Google+
Monday 28th of July 2014 09:24:56 PM
 

You buy the Truth, we pay the Price
Banner
 

Museveni and Abraham Lincoln

E-mail Print PDF

How the two leaders faced a dilemma of transcending their prejudices to make history and how each reacted

On Sunday while browsing television channels at home, I chanced upon the movie, Lincoln. It is an amazing film about how US President Abraham Lincoln pushed through Congress the 13th Amendment that ended slavery. During the debate, white supremacists defend slavery by arguing that black people are not equal to whites. They challenge supporters of the amendment to defend racial equality knowing that doing so before a white electorate, convinced of its racial superiority, was political suicide.

Throughout the debate, nature, religion and culture are brought in to defend slavery and racial discrimination. White supremacists argue that it is “against the order of nature” for white people to sit at the same table, leave alone have sex, with black people. They bring forth evidence from the Bible to justify their racism. They also argue that racial equality is against “American values.”

In spite of all this, many Congressmen hold firm to their conviction of racial equality. But arguing this way would mobilise opposition to their point of view. So instead they argue for “equality for all races before the law.” This trick works, and Congress passes the amendment by a margin of two votes. And this after Lincoln has cajoled, bribed, and blackmailed many Congressmen.

The movie came as a reminder of the struggle against another cultural prejudice in Uganda – the one against homosexuals. Last week many Ugandan “Christians” were using the Bible to justify their support for President Yoweri Museveni’s assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

I was besieged on social media with Biblical references backed by a holier-than-thou attitude. Yet Uganda is a secular state, not a Christian theocracy. We cannot impose Biblical morality on believers of other faiths or non-believers. Indeed, even within Christianity, there is no agreement that the state should usurp the powers of God to punish human sin.

Although I am not a practicing Christian, I am a Christian by upbringing and I read the Bible regularly. My interest in Jesus is not as a Son of God but as a moral philosopher. It would be difficult to use Jesus’ teachings to persecute homosexuals with prison sentences.

In Matthew 7:1, Jesus warns that “do not judge others so that God will not judge you.” Upon finding a crowd about to stone a woman to death for committing adultery, as was actually provided in the old law, Jesus says: “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.” They all walk away. Where his disciples complained about the attention he gave to those considered unworthy, Jesus said he had not come for the virtuous but for the sinners. On almost every single issue where today’s church leaders and other Christian-moralists judge, condemn, denounce and call for punishment, Jesus took or would have taken a more accommodating position.

Throughout his teachings, Jesus condemned many sins but not once did he mention homosexuality. I have read the New Testament back and forth and I cannot find one reference where Jesus condemns homosexuals. The reference to homosexuals in the New Testament is in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 6:9 and it says: “Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral or worship idols or are adulterers or homosexual perverts or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieves – none of these will possess God’s Kingdom.” Homosexuality is mentioned as one among eight other sins with no special attention given to it.

Even in the Old Testament (Genesis and Leviticus) where God issues an edict on “forbidden sexual practices,” homosexuality again comes among a long list that includes adultery, incest and fornication – the sins our Christian moralists indulge in daily. Jesus would ask them how they seem obsessed with a speck in the eyes of homosexuals when they have a log in their own. The Old Testament prohibits many other things – eating pork, envy, slander, greed, etc. If we make all these sins crimes deserving a prison sentence, 100% of adult Ugandans would go to jail. So why choose to be revolted by homosexuality and not these other sins?  Nowhere in the Bible does God say homosexuality is a worse sin than others.

Those using the teachings of the Old Testament to support their prejudices would find themselves in intractable contradictions. The Old Testament (Dueteronomy 23) says anyone born out of wedlock or has been castrated will not enter the Kingdom of God; even a descendant of that person up to the tenth generation will not enter the kingdom of God. In 19th century Europe, this was used to demonise such children, calling them bastards.  Genesis 17 has a similar fate for those who are not circumcised. None of our Christian moralists who use the Old Testament to promote hate against homosexuals stands a chance of going to heaven under its dos and don’ts.

Therefore, if we insist on a law sending adulterers, liars, the envious, fornicators etc to life imprisonment, the entire leadership of our country – in politics, business, academia, the church, youth, students and in our clans would head for prison. Indeed, I am sure many of those reading this article will slander me in the comments on our website accusing me of having been paid by the West to write it – a factor that should give them a life sentence as well. Thus, the repulsion Ugandans feel against gays has little to do with religious belief but deeply entrenched prejudice born of bigotry and intolerance.

It is sad that Church leaders who should be the voice of Christ’s teaching on tolerance are the ones seeking to rely on the repressive institutions of the state to send homosexuals to jail for life. In a country teaming with robbers, thieves, rapists, liars, the greedy and the envious whose actions harm others, it is disheartening that our religious leaders are pursuing people whose “sin” does not harm anyone else. May be a return to Jesus’ teachings by religious leaders is much more necessary now than a persecution of homosexuals.

Abraham Lincoln was a racist who publicly argued that black people were not equal to white people and should therefore remain in an inferior status, just like Museveni admits to being a homophobe. Yet when confronted with an opportunity to transcend his prejudices and make history by defending something most white Americans disagreed with, Lincoln grabbed the chance. When faced with a similar opportunity, Museveni (whose position on gays has been more progressive than Lincoln’s position on racial equality) allowed short term political considerations to blind his judgment.

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 


Comments (27)Add Comment
...
written by Marvin ya Kuku, March 10, 2014
Andrew putting up a rigid defence for homos hehehehe. Now if only you could defend Rwanda and Ug leadership objectively as this it would make your life with a large section of your critics a lot easier. Understandably, your conclusions would be contentious but still, if you showed a modicum of objectivity in your political arguments it would be very good.
...
written by anumwo, March 10, 2014
I smiled through the article - nice one! Indeeed if we want a Christian theocracy, let all sins be punished (including lusting after people - which is equivalent to adultery by Jesus' measures)!
...
written by byabazaire, March 10, 2014
Andrew you have argued well and your article is quite convincing for a liberal mind or for a person who is fed up of this AHA (anti homosexual act). The church you are preaching to stands on Anti-Jesus principles. As Bernard Shaw wrote in the prologue to his play Joan of the Arc that 'Jesus came to remove superstition but Paul put it back but this time with Jesus as its basis'. That is why you may look at how christians go about worshipping Jesus and see no difference with how animists and those who implore spiritual intervention by other means do it. The homo debate will be won and i do not think in the far future. M7 by his actions seems to be looking for his Achilles heel which he will definitely find.
...
written by Bakampa Brian Baryaguma, March 10, 2014
If Mr Mwenda's problem is an absence of an enabling law on all the sins he has mentioned, let him sponsor a Bill to parliament criminalizing them and it will be debated upon and may be considered for legislation. Otherwise, for now we are happy that one of the Biblical sins that Mr Mwenda is apparently obsessed with has been sorted out legally and we shall be glad to keep it that way.

For now I invite Mr Mwenda and all those who agree with him to read my letter to President Obama and respond to the issues raised therein. The letter is available here http://www.bbbakampa.blogspot....ndas.html.
...
written by ojfrog, March 11, 2014
Mr. Bakampa, this is quite a piece you have addressed to President Obama. Unfortunately I cannot find in your article reasons why homosexuality is a crime and therefore must be criminalized in Uganda. You go about discussing and referring to homosexuality as being inherently wrong or rather considered wicked in our society. However I would like to remind you that the majority are not always right.
...
written by ojfrog, March 11, 2014
Just for examples considering the abolition of slavery in the world. A referendum at the time in say the U.S.A on this matter would have turned out in support of Slavery. A few years later there were endless debates on the right of coloureds to vote, get a decent education, health care, job promotions and salaries. Another referendum at the time would have trounced this motion of equal rights between whites and coloureds. In fact J.F Kennedy was a victim of struggling for such equality.
...
written by ojfrog, March 11, 2014
Today, you can use the above analogy on the rights for homosexuals; many like you refer to yourselves as decent, morally upright and religious in putting to knife the rights of other humans to indulge in their private sexual habits. I get disappointed at the failure of people like you to realize that freedoms are not about how one or his culture and beliefs feel.
...
written by ojfrog, March 11, 2014
Freedoms are about everyone, not about majority groups. For example, should a Muslim community deny non-Muslims the right to worship in their own ways or eat certain foods? Think about these things before you declare some rights not worthwhile. If freedoms were to be about the majority strictly then Slavery would be on-going in the U.S.A and some parts of Europe. Gay rights just like any other human rights must be observed. And no one should lie to you that In a pro-gay community, vices such as rape, defilement, molestation are accepted. No they are not, never will and are actually punishable. But once two consenting adults decide to be partners, in Jesus' name I do not find anything bizarre and unlawful about it.
...
written by carolyn from kenya, March 11, 2014
This is a really nice piece. I sure dont read the Bible with as much keen interest. But Mr.Mwenda, has given a clear picture here. There's no special attention given to homosexuality. It's just like any other sin(If you believe the Bible). Also a point to add, the Sodom and Gomorrah story we are told the people were punished for their "homosexual behaviour". Not so, from Genesis 18:16-19:29, we read that "..(the Lord) revealed to Abraham that he was going to destroy the cities because of the evil ways of their people." Note: not homosexuality.
...
written by Tina, March 11, 2014
I dont know why Andrew is dying for the Gay rights its making you look bad if you were born and raised in Europe we would have excused you. its true we live in a fallen world but we cant let matters get out of control coz of rights as Human beings we have a higher IQ to differentiate between right and wrong.actually, most sex crimes have different penalties eg Adultery,Incest, Defilement,bestiality. in Brief laws are act as a deterrent measure. laws are meant to ensure self control otherwise tomorrow a thief,Killer will also demand for their rights.
...
written by Winnie, March 11, 2014
If a woman wants to know whether her man still loves her,she brings another man in the house or she tells some one to spread a rumor that she has got another man just to see if her man is still interested in her. By the Europeans forcing Africans to be gay this shows that they still love us otherwise why are they dying to give us Aid we now live in a global village we need each other be it Arabs,Asians
...
written by Maceni, March 11, 2014
If a psychological analysis of the authors of the Bible were done - The conclusion would easily be that they were sexually deprived middle eastern men who hated women and foreigners.
...
written by Rajab Kakyama, March 12, 2014
@Maceni. Wouldn't that be the same conclusion if one read "the mustard seed?"
...
written by Maceni, March 12, 2014
@Rajab Kakyama LMAO
...
written by Rajab Kakyama, March 12, 2014
"Jesus said he had not come for the virtuous but for the sinners. - I have read the New Testament back and forth and I cannot find one reference where Jesus condemns homosexuals." I put it to Andrew that since Jesus spoke in parables most of the time, he was less explicit. When Jesus saved the prostitute, he did not embrace the act, he rather empathized and counselled her. I have also read the Bible but hardly have I come across the mention of a "terrorist" Should this imply that the bible condones terrorism? In the letter of Paul to the Colossians Chapter 2, 12 - 19. It talks of a marked behaviour of tenderness, pity, mercy and kindness.
...
written by Rajab Kakyama, March 12, 2014
Such behaviour is most unlikely to be attained in a situation where a male and a fellow male are in a physical love match. How will a male in a submissive female role respond to the demands of a faggot asking him to spread his legs wider for him to penetrate? How tenderly, piteous, merciful and kind is this? I will be more specific with verses 18 and 19. 18 "Wives be subject to your husbands (subordinate and adapt yourselves to them), as is right and fitting and your proper duty in the lord." 19 "Husbands, love your wives (be affectionate and sympathetic with them) and do not be harsh or bitter or resentful toward them. The chronology of these verses clearly indicate the disapproval of homosexuality in the biblical sense and it needn't be explicit.
...
written by Harold, March 12, 2014
At last, well said Andrew, you make me proud to be a modern (hetero) Ugandan who can think for himself, I wish people like you would represent us more prominently on the world stage
...
written by Batte Lule Kirwana BAKER, March 12, 2014
For quite some time now I have sharply disagreed with Andrew. I used to identify entirely with his opinions and in almost every piece that he would put down he was simply mirroring what was on my mind. I must say once again after a long time I agree with you from the first word to the last word. Thank you. Yes I must admit that I'm also homophobic but that is where it stops. I dont think people should be criminalized for being what they are. As religious people I think it is our role to help them and support them see things our way.
...
written by Richard, March 13, 2014
The logic in Mwenda's argument is flawed: His argument seems to be that two wrongs make a right - If we are already guilty of adultery, etc, we might as well indulge in other sins including homosexuality. I fully expect that by this same line of reasoning, we might as well encourage bestiality and any other kind of vice.
Unfortunately, i disagree.
...
written by Denis Musinguzi, March 13, 2014
It's clear Andrew agrees homosexuality is as wrong as other sins/perversions mentioned. In fact, there's nothing in his stern defense of homosexuality about its moral or natural rightness, but seems only uncomfortable with the prescribed punishment. He even erred when he tempted to defend homosexuality on the basis of science by wrongly asserting nature is not purposeful. In this biblical argument, he fails to add that after saving the adulterous woman, Jesus warned her never to do it again! Andrew also fails, understandably since he's not a practicing Christian, to know that by coming for sinners Jesus did mean he supported sin but was providing an alternative to defeat it, His sole mission on earth.
...
written by Denis Musinguzi, March 13, 2014
Because of these flaws, I don't find Andrew's defense of homosexuality necessarily of any keen ingenuity as some of his readers seem to suggest. This doesn't mean I do not credit his honesty in asserting his view. My considered view is that homosexuality is a perversion of nature, a serious health hazard, hence it is necessary for Uganda to legislate against it. I find the idea of homosexuality as a human right intellectually backward, fully aware that the philosophical evolution of human rights was shaped by specific historical and cultural realities. Hence, any meaningful search for consensus on homosexuality as a right must respect relativity in our historical and cultural contexts.
...
written by Denis Musinguzi, March 13, 2014
The other fallacy that Andrew parroted, and maybe would be inclined to remind me about while courting Africa's history, is that homosexuality existed in traditional Africa and therefore there is nothing unAfrican about it. Yes it existed, but because it existed doesn't mean it was socially acceptable. It may not have been as overtly punished in some societies as other sexual sins such as fornication and pre-marital pregnancies, but this is simply because it was never an overt communal behavior (in fact we are often told homosexuality took place in enclosed spaces such as palaces). This is why its current exhibitionist nature must be of grave concern, the very reason Museveni raised in ratifying against it.
...
written by Lou, March 14, 2014
Beautiful article, well articulated. Honestly, I have failed to find the actual rationale for Ugandan's excessive homophobia. What have homosexual folks done to ordinary Ugandans? These are willing adults who just happen to have a different kind of sexual orientation. And just like Andrew points out, homosexuality is as old as the Bible.
...
written by seremani, March 16, 2014
great article except when you compare Museveni and Lincoln, how dare you? you can not compare a dictator to a democratically elected president. Lincoln was elected in a free and fair contest and Museveni is there because of guns and he rule (steal taxpayers monies) because he has guns ...so never ever compare a theif to a real president
...
written by Gil, March 20, 2014
Andrew I totally agree with you and you make a very intelligent argument. But did you notice the irony that both decisions (Lincoln to free the slaves and Museveni signing the morality bill ) were purely motivated by politics. Lincoln was not genuinely interested in freeing the slaves but more concerned at punishing the Confederate States and ensuring that they lose the American civil war. Just like I don't believe Museveni was genuinely interested in enacting this law, but this was a political move to garner stop for his sole candidacy as the NRM flag bearer. I don't agree with the law but I have to admire Museveni for being the genius (may be evil genius if I might say).
...
written by Semakula David, March 29, 2014
Today is the beginning of Mwenda going downhill. While age bestows wisdom to many, to Mwenda it is making him foolish. I pity those who knew him as brilliant and clever; who may continue to follow him; not knowing that he is deteriorating. Watch out Winnie. I see Adam has already quit for the Observer.ug
...
written by julianna, May 11, 2014
Please do not get grace twisted with tolerance. I speak as a christian, i however do not agree with the passing of the homosexuality bill into law as it is. What the Bible would require is not for the gays to be thrown into jail (i imagine it would turn into one big gay party, and what use would that be!?) but to restore them. We are all lost sheep in need of constant stewardship by Christ. All sins are equal. However just because Jesus said " let he without sin cast the first stone doesn't portray Jesus to tolerate sin. He seeks reconciliation above punishment. So again, do not get it twisted, the bible speaks of GRACE and NOT TOLERANCE!

Write comment

busy
 
 
 
 

NTV Newsnight

 
COMMENT