Ugandan Pastor Preaching Lies, American Church: Where Are You?
So, Rick Warren’s wing-man in Uganda, Martin Ssempa, thinks he’s found photographic evidence that’s the debate winner in the Kill The Gays argument in his country. Small problem, though: he’s found photos of poop fetishism, which for those of you who don’t know, is not the same as homosexuality. Ssempa:
“I want to show you from their website. I’ve taken the time to research what homosexuals do in the privacy of their bedroom. It is inhuman, it is animalistic, and it cannot be right. I want to show you these pictures.
I want to say homosexuals eat each other’s poop. Homosexuals stick their hands into their rectum. Homosexuals stick all sorts of deviant sexual things into their rectum. I want to show you this is from their website. So the first picture that I want to show you, you can see this man has just eaten the other person’s poo poo and is rubbing it on his mouth, and I’m going to ask that we print for each of you a photocopy of this story so you get it fully.
Then, of course, they are grabbing each other’s gentials (sic), that is level number one, touching each other, grabbing each other. Then number three, now they are licking each other’s anus and are licking poop. And they call poo poo, chocolate. You see it is a change of words. I want you to see, Sheikh please forgive me but I want these people to see, they say a picture is worth one thousand words. This is a man eating the other person’s poo poo, can you see that one? Please from BBC, I want you to tell them, we know what they do.”
First of all, rarely have I read comments that so clearly demonstrate a man’s ignorance and the power of myth. That Ssempa is treated with respect, that his opinions are given any creedence, is a testament to the ignorance of many Ugandan people (please note that I’m not blaming them for their ignorance, just stating that they are ignorant of the true nature of homosexuality). He went to “their website”?! Maybe he can tell me their email address so I can know how to get in touch with the gays. And he then sees some evil plot in calling “poo poo” “chocolate”? My head is spinning.
But it is all too true that there are millions of people around the world who believe these kinds of kind of stories. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ssempa actually believed that all gay people like to eat solid waste. And the fact that this preposterous myth is used as motivation for violence and discrimination is deeply, deeply, saddening.
What is inexcusable, however, is when people who know better (coughcough Rick Warren cough) are reluctant to rebuke or correct these myths. It is, in fact, deeply patronizing of Western Christian intellectuals to allow this kind of crap to flourish in 3rd world churches. If an American made these comments, he or she would (rightfully) get the Fred Phelps treatment of Robust Condemnation. But if it happens to be said by A Bedraggled Dark Person Who Lives In A Land Without Clean Water, silence reigns.
For the second time today, and in the interest of me doing my small part to help destroy some myths, allow me to quote a Barna Group study. And, may I be clear: this isn’t just for Ugandan Christians. Americans, you too need to pay attention.
After researching and polling the opinions of both homosexual and heterosexual Christians, The Barna Group found that:
“Out of the 20 faith-oriented attributes examined in the Barna study, there were just a few in which there were no significant differences between the heterosexual and homosexual populations. The areas of similarity included the facts that a small minority of people in both groups believe that Satan is real; equivalent percentages of these groups feel they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs with others who believe differently; similar numbers of people from each group contend that good people can earn their way into Heaven through their goodness; and rates of participation in house churches is about the same for both groups.
“People who portray gay adults as godless, hedonistic, Christian bashers are not working with the facts,” declared the best-selling author of numerous books about faith and culture. “A substantial majority of gays cite their faith as a central facet of their life, consider themselves to be Christian, and claim to have some type of meaningful personal commitment to Jesus Christ active in their life today.
“It is interesting to see that most homosexuals, who have some history within the Christian Church, have rejected orthodox biblical teachings and principles – but, in many cases, to nearly the same degree that the heterosexual Christian population has rejected those same teachings and principles. Although there are clearly some substantial differences in the religious beliefs and practices of the straight and gay populations, there may be less of a spiritual gap between straights and gays than many Americans would assume.”
I know it’s tempting to continue to choose narrative over facts, and I know it’s difficult to change your worldview when presented with new facts, but when people’s rights and lives are on the line, I hope you have the courage to do what’s right: admit your wrong and start educating the people around you.