Pray for Uganda

As you may already be aware, Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill, which makes even “touching another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality” an offense punishable by life in prison was recently signed into law. In case this has to be said—though, frankly, I think it should be rather obvious—you can hold to the Church’s sexual ethic and recognize that legislation that severely punishes a sexual minority for their transgressions of that ethic but imposes no such strictures on heterosexuals, especially heterosexual men, is inherently discriminatory and clearly violates the Catechism’s insistence that we must avoid “every sign of unjust discrimination” against gay people. Furthermore, the prevalence of so-called “corrective rape” in Uganda should banish any notion that the growing anti-gay sentiment in Uganda is actually about a commitment to any traditional Christian sexual ethic. Indeed, in 2008 the Vatican made a statement to the UN calling for “States to take necessary measures to put an end to all criminal penalties” against homosexuality.

Gabriel Blanchard has spoken far more eloquently on this topic than I can, so I will leave you with a portion from his recent blog post on the subject (which is worth reading in full):

This is not about justice or decency. If it ever even was, it’s not anymore. This, even according to the fairly rigorous definition I use, is pure homophobia. Homosexual conduct was already illegal in Uganda; even on the view (which I utterly reject) that sodomy laws are just, this wasn’t needed. And it isn’t only Uganda and Nigeria — this poisonous atmosphere lies over half the African continent and more. Only days ago, President Jammeh of Gambia referred to homosexuals as “vermin” and compared us to mosquitos carrying malaria. This is a targeted dehumanization of a tiny minority, who are being stripped of legal protection in a group of societies that already hate and despise them.

I implore anyone and everyone who reads this to stop and pray for Uganda: for the safety and, if necessary, escape of Ugandan lesbians and gays; and for repentance and conversion on the part of the people in general, especially their political leaders. For the moment — I hope not to leave it here permanently — I don’t specifically recommend anything further. This isn’t because I don’t want people to do any more than pray, but because I for one don’t know what the wisest course of action is. I’m too ignorant of politics in general and of Ugandan culture in particular to have an opinion on that. Opposition to these laws from western powers has been labeled as “colonialism” by some Ugandans, and it is hard to know what practical effects sanctions and so forth would have; it could easily devolve into even worse demonizing and scapegoating of LGBT people than is already happening.