Bob Emrich and Uganda

Uganda has been well established as a good place for bigots to visit. In October of 2009 it introduced an Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would have made being gay punishable by life in prison or even death. This was on top of the already strong anti-gay laws in Uganda, one of which already made homosexuality punishable by 14 years in prison.

Several Evangelical Christians visited Uganda at this time, some of them specifically being involved in encouraging the bill. Bob Emrich, a pastor and one of the sexually immature leaders of the anti-equality movement in Maine last year, was in Uganda for two weeks just after the bill was introduced. He sent an email to his faith-heads in which he expressed support for a Ugandan article which said this:

This whole concept of human rights grates my nerves. It has made people un-african, mean and self-centered.

One can now shamelessly stand up and tell you: “I do as I please. You have no business in my affairs.” A sodomist can now swear to you that what they do in the privacy of their bedroom does not concern the public.

No wonder when a brilliant MP comes up with a Bill against homosexuality, the human rights activists baptize him an enemy of the people.

It is high time politicians, religious leaders, cultural leaders and all concerned Africans woke up and defended the African heritage against the moral confusion of Western civilization. This civilization is eroding African moral pride.

The so-called human rights activists have hijacked the driver’s seat and are sending nations into the sea of permissiveness in which the Western world has already drowned.

Emrich later said he was against life imprisonment and the death penalty for gays, but he had also already noted what “a refreshing change of pace” it was to be in Uganda. Uganda – a country known for its imprisonment of gays, something which was being discussed in an article Emrich was quoting and lauding.

Fast forward and now someone has called Emrich out on his bigotry.

It’s time to remind people about Emrich. In the fall of 2009, Emrich spent several weeks in Uganda working alongside anti-gay activists.

Presumably at that time, Emrich thought it was a good idea to remind people in Uganda about the evils of gay people.

Since gay marriage in Uganda was nowhere in sight, the activists’ motivation was to marginalize gays in general.

In October 2009, amidst the anti-gay activity in Uganda, a bill was introduced in the Ugandan Legislature that criminalized gay activity in Uganda, including the death penalty for a number of gay “crimes.”

It might seem hard to believe that Emrich would approve of the death penalty for gays, but shortly after his return to Maine, he sent an e-mail to his supporters about his trip.

Emrich’s e-mail included text from an article published in Uganda that condemns gays and their supporters and lauds the “brilliant” person who introduced the anti-gay bill.

Concerning the article, Emrich says “I think it speaks for itself.”

He was conspicuously silent about the death component of the Ugandan bill.

There’s some wiggly truth in this. First, Emrich claims to have been there to help build schools, train pastors, feed children, and conduct medical clinics, not working alongside anti-gay activists. But who isn’t an anti-gay activist in Uganda? I believe Emrich when he says he was not expressly working alongside any particular, organized political groups, but “expressly” is key. The building of schools and training of pastors fits is the method Emrich was choosing to indoctrinate children into a sea of ignorance, hate, and sexual immaturity. As he said, one of his favorite sentiments in Uganda was that “in order to have a healthy village, there must be a strong and healthy church”. This reflects the ideas of hate in the article Emrich loved so much which urged for a rejection of human rights in favor of maintaining small, heritage-based (read: anti-gay) villages in Africa. Emrich’s actions and subsequent email reflect what his whole mission was all about: he was trying to strengthen religion in a country which enthusiastically condemns gays, going so far as to praise an article which called that death penalty bill for gays “brilliant”.

But let’s hear from Emrich himself.

As for Uganda, the people still need help. Thousands live in remote villages, without access to clean water, sufficient food and medical care. Without transportation, electricity or newspapers, they have no time for political activism. They appreciate the help some Mainers have provided, and they are finding great hope and strength in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I skipped the opening and body of his response since I’ve already summarized some of his contention, but this conclusion is indicative of the sort of sexually immature, bigoted person Bob Emrich is. He’s pretending like his concern is purely for the people of Uganda, but he belies his claim when he goes on to imply the need for political activism in Uganda. He knows exactly what an increase in a focus on social issues means for gays in Uganda. He may disown parts of the article he lauded before he got caught, but he has never said he disagrees with the criminalization of homosexuality. In fact, in another email (some people are just too old to handle this stuff, I think), he clarified his position by saying this:

Personally, I agree that these (acts of sexual consent between two people of the same sex) are serious and grievous offenses but I do not believe they should be punishable by death or life imprisonment. The homosexual activists and bloggers are claiming that Ugandan officials, with the endorsement of American Christian leaders, are calling for the execution of all homosexuals. They are not to be believed. But deception and confusion serves their purpose.

Actually, it’s true that Ugandan officials and some Christian leaders in America have called for the death penalty, but that’s besides the point. What I’m wondering is why Emrich is so unwilling to homosexuality should not be a crime. But then, just like with the article he loves so much, maybe human rights really grate his nerves.

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