Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill today that gives a penalty of life in prison for many homosexual sexual acts. Despite the homophobic policies in their own denominations, the reaction from the mainline Christian world has been swift. Some of the mainline folks I have read have consistently spoken very nasty of President Musevini and sometimes bordered on the same hate that he is perpetuating in Uganda. I have also been surprised by the many questions about where this type of hate comes from? The easiest response is to blame the evangelical Christian leaders who are exporting hate in a world anti-gay movement. While there is blame to go around, I feel like those mainline Christians who cry the loudest fail to realize their own complicity in President Museveni’s bill.
I spoke with a United Methodist Ugandan friend recently about the homophobia in Uganda. My brother taught me that it was United Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist missionaries that used the Bible to instruct his village of origin in how to be homophobic. Could it be that some of our missionaries whose pictures hang in glory on some of the walls of our churches could be responsible for this homophobic bill that was just signed in Uganda? Could it be that the missionaries we have named our missions offerings for were also skilled purveyors of hate and homophobia? The mainline Christian world at the very least is partly responsible for what is happening. There is no question the actions of President Museveni and some of these evangelical Christian homophobes are very evil…but before you go to othering and talking about what they have done and what you would never do…it would be wise to look into the history of your church and talk about what you already have done to cause all of this.
We will only be able to call people back from the moral disaster that is their homophobia when we repent of our own.