Why the Village People Don't Play Kampala

If you showed up for church one Sunday, and the priest (or reverend or rabbi or imam or whoever) showed the congregation some gay pornography, what would you think?
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I'm not sure if any of you have been following the news coming out of Uganda lately, but if you haven't, I think it's about time you got caught up to speed. The situation over there has become so ludicrous that this columnist can no longer sit idly by and not make fun of it.

First, however, I want to pose a hypothetical question: If you showed up for church one Sunday, and the priest (or reverend or rabbi or imam or whoever) showed the congregation some gay pornography, what would you think?

Maybe you'd think it was great, and you'd tell your friends, and they'd start going to that church with you each week in the hopes of seeing more. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Chances are, though, that instead you'd wonder why someone would show gay porn at church. I know that would probably be my first reaction. Actually, my first reaction would be to get up and leave, but after that I'm sure confusion would set in, and I'd wonder why God wanted me to spend my Sunday morning watching men having sex with each other. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume most of you would be similarly befuddled.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I feel it's only fair to say that I haven't read the Bible. As far as I know it could be chock full of gay sex. I know that sort of thing was supposedly going on back in Sodom and Gomorrah, but if memory serves, God wiped those places out for exactly that reason, so, again, I'd be left wondering why my priest was showing me gay porn. (Insert your own Catholic joke here. I'm not going there.)

OK, more disclosure: I lied. That was not really a hypothetical question at all. The situation described above actually took place recently in Uganda, where Pastor Martin Ssempa showed said porn to his flock to drum up support for a proposed law that would make homosexuality, which is already considered a crime in Uganda, punishable by the death penalty in some cases.

Pastor Ssempa justified his decision to show the gay porn by saying, "In Africa, what you do in your bedroom affects our clan, it affects our tribe, it affects our nation. ... We are in the process of legislation, and we have to educate ourselves about what homosexuals do."

I'm not gay, and I haven't watched any gay porn, but I have seen some straight porn, and I can tell you as a heterosexual that it's not exactly what heterosexuals "do." I mean, sure, maybe there are some lucky stiffs out there who get to, but for the majority of us, porn-style sex isn't a big part of our lives. I can only assume the same thing holds true for homosexuals.

To claim that porn is what gay people do and use that as justification for killing them is ... well ... I'll let Nthateng Mhlambiso, from the African gay rights group Behind the Mask, sum it up for me: "Showing pornography in church in the presence of minors is twisted homophobic propaganda ... It is not surprising, but rather disappointing, that in Africa in the 21st century yet again discrimination and prejudice is legitimized through religion."

So by now you may be wondering how Ugandans got the idea for a bill making homosexuality punishable by death in the first place. Surely such an idea could only have been dreamed up in a place as backwards as Africa, right? Wrong.

The bill was first proposed in April 2009, a month after a seminar held by Ugandan pastor Stephen Langa. One of the keynote speakers at the seminar was American Scott Lively, an anti-gay activist and author of the book The Pink Swastika, which attempts to draw links between homosexuals and the Nazi Party.

Langa essentially quoted Lively verbatim in helping to compile the bill, which included full paragraphs of Lively's work in its first draft. Thus, the idea to kill gay people is more or less an American one. Granted, it's the idea of a few sick, evil Americans, but Americans nonetheless.

Now, as I said, I haven't read the Bible, and I don't know much about God, but I certainly hope that if God exists he would never condone killing anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation. And if somehow God is OK with gay porn being shown in his house ... I'll be honest; I'd have no idea what to make of that.

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