Legislators in the East African country of Uganda are set to criminalize homosexuality just one month after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni led the nation in a prayer of repentance.
Members of Uganda’s parliament say that they plan to pass the law before the end of December due to the urging of Christian groups in the nation, and that a vote could come sooner than later.
“Speaker, we cannot sit back while such [a] destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation,” stated a petition presented to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga from citizens supportive of the bill. “We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament … so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation.”
When questioned about the matter, Kadaga stated that she believes that parliament needs to heed the voice of the people.
“Who are we not to do what they have told us?” she said. “These people should not be begging us.”
Homosexual activists have been opposed, however, to the actions of Christians in the nation.
“Things were much better before the evangelical movement,” said the director of SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda), who has been accusing pastors in Uganda of spreading “propaganda.”
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is said to be a Christian himself. At last month’s prayer gathering in observance of the country’s 50th anniversary of its independence from Britain, he openly confessed the sins of the nation before God and all the people. Homosexuality was not specifically mentioned in his prayer, however, and Museveni explained in an interview earlier this year with British reporters that he believes homosexuality should simply be “ignored” in the nation, although he opposes the promotion of the lifestyle in any form.
“I stand here today to close the evil past, and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history, and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent,” Museveni prayed. “We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft, which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal.”
“Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery,” he continued. “These sins and many others have characterized our past leadership, especially the last 50 years of our history. Lord, forgive us and give us a new beginning. Give us a heart to love You, to fear You and to seek You. Take away from us all the above sins.”
Museveni then dedicated the nation to God as he continued to repent.
“We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God, and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own,” he said. “I renounce all the evil foundations and covenants that were laid in idolatry and witchcraft. I renounce all the satanic influence on this nation. And I hereby covenant Uganda to You, to walk in Your ways and experience all Your blessings forever.”
Some believe that Uganda will continue to need much prayer as it is under intense international pressure on both sides of the issue of homosexuality. Protests are planned for the days and weeks ahead as Uganda’s parliament decides whether to make same-sex behavior a crime in the nation, generally punishable by jail time. Homosexual pedophiles face the death penalty for repeated abuse of children.
While revisions have been made to the bill since its first presentation in 2009, it is unclear as to whether the death penalty has been removed from the law, although there are reports it is no longer being pursued as a punishment. It does, however, ban the promotion of homosexuality in any form, in addition to the commission of sexual acts, criminalizing anyone who “funds or sponsors homosexuality” or “abets homosexuality.”
This Friday, a demonstration entitled “Uganda: The World is Watching” will be held outside of the Uganda Mission in New York City, organized by the American-based group AEB Project and the Ugandan organization Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). On Monday, Amnesty International will be protesting in Denmark, and various worldwide businesses are taking up petitions against Uganda in order to express disapproval of the bill.