In spring, 2009, three American fundamentalist preachers took their anti-gay, hate-based road show to Malawi and Uganda. Partly as a result of their sermons to Malawi legislative bodies, two Malawi men were arrested and sentenced to fourteen years hard-time for holding an engagement party for one another. Numbers in the Malawi government at the time said they took encouragement from the American evangelicals as the men were sentenced. Secretary of State Clinton and her counterparts from many western nations condemned the move, kept up the diplomatic pressure and soon the couple were released and they now reside overseas.
This week, however, the American ministers' message may have translated to murder. In Uganda, David Kato, that nation's most well-known gay rights activist was murdered in his home, having returned recently from self-defensive, self-imposed exile from South Africa. Mr. Kato had received many hundreds of death threats. The New York Times reports today that Ugandan papers, subsequent to the American preachers' tour, were clear about what should happen to gays. Its headline read, "Hang Them".
Needless to say, the American ministers did not advocate murder during their visit. Yesterday, one of the ministers, Don Schwimmer, insisted this is not what his day in-and-out African diatribes intended. Yet they did, knowingly, tap into and further poison wells of nationwide, irrational hate and declared that "the gay [rights] movement is evil" and would subvert society. The ministers told audiences 'how to make gay people straight' and that Ugandan teens were walking targets of Ugandan gay men and that Ugandans must act. The Ugandan parliament, again subsequent to the ministers' visit(s), passed a bill calling for the execution of gay people. For breathing while being gay. The bill hasn't yet been implemented. Until today, perhaps, when an intruder into Mr. Kato's home, jumped the process.
Do I think the American ministers murdered Mr. Kato? They weren't at the scene. They didn't need to be.
For whatever role American fundamentalist religion played in this disgraceful act...and there is no escaping some level of culpability....we should be ashamed of and condemn fellow Americans who fly overseas, spew gender-orientation-based hate, wipe their hands and claim they're clean.