openness and tolerance. This can only be achieved through open debate.

This is why although Bahati is subjectively homophobic, he is objectively an ally of gays. By introducing his bill with provisions to kill gays, he has inadvertently opened debate on a subject that has been taboo in Uganda. In the process, he has given gays and progressive intellectuals an opportunity and a platform to enlighten Ugandans about sexual diversity and expose the fallacies that inform homophobia.

As we debate Bahati’s bill, we will learn that the factors that shape human sexuality are complex and we should therefore not kill anyone because they are different. We should punish those who sexually molest children and those who rape – not because of their sexual orientation but because they violated some else’s rights while seeking sexual gratification.

At the same time, the author of this op-ed cautions that forcing openness will be counterproductive.

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  1. Helping people who are starving and aiding people who are sick (and paying attention and accounting for every cent spent) is not the same as sending blank checks to bigoted priests or archbishops…firstly, many of these less-than-honorable men are theives…it would be extremely selfdamaging to keep throwing money towards hate-mongers and death squads who just happen to also wear mitres and religious clothing.

    WE, meaning lots of individuals¨ must come together and NOT BE CLOSED ourselves! We must openly discuss our mission/s and our follow-up and our need for complete transparency!

    Dipping further down into the question of writing blank checks to corrupt governments with corrupt henchmen is different than continuing a ongoing, fully accountable, Stewardship.

    Blackmailing Christians won´t work either.

    Joint ventures must have leaders WE can trust…+Orombi won´t even take Communion with many of TEC Bishops and excommunicates those who REALLY do help LGBT Anglicans in Uganda (those in Holy Orders).

    Take your foot off my throat and those of my sisters and brothers and keep your hand out of my pocket and quit ¨poaching¨ on TEC properties that are NOT yours…then, we will ¨leave the light on and the door open¨ for you.

  2. Michael Russell

    We must all thank this commentators for their powerful and courageous words. It is worth reading their entire columns.

    Their understanding of the breadth of the issues at hand give us in the West an appreciation of the more thoughtful groups within African communities.

    They also give lie to the advice that seems to control the ++ABC that outsiders should not raise the issue publicly but work behind the scenes. By challenging these laws publicly we support those within Africa who also wish to stem the tide of irrational hate mongering and scapegoating.

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