There are many things I could write about today. Sexual rights are human rights, and in too many places in the world (and in the United States) they are denied. The right to bodily integrity, the right to live one's sexual orientation and gender identity without fear of discrimination or violence, the right to marry, the right to reproductive health care, the right for adults to make consensual sexual decisions without governmental interference, the right to information...the list is long.
But, the most horrific example for today is the anti-gay bill that is proposed in Uganda. Read it here. It criminalizes same sex sexual behavior, which is punishable by seven years in jail for a first time, unless the person has HIV and then it is punishable by life imprisonment or death. Allies who who "aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality commits an offense and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years. Same sex couples who marry are to be imprisoned for life. A Ugandan citizen living an another country who commits "such offenses" can be extradited for trial.
This proposed law is an unspeakable outrage against humanity, and religious leaders are speaking out. According to GLAAD,
- The United Church of Christ Global Ministries department spoke out;
- The Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued a statement;
- Canon Gideon Byamugisha, a prominent member of Uganda's Anglican Church, took a stand and described the bill as "state-legislated genocide;”
- Swedish, British and Canadian government officials have urged Uganda's President Museveni to drop the law.
What can YOU do?
Become educated about what's being proposed. Tell your friends and colleagues. Here are some suggestions from GLAAD's faith program:
- If you oversee many congregations, email a pastoral letter for human rights day
- Issue a press release and hold a press conference on Human Rights day
- Preach a sermon about all of us being created in God’s image;
- Contact faith leaders in your tradition and other traditions and urge them to write letters and take a public stand.
Join the letter writing campaign to the Ugandan Minister of Ethics and Integrity. Tell him that your faith teaches you that all humans have dignity and worth and that sexual diversity is part of God's blessing. Tell him that it is immoral to violate human rights because of a person's sexual orientation. Tell him that the world is watching.
Here's the address:
Hon. Dr. James Nsaba Buturo
Minister of Ethics and Integrity
Office of the President, Parliamentary Building
P. O. Box 7168
Let Your Voice Be Heard.