Gug, my gay Ugandan friend, has been engaged in an email correspondence with the Rt Honourable Benson Obua Ogwal. (UPC), Member of Parliament for Moroto (pictured right). This morning, he decided to make some parts of the conversation public, posting them on his blog: http://gayuganda.blogspot.com/2009/12/conversation-with-ugandan-legislator.html
The gloves have to be off, says gug, and as readers of this blog will know, I agree with him. The Uganda Bill and the reactions to it from different national leaders, Primates and bishops and Christian organizations reveal fault lines that show what we LGBT Christians and others are confronted with. Gay Ugandan lives are in the balance as a result of the Bill. The ability of Anglicans to honour the sanctity of all life and the teaching of our Communion about LGBT people is also in the balance.
Gug became concerned to ensure that the reaction of the rest of the world was made known to Ugandan legislators, so he started sending a few of them emails with the Rick Warren letter, the Rachel Maddow links, and the update on the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Vatican, etc.
The correspondence reveals gug’s increasing courage in confronting the MP and the MP’s growing frustration and intolerance. He arrives at the conclusion that the whole world must be wrong about homosexuality and Uganda alone is right. Gud reminds us that is his life and the lives of LGBT Ugandans which are ultimately in the balance.
In reply to gug’s first email, MP Benson replied:
Dear Anonymous Gay,
And you think this will deter us?
There are a very few aspects of the Bill that we can concede on like the Death Penalty and Extra-territorial Jurisdiction, but Gays won’t have a field day in this country, try as they would. It is not about any of those Anti-Gay activists being attacked in the media. It is about Uganda. If only Gays could do it behind closed doors and not try to lure the innocent poor youth, it would be a different matter. But they are becoming bolder and bolder.
MP Benson’s next email picked up on gug’s self-reference:
Hey Gay Pervert,
How about this one coming from all religious leaders across board right here at home?
We love gays, but hate homosexuality which has no place here.
Forget about the Bill being withdrawn, for it will be passed in due time.
Here is gug’s reply:
Hi Honourable MP,
Yes, I have noted the pejorative term you have used.
Personally, I think it shows some very fine defects in your intellect. But, I cannot say so. I am the pervert, arent I? You, sir, and all the ones you have copied this letter, are shaming my beautiful country. Yes, I am gay and Ugandan. And, you are shaming my country, before the whole world.
Rick Warren has denied Ssempa, and come out against the Bill. So will the rest of the world. The Catholic Church is going to come out against the bill. And, you will continue calling me a pervert, dear honourable MP. Dont think it takes much intelligence to work out who will be the dishonourable person and who will not.
Thanks for your nice comments, dear esteemed honourable.
There followed a long period while the Rt Honorable gentleman was silent. He was eventually apparently irked by gug’s reference to himself as the gay pervert. It irks, gug wrote, when one embraces the spear instead of shying away from it, doesn’t it?
In his next email the MP responded as follows:
It is not me who calls gays perverts. It is the Bible, and I believe in the Bible. Gays and lesbians are perverts. And I cannot call you “Gay Uganda” because Uganda is not gay. What is your real name?
The religious groups in Uganda who met at Entebbe under the aegis of Inter Religious Council of Uganda and endorsed the Bill were represented at the top-most levels in person: the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church, the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala who is head of the Catholics in Uganda, the Mufti who heads Muslims of Uganda, the head of the Seventh Day Adventists and the President of the Born Again Federation of Uganda.
Think about it.
My name is gay Uganda the pervert.
I happen not to be a Christian. It is a foreign religion. I don’t believe in it. Does that make me less a Ugandan?
Do you represent only Christians in your Constituency? So you confirm that the Catholic Archbishop was amongst the 200 church leaders and the Moslem leaders. Was the Cardinal there?
Tell me, Benson, do you really think there is nothing wrong with this bill of yours, the Bahati/Benson Bill? I am just curious. So many people from all over the world have condemned it that I am curious about your view. Do you think Uganda must be right and the world MUST be wrong?
The MP replied:
Why are panicky, Mr who? Why don’t you wait and see what MPs are going to do with this Bill as representatives of their people? These protracted and winding arguments are not going to be very helpful because they are simply convoluted.
Has it ever occurred to you that the whole world could be wrong and only Uganda right on this gay thing? Why must we see things through the lenses of the WORLD that might be totally lost? Does it not bother you that it is evil, wrong and dirty to use an organ meant for egesting (ejecting?) something dirty? Give me a break!!
I represent all in Moroto, but will be disappointed to find that there is a gay there. My people are very happy with my stand on the Bill.
I do not know the difference between the Cardinal and the Archbishop, but I know His Eminence the Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala retired recently and was replaced by Bishop Kizito Lwanga. I am inclined to think the latter was there.
I know what you want to say, but spare yourself the trouble; The Vatican may have a position that is different as you are trying to say, but this is Uganda.
I think this debate is up. It is taking me nowhere!! There is nothing new coming here. It is beginning to irritate me that you keep flooding my inbox with your mails. Remove me from your mailing list.
Gug posts his last reply but doesn’t expect to hear from the MP for some time:
So, there are no gay people in Karamoja? I dont really know how to reply to that. The best answer would be that I am from there. But, you will not believe a gay Ugandan pervert, will you?
Why panicky? The MPs in my country have tabled a bill in which I and any other Ugandan who is like me is to be imprisoned or killed. Because we are different.
You know, I have too much evidence and knowledge that Uganda is in the wrong here. That is why I am asking you for your take on it. So, you do think that Uganda is right and the world is wrong?
I see life through my own eyes. I happen to be too independent not to question what people like Mr Langa tell me. I question, I listen, I look, I observe. I come to conclusions. For example, I am not a Catholic. But I know the difference between the Archbishop and the Cardinal.
Benson, I am a Ugandan. The law of the spear prevails. You have one to my throat. My life. That is the option you give me with a Bill which gives me life in prison or death. For you it might be an academic thing. For me, well, it is not, Mr Member of Parliament.
Which reminds me that you are supposed to represent all Ugandans who are in your Moroto district. Not only those who are in UPC, or those who are saved, or Christian. That is our right as Ugandans. And we are Ugandans.
So, the shame, Mr Member of Parliament, is squarely in your corner.
gay Uganda the Pervert
Gug acknowledges that he is provoking the lion in his den, but that even a mouse can fight when it is the mouse’s life in balance. He asks for prayers for this mouse…
Would that western Christian leaders (and Ugandan Christian leaders) had the courage to oppose the bill in the name of the humanity and love of Jesus Christ and free from the ignorance and prejudice which is claimed as a Christian ideal by Global South leaders, fuelled by their western schismatic allies.