The Ugandan president recently signed into law a bill passed by parliament that criminalizes homosexuality and imposes harsh penalties on homosexuals. This action was strongly urged by some American evangelicals who have taken their anti-gay hate message global, looking for countries that might be open to their message given that the people back home are increasingly rejecting it.
But there has been a strong backlash against American evangelicals for what happened in Uganda and now they are trying to say that they have no responsibility for it.
Media reports have connected the bill to a 2009 conference in Uganda, at which three Americans condemned homosexual behavior and promoted therapy for same-sex attraction. One of the men, Scott Lively, a Massachusetts pastor and head of Abiding Truth Ministries, said that he is not responsible for the bill.
“It’s a very insulting argument, that somehow an American evangelical pastor is so powerful that I’ve overwhelmed the intelligence of an entire government and turned them out to do my will, “Lively said. “The Ugandans knew what they wanted to hear.”
[Grove City College professor of psychology Warren Throckmorton] said he would have expected a more vigorous response from evangelicals who have a stake in Uganda.
“Evangelicals have missionaries there, televangelists have shows on TV there. There is a substantial American Christian presence there,” Throckmorton said. “From the Ugandans’ point of view, the bill was passed as a way to make Uganda a more Christian nation; evangelicals could’ve been more vocal by saying, ‘This is not how it’s done.’”
It should be a source of great shame to American evangelicals that their message of Christianity is such that the Ugandans who supported this awful bill thought they were becoming a more Christian nation by doing so.
If American evangelicals like Lively knew what the Ugandans wanted to hear, and believed that what they wanted to hear was wrong, then they should have clearly said so, and not allowed them to interpret their words that way.