Monday, December 21, 2009

The Family and Uganda's "Anti-Homosexuality Bill"

I spoke to Andrew Harmon of The Advocate, America's oldest LGBT magazine, about the Family and Uganda. Writes Andrew:
With mounting international pressure on Uganda to table the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, even key members of the Family — the secretive evangelical group with extensive links to Capitol Hill that has dominated headlines in recent weeks — has spoken out against the draconian legislation authored by one of its own Ugandan members.

Whether the plea falls on deaf ears is unclear. But passage of the bill could mean death sentences for gays and lesbians in one of Africa’s most homophobic countries — as well as severe restrictions for nongovernmental organizations working to combat HIV/AIDS in the region.

A near-nightly subject of cable news programs led by MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, the Family has cultivated relationships over decades with Ugandan political leaders, ostensibly in order to export its brand of fundamentalism to the developing nation. David Bahati, a Ugandan politician and the author of the bill, is a Family member who organizes the Ugandan equivalent of the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast — the latter being an annual event that’s become a staple of Beltway politics and has been attended by every sitting U.S. president since 1953.

With the bill currently before a Ugandan parliament committee, Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, talks to about why some Family members have spoken out and why President Obama should finally stare down the Christian right by skipping the yearly prayer event that President Dwight D. Eisenhower hoped would never become a tradition for sitting presidents.

You can read the rest of the interview at