Write your local MP: No more Canadian aid for Uganda while they’re murdering gays

Update: Please read Melanie Nathan’s caution on what should and shouldn’t be done to fight this initiative — she strongly urges that countries not withdraw aid because of this bill, because the LGBTI community will be scapegoated and targeted as a result.

I leave the rest of this post intact because I am concerned that they are already in trouble — every activist in Uganda risks being arrested as it stands, with or without economic sanctions from countries opposed to Uganda’s declared murderous intentions. Her advice is excellent for outsiders like us looking in, though.

Uganda’s apparently delivered an early “Christmas gift” — their words, not mine– to all the homophobic Christians in their theocratic regime. Thanks to GOP members, Catholic pastors, and other outside interference by various and sundry religious bigots, Uganda’s finally built enough momentum and passed the two-year-old proposed bill that will require the death penalty for the high crime of “aggravated homosexuality”. Update: Apparently Kadaga declaring that it will become law doesn’t make it set in stone. There’s a chance this won’t be passed despite her sabre-rattling.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the anti-gay bill will become law by December since most Ugandans ‘are demanding it’.

Referring to the law as a ‘Christmas gift’ to the population, she spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals.

The law will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.

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Gates Foundation attempts to end the anti-birth-control debate in one video

Well, the whole idea of female autonomy and saving women’s lives rather than forcing them into forming babbys that they don’t necessarily want or can’t necessarily take care of is great for those of us who honestly care about humanitarian efforts. Those of us who’d prefer that these unexpected children go on to become uneducated religious zealots thanks to the evisceration of the education system, however, might not actually see the value in the humanitarian argument.

I have to say this to get it out of the way though, as part of my nerd contract: I still think Windows sucks. Glad you’re doing something quite useful with your money, Bill. It’s only my preexisting prejudices that incline me to credit Melinda instead.

Amnesty International’s anti-torture video

Busy, full day, and I’m still down with the sickness otherwise. I just thought this video was important enough that you should watch it, so I’ll throw it up here with little extra to say about it. This video is an attempt to give you some idea what it’s like to be black-bagged and disappeared from your home, then tortured by the government.

You might not want to watch this if you have an overactive sense of empathy or if you’ve endured torture yourself.

The take-away message?

Nothing merits this. It wins us nothing. No friends, no reliable information, not even simple revenge.

How could anyone justify actions like these taken against another human being, no matter how horrible that human being is?

Supporters fail miserably at defending “gay concentration camps” pastor

Memo to Pastor Worley supporters: prepare to answer tough questions like “do gays really deserve to be put in concentration camps” when you go on a show like Anderson Cooper.

I honestly don’t have a ton of respect for AC’s interview style most times, but I felt a real pang of empathy when he put his chin on his hand halfway through this. He was giving this lady the easiest questions imaginable and she was completely failing to address them. She wasn’t even trying, it seemed. What’s worse is, AC was obviously intentionally going easy on her, ratcheting DOWN the questions as she seemed progressively incapable of answering them, handling her first with kid gloves then padding them in Nerf foam.

I’m curious. Does anyone know of any anti-gay bigotry that ISN’T inspired by rampant and ridiculous levels of religiosity?

Argentina enacts most progressive transgender laws ever! Bravo!

Via the New York Times:

Argentina has put in place some of the most liberal rules on changing gender in the world, allowing people to alter their gender on official documents without first having to receive a psychiatric diagnosis or surgery.

The measure, which won unanimous support in the Senate this month, would also require public and private medical practitioners to provide free hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery for those who want it — including those under the age of 18.

This is seriously the most progressive legal take on transgender rights in the world, and will save countless people untold emotional hardship in trying to make their physical sex comport with their gender identity.

Next steps: defend this foothold for human rights, and export this set of laws to the rest of the world. Can we do it?

David Barton: punish homosexuality, “I don’t care what the Supreme Court says”

I know Chris Rodda is probably going to cover this eventually, because, I mean, look at the target. But since I’m doing an ongoing series of Youtube clips of religiously-motivated anti-gay bigotry that’s come scuttling out from the dark recesses of the public dialog on whether homosexuals are human beings with rights, I figure I might as well add this here.

So, theocracy then, is it? The Rule of the Bible vs. the rule of law? You do realize that that’s Sharia, only, you know, using a different book, right?

Hat tip Right Wing Watch.org.

Another self-Godwin: Baptist pastor for queer concentration camps!

My focus has been on gay rights lately primarily because the Western world’s focus has been on gays. While Obama’s stand was hardly a stand at all, triangulating and capitulatory to states rights (and thus individual states’ rights to violate human rights) as it was, I happen to think this shift in national focus is one of the good things about his announcement. Getting us talking about gay rights again is the surest way to make change, to get people to recognize gay rights as human rights, especially with waxing public support for gay marriage.

Except it also seems to be bringing all the asshats out of the woodwork with their religiously-motivated bigotry. And this guy, Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina, gets a gold star.

While one pastor calls gay rights akin to Hitler, another is perfectly willing to unabashedly suggest making gay concentration camps. How completely rational. Every value you exhort in this video, I’m aginn’ it, and you personally make me pukin’ sick. You and your three or four “amen” sycophants.

Hat tip to, well, everyone bringing this video up pretty well everywhere.

Why my initial thoughts on the Obama gay marriage announcement are wrong

Yesterday, Barack Obama declared that his position on gay marriage has evolved, and where once he thought civil unions were sufficient, he’s decided, rightly, that they are not, and has made possibly the clearest and most supportive statement on the matter that any president has ever made.

Critics have contended that civil unions are another way of saying “separate but equal”, only, you know, without the “equal” part. It is effectively a form of soft bigotry to say that one type of life partner contract is allowed to be called “marriage” while this other type is not, for reasons completely unfathomable to anyone but the theists who draw the line in the sand at their personal definition of marriage — a relationship sanctified by a member of their clergy and thus accepted in the eyes of God. There are, of course, legal ramifications as well, but people seem to care more about their precious words.

And while many individual members of many religious organizations would have no problem with declaring that their God has no problem with gays getting married, others obviously find it some sort abomination, owing to their particular readings of the religious traditions they hold dear. The parallels with the religiously-motivated opposition to interracial marriage are obvious and palpable. With good reason — the situations are practically identical.

Despite this good news, my initial reaction — and I suspect many of your initial reactions as well — were deeply cynical.
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