An LGBTI activist friend has written an angry and frustrated commentary, published privately, on the reluctance of some gay advocates to demand action when it is needed.
On the day when the Ugandan President has signed the anti-gay bill into law, and a month after the Nigerian president signed the anti-gay marriage bill, I am acutely aware of the inadequate response of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the evil of both bills, supported by Anglican Primates and bishops in both countries. The support of African Primates is intolerable, in total opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Action should be taken against these Primates and bishops who so tragically falsify the gospel of love.
My friend didn’t want to publish his commentary out of concern that it might affect his work context. I have protected his anonymity and changed some details in editing his article. I fully endorse his comments about fear-mongering evangelicals and the evil homophobia they spread around the globe.
In England, the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidelines are shockingly inadequate, compromised by fear that Global South/GAFCON/FoCA bishops and Primates might be upset if the English bishops affirmed gay relationships and gay marriage. The African bishops need to be upset. They need to be told unequivocally that their attitude is evil and leads to the murder and abuse, physical and emotional, of innocent LGBTI people.
My activist friend wrote:
Some LGBTI advocates mean well, but when they are simply too cowardly to demand strident action when it is needed then, like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his letter from the Birmingham Jail, it is intolerable.
As MLK said, it is not EXTREME to condemn persecution. It is ESSENTIAL.
When challenges to the anti-sodomy law in a certain country were made, the usual cowardly voices in the leadership of the LGBTI community cautioned that this would trigger a backlash for which the gay community was unprepared. Instead of preparing their constituents for the tough days ahead, they sat in their air-conditioned offices and pontificated on how to continue dialoguing with the bigots.
Now the most hateful anti-gay legislation in Uganda’s history has been signed into law by a dictator hell-bent on using homosexuals as scapegoats so that he can be President for life. And what do these LGBTI “activists” urge? More “wait and see.” They urge against public condemnation of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. It is their nature to be scared, having grown up in a toxic anti-gay environment. BUT such fear is not what is needed now.
The approach to dictators like Museveni and his cronies has to be one of engagement FOLLOWED by decisive action.
1) There must be a humble acknowledgment by Western leaders that much of Africa’s homophobia was IMPOSED by their countries. These leaders should then dialogue AS EQUALS with their African counterparts about the havoc anti-gay laws wreaked on their countries and the tremendous benefits to their societies for repealing them. This dialogue is something the UN should organize as a matter of urgency.
2) The West MUST sanction their fear-mongering evangelicals who have and continue to spread homophobia across the globe. Such sanctions should include removing tax-free status from and freezing the assets of persons like Scott Lively and his newly formed global anti-gay coalition. Lively’s US based organization, like many others working to undo the recognition of human rights for LGBTI, is a recognized hate group. Therefore, it is disqualified from accessing any tax breaks. ALL leaders of these groups should also be denied the right to transit or visit any western country. For example, they usually transit Amsterdam on their way to spread their hate in Uganda. If a list is needed of whom to sanction, that would be easy enough to supply.
3) ALL homophobic leaders who persist in persecuting gays MUST have their travel privileges revoked and their foreign assets frozen.
4) All the frozen assets must be turned over to the LGBTI activists fighting homophobia on the ground.
5) Finally, all western countries who refuse to take decisive action against the spread of homophobia have a moral and ethical duty to allow all LGBTI refugees from the Global South who need and seek asylum to claim same in their embassies.
Unless bigoted dictators and preachers know that there are consequences for their actions, then absolutely nothing will improve for the life of LGBTI people around the world. To think or suggest otherwise is simply naive.