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.

Jack gets it wrong again

In another bigoted tirade, Jack Hudson has said some genuinely stupid things. Specifically, he talks about the recent Supreme Court ruling against a bigoted Christian group.

It is notable that certain Christian beliefs would be contrary to the tenets of a gay advocacy group as well, and for such a group to exclude Christians who didn’t agree with the purpose would be exactly the same. Just as avowed Republicans could be excluded from a student Democrat group, or an avowed capitalist from the Young Communist League. Diversity on campus derives not from forcing every group to admit members who oppose the primary purpose of a group, but from allowing all sorts of groups to advocate on behalf of their own beliefs and interests. Forcing a Jewish organization to accept Neo-Nazi’s or a feminist group to be taken over by men is not to enhance ‘diversity’ but to subdue the messages and purposes of those groups. In the same way the policy of Hasting’s Law College abrogates the fundamental rights of CLS to express and advocate on behalf of a particular point of view – which incidentally is exactly the precedent held by previous Supreme Court rulings like Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston and Boy Scouts of America v. Dale. Both these decisions affirmed the right to association and its importance in preserving our 1st amendment rights.

This is all about making fine distinctions, something Jack and most Christians are unable to do, so I understand why he would make the mistakes he does.

This recent ruling was based upon Hasting Law school’s policy of non-discrimination. That policy said every group must allow everyone to join up if it wants funding and other school-based benefits. Jack points out that this could result in the message of any group being subdued by a bunch of individuals hostile to a particular group’s message joining up. This is true, it could. But that isn’t relevant. The Supreme Court wasn’t ruling on the effectiveness of Hasting Law’s policy, but whether it was constitutional or not.

Jack next points out that the school’s policy prevents the Christian group from expressing its views. This is blatantly false. The group can express its views all it wants, wherever it wants, for however long it wants. It just can’t get funding.

Finally, Jack points to two cases where the Supreme Court held that groups could exclude members who held contrary views. Again, with the lack of distinctions. Both of those cases dealt with private organizations. This recent case deals with forcing a public school to offer special treatment to a religious group. In other words, the conclusion of the first two cases is that the KKK can exclude black people all it wants. The conclusion of this recent case is that bigoted groups are allowed to organize, but a public institution is under no obligation to offer it funding or other benefits. But then people like Jack probably like the idea of funding bigoted, racist, or otherwise discriminatory groups because LIBERTY! LIBERTY! LIBERTY!

Sorry, Mr. Jefferson

Sorry, Mr. Jefferson, it is now a terrible idea to go to school in Virginia.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says Virginia’s colleges and universities cannot prohibit discrimination against gays because the General Assembly has not authorized them to do so.

In a letter Thursday to the presidents, rectors and boards of visitors of Virginia public colleges, Cuccinelli said: the law and public policy of Virginia “prohibit a college or university from including ‘sexual orientation’, ‘gender identity’, ‘gender expression’ or like classification, as a protected class within its non-discrimination policy, absent specific authorization from the General Assembly.“

Most places of higher education have the reasonable policy of not allowing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It just isn’t relevant to the quality of work one can produce. And fortunately for much of the country, places of higher education do not include many in the general population who tend to be bigoted towards gays (i.e., old people who never needed to go to school to get decent jobs, the religious who are hostile toward secular education [such as facts], dumb people, etc). And some states even have laws banning discrimination based upon sexual orientation. In fact, despite my home state recently voting in favor of bigotry – and for no reason other than “ewwww!!!!” – there is a law on the books (after many tries) which bans sexual orientation discrimination in Maine. But this is New England, the place where fewer people tend to think their sexual orientation is superior to that of others.

Jon Blair, chief executive officer of Equality Virginia, criticized Cuccinelli’s opinion.

“Attorney General Cuccinelli clearly doesn’t understand that his radical actions are putting Virginia at risk of losing both top students and faculty, and discouraging prospective ones from coming here,“ he said.

That’s unfortunate for education in Virginia, but I hope it happens. Cuccinelli is another conservative out to ruin the liberty and rights of individuals for no good reason. Anyone considering school in Virginia should only do so once this issue is resolved in favor of equality.

Oh, and this.

In his first weeks as the state’s top lawyer, Cuccinelli has not tried to hide his conservative political philosophy.

He filed petitions seeking to block a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency that global warming poses a threat to people.

There’s some underlying horror that seems to cause certain people to go off the deep end, embrace crazy ideas, and reject all that is real.

We’re Christian…we should be allowed to hate!

A group of crazy ol’ Christians isn’t too fond of some hate laws protecting people who are victims of crime based upon sexual orientation.

Far from the intended purpose of severely punishing criminals who commit unspeakable acts against a persecuted minority group, the religious activists claim the laws are a guarded effort to “eradicate” their beliefs.

If only.

Claiming “there is no need” to extend hate crimes definitions, Thomas More chief counsel Richard Thompson attempted to minimize the impact of violent crimes against homosexuals.

“Of the 1.38 million violent crimes reported in the U.S. by the FBI in 2008, only 243 were considered as motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation,” he wrote on the group’s Web site. “The sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.”

Right. So long as it’s rare, it’s okay!

Of course, this is what the law actually says.

3) CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTIONS- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit any constitutionally protected speech, expressive conduct or activities (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), including the exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment and peaceful picketing or demonstration. The Constitution does not protect speech, conduct or activities consisting of planning for, conspiring to commit, or committing an act of violence.

(4) FREE EXPRESSION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs.

This remind me of the deceitful tactics of the bigots of Maine during the recent vote on same-sex marriage. Over and over again we were told kids would be taught all about that icky gay marriage in schools. In reality, there was nothing in the bill about education and besides that, no one is taught anything about marriage as it stands. (What is there to be taught in schools? Two people get together, go to City Hall, get hitched. End of lesson.)

This sort of general immorality is quite common among these radical (but really mainstream) Christian groups. Hell, there are a significant number of people, primarily immoral Christians (sorry for the redundancy), who want the ‘right’ to be able to fire gays in the workplace. Such bigotry might fly in a place like Uganda, but it should have no place in a secular nation like the U.S.

Second-class citizenry

Missouri Highway Patrol Cpl. Dennis Engelhard was hit by a vehicle that lost control in the snow on Christmas day. His partner will not see anything from the state.

Under the rules of the state pension system that covers the Missouri Highway Patrol and Department of Transportation workers, if a trooper dies in the line of duty, his or her spouse is eligible for lifetime survivor benefits.

The yearly benefit is equal to half of the officer’s average salary during the officer’s highest-paid three years as a trooper. For Engelhard, the benefit would have been $28,138 a year.

Engelhard’s partner, Kelly Glossip, was at the hospital when Engelhard was pronounced dead. He mourned with the other troopers – just as they would have mourned for their own wives. The difference is that Missouri condones bigotry, so Glossip will not see any of that pension.

“I’d take 100 Dennis Engelhards. He was an outstanding trooper,” said Capt. Ronald Johnson, head of the Highway Patrol troop that covers St. Louis and surrounding counties. “His lifestyle had no bearing on his career.”

Let’s make it simple

The gay marriage issue is not about sexual orientation. I’ve said it again and again. It is about sex. Here is the best explanation why.

  • Straight man + straight woman = marriage
  • Straight man + gay woman = marriage
  • Straight man + gay man = no marriage
  • Straight man + straight man = no marriage
  • Gay man + gay man = no marriage
  • Gay man + gay woman = marriage
  • Straight woman + straight woman = no marriage
  • Straight woman + gay woman = no marriage
  • Gay woman + gay woman = no marriage

In every instance where a man and woman are on one side of the equation, marriage is allowed in every state. In every instance where the same sex is on the same side of the equation, marriage is not allowed in every state. The clear conclusion is that sexual orientation is not at issue in the least – legally speaking. Currently, the government is willfully discriminating on the basis of sex. That is illegal. It needs to stop.

Let's make it simple

The gay marriage issue is not about sexual orientation. I’ve said it again and again. It is about sex. Here is the best explanation why.

  • Straight man + straight woman = marriage
  • Straight man + gay woman = marriage
  • Straight man + gay man = no marriage
  • Straight man + straight man = no marriage
  • Gay man + gay man = no marriage
  • Gay man + gay woman = marriage
  • Straight woman + straight woman = no marriage
  • Straight woman + gay woman = no marriage
  • Gay woman + gay woman = no marriage

In every instance where a man and woman are on one side of the equation, marriage is allowed in every state. In every instance where the same sex is on the same side of the equation, marriage is not allowed in every state. The clear conclusion is that sexual orientation is not at issue in the least – legally speaking. Currently, the government is willfully discriminating on the basis of sex. That is illegal. It needs to stop.

Gay Marriage

Let’s get one thing straight about gay marriage.

“It’s thrilling today,” Barbara Levine-Ritterman said. “We are all in one line for one form. Love is love, and the state recognizes it.”

That isn’t true. The state recognizes nothing about love. That isn’t its job. What the state of Connecticut does is recognize that two people who enter into a legal contract cannot be discriminated against based upon gender when gender is not relevant to said contract. Take a driver’s license. What is relevant is ability to drive. The state can discriminate against 10 year olds and those with DUI’s because they are unproven as safe drivers. It cannot discriminate against Asians or people named Bill. That isn’t relevant to the contract. Precisely equal, the state cannot discriminate against a contract which confers legal rights (i.e. a marriage contract) based upon something arbitrary such as gender. A secular marriage contract and the rights therein are not based upon genitalia or the ability which does or does not come with genitalia, complimentary or not. From a legal stand point, it is a very simply issue.

Anecdotal Evidence

One thing people often give undue weight is anecdotal evidence. This is usually the telling of a notable story or event. It is not necessarily representative of anything typical. In science, anecdotes may be good for developing a hypothesis, but absolutely nothing beyond that, I’m afraid. Say, for example, I’m looking at some stratum in the Appalachians and I notice in one area a large, distinctive band of coloration. This gives me some good reason to investigate a bit further. Perhaps my hypothesis can be that I have just discovered a new layer of sediment that marks a particular time period in geological history. But I don’t know anything at the time of discovery. The coloration may just be some Kool Aid a hiker spilled in the area, or maybe there is an interaction between bird droppings, tree sap, and acidic rain. I won’t know until I test this hypothesis rigorously. As it stands, my hypothesis has use in propelling me toward finding actual evidence, but it isn’t evidence itself.

This brings me to the blog of Michael Heath. He made a post on homosexuals being intolerant.

The “gay” issue is always portrayed in the media as one of tolerance. People don’t realize that the so-called “tolerance” goes only one way. I have never experienced true tolerance with homosexuals. The minute they realize that I am not going to budge on my morals they become insistent, mean, hard-hearted and sometimes vicious.

This may very well be true. But Heath has no idea if it is. He has no studies which demonstrate a correlation between homosexuality and a lack of cordiality. He has no statistical samples which prove out or lend credence to his claim. He may as well conclude a Kool Aid stain on Mount Katahdin links it to the blood of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

Heath continues.

There is no better example of this reality than this recent account from the streets of San Franciso. sic

He then links to an article which cites homosexual rights supporters outshouting a conservative news conference in front of the San Francisco city hall building. This is anecdotal support for an anecdote. It doesn’t help that Heath is accussing homosexuals of being hateful on the whole when it isn’t necessarily true that all the counter-protesters were gay.

It’s best to learn from the errors of Heath. Ignore your stance on homosexuality. That isn’t the point. Just don’t judge what might be a Kool Aid stain to be anything more until you have sufficient evidence.