The sickness of the far right and the Christofascists seems to me metastasizing at a quickening pace as evidenced by the unbelievable excuses given in support of gun rights and rejection of sane limits on assault weapons and the open advocacy by supposed Christians for the murder and imprisonment of LGBT individuals in Uganda and other parts of Africa. The ugly toxicity of the right and its Christofascist base is nothing less than chilling. A piece in Box Turtle Bulletin discusses the actions of American pastor David Dykes (pictured at left) of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, who has traveled to to Uganda to offer his apparently unqualified support for the "Kill the Gays Bill." Here are some excerpts:
[Dykes] appears on NTV, Uganda’s largest independent television station to denounce the State Department’s efforts to avert a human rights catastrophe and says that American churches will come together to fully back Uganda if the U.S. withdraws aid:
Dykes: I’m extremely upset that our state department is putting pressure on Uganda to recognize homosexual behavior. And I’m praying that Uganda will say, “We don’t want your money, America. It is blood money. It is sin money.” I hope that you will continue to stand strong on what the Bible defines as the definition of a real marriage.
… In America, Christians are going to put as much pressure as we can on our government not to cut the aid to Uganda over this issue. But if they do decide to do that, we’ll let our displeasure be known, but we’ll try to step in as the Church in America to try to make up sending resources over here, especially to the churches. We hope to stand alongside the believers of Uganda during this time of crisis.
It is worth remembering exactly what it is that David Dykes is so eager to support. The full text of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is available online here (PDF: 847KB/16 pages). Our examination of the bill’s nineteen clauses are available below:
Clauses 1 and 2: Anybody Can Be Gay Under the Law. The definition of what constitutes “homosexual act” is so broad that just about anyone can be convicted.
Clause 3: Anyone Can Be “Liable To Suffer Death”. And you don’t even have to be gay to be sent to the gallows. There has been talk of removing the death penalty — which has not happened yet; it’s just talk — and replacing it with a life sentence. But can anyone seriously imaging that spending a lifetime in Uganda’s notorious Luzira prison is any better? Especially once your fellow prisoners learn that you were sent there for “aggravated homosexuality”?
Clause 4: Anyone Can “Attempt to Commit Homosexuality”. All you have to do is “attempt” to “touch” “any part of of the body” “with anything else” “through anything” in an act that does “not necessarily culminate in intercourse.”Clauses 7, 11, and 14: Straight People In The Crosshairs. Did you think they only wanted to jail gay people? They’re also targeting family members, doctors, lawyers, and even landlords.Clause 13: The Silencing of the Lambs. All advocacy — including suggesting that the law might be repealed — will land you in jail. With this clause, there will be no one left to defend anyone.
Dykes isn’t just some random Southern Baptist preacher. Jeff Sharlet, author of C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy
, sends this update:
Andrew Sullivan has an apt commentary on what Dykes' actions signify and just how horrible modern conservative Christianists have become. Here are highlights:
Many evangelicals loathe my use of the word Christianism, rather than Christianity, to describe the fusion of political power and religion to police the moral lives of others. They recoil at the echo of Islamism - although we know many Islamist parties, as in Turkey or Indonesia, that do not engage in terrorism, but merely believe in the fusion of church and state as emphatically as older American evangelicals do.
That's why it's revealing to see a major figure in the American Christianist movement, Pastor David Dykes - he opened the 2008 Congress with a prayer - openly advocate the execution of gays, and criminal penalties for exercise of free speech in defense of gays, in Uganda. If these people could, they would do the same here. The constitution protects us - especially our right to speech. But what these theocrats want is as undeniable as it is repellent in a free or humane society.
More to the point, here is an alleged Christian demanding that those on the margins of society not be embraced, as Jesus practised, but be executed, as Jesus' Roman executioners did. It doesn't get more anti-Christian than that. To even associate the word Christianity with these sentiments is an attack on Jesus Christ.
I cannot say it any more eloquently than Andrew. Today's Christofascists are a danger to freedom of religion and a threat to constitutional government. The sooner far right conservative Christianity is extinguished the better off America and the world will be.