Odd Couple of Coburn and Franken Condemn Uganda

February 22, 2010

In a case of strange political bedfellows, conservative Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has joined leftist comedian Al Franken, a Democratic senator from Minnesota, in sponsoring a bill denouncing Uganda's Christians for considering passage of legislation to outlaw certain unhealthy and immoral homosexual practices.

The original sponsor of the U.S. Senate bill (S. Res. 409) is Democratic Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin, who supports the entire "gay rights" agenda, including forcing Christian-owned businesses to accept homosexual employees under the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

Echoing the claims of liberals in the media, who have targeted Uganda for isolation and a denial of foreign aid for considering the legislation, Coburn has called it "an absurd proposal to execute gays" that somehow threatens progress against AIDS. Lesbian MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow has repeatedly referred to the legislation as the "Kill the Gays bill."

But as AIM has reported in a series of articles, this is deliberate distortion. Maddow and her media collaborators, such as Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post, have tried to obscure the fact that the government of Uganda is considering passage of the anti-homosexuality bill because of the growing concern by officials and religious leaders that foreign homosexuals and special interest groups are trying to spread homosexuality throughout the country and undermine the country's return to traditional moral values. Campaigns and groups promoting the rights of "sexual minorities" have emerged in Uganda and other African countries, with funding from billionaire George Soros, a major financial supporter of "gay rights" in the U.S.

Uganda emphasizes abstinence and monogamy in its fight against AIDS, in contrast to the reckless "safe sex" approach popularized by "progressives" in the U.S. who want to avoid finding homosexuality itself to be a dangerous "lifestyle." The U.S. Supreme Court legalized homosexual sodomy, or anal intercourse, in a controversial 2003 decision.

The Ugandan bill does provide for harsh measures against homosexual conduct, including the death penalty for such practices as pedophilia, facilitating homosexual activity, and deliberately spreading AIDS. As such, however, Ugandan Christian ministers see the legislation as a necessary and continuing part of Uganda's successful anti-AIDS effort.

But rather than wait for Uganda's legislators to work their will on the legislation, the international "gay rights" lobby has opened up a global campaign to discredit the Christians in Uganda who are supporting the bill. International "gay rights" groups have declared they will settle for nothing less than an internationally-recognized human right to practice "gay" sex. Their proposed classes of protected people on a global basis include gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and now the "transgendered," usually defined as men who want to be women, and vice versa.

Conservatives were shocked to see Coburn, a conservative leader and medical doctor, jump into bed with Feingold and Franken and other liberals to attack Uganda's legislative process and pro-family political leaders and activists. Uganda was once ruled by a homosexual pedophile King named Mwanga, who tortured and murdered Christian youth who refused his sexual advances. Their sacrifices are celebrated every June 3, Martyr's Day in the nation. This terrible period in Uganda's history has never been forgotten.   

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, a Christian who has led the country into a democratic future and has won world-wide acclaim for his anti-AIDS campaign, reacted to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's criticism of the Ugandan bill by saying he was aware of reports of foreign homosexuals targeting children in his country for sexual abuse. Clinton, who spent 45 minutes on the phone with Museveni, responded that she was not aware of any such information.

Acting at the behest of the homosexual lobby which supported him, President Barack Obama used his appearance at the National Prayer Breakfast to attack the Ugandan proposal as "odious." Ugandan Pastor Martin Ssempa responded that he found Obama to be "obsessed" with spreading homosexuality and said that he regarded the Obama Administration's support for legalized abortion to be "odious."

As if to prove Ssempa's point, Obama used his State of the Union address to reiterate that he wants open and active homosexuals to be admitted into the U.S. Armed Forces, despite their documented propensity to acquire HIV and hepatitis B and other infections. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has had a policy since 1977, the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, prohibiting male homosexuals from donating blood because of their increased risk of dangerous and life-threatening diseases.

Nevertheless, the Obama Administration recently lifted a 22-year prohibition of AIDS-infected foreigners from entering the U.S.

The new statement from the Church of Uganda greatly undermines the campaign by figures such as Professor Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College to rally Christians here and abroad against the bill. To the dismay of conservatives, Throckmorton has been openly working with the "gay rights" movement to try to sidetrack the Ugandan legislation.

The Church of Uganda statement endorses the bill, saying, "We particularly appreciate the objectives of the bill which seek to (a) provide for marriage in Uganda as contracted only between a man and woman, (b) prohibit and penalize homosexual behavior and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family, (c) prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with the provisions of the Act, and (d) prohibit the licensing of organizations which promote homosexuality."

The latter provision is an obvious means by which foreign-funded groups could be prohibited from propagandizing on Ugandan soil. It may not be consistent with Western notions of freedom of speech and press, but it represents a natural reaction to attempts by George Soros and his allies to change Ugandan laws in a pro-homosexual direction.

Senator Coburn has been urged to withdraw his sponsorship of the anti-Uganda measure and instead propose a Senate resolution denouncing Soros for interfering in Uganda's internal affairs. But there is no indication that he will do so.  

Coburn's co-sponsors, in addition to Feingold and Franken, include Democratic Senators Roland Burris, Ben Cardin, Frank Lautenberg, Carl Levin, Jeff Merkley, and liberal Republican Senator Susan Collins.

The Coburn bill claims that the Ugandan legislation would  somehow "undermine our commitment to combating HIV/AIDS globally through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by stigmatizing and criminalizing vulnerable communities." But Ugandan Pastor Martin Ssempa has praised the PEPFAR program, which was started by President Bush, and has stated that the promotion of homosexual sodomy will undermine the progress against AIDS that has been made. Ssempa is a leader in Uganda's anti-AIDS effort.

The Coburn bill insists that "religious leaders in the United States, along with representatives from the Vatican and the Anglican Church, have stated that laws criminalizing homosexuality are unjust…"

But where it really matters¯in Uganda itself¯a pastor's group that represents all of the major religious denominations supports the basic thrust of the proposed legislation. These groups include the National Fellowship of Born Again Churches, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and the Uganda Joint Christian Council, which represents the Orthodox Church in Uganda, the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda, the Islamic Office of Social Welfare in Uganda, the Born Again Faith Federation, and Ssempa's Family Policy Center.

Last December more than 200 of Uganda's top religious leaders met and supported the goal of strengthening the law against homosexuality. "The issue is," they say, "we all want the law on homosexuality, the only debate is on what penalties are appropriate."

So while Coburn and others vociferously complain about the death penalty provisions in the bill, Ugandan Christian leaders have made it clear that they can change the legislation as it proceeds through the parliamentary process and should be free to do so without threats and intimidation from members of the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration.

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