By John-Henry Westen
KAMPALA, Uganda, November 27, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - While a proposed and much-criticized anti-homosexuality law in Uganda is definitely too harsh, the law comes as a direct response to the heavy-handed pressure from international gay-activist politicians on Uganda to accept homosexuality as normal, according to one Christian expert who was recently in the African country to testify against the current wording of the bill. In fact, as Dr. Scott Lively, the President of Defend the Family pointed out, the preamble to the bill, and the bill itself contain numerous references to stopping international pressure on Uganda to accept Western sexual values that are abhorrent to Ugandan culture.
The bill states explicitly that it aims "at providing a comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect the cherished culture of the people of Uganda." The goal is to protect the "legal, religious, and traditional family values of the people of Uganda against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Uganda."
Dr. Lively, a pro-family activist and attorney based in California was in Uganda in March to testify before Ugandan legislators now considering the legislation. In an interview with LifeSiteNews (LSN), Dr. Lively explained that the impetus for the bill was "a lot of external interference from European and American gay activists attempting to do in Uganda what they've done around the world - homosexualize that society." One of their main concerns, explained Lively, "are the many male homosexuals coming in to the country and abusing boys who are on the streets."
Lively explained that the bill, as it is currently worded, is definitely too harsh. The law would impose the death penalty on those who would homosexually rape, and engage in homosexual intercourse with minors, and someone who would knowingly commit homosexual sex acts while having AIDS. Those found guilty of willingly engaging in homosexual sex acts would face life in prison.
The law, as written, may also conflict with the rights of religious leaders to hear confessions and not reveal them, said Lively, since the bill states that those in authority who do not disclose to the police knowledge of homosexual activity within 24 hours face a fine of up to three years in jail.
While the Catholic leadership in the nation has not yet responded publicly to the proposed bill, they have consistently expressed outrage at the attempts of the West to impose acceptance of homosexuality on the country. Last month at the Synod for Africa at the Vatican, bishops from all over the continent noted their grave concerns over the international anti-family pressure.
Summing up the discussions, the Cardinal Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, Peter Turkson, said that the Synod had "described in various ways a ferocious onslaught on the family and the related fundamental institution of marriage from outside Africa and attributed it to diverse sources." The bishops, he said, "vigorously denounced the ideology and international programs which are imposed on African countries under false pretexts or as conditions for development assistance."
Lively said he went to Uganda "with the purpose of getting them to liberalize the law making it more oriented toward therapy." He testified to lawmakers in the Ugandan Assembly Hall that having legislation against homosexuality on the books is important since it protects against those who would advocate in public and in schools that homosexuality is positive. He noted however that the current bill has gone "way too far."
Lively lamented that even the Christian leadership of the "homosexualized" nations of the West have "fallen back to the last line of defense which is to defend the traditional definition of marriage." He suggested that it is important that "homosexuality should be actively discouraged in public policy. But only as aggressively as necessary to prevent it from being advocated in society."
"Sort of the way that Oregon treats marijuana," he explained. "The law is on the books, it's very rarely enforced but because it's enforced, because it's illegal, no one is allowed to go into the schools and say smoking dope is a good thing."
"But if you go too far, and start enforcing the law and throwing people in jail you will end up doing more harm than good," he concluded.
Lively also told LifeSiteNews that to understand the opposition to homosexuality in Uganada it is necessary to recognize the importance of the June 3rd feast of the Ugnadan martyrs Saint Charles Lwanga and companions, which is still celebrated in the nation every year.
The martyrs were killed in the 1800's in Uganda by then King Mwanga for interfering with the homosexual activities of the King. King Mwanga was a violent ruler and sexual abuser who forced himself on the young boys and men who served him as pages and attendants.
The growing number of conversions among the King's pages infuriated the King since they would no longer participate in his immoral sexual acts. In all, 22 converts accepted death rather than renounce their Catholic faith.