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Saturday, December 12, 2009

White House Condemns Ugandan Antigay Bill

President And Mrs. Obama Return From Nobel Prize Ceremony In Norway

From The Advocate:
In its strongest statement yet, the Obama Administration condemned a homophobic Ugandan bill that would carry a death sentence for acts of homosexuality in some cases.

“The President strongly opposes efforts, such as the draft law pending in Uganda, that would criminalize homosexuality and move against the tide of history,” read the White House statement that came late Friday in response to an inquiry from The Advocate.
About damn time is all I can say, boys. 

Even if it is one single sentence in a generic White House statement - not from those Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning lips.  Well, you see how the glory and the power of this world operates, and always has.

Hell, Rick Warren managed to talk for 6 minutes on this topic.  But I suppose we have to take what we can get from the man who repeatedly promised to be our fierce advocate, eh fellas?

The Advocate goes on to report that the tide may be turning against the bill in Uganda, with a state-run newspaper arguing against it.  Read the Advocate article for more details; and God bless our brothers and sisters there.

Update:  Now the Vatican has weighed in on the subject, though like the White House, without the direct words of the principal occupant.  According to reports in Truth Wins Out and Box Turtle Bulletin, Father Philip Bene, legal attaché to the Holy See’s UN mission, delivered this official statement to a United Nations panel on antigay violence on December 10th:
As stated during the debate of the General Assembly last year, the Holy See continues to oppose all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as the use of the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The Holy See also opposes all forms of violence and unjust discrimination against homosexual persons, including discriminatory penal legislation which undermines the inherent dignity of the human person.

As raised by some of the panelists today, the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State. While the Holy See’s position on the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity remains well known, we continue to call on all States and individuals to respect the rights of all persons and to work to promote their inherent dignity and worth.
But as Timothy Kincaid of BTB points out in the same article, don't think the Church has changed its mind about all you nasty, hellbound queers:
However, the Church speaks of “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment” and of “discriminatory penal legislation”. The Church is not, in this message, calling for the decriminalization of homosexual acts. Indeed, to do so would be contrary to their statements of a year ago. At that time, when the European Union called for decriminalization, the Vatican officially objected, making the peculiar argument that such a call discriminates against nations that don’t recognize same-sex unions. (Catholic News Service 12/08/08)
And, surprisingly, even three signers of the antigay Manhattan Declaration, which I've not had time to blog about but which has been covered extensively by other gay bloggers recently, have made this somewhat compassionate statement - though of course with the same old you're-going-to-hell-damn-you message blended in; still, it's an improvement over past attitudes:
Surely, no one guilty of a single act of homosexual conduct (or fornication, adultery, or other sexual offense) should spend the remainder of his life in prison as a consequence of his sin. Such harshness, such lack of mercy, is manifestly contrary to the example of our Lord and cannot be given the support of those who seek to follow Christ. In response to a proposal to punish consensual sexual crimes with such extreme penalties the Christian must surely echo the words of Jesus: “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Harshness and excess must be avoided. Those who experience homosexual desire and yield to it should not be singled out for extreme measures or for revulsion. Homosexual persons, whether they struggle to live chastely or, alas, do not, are human beings. They are children of God made in His very image and likeness. They are our brothers and sisters. Christ loves them as he loves all of us.
Well how nice to learn, after half a century on this planet, that I am a human being after all.  And Jesus loves me too.  How very nice, how very kind of these straight white men, the lords of creation, to say so.

Now why the fuck was there never a priest or preacher said that to me 40 years ago, when I so desperately needed to hear it, huh?

Oh well, life goes on.  What does not kill us makes us stronger.  And maybe, just maybe, these little tiny cracks in the wall of homophobia show that the world is changing in a good way, after all.  Slowly.

1 comment:

TomS said...

Thank you for this update Russ. If I mention it on my blog, I will cite you as the source of my information.

Take care and thanks for your valuable postings. You are a truly caring person.


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