Rachel Maddow devoted almost half of her Wednesday show to a lengthy interview with David Bahati, author of the infamous bill in the Ugandan Parliament that calls for gay people to face life imprisonment or, in some cases, execution if they are convicted of having practiced homosexuality.
Bahati is also a member of The Family, the religious organization that carries substantial power on Capitol Hill. Before playing her interview with him, Maddow recounted some of the history of anti-gay legislation in the United States, and pointed out that they all had one thing in common: their claim that gay people were trying to "recruit" children into homosexuality.
In the eighteen-minute interview, Bahati used the same reasoning to explain his thinking behind the bill. He said he has a "passion for children" and wanted to protect them from homosexuality. He also said that, while he understood that many in the United States might see being gay as a human right, "we don't believe it's a human right in Uganda."
"You're describing one of the foundational myths about how gay people have been slandered and attacked in every country," Maddow told Bahati. "The idea, this myth that gay people are recruiting kids. Assert it as if it is baldly true, and no evidence of it is ever ever ever ever put forward in any way that can be evaluated and every responsible authority who's looked into it says that it's a myth."
Bahati said that there was substantial evidence that he would show Maddow, including the assertion that $15 million of foreign money has been poured into Uganda for the purpose of recruiting children into homosexuality. (Maddow was, needless to say, skeptical about that claim.)
Maddow asked him how gays living openly in Uganda harmed children. "It hurts my family when my child goes to school and is converted into gay...when the purpose of procreation is undermined," Bahati said.
He also said that he was concerned about following "God's law." Maddow pressed him on this point, finally getting him to acknowledge that, in his view, the "appropriate punishment" for violating God's law is death. "We need to turn to God," he said.
At the end of the interview, Maddow told Bahati he risked turning Uganda into a rogue state:
"You are promoting life imprisonment for all gay people in your country, and your country has a lot of gay people who do not want to be subject to life imprisonment. And I think the international community is trying to decide whether Uganda is going to become an international pariah, a rogue state excluded from the community of nations, because you are singling out a minority among your population for treatment that frankly is not the direction that the rest of the world is going."
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