According to Bloomberg, the draft bill, now being called the “kill the gays bill” will be “refined” to remove the death penalty and life imprisonment provisions. This is being done, according to Uganda Minister of Ethics James Nsaba Buturo, “to attract the support of religious leaders who are opposed to these penalties.”
While this is no doubt to be seen as a good thing, our fundamental objections to the bill remain. The criminalization of relationships between consenting adults is simply not acceptable. Killing people or putting them in prison for life as punishment for such is certainly the extreme wrong end of the scale, but penalizing them at all is abhorrent to any concept of a society which claims to honor human rights. And to do so under the guise of “countering sin” is to invite a Taliban like theocracy — which sin would be next?
The true test now will be to see how Christian leaders here, including Exodus International, will respond to these changes. The new version will retain forced treatment and presumably jail time of some sort. We can’t make precise analysis until we have a copy of the new bill. However, we suggest Alan Chambers, et al, should think long and hard about their “change is possible” philosophy.
To Exodus, et al, I would like to say the following:
As last night’s interview with Richard Cohen illustrates clearly, people in places like Uganda are paying dearly because those with authority are taking the ex-gay mantras in this country seriously. They believe the pseudo-psychology, the bad science and the cries that every respected scientific body disagrees with you “because of the power of the gay agenda.” You share, like it or not, the same responsibility here as Richard Cohen, and Scott Lively. This is not an accusation, but a recognition of the facts and you should own it.
So now is the test. Will you see this through? Now that the most egregious portions of the bill are being removed, will you sit back and feel you have no more responsibility? Or worse, will you feel proud that you finally said something and take credit for this first step to righting this wrong?
Or will you recognize finally that your ideas about changing people from one sexual orientation to another, or about supposed causal factors, are simply not well founded and therefore not worth allowing others to pay the price for taking them seriously? In short, will you make it known that you oppose any such laws which would serve to regulate or punish the personal lives of individuals, gay or straight?
Don’t be gamed by people who have admitted that these tweaks to the bill are “to attract the support of religious leaders who are opposed to these penalties.” After all, this is basically what Scott Lively told them in the first place, and I hope by now you know what he is all about.