On Christmas, most people celebrate by giving each other gifts. But this year, the people of Uganda will receive for Christmas something that will not come wrapped in shiny paper. Recently clerics in Uganda requested that Uganda pass a law as, “a Christmas gift.”
Before 2012 is over, an anti-gay bill will become a law in Uganda. While many countries in Africa have made homosexuality illegal, Uganda will go a step further. Once in place, the law will impose harsh punishments on those engaging in criminal acts.
Initially, the bill proposed that those involved in “aggravated homosexuality” (which included acts of homosexuality with minors, repeated homosexual offenders, and acts of homosexuality by a person infected with AIDS) face the death penalty. This clause, however, has been removed, but those committing “aggravated homosexuality” will still be punished, facing life imprisonment.
This law, according to Ugandan parliamentarian David Bahati, was created in order to protect Ugandan children. Bahati believed that wealthy homosexuals were seducing children into the gay lifestyle with false promises.
Looking through the descriptions of the future law online, I was depressed, not only by the law, but by the comments that people were posting about the law. While a vast majority of the comments were against the law, there were still a fair amount that supported it. I saw comments like “There’s NOTHING you can do about it. Tissue? Now they’ll get more money. :-),” and “Maybe America can learn something!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and “This bill should passed else it will keep on handing around our heads like a nuclear cloud.”
It’s bad enough that an entire country is planning to persecute a people group, but it’s sad when Americans, free as we are, revel in the persecution of our fellow humankind. We talk about what a shame the Holocaust was, and how terrible the genocide in Rwanda has been, but somehow we continue to tear down our fellow humans, whether physically or verbally.
While we seem to think we’ve come a long way, and that somehow we’re more evolved and civilized than our ancestors, it seems like we haven’t changed a bit, but our objects of contempt simply shift with time. Whether Ugandan or American, maybe it’s time we looked inside ourselves and see the brutality of which we’re capable — whether it’s physically harming someone or making fun of them. We can all be better. Let’s start by not using Uganda as an example.