Ugandan homophobia-Anti-imperialism as a hand-washing strategy

Published: March 11, 2010

Ugandan homophobia-Anti-imperialism as a hand-washing strategy

MY COLLEAGUE Lexington notes that people have been arguing over the role of Western evangelicals in promoting homophobia in Africa, notably in Uganda’s proposed law that prescribes the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality". Lexington cites Philip Jenkins, the expert on global Christianity, as arguing that the claim that African homophobia is imported from Western evangelicals is "bunk".

Gay-bashing in Uganda was common long before any American preachers showed up and gave unpleasant speeches. Rivalry between Islam and Christianity for adherents ensures that preachers of both faiths compete to offer the most anti-gay vision, because that is what a lot of Ugandans want. As in many parts of Africa, openly gay people risk being lynched. The idea that Africans are passive puppets waiting to be told what to do by Americans is both wrong and insulting, says Mr Jenkins.

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