A strange mix of speakers started off a conference in Kampala, Uganda today.  Invited by Stephen Langa, leader of Family Life Network (FLN), they are to speak on the theme “Exposing the Truth behind Homosexuality and the Homosexual Agenda.”  Langa is concerned that homosexuality might be decriminalized in Uganda due to a recent court case there.  In fact, he would like to make the laws stronger.  Currently, being gay there can get one life in prison.  Names of suspected homosexuals are posted in newspapers and there are periodic witch-hunt like marches in the streets.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has a blogger, Victor Mukasa, covering the conference.  Here is some of Victor’s report for this first day.

Stephen Langa said that homosexuality is a big problem and the existing laws that criminalize gay people are not good enough. He kept referring to the recent victory in the case Victor Mukasa and Yvonne Oyo vs. Attorney General as one that gay activists are going to keep using to promote their agenda.

Kasha Jacqueline told me that Stephen Langa was telling immense lies, claiming that gay rights activists recruit young people into homosexuality. Langa testified that he knows 2 girls at a particular boarding school who were given a lot of money by gay activists in Uganda to recruit their colleagues into lesbianism. He claimed that by the end of the year, they had managed to recruit 13 friends, all of whom were given money to recruit others.

Kasha was incensed by these claims: “To be sincere, I have spent a long time as a leader in the gay struggle in Uganda and sometimes we cannot afford to do our advocacy work because of lack of funds,” she said. “How then can we give out money for recruitment. That’s not logical and it is a huge lie he was telling to Ugandans.”

The rest of the workshop was dominated by Don Schmierer, a member of the board of the American “ex-gay” organization, Exodus International. His presentation was focused around his understanding of family morals and values. He told participants that one of the biggest causes of homosexuality is the lack of “good upbringing” in families—children should be brought up in proper Christian ways.

He said that 56% of homosexuals experience abuse and violence in their families during their childhood. The abuse leads to pain, anger and hatred in the life of a child and this turns them into homosexuals. He emphasized that “good” family values play a big role in preventing homosexuality in children and encouraged parents to ensure that these values are observed in their families.

As we reported earlier, Don Schmierer is a board member for Exodus International. He has written books on “preventing homosexuality” and largely blames the father.  He provides a list of “signs that an adolescent may be struggling with gender issues.” It is hard to overstate the absurdity of this list or the idea that one could use it (or anything else known) to prevent someone from becoming gay. We know of no data to support such a claim, yet Schmierer is speaking as an expert on the subject in a country that puts GLBTs in jail.

It is important to note that around this time two years ago, Exodus International President Alan Chambers expressed support for the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), writing in his blog:

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia. And, you might be surprised to learn that I support this effort. Homophobia does exist. Irrational fear of those who are gay or lesbian is a real problem in our culture. While I believe we have come a long way, I still see true homophobia at work each and every day.

So, when it comes to the evils of homophobia, bullying, name calling, hatred and violence where those affected by homosexuality are concerned, I stand with all decent human beings who are fighting and praying for an end to the ignorance and ungodliness that cause them.

Join me, won’t you?

Exodus Executive Vice President Randy Thomas and (then) youth analyst Mike Ensley expressed their total agreement and even praise for his stance. This represents the public face and executive management of Exodus and they said this less than two years ago. What happened?

At the very least, we think it imperative that Exodus International have a clear, bold, concise statement in favor of decriminalizing homosexuality and then refuse to deal with countries which maintain such draconian laws. This is a matter of basic human rights and necessary for Exodus to maintain any semblance of credibility whatsoever.

Related Reading: BTB, Warren Throckmorton, GayUganda, TWO

Copy of Invitation to conference (interesting details).

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