Tag Archives: Christian justice

Gay Man Beaten to Death by Religious Zealots

The New York Times has the story.

NAIROBI, Kenya — An outspoken Ugandan gay activist whose picture recently appeared in an anti-gay newspaper under the headline “Hang Them” was beaten to death in his home, Ugandan police said on Thursday.

David Kato, the activist, was one of the most visible defenders of gay rights in a country so homophobic that government leaders have proposed to execute gay people. Mr. Kato and other gay people in Uganda had recently warned that their lives were endangered, and four months ago a local paper called Rolling Stone published a list of gay people, and Mr. Kato’s face was on the front page.

He was attacked in his home Wednesday afternoon and beaten in the head with a hammer, said Judith Nabakooba, a police spokeswoman. But police officials said they don’t believe this was a hate crime.

“It looks like theft, as some things were stolen,” Mrs. Nabakooba said.

Gay activists disagreed and said Mr. Kato was singled out for his outspoken defense of gay rights. “David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. Evangelicals in 2009,” said Val Kalende, the chairperson of one of Uganda’s gay rights groups, in a statement. “The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S. evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood!”

Mrs. Kalende was referring to visits in March 2009 by a group of American evangelicals who held anti-gay rallies and church leaders who authored the anti-gay bill, which is still pending, attended those meetings and said that they had worked with the Americans on their bill.

Don’t you hate the way Muslims Christians are always resorting to violence? You’d almost think that Jesus ever said anything about homosexuality.

I’m guessing press coverage here would be slightly different if we had any reason to believe the murderers were Muslims. “Honor killing” springs to mind. But when it’s Christians, they don’t even mention it.

Take David Bahati, for instance, the Ugandan MP who introduced the “death-to-gays” bill. His Wikipedia entry makes no mention of his religion (Christian). Think it’d be the same if he were Muslim?

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More On Exporting Religious Hatred

The New York Times has a story about the American Christian evangelicals whose anti-homosexual teachings spurred a proposed law in Uganda that called for the execution of homosexuals.

For three days, according to participants and audio recordings, thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians, listened raptly to the Americans, who were presented as experts on homosexuality. The visitors discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” whose goal is “to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.”

Now the three Americans are finding themselves on the defensive, saying they had no intention of helping stoke the kind of anger that could lead to what came next: a bill to impose a death sentence for homosexual behavior.

Oh, they were just fine with it until the American public started making a fuss about it.
Good for the New York Times. You can read the rest of the article there.

But it’s not just these fringe weirdos. Friendly old evangelical Rick Warren was on board with the Uganda death penalty for homosexuality law, too.

Pastor Rick Warren — whom President Obama controversially chose to deliver the invocation at his inauguration — is now refusing to condemn Bahati’s bill, which has been endorsed by Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa. Ssempa has been welcomed by Warren’s family and made appearances at his church. Newsweek reports that although Warren has distanced himself from Ssempa’s views, he won’t come out against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:

The fundamental dignity of every person, our right to be free, and the freedom to make moral choices are gifts endowed by God, our creator. However, it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.

On Meet the Press yesterday, Warren reiterated, “As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides.” He has, however, said that abortion is a “holocaust” and pushed for the passage of California’s Prop. 8.

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Children in the Hands of an Angry God

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”–Exodus 22:18 (for a long and interesting story about how “witch” here should be “poisoner,” check here).

MSNBC reported in October:

EKET, Nigeria – The 9-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall.

His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.

A month later, he died.

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.

Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

Renegade branches, huh? How convenient that Christians can get away with pulling out the No True Scotsman fallacy every time and get away with it. Christ is the Prince of Peace, notwithstanding his saying, “I bring not peace, but a sword,” whereas Islam gets stuck trying to explain that no, actually, Islam specifically forbids that kind of behavior, but nobody listens.

For their part, the families are often extremely poor, and sometimes even relieved to have one less mouth to feed. Poverty, conflict and poor education lay the foundation for accusations, which are then triggered by the death of a relative, the loss of a job or the denunciation of a pastor on the make, said Martin Dawes, a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Good luck with that excuse, Mr Dawes. Nobody ever buys that female genital mutilation, for example, is a regional tradition and has nothing to do with Islam, so it’s only fair that nobody believe that Christianity itself isn’t the cause of killing and mutilating young children.

“When communities come under pressure, they look for scapegoats,” he said. “It plays into traditional beliefs that someone is responsible for a negative change … and children are defenseless.”

The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire.

Nigeria is one of the heartlands of abuse, but hardly the only one: the United Nations Children’s Fund says tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout Africa.

Church signs sprout around every twist of the road snaking through the jungle between Uyo, the capital of the southern Akwa Ibom state where Nwanaokwo lay, and Eket, home to many more rejected “witch children.” Churches outnumber schools, clinics and banks put together. Many promise to solve parishioner’s material worries as well as spiritual ones — eight out of ten Nigerians struggle by on less than $2 a day.

“Pray your way to riches,” advises Embassy of Christ a few blocks away.

It’s hard for churches to carve out a congregation with so much competition. So some pastors establish their credentials by accusing children of witchcraft.

I hope this doesn’t catch on in the United States.

The Nigerian church is a branch of a Californian church by the same name. But the California church says it lost touch with its Nigerian offshoots several years ago.

I love this article because it’s not afraid to proclaim that Christians, evangelicals specifically, are killing and torturing and maiming children. The word “pastor” appears 19 times.

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On a completely different note, I recommend reading this article by Glenn Greenwald in Salon: The Joy of Airstrikes and Anonymity.

Excerpt:

Yet over and over and over, it turns out that these anonymous government assertions — trumpeted by our mindless media — are completely false. The Big Bad Guy allegedly killed in the strike ends up nowhere near the bombs and missiles. Sometimes, the very same Big Bad Guy can be used to justify different strikes over the course of many years (we know we said we killed him four times before, but this time we’re pretty sure we got him), or he can turn up alive when it’s time to re-trumpet the Al Qaeda threat (we said before we killed him in that devastating airstrike, but actually he’s alive and more dangerous than ever!!). Just like the “we killed 30 extremists” claim or the “we got Al Qaeda’s Number 3” boast, this is propaganda in its purest form, disseminated jointly by the U.S. Government and American media, and it happens over and over, compelling a rational person to conclude that it’s clearly intentional by both parties.

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Let me also a link to this post over at Gawker: US Economy Crippled by Churches.

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God’s Will Holds Sway in Court

Once again we’re traveling to a backwards land where the inhabitants don’t enjoy the separation of church and state. The bronze age denizens here consulted their terrifying holy book in deciding the fate of man accused of murder during a robbery, admittedly a heinous crime.

The brave folks at Amnesty International ventured to that benighted realm to investigate and shine the light of truth on the situation.

After the trial, evidence emerged that jurors had consulted the Bible during their sentencing deliberations. At a hearing in June 1999, four of the jurors recalled that several Bibles had been present and highlighted passages had been passed around.

One juror had read aloud from the Bible to a group of fellow jurors, including the passage, “And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death”.

The judge ruled that the jury had not acted improperly and this was upheld by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

In 2002, a Danish journalist interviewed a fifth juror. The latter said that “about 80 per cent” of the jurors had “brought scripture into the deliberation”, and that the jurors had consulted the Bible “long before we ever reached a verdict”.

He told the journalist he believed “the Bible is truth from page 1 to the last page”, and that if civil law and biblical law were in conflict, the latter should prevail. He said that if he had been told he could not consult the Bible, “I would have left the courtroom”. He described himself as a death penalty supporter, saying life imprisonment was a “burden” on the taxpayer.

In 2008, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the jurors had “crossed an important line” by consulting specific passages in the Bible that described the very facts at issue in the case. This amounted to an “external influence” on the jury prohibited under the US Constitution.

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