The horrors of what can happen when there is no wall separating church and state is becoming horribly visible in Uganda. Christian leaders there are calling for imprisonment and even the death penalty for homosexuals in that nation. The pressure from the Ugandan church is so intense that the anti-homosexuality bill is expected to pass soon. Some Christian leaders in Uganda have asked lawmakers to pass the bill in time to be “a Christmas gift” to the Ugandan people.
American evangelicals have appealed to the Ugandan church to show mercy, but Christian leaders there have rejected American appeals as “cultural imperialism.”
“You see there’s a kind of imperialism and a kind of relativism from the West,” said one Ugandan Christian leader. “They don’t understand our ethics in the country of Uganda and they are trying to impose what they believe.”
According to USA Today:
Uganda’s penal code criminalizes homosexuality, but in 2009 a lawmaker with the ruling party said a stronger law was needed to protect Uganda’s children from homosexuals. Parliamentarian David Bahati charged at the time that wealthy homosexuals from the West were “recruiting” poor children into gay lifestyles with promises of money and a better life. Bahati believes his bill is sufficiently popular among lawmakers to pass without difficulty.
There are lessons for us back in the states. First, whenever anyone calls us to make this a “Christian nation,” we must recognize such calls as the beginnings of barbarism. Such calls almost always begin in the mouths of demagogues who see in the church as a sea of noncritical thinkers easily duped into crusades and inquisitions. After the the church’s complicity in the nightmare of Nazi Germany, many Protestant churches adopted the Barmen Declaration, which affirmed that no state can be called the instrument of divine purposes.
Second, while it is nice that American Evangelicals have renounced the new law, they must take full responsibility for their role in this monstrosity. It was they, who as missionaries, painted the target on these peoples’ backs. When Christians say we “hate the sin but loves the sinner” it is an act of psychic numbing. We cannot teach that homosexuality is a sin worthy of death and then call ourselves innocent when someone acts upon our teaching. When we, as Christians, dehumanize other persons and make them cultural scapegoats, we should not be surprised when our disciples move beyond our duplicity and finish the job we started.
Thanks to Church Jarvis for the topic