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O Uganda, um dos muitos países do mundo que criminaliza a homossexualidade, prepara-se para aprovar uma lei anti-homossexualidade verdadeiramente criminosa. Actualmente,  as autoridades ugandesas podem condenar a 14 anos de cadeia homossexuais e doentes com SIDA. A nova legislação passa a pena para prisão perpétua ou sentença de morte, no caso de «homossexualidade agravada», e aplica-se mesmo a ugandeses que residam fora do país que, de acordo com o texto da lei, devem ser extraditados para o Uganda para serem julgados. Por outro lado, todos os que saibam de actos homossexuais e não os denunciem arriscam-se a uma pena de prisão de 3 anos no mínimo. Quem de alguma forma «auxilie» homossexuais, seja no aluguer de casas ou quejandos, passará pelo menos 7 anos na prisão. Tudo indica ainda que o Uganda está pronto para cortar relações com outros países e organizações internacionais de forma a poder implementar a nova lei,  que foi escrita em resposta a uma campanha dinamizada por igrejas evangélicas, como nos informa o Guardian num artigo que vale a pena ler na íntegra. Vale igualmente a pena ler o « Unmasking Uganda's 'Born Again' Fad» num jornal local, o Independent ugandês.

 

The Rev. Esau Omara, a senior church leader, said over the weekend that any lawmaker opposing the bill will pay for it during the next election, according to local newspaper reports.

And a leading Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ramathan Shaban Mubajje, has called for gays to be rounded up and banished to an island until they die. (CNN)

 

An interesting fall out of the international outrage at Uganda’s anti-homosexuality Bill has been the unmasking of fundamentalist forces driving the born-again hype in Uganda. Ugandans witnessed a wave of evangelical frenzy across the country as papyrus reed churches mushroomed around the country recruiting people for Jesus and the NRM-O. By the 2000s ‘born again’ churches had become powerful political mobilization centers for the Movement government with the President making appearances alongside ‘born again’ pastors who went beyond praying for sinners to mobilizing them to vote for the government. Some went as far as prophesying election results while predicting evil against the government’s opponents.

By 2000 it was also an open secret that in order to get a job in the right place or marry into certain families one needed to be born again. One dangerous ramification of this trend was the miracle churches that claimed to cure everything from blindness to HIV AIDS. Uganda attracted all kinds of miracle pastors including one from West Africa who was arrested at the Airport with a miracle making machine that transmitted low voltage electricity through the Pastor to unsuspecting sinners seeking a miracle!
In the mid 2000 we saw the entry of the First Lady in elective politics. In her debut campaigns she was known not only to throw around her husband’s name but also the name of God as the power behind her calling to competitive politics. Within a short while of winning a Parliamentary seat she was made a member of the Cabinet and she continued to champion an
anti-condom pro abstinence campaign to prevent HIV/AIDS. In the meantime American Pastors continued to pour into Uganda to pray for our sins and make some money while First Daughter Patience Museveni opened her own ‘Born Again Church.
Except for the small nuisances of election theft, political persecution of opponents, massive corruption, state instigated torture and murder; it appeared as though Uganda was set to become a major God-fearing nation. (Independent)

 

At the same time, some influential religious leaders have warned about the dangers of accepting liberal western attitudes towards homosexuality.

Both opponents and supporters agree that the impetus for the a more hardline law came in March during a seminar in Kampala to "expose the truth behind homosexuality and the homosexual agenda".

The main speakers were three US evangelists: Scott Lively, Don Schmierer and Caleb Lee Brundidge. Lively is a noted anti-gay activist and president of Defend the Family International, a conservative Christian association, while Schmierer is an author who works with "homosexual recovery groups". Brundidge is a "sexual reorientation coach" at the International Healing Foundation.

The seminar was organised by Stephen Langa, a Ugandan electrician turned pastor who runs the Family Life Network in Kampala and has been spreading the message that gays are targeting schoolchildren for "conversion". "They give money to children to recruit schoolmates – once you have two children, the whole school is gone," he said in an interview. Asked if there had been any court case to prove this was happening, he replied: "No, that's why this law is needed."

After the conference Langa arranged for a petition signed by thousands of concerned parents to be delivered to parliament in April. Within a few months the bill had been drawn up.(Guardian)

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Isabel Moreira

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