Post-Gazette Runs Piece on Uganda

If you have been sort of “meh” about immigration <ahem> reform in Arizona and/or international affairs that don't involve sporting events, you should take a quick read of this piece in today's Post-Gazette, reprinted from the New York Times.

Not only is Uganda attempting to make gay advocacy illegal and potentially punish gay people with the death penalty, but Americans are helping them out in the name of “religious liberty.”  Yes, religious freedom to persecute the gay community in a very poor African nation is a high priority for certain American pastors. 

Though not originally linked to the Ugandan legislation, [Kansas City evangelist Lou] Engle has long been a controversial figure in the United States for his views on homosexuality. During California's referendum on same-sex marriage in 2008, he called homosexuality a “spirit of lawlessness.”

Before arriving here last week, Mr. Engle came out with a statement condemning the harsh penalties proposed in the bill, and said that his ministry could not support it. But when he took the stage late on Sunday afternoon, with Ugandan politicians and pastors looking on, he praised the country's “courage” and “righteousness” in promoting the bill.

“NGOs, the U.N., Unicef, they are all coming in here and promoting an agenda,” Mr. Engle said, referring to nongovernmental organizations. “Today, America is losing its religious freedom. We are trying to restrain an agenda that is sweeping through the education system. Uganda has become ground zero.”

If a bill that penalizes homosexuality (which is already illegal in Uganda) is ground zero, what the hell does that mean for us here in the US?  If our own spiritual leaders (self-proclaimed or otherwise) are leading pro-hate-bill rallies, what that mean for the rallying cries we can expect from the wingnuts in the coming months, especially if they are successful in getting the bill through in Uganda? 
We've been covering this legislation since December. Stay tuned. Don't be complacent. Being gay should not be grounds to be executed. 
BTW, WYEP's American Shorts series is focusing on Immigration and Pittsburgh in July. 
With highly-ranked universities and growing arts, medical, financial, and technological sectors, Pittsburgh is evolving into a global city. In this economic and social climate, the stakes for the city as well as its incoming international residents are high. This event explores Pittsburgh's past, present, and future response to immigration and addresses the high stakes for Pittsburgh in rejuvenating our community through the engine of immigration. 

Combining personal, creative, and historical narratives, “The Immigration Stakes” examines themes of relocation and finding new national identity. Local music performance and a short film screening will accompany the program of short readings and conversation. 



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