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Is the US religious right fuelling the anti-gay lobby in Africa?

Posted on Tuesday, 1 June 2010 11:07

Anti-gay sentiment remains on the rise across Africa, despite the release on 29 May of two Malawian men sentenced to prison for their sexuality. We ask if it is being stoked by the US religious right.

Join in the debate below.

“The right is dishing out thousands of dollars”

David Kuria, manager, Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya

Even at the best of times, advocating for homosexual rights in Africa is an incredibly difficult task. Now, with religious conservatives dishing out tens of thousands of dollars to influence the course of legislation in Africa, the task has become even more difficult – though not impossible. The irony of African support for American religious-right extremism on this issue is mind-boggling, if only because in condemning homosexuality they try to appeal to African culture and national identity. That the same evangelists, or at least their precursors, condemned African cultures as being demonic, savage and barbaric is something that seems to escape their own awareness. Homosexual-rights advocates will eventually win in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and other parts of Africa, as they have done elsewhere in the world. We could do with less of the religious interference.

“We do not have any funding whatsoever”

Pastor Martin Ssempa, HIV/AIDS campaigner, Uganda

Urban legend has it that Africans hate homosexuality because someone in America paid us to hate it. They are looking for someone to blame. If it was true, Americans would have succeeded in fighting homosexuality in America. There is $14m that’s funding the pro-homosexual efforts in Uganda, in East Africa. This is funded by the Ford Foundation, the Mama Cash Foundation in the Netherlands, as well as many other groups. We do not have any funding whatsoever from America to fight homosexuality. I don’t know anyone called The Family [a US-based religious group on the right]. However, I know a man called Barack Obama – as well as Hillary Clinton and Gordon Brown – have vowed to use their resources to shove homosexuality down our throats. Every time we are disappointed at the hypocrisy of Obama. Every time he stands up to speak in Africa he has said that we must have gay rights in Africa whether we like it or not. That is so divisive and so anti-African.

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