2010 Dec 31

written by Sherri Joubert

This article is part 16 in a multi-part series about the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill of 2009, better known as the Ugandan kill-the-gays bill. It is still alive and on the Ugandan Parliament agenda for debate in early 2011.

The first 15 articles can be accessed at the following links:

This interview with David Bahati, the sponsor of this horrible legislation, is enlightening on a very deep level. Being able to discuss Mr. Bahati’s bill directly with him is an extremely rare opportunity, and provides a clear and frightening picture of what he is trying to accomplish in Uganda with the gay population there.


American history: foundational myths about being gay:

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“Gays can’t reproduce so they must recruit”, Anita Bryant. What a crock. Gays and lesbians are born that way, primarily to straight parents. We don’t know exactly why, but there are a few strongly-supported scientific theories being rigorously studied that may explain what we see in nature.

Ten percent (on average) of all animal species are homosexual, not just humans. Homosexuality exists consistently in nature and is a normal variant within populations.

The only differences between gay and straight people are gay people are attracted to and choose love partners from our own sex, and sex between us cannot result in procreation. We are exactly like everyone else otherwise. That is not to say gays and lesbians cannot procreate. Some have children from previous heterosexual marriages. We can also procreate with the assistance of modern reproductive technology.

Gays and lesbians can and do reproduce and/or parent adopted children just as well as straight parents. Children of gay and lesbian parents (biological or adopted) are generally straight.

Egg and sperm donors, and surrogate mothers allow gay and lesbian couples to have children biologically related to one or both partners. New technology allows a lesbian partner to provide sperm using her own stem cells, so it is now possible for a lesbian couple to both be biological parents of their children. It will become possible for gay male couples to both be biological parents of their children when stem cells can be used to produce ova, although they will require a surrogate mother and in vitro fertilization to carry and give birth to the children.

David Bahati Interview (part 1):

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David Bahati says, “I don’t hate gays, I love them”. But he’ll kill every one of them to protect Ugandan children. There are still 7 clauses in the bill that call for the death penalty. According to Mr. Bahati, telling children or teens that a man sleeping with a man is okay is tantamount to recruiting kids into being gay. They are supposedly enticed by bribes of money ($15 million U.S. in total).

He also believes that gays do not deserve human rights protections.

David Bahati Interview (part 2):

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Mr. Bahati doesn’t want to stop at keeping gays away from children. He wants all gay Ugandans punished, no matter where they are in the world. He wants gay Ugandans extradited back to Uganda to stand trial for homosexual behavior whenever it occurs outside of Uganda.

God’s Law and Homosexuality

Before we get to God’s Law, I want to make clear in my opinion that nothing in the Bible applies to sex in our modern world, or the relationships we form between consenting adults. I don’t believe the Bible or any other sacred text is the word of God. These texts may have been God-influenced, but they were written by humans.

In the times homosexual sex was brought up in the Bible, men had multiple wives and could also procreate with their wives’ servants or slaves. I don’t believe it is right to take any of these stories or laws out of context, or pick and choose which ones to obey and which to ignore. We ignore most of the laws in Leviticus today.

In the Bible, we first encounter possible homosexual sex starting in Genesis 9:18 in the story of Ham and his father, Noah. He was found drunk and naked by his son Ham, who tells his brothers their father’s condition. The other two brothers take a cloak and walk backward into Noah’s house and cover him without ever looking at him. Noah curses Ham for seeing him naked, which seems silly until you understand what the phrase “to uncover nakedness” really means. It’s a euphemism for sex. Thus, Ham must have had gay sex with his own father.

We encounter homosexual gang rape in Genesis 18-19 in the story of Lot and the city of Sodom. Gay sex is listed as a sin in Hebrew law (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13), it is called an abomination, and the penalty is death. The problem with the story of Sodom was not gay sex. The town’s men wanted the angels sent out from Lot’s house so they could be gang raped.

Leviticus has hundreds of laws we violate every day, like eating shrimp, and we don’t sell our daughters to their husbands, or stone adulterers to death. All are abominations. It’s also an abomination to work on the Sabbath, punishable by death, and Jesus violated that commandment all the time.

In Deuteronomy 22:5, cross-dressing is forbidden. A woman may not put on a man’s clothing, and a man may not put on a woman’s clothing. All of we women who wear pants are definitely in violation of this law.

These laws were specifically designed to prohibit the Children of Israel from imitating a variety of acts practiced by other tribes and nations surrounding them. (See Deuteronomy 18:9). The other local pagan religions worshiped their gods with every sex act you can imagine. The Israelites believed that sex was strictly for procreation. Sex that didn’t have a chance of causing procreation was forbidden.

There is the story of David and Jonathan possibly being bisexual lovers. David had many wives. But the story of the relationship between these two men is quite suspicious (see 1 Sam. 20:17). David got away with a lot of bad behavior and still ended up with a sterling reputation. He could have gotten away with a homosexual relationship, too.

Mr. Bahati gives his own opinion of God’s law as well as saying Jesus preached the same prohibitions against homosexuality. Jesus never preached anything concerning homosexuality. His Apostle, Paul, did (see Rom. 1:26-27). On the subject of adultery, Jesus stopped the stoning of a woman for adultery, saying “he who is without sin, cast the first stone”. Jesus saved the woman’s life by reminding everyone that no one is without sin, and mercy and forgiveness should be shown over strident application of Hebrew law. Jesus preached love, mercy and forgiveness, and I do not believe he would have considered today’s gay or lesbian couples to be abominations or unnatural in any way.

People of that time were ignorant of a homosexual nature with which a person is born, a nature involving romantic love of another person of the same sex. They didn’t marry for love or even have a choice of spouses. Their marriages were arranged by their families. Love never came into it. Their experience of gay sex was limited to the sexual religious practices of the Canaanites and other local tribes that would have been appealing to the Israelites. (Imagine orgies instead of church).

Mr. Bahati is correct that the Bible has prohibitions against homosexual sex, but the laws were not meant literally for a modern world. They were meant to keep the Israelites from having sex that did not result in procreation and from participating in the practices of worshiping the gods of the other nations surrounding them (including idol worship, cultic prostitution, incest, homosexuality, bestiality, and infant sacrifice).

If we want to talk about rampant sins, adultery is a very big problem in African cultures today as well as most of the rest of the world. We no longer punish adulterers with stoning, scarlet letters or banishment. That is seen as ridiculous. Since homosexuality and adultery are discussed in the Bible in the same chapters on laws about sex, adultery laws in the Bible should also be seen today in the same light as homosexuality. Since the modern world has dropped most all the ancient Hebrew laws, including those for adultery, the law against homosexuality should also be dropped.

To date, Mr. Bahati has sent nothing to The Rachel Maddow Show showing any facts supporting his allegation that gays recruit children into homosexuality.

David Bahati Interview (part 3):

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Mr. Bahati does not understand that there is such a thing as international law and punishment for human rights atrocities, and imprisoning and executing gays for being gay would certainly be an atrocity.

Jeff Sharlet Reports

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Conservative American supporters inside The Family or Fellowship and out are exporting the fight against homosexuality to Uganda through David Bahati. When and if he wins the war there, he will bring the lessons of the victory back to the U.S. to restart the conservative war against homosexuality in America, and the religious right will try again to win it.

I believe that gays and lesbians will have full and equal civil rights sooner rather than later. I believe the religious right will suffer a major backlash because of their extreme positions on social issues. They’ve gone too far, and that leaves a lot of room for progressives to move forward rapidly.

But, LGBT rights are not moving forward as quickly as they should be. Many laws passed during the 20th century ended African American segregation, provided suffrage for minorities and women, and people of different races have the right to marry. The right to marry interracially came in 1967. It’s 2011.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has already been repealed. Vice President Joe Biden sees a path clearing for legalizing same-sex marriage all over the country, and President Obama is beginning to see same-sex marriage as the institution that will be instated rather than civil unions. I think it will happen during his second term. We can’t afford for him to lose the 2012 presidential race to the GOP.

Over the past 21 months of working closely with gays and lesbians on DADT, it seems President Obama has come to see their lives and relationships as much more similar to straight relationships than they are different from them. I say bravo Mr. President!

You can watch the full, unedited interview here on MaddowBlog.


Part 17 is available here
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17 Responses to “Ugandan kill-the-gays bill part 16: Rachel Maddow interviews David Bahati”

  1. Joel Says:

    Very interesting, and it’s sad in 2010/2011 people still have these type of views. Thanks for all your work on this issue!
    Joel´s last blog post ..How To Make An Income On Your Blog

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  3. Amy LeForge Says:

    I am a person who does believe that homosexuality is a choice and a lifestyle. I know personally a woman who chose the lesbian lifestyle for over 25 years and has now chosen to renounce that of her own free will and without being bullied into it. It’s very interesting to talk to her.

    The idea of outlawing this lifestyle does seem fraught with difficulty though, and I’m not totally sure of the wisdom of that approach.

    As for the “recruiting” of children…if you’re talking about an actual campaign to recruit children into the lifestyle in the way that the military or other groups recruit new members….I’m not sure about that either. There’s plenty of soft encouragement however. For example, a teacher looks at a class and states that “10% of the children in this class may be homosexual” and at least one child is going to take that as a suggestion. That kind of thing absolutely goes on.

    It seemed like the guy was talking about two different things with his law: outlawing homosexuality and keeping children from being molested. I live in an area where the amount of child molestation is shocking, and honestly if there were some increased criminal penalties for that behavior I think that the world would be a healthier place. I’m not sure that I’d institute a death penalty. But finding a way to keep children from being molested would break some pretty awful cycles and perhaps through attrition some of that horror (the molesting) would be removed from the planet.

  4. Nuclear War in 2011 | biological differences between men and women Says:

    [...] Also you can check out this related blog post: http://beingthechangeiwishtosee.com/2893/ugandan-kill-the-gays-bill-part-16-rachel-maddow-interviews… [...]

  5. Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny Says:

    People will find any excuse to hate and bully other people. Too bad his energy and ability to get people’s attention isn’t being used for something more positive. What a waste!
    Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny´s last blog post ..How To Stand Up For Yourself- Get Loud!

  6. David Rogers Says:

    Sadly the world is still full of idiots like David Bahati with their warped belief systems. Unfortunately many take his outrageous statements as facts and use them to perpetuate their own prejudices.
    Unfortunately stoning for adultery hasn’t completely disappeared – Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani us still under sentence of death by stoning in Iran.
    David Rogers´s last blog post ..People are Awesome

  7. Sherri Joubert Says:

    Joel, It is very sad that in 2011 people are still bigoted in a lot of places in the world over a lot of issues.

  8. Sherri Joubert Says:

    David,

    I had forgotten about Iran and that they still apply the death sentence for adultery. I wonder how many other countries or religions still stone people?

    Adultery in many African countries is widely tolerated, however, and it’s the main reason HIV and AIDS infection and death rates are still so high there. Most people don’t know their HIV status, and with so many Christian fundamentalists preaching against condoms, people don’t use protection outside of marriage. The ABC program worked so well (abstinence, be faithful, or use condoms). The Bush administration did a lot to destroy condom use. I hope the program will come back in spite of the Christian fundamentalists who want to stop it.

  9. Sherri Joubert Says:

    Cheryl,

    It is a waste.

  10. Sherri Joubert Says:

    Amy,

    I understand many people believe homosexuality is a choice, but if you truly are gay, it’s not a choice. It’s the way you’re born. The facts don’t agree with the belief that sexual orientation is a choice. No study has shown any evidence of that, and there have been decades of very large studies. In 1973, the DSM stopped listing homosexuality as a mental illness or disorder. It has been considered by mental health professionals to be a normal human variation ever since then. Between then and now, medical professionals of all kinds also consider homosexuality to be normal.

    If sexual orientation is a choice, when did you choose to be straight? Was there a time you can remember choosing boys over girls? If not, you didn’t choose to be straight. It’s the way you are. So if someone is gay, it’s they way they are.

    There are people who are bisexual who may choose a homosexual lifestyle instead of a straight one, then change partners and the new partner is of the opposite sex. Bisexuals are attracted to people of both sexes. Most will choose to be straight if they can find an opposite sex partner. Those who are really in the middle of the spectrum will have relationships with people of both sexes. I think the lady you know who used to be lesbian is really bisexual. You just can’t be a lesbian for 25 years then suddenly turn straight. When you live with a same-sex partner and have no legal tie, the relationship can be easily broken up by one partner moving out. There are no rights unless the partners had legal papers drawn up to protect themselves and each other.

    I can tell you from personal experience that I never chose to be a lesbian. I didn’t even figure it out until I was in my thirties, and finally realizing what was going on explained a lot of things from earlier in my life. There is nothing you can do to change who you are inside. No amount of prayer or therapy can change it. Getting married and having a family won’t straighten you out either. You can accept who you are and find happiness, or you can hide from who you are find misery.

    Gays don’t recruit children nor do we want anyone who isn’t gay to be gay. It’s not an easy life, so why would we want someone else to suffer the pain, prejudice and inner turmoil we have suffered? On the other hand, if someone is gay, they need to realize it and the sooner the better so they can deal with the reality.

    Informing young teens who are going through puberty that 10% of humans on average are homosexual is not in any way recruiting them. It’s a scientific fact found by decades of research and observation. There is no evidence at all of gays “recruiting” kids, and the idea that soft encouragement would sway someone who is straight into being gay is ridiculous. If they aren’t gay, they aren’t going to start dating others of the same sex. They will likely treat their gay fellow students as normal people and accept that there are a lot of ways for people to be different from each other, and that diversity is good. That one gay student may figure out from that information why he or she feels so differently from his or her friends and is then able to find friendship, acceptance, love and support instead of self-loathing.

    Most kids today are well aware that there are gay people and straight people, and have no problem with sexual orientation, just as they have no problem with people of races different from theirs. To them, it’s a non-issue.

    You may believe there are more gays today, but that’s not true. More gay people are out of the closet so you know about more of them now. They’ve always been there. You just didn’t know it.

    Homosexuals are no more likely to molest children than heterosexuals. Molesting children is not a sexuality issue, but an issue of criminal mental illness and a desire to control a child. Child molesters need to be arrested and locked up for life. Any person of majority who wants to abuse and molest a child has nothing to do with sex. Sex happens between consenting adults (or at least teenagers of the same age). Children cannot consent. Child molesting and rape are closely related to each other, and neither is about sex.

    Bahati is falsely equating homosexuality with trying to recruit children into homosexuality. He has produced absolutely no evidence that what he says is occurring. All others who claim the same thing have never shown any proof of any kind. Professionals have never been able to find any victims or witnesses to testify, even anonymously.

    Yes, child molestation occurs and it’s a horrible tragedy. The rate of child molestation everywhere is shocking and I would like to see child molesters locked in prison and the key thrown away. A lot of child molesting goes on within families, so if a child is being molested, it is likely by a relative, family friend or someone the child knows well and is comfortable with.

    Children must be taught to tell an adult when they are being molested, and who they tell must be willing to listen to them and get the situation thoroughly investigated. When a child is being molested and other adults around the child don’t believe him or her, that child will suffer in silence. Children can learn to make themselves safe against being molested by knowing that something is wrong and that when they tell a trusted adult the truth about it, they will be listened to and protected.

    But child molestation isn’t the result of gay people existing in the population.

  11. Raymond Chua Says:

    In my humble opinion, sexual orientation is ones choice and everyone should have the right and freedom to choose theirs. Everyone of us is not borne equally. Some people have higher sex hormone level while some have less.

    We should understand this fact.
    Raymond Chua´s last blog post ..Meaning of Angry

  12. Sherri Joubert Says:

    Being gay myself, I can tell you that one’s sexual orientation is not a choice. It’s the way we are when we are born. Many medical and mental health studies show being gay is a normal variation in humans. Please see my reply to Amy’s comment for more details, but here is the short version.

    I’ll ask you the same question I ask everyone who says sexual orientation is a choice:
    When did you choose your sexual orientation?

    Levels of sex hormones in individuals vary significantly, and vary within a single person at different times of life. Levels of sex hormones are linked to gender identification, sexual development, sex change, and causing a lot of symptoms as a person ages, rather than sexual orientation. They are quite different concepts.

    I appreciate that you still believe different people should be treated with respect regardless of their choice. Whether it’s a choice or not, respect for another’s choices is important in making a better and more peaceful world.

  13. Amy LeForge Says:

    Hi Sherri,

    For the most part I am going to agree to disagree with you. To be honest I’m quite satisfied in my current belief and am not bothered if someone else thinks differently. I don’t believe that I am morally any better than anyone else, and how other human beings conduct themselves is ultimately between them and God. If I am directly affected, i.e. someone is kind to me or someone is cruel, then I care obviously. And I definitely want people to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and go to heaven. But I have no business saying “he’s going to heaven” and “she’s not” because of whatever. That’s not something I can truly know about 99.5% of the people on this planet. So, you know. Live and let live.

    However. I do want to share one thing that I’ve been pondering deeply. And to be honest (I always try to do so) I’m not totally sure of the answer to this one. But the “when did you choose your sexual orientation” question isn’t striking quite true with me. If I am born one way and choose to be another way, it doesn’t follow logically that I had control of or chose to be born the first way.

    In other words, it’s not logically impossible to hold my beliefs.

    Again. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. I’m just puzzling over this one. I appreciate you being open to people disagreeing and still commenting on the blog here. You and I disagree on a few things (religion and politics, for starters), but it’s neat to know that we can agree on so many schooling and parenting things, and that we can have open conversations without rancor.
    Amy LeForge´s last blog post ..Win a JumpStart Membership!

  14. Sherri Joubert Says:

    Amy,

    I’m glad we can agree to disagree. And we do have much common ground. But your answer to my question is exactly my point:

    If I am born one way and choose to be another way, it doesn’t follow logically that I had control of or chose to be born the first way.

    In other words, you didn’t choose your sexual orientation. It is the way you were born.

    Having civil conversations with those with whom I disagree is one thing I’m really trying hard to do. Keeping everything civil is more important now than ever before, in light of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Arizona on Jan. 8, 2011. We are once again reminded of the violent nature of our citizens and their rather open access to guns. We know this is another shooting spree in a long line of such rampages over the years. We’ve all got to tone it down and keep “civil” in civil discourse.

    We’ve also got to get the violent metaphors and tacit threats out of our speech. We are free to speak any way we want, but responsible adults argue facts and points, we don’t threaten violence if we don’t get our way, and we should all know better than to use violent metaphors and calls to action. The most incendiary call to violent action, in my opinion, was in Florida by newly elected Congressman West’s first choice for his chief of staff, “if ballots don’t work, bullets will.” To me, that sounds like a call to action to overthrow our government by force if they didn’t get elected.

    Facts matter. Words matter.

  15. Michelle Vandepas Says:

    Our Laws were created to protect our civil rights and give fair justice to every human race. This bill is a clear manifestation of human discrimination. Every man deserves to be treated with respect in terms of equality and humanity. Every God’s creation has the right to live in this world.

  16. Sherri Joubert Says:

    Thanks Michelle,

    I think David Bahati is heading down a very slippery slope into human rights atrocities.

    Hopefully, this bill will end up going nowhere, but I don’t know that much about how the Ugandan Parliament operates and how much actual honest debate they engage in. They already believe what they want to believe, so I don’t think any debate that disagrees with their point of view will be allowed or listened to.

    I hope the U.S., Canada and some countries in Europe are going to extend political asylum to LGBT Ugandans for persecution.

  17. Yasmine Auster Says:

    Many thanks for this information. Please keep up the good work. I will be returning often.

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