Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Need for Global LGBT Cooperation Against Anti-Gay U.S. Evangelical Extremists

As has been noted frequently on this blog, as their fortunes have dimmed in America and gay rights and gay marriage have seen increasing public acceptance and support, American Christofascists has stepped up efforts to export anti-gay hate and bigotry overseas, particularly to Africa, but also to parts of South America and counties that formerly comprised portions of the former Soviet Union.  A piece at The New Civil Rights Movement by the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights argues that LGBT individuals and organizations need to work to form a a unified, cooperative effort worldwide to defeat the Christofascists.  Here are some excerpts:

Martin Luther King famously noted in his Letter from Birmingham Jail that “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” This is particularly true of LGBTQ people in many places around the world whose fates are tied more closely together through the actions of one particular set of actors: extremist U.S. evangelicals in the business of exporting a virulent anti-gay agenda.

While 2013 has been a year of once unthinkable strides forward in the U.S., with rapidly shifting public opinion and breakthroughs on marriage equality, a look beyond our own borders reveals a different, but related trend in the opposite direction. In the very week that President Obama proclaimed our national journey towards freedom went through “Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall,” the Russian Duma passed a bill – by a vote of 390 — 1 – which would criminalize advocacy by and on behalf of LGBT people. While these events may seem unrelated, a deeper look uncovers a disturbing relationship between the advances in civil rights in the U.S. and the growing efforts to criminalize LGBTQ existence in Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Anti-gay extremists in the U.S. who have long devoted themselves to fear-mongering about the “homosexual agenda” have sought new markets abroad. As Rev. Dr. Kapya Koama, the leading researcher of this phenomenon, put it in the American Prospect, “It is homophobia, not homosexuality, that is being imported to the [African] continent by neocolonialists with an agenda: to spread U.S. culture wars worldwide.”

Exhibit A is Rev. Scott Lively, president of Abiding Truth Ministries. In the U.S., his organization is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, but in Uganda, Lively has been free from such baggage and has marketed himself as an expert on homosexuality. He has worked with prominent clerics and government officials there since 2002 to advance his rights-erasing strategies  .   .   .   . 

Lively, who  describes  LGBTQ people as evil, genocidal, brutal and above all as child predators, has as his aim the criminalization of advocacy for LGBTQ rights and works to strip away the most fundamental human rights from them. In Uganda, both state repression and extra-legal violence have been on the rise as a result of the anti-gay strategies Lively has helped orchestrate. 

While the destructive role of U.S. evangelicals in Uganda has gotten some attention, Uganda is just the tip of the iceberg. Lively himself has been active in several Eastern European countries. 

[T]he anti-gay American Center for Law and Justice, a Pat Robertson outfit, has recently expanded its international presence from Africa to South America, where it has set up shop in Brazil. These anti-gay evangelicals’ efforts, as Lively’s work exemplifies, go beyond fighting civil rights advances to eradicating basic, fundamental rights for LGBTQ people.

Those in the U.S. committed to the full civil and human rights of all people, including LGBTQ people, have a particular obligation in this situation.   .   .   .   .   it is very much our responsibility to speak out and do all we can to keep them from doing further harm. LGBTQ people around the world are fighting for their lives and their rights on their own terms on their own turf. Standing in solidarity with them, our most useful contribution to their struggles is to address the American origins of the attacks on their rights and existence.

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