State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

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State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:53 am

I just read the following article syndicated in The Australian newspaper.

Who will stand against Uganda's brutal anti-gay law?

By Kathleen Parker
Thursday, February 18, 2010

In a time of constant calamity and crisis fatigue, proposed legislation in Uganda to execute gays passes through the American consciousness with the impact of a weather report.

Corrupt politicians count on the brevity of the American attention span, but certain items demand a tap of the pause button. How exactly does the idea of executing gays evolve in a majority-Christian nation? Interesting question.

Gays in Uganda already face imprisonment for up to 14 years. Under a bill proposed last October by David Bahati, the government could execute HIV-positive men and jail people who don't report homosexual activities.

We are officially appalled, of course. President Obama called the proposed legislation "odious" in remarks at the recent National Prayer Breakfast. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also mentioned Uganda at the breakfast. Even evangelical mega-pastor Rick Warren made an impassioned Christmas video plea to Ugandan pastors, declaring the measure "unjust," "extreme" and "un-Christian."

Warren's message wasn't prompted by outrage at the treatment of gays, however, but by accusations that he had helped create the bill. Warren's Saddleback Church has hosted a Ugandan pastor who supports the legislation, but the purpose-driven pastor insists he has had no role shaping the proposed law. Though Warren deserves to be taken at his word, other comments he made in his defense are problematic.

In a statement to Newsweek, Warren said: "The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations."

I'm not so sure about that. It may not be Warren's personal calling to comment on "political process." But is neutrality really an option for one of the world's most powerful Christian leaders when state genocide of a minority is proposed in the name of Christianity?

If we decide that genocide is too political for interference, then what good is moral leadership?

Other evangelical Christians operating in Uganda are less easily excused from responsibility in the country's increasingly hostile attitudes toward gays. Often cited as having stirred the pot are pastors Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer, who last March worked with Ugandan faith leaders and politicians to help stop the "homosexualization" of the country.

No, nobody "made" Bahati write the bill. But these three pastors, known for their conviction that gays can be "cured," have been spreading their particular brand of gospel in Uganda, and it seems to have found traction. The three have distanced themselves from the proposed law and say they never encouraged punishment for gays.

This may well be the case. In fact, let's assume it is. Let's further assume that these missionaries have only the purest of intentions and want only to help strengthen the traditional family. Dear Sirs: Uganda isn't Connecticut. A country where gays are routinely harassed, rounded up and incarcerated doesn't need stoking by American fundamentalists on a mission from God.

In an interview with Alan Colmes, Lively said he was invited to the African nation because Ugandans were worried about American and European gays trying to export homosexuality to their nation. Given that Uganda was already rather unwelcoming to gays, it seems unlikely that they needed advice from American preachers. Instead, it seems more the case that Uganda has became a laboratory for zealots who have found a receptive audience for their personal cause.

The proposed law is a case study in the unintended consequences of moral colonialism.

Meanwhile, one would think that Uganda, given its history, would have had enough of executions related to homosexuality and religion. In the 1880s, the martyrs of Uganda were burned to death by Mwanga II, the king of Buganda, who was miffed, by some accounts, when his own homosexual advances were declined by recent Christian converts.

And now Uganda's Christians wish to make martyrs of gays?

Not all do, of course. Some pastors are opposing the bill, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said the proposal is too tough. Human rights watchers predict the bill will be toned down to exclude capital punishment, but imprisonment is also unacceptable -- and no American should find difficulty saying so.

In a "Meet the Press" interview last November, Warren said he never takes sides, but one wishes he would. To borrow his own words, it is in certain cases extreme, unjust and un-Christian not to.


-- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 05124.html


Please join me in raising awareness of the situation in Uganda. Write to your representatives and ministers/secretaries for foreign affairs and media outlets.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Pax » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:32 am

Thanks for taking up the banner Ben, we've been doing a letter writing campaign on the lesbian board I frequent.
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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Dan74 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:48 am

I thought that it goes without saying that this is a bizarre and barbaric proposal, and I hope the world threatens sanctions, since this is a worst kind of a violation of human rights, basically legalising genocide (except on the basis of sexuality).

I think I've already signed a petition and I will happily sign more if people have them.

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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby bodom » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:06 am

Its a scary world we live in.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:10 am

Hi Dan
I'm an advocate of writing letters directly to the ministers, the pm, and opposition spokespersons as well as the local member of parliament. I am convinced that it has an effect.

Stephen Smith, Australian minister for Foreign Affairs: Stephen.Smith.MP[a]aph.gov.au
Kevin Rudd, PM: http://www.pm.gov.au/PM_Connect/contact_your_pm_form

I intend to draft some letters tonight.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:12 am

Pax wrote:Thanks for taking up the banner Ben, we've been doing a letter writing campaign on the lesbian board I frequent.


No problem Pax.
They are our brothers and sisters.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Dan74 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:15 am

Ben wrote:Hi Dan
I'm an advocate of writing letters directly to the ministers, the pm, and opposition spokespersons as well as the local member of parliament. I am convinced that it has an effect.

Stephen Smith, Australian minister for Foreign Affairs: Stephen.Smith.MP[a]aph.gov.au
Kevin Rudd, PM: http://www.pm.gov.au/PM_Connect/contact_your_pm_form

I intend to draft some letters tonight.
kind regards

Ben


Do you mean write individual letters, or write a letter and collect signatures?

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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:30 am

Individual letters.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:16 am

Greetings,

Online petition here, for anyone interested...

http://www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_rights_4 ... 680&v=5391

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:32 am

Well done Retro!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby zavk » Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:43 am

I'm always rendered speechless when I read about stuff like that. :(
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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Fede » Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:23 pm

I think 'being rendered speechless' in this case, would be 'Wrong Speech'...It's important we all bellow our protests as loudly we can possibly can....


But I do get what you mean....... :namaste:
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Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:41 pm

"The Family" is a very strange Xtian group that has close connexion to the Ugandan elite, especially those who afe spo9nsoring the kill-the-gays bill.

http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript ... =120746516
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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:13 am

Greetings Fede,

Fede wrote:I think 'being rendered speechless' in this case, would be 'Wrong Speech'...It's important we all bellow our protests as loudly we can possibly can....


I don't necessary agree with you here, Fede.

You're super-imposing worldly wisdom over the Dhamma here and in doing so, coming up with a conclusion that doesn't necessarily marry up with what the Buddha said.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:35 am

While I very much agree that such a state sponsored bill is quite inhumane and we should do what we can to protect the lives of anyone, whatever their sexual orientation, I do think that using the word "genocide" is quite incorrect and misleading. The word "genocide" is based on "geno-", implying some sort of ethnic or racial basis. By using this term, it appears to me that they are in fact playing into the (quite deluded) idea that homosexuality is a phenotype somehow encoded within a person's genotype.

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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Dan74 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:55 am

Paññāsikhara wrote: By using this term, it appears to me that they are in fact playing into the (quite deluded) idea that homosexuality is a phenotype somehow encoded within a person's genotype.

May all be free from suffering! :heart:


"Encoded" is certainly too strong a word, but it is a phenotype which is very likely influenced by genetic and environmental factors according to current science (or what I know of it). This is likely true for heterosexual orientation and many other distinct traits, such as extroversion/introversion, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality#Etiology

Do you have a different view, Pannasikkhara?

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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby zavk » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:04 am

Dan74 wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote: By using this term, it appears to me that they are in fact playing into the (quite deluded) idea that homosexuality is a phenotype somehow encoded within a person's genotype.

May all be free from suffering! :heart:


"Encoded" is certainly too strong a word, but it is a phenotype which is very likely influenced by genetic and environmental factors according to current science (or what I know of it). This is likely true for heterosexual orientation and many other distinct traits, such as extroversion/introversion, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality#Etiology

Do you have a different view, Pannasikkhara?

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Interesting point. I shan't speak on Ven's behalf but this is how I view the issue:


I too am inclined to question any essential links between one's sexuality and genetic makeup. I'm not familiar with the specifics of current scientific research. But I won't be surprise if there are indeed correlations between sexual orientation and certain genetic characteristics. So to this extent, it is not unreasonable to speculate on the possible influence of genetic makeup on sexual orientation--but as you say, Dan, 'encode' is probably too strong a word.

It is also important to consider the influence of the other factor that you pointed out: the environmental factor or what I would call more generally, 'the context', which would include such things as cultural assumptions and social formations. Such 'aggregates' together with the aggregate of genetic makeup perhaps shape one's sexual orientation.

But for me, what I find lacking in general debates about sexual orientation is the lack of reflexivity about the influence of 'environmental factors' on the scientific explanations themselves. Genetic research may uncover certain correlations between sexual orientation and genetic makeup. However, genetic research (and science more generally) does not exist in a vacuum. It takes place within 'the environment'--which is to say, the interpretation of scientific findings cannot step outside the context within which it is conducted.

And within this context are pre-existing, deeply ingrained cultural assumptions about sexuality. The interpretation of the scientific findings cannot easily claim to be free from such assumptions which have worked their way into our everyday use of language such that it is easy to overlook them. Within this context are also existing social formations that are skewed in favour of certain gender, sexuality, or whatever. Science exists within these social formations and to this extent, the interpretation of genetic findings about sexuality will invariably be influenced by them, whether one cares to admit it or not.

I should stress that I'm not discrediting science. I just wish to point out that even the most 'objective' discoveries of science cannot be interpreted outside the contexts in which they are conducted. The law of conditionality does not stop.

I'm assuming that this has been acknowledged in some scientific disciplines themselves. But the reason I point this out here is because at the the level of general public debates, this is not acknowledged enough. Hence, people sometimes appeal to scientific evidence as 'objective proof' of someone's 'abnormality'. So they might say something like, 'Oh, it is their genetic makeup that made them like that'. But this to me simply hides the deep set prejudices that have to be addressed in tandem with scientific explanations, and with skillful means other than science.
Last edited by zavk on Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Paññāsikhara » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:08 am

Dan74 wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote: By using this term, it appears to me that they are in fact playing into the (quite deluded) idea that homosexuality is a phenotype somehow encoded within a person's genotype.

May all be free from suffering! :heart:


"Encoded" is certainly too strong a word, but it is a phenotype which is very likely influenced by genetic and environmental factors according to current science (or what I know of it). This is likely true for heterosexual orientation and many other distinct traits, such as extroversion/introversion, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality#Etiology

Do you have a different view, Pannasikkhara?

_/|\_


Like anything, there are a huge number of factors involved in anything.

My problem with naming it "genocide" is that it strengthens the connection between "gen-" and homosexuality, as though this was the main or only cause. When ignorant people (such as those instigating such laws in Uganda) start along that line, it is not a very far step to then claim things like "the homosexual gene", and then a simple step to genetic testing in all people, young and old, and making steps to kill those people. (Or then claims to linking these "genes" to certain other, more easily identifiable traits, such as physical features, and killing all those with such physical features.) This is somewhat akin to the Nazi use of eugenics, an attempt at genetic (= ethnic) purification. It's really, really nasty and evil stuff.

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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby zavk » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:15 am

What I've written above has been informed by wider discourses in the field of gender studies. Here's a prize-winning essay from MIT that expresses more eloquently what I've suggested.

The author demonstrates how scientist who have discovered new findings about the human sperm and ovum seem to habitually project existing cultural assumptions about male/female stereotypes into their interpretation. In doing so, the male/female stereotypes are given a 'natural' and 'innate' biological explanation, when they could (to use Buddhist lingo) perhaps be dependently originated: shaped by the interplay of various social, cultural, and political 'aggregates'.

Here's an excerpt from the essay:


It seems that the concept of opposing forces in biology, particularly as they pertain to sex, persists in science today. As the female reproductive physiology is recognized as equally active and important as the male physiology in conception, there is a shift in language, metaphor, and interpretation. Language and metaphor have shifted from descriptions of a passive, uncompetitive, dependent, and needy ovum to an aggressive, competitive, and sneaky egg. Accordingly, because researchers can no longer comfortably assume that the sperm is in control of conception and, therefore, that conception is an act of cooperation, scientists such as Birkhead now see conception as a competition. This reaction appears to be an attempt to prevent science from granting the female control at the expense of the male. The solution is to claim that there is competition as Birkhead concludes, "the battle between the sexes is an evolutionary seesaw - subtle, sophisticated and inevitable" (Birkhead, 81). The point is subtle. Why can't the new evidence about female choice indicate that the cooperation is simply more complex than was once imagined? Why do we need this misguided notion of competition between the sexes at a biological level? Again, this is a projection of social expectations and assumptions onto the cellular level.

While Birkhead has made progress on some fronts of scientific writing and the work does reflect a more conscious focus on the capabilities of the female, it contains other assumptions and beliefs that are just as dangerous. That any kind of personification at all is being attributed to these gametes indicates a lack of objectivity in science. Martin warns, "that these stereotypes are now being written in at the level of the cell constitutes a powerful move to make them seem so natural as to be beyond alteration" (Martin, 500). Science and society are historically intertwined. Keller writes, "modern science evolved in, and helped to shape, a particular social and political context" (Keller, 76). However, from a modern perspective, in a time of tremendous scientific achievement, science claims to exist independently of language and society. Ironically, the more successful science is, the more the public trusts its infallibility. The successes of modern science are interpreted as the unimpeachability of the objectivity upon which it rests. The result is that "scientists are probably less reflective of the tacit assumptions that guide their reasoning than any other intellectuals of the modern age" (Keller, 82). Yet, it is only by recognizing and questioning the forces that influence science that we can discover the truth about the world.

Beyond improving the tool of science for the sake of science, raising awareness and enacting change will result in enormous social and political transformation. Only by modifying the way in which people uncover the "facts" about gender, race, and class can humanity hope to achieve equality in these areas. Therefore, it is critical that inquiring scholars and scientists question the motivations of science and its relationship with society.


EDIT: here's the url: http://web.mit.edu/wgs/prize/as03.html
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Re: State sponsored genocide of gays in Uganda

Postby Dan74 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:47 am

Indeed a very dangerous line of reasoning which may well re-emerge in the future.

John Glad's book while pretty moderate may be the start of a renewal of interest in eugenics.

The core notion is that the the genetic make up of the species can and should be improved, with intelligence chosen as the "uncontroversial" example of what should be improved.

http://www.amazon.com/Future-Human-Evolution-Eugenics-Twenty-first/dp/1557791546

and a review (not so great, but makes some important points):

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/118506541/PDFSTART

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