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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