Friday, March 29, 2013

Africa: The recolonisation has started

U.S. Christian Right also mobilizes African clerics in U.S. “culture war” over ordination of LGBT clergy

Sexual minorities in Africa have become collateral damage to our domestic conflicts and culture wars as U.S. conservative evangelicals and those opposing gay pastors and bishops within mainline Protestant denominations woo Africans in their American fight, a groundbreaking investigation by Political Research Associates (PRA) has discovered.

Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia, a new report by the Rev. Kapya Kaoma, PRA Project Director, exposes the U.S. Right’s promotion of an agenda in Africa that aims to criminalize homosexuality and otherwise infringe upon the human rights of LGBT people while also mobilizing African clerics in U.S. culture war battles.

My initial reaction to this was that Africa had far more important issues to deal with and to a large degree that remains my position. Far Right American " Christian " morons are right up there with Muslim fundamentalists. I despise them. However today I was forced to think again with the Kim Hill Saturday Morning programme interview with Sean Faircloth  . The interview was about the risks New Zealand faces with regard to the Americans attempting through NZ surrogates to impose their perverted philosophy on us.

U.S. social conservatives, who are in the minority in mainline churches, depend on African religious leaders to legitimize their positions as their growing numbers makes African Christians more influential globally.
The investigation’s release could not be timelier, as the Ugandan parliament considers the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. Language in that bill echoes the false and malicious charges made in Uganda by U.S antigay activist and Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively that western gays are conspiring to take over Uganda and even the world.

That is of course as ridiculous as it is hilarious. Behind it is the suggestion that Western liberal forces are in fact attempting to recolonise Africa. Remember this agenda is being pushed by a Holocaust revisionist.   

These partnerships have succeeded in slowing the mainline Protestant churches' recognition of the full equality of LGBT people, in part due to liberals’ sensitivity to the charge of colonialism. However, as Kaoma argues, it is U.S. conservatives who are imposing their own concerns about homosexuality on Africa.   Further, although U.S. conservatives have organized African religious leaders as a visible force opposing LGBT equality, it would be wrong to conclude that all of Africa stands with these clerics and their U.S. patrons.

The evil that the far right Christians represent for Africa  should not be underestimated.

In the United States, Kaoma focuses on “renewal” groups in The Episcopal Church, United Methodist Church USA, and Presbyterian Church USA; U.S conservative evangelicals; and the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a neoconservative think tank that for decades has sought to undermine Protestant denominations' tradition of progressive social justice work.

In Africa, Kaoma investigates ties U.S. conservatives have established with religious leaders in Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya and the impact of homophobia exported from the United States to these Anglophone countries.

As Kaoma argues, the U.S. Right – once isolated in Africa for supporting pro-apartheid, White supremacist regimes – has successfully reinvented itself as the mainstream of U.S. evangelicalism. Through their extensive communications networks in Africa, social welfare projects, Bible schools, and educational materials, U.S. religious conservatives warn of the dangers of homosexuals and present themselves as the true representatives of U.S. evangelicalism, so helping to marginalize Africans’ relationships with mainline Protestant churches.

And it should be clear that the American Right have changed not one bit. Leopards can not change their spots. In the United States these people put huge amounts of resources into attempting to roll back the clock of history. What was the systematic disenfranchisement experienced by African Americans in the last two presidential votes about ?  These are the inheritors of the early 20th century fascist movement. 

"We need to stand up against the U.S. Christian Right peddling homophobia in Africa," said Kaoma, who in recent weeks challenged U.S. evangelist Rick Warren to denounce the bill and distance himself from its supporters. "I heard church people in Uganda say they would go door to door to root out LGBT people and now our brothers and sisters are being further targeted by proposed legislation criminalizing them and threatening them with death. The scapegoating must stop."

I agree. At the same time we should also acknowledge that Uganda has not followed blindly the path of the homophobic US Right. The bill proscribing sever punishment was first read in 2009 and it has been ignored in the government's order of business ever since and that seems to be its destiny. Museveni is not a fool.

While the American side of the story is known to LGBT activists and their allies witnessing struggles over LGBT clergy within Protestant denominations in the United States, what’s been missing is the effect of the Right’s proxy wars on Africa itself. Kaoma’s report finally brings this larger, truly global picture into focus.

“Just as the United States and other northern societies routinely dump our outlawed or expired chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, and cultural detritus on African and other Third World countries, we now export a political discourse and public policies our own society has discarded as outdated and dangerous,” writes PRA executive director Tarso Luís Ramos in the report’s foreword.   “Africa’s antigay campaigns are to a substantial degree made in the U.S.A.”

One is left with one possible conclusion only. It is not the liberal west trying to recolonise Africa it is the insane Christian Right. 

Leaders within mainline Protestant denominations hailed the report.

"The exploitation of African Christians by right-wing organizations in the United States is reprehensible. Where were these individuals and organizations and their leaders during the struggles against colonialism and apartheid? They certainly were not standing in solidarity with the people of Africa. Today, they use a variety of corrupt practices and methods in a vain attempt to turn back the tide of history. This report reveals the truth about what is going on and should be required reading for American church leaders," said Jim Winkler, the general secretary of the international public policy and social justice agency of The United Methodist Church.

For his 16-month investigation, Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia, traveled in the United States and Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria, attended the notorious antigay conference of Uganda’s Family Life Network in March, and documented concerns among the region’s clergy that U.S. conservatives are contributing to corruption among bishops with their lax requirements for donated funds.

The right will fail. One can't turn the tide of history and they will be drowned in a tsunami of there own creation.


  1. This blog was a major pain. It would not format and in the end I was forced to abandon the original source material. Having read it for the first time now after hitting the publish button it occurres to me I left out a pertainent obsevation.
    The GBLT political community have always stood against those who hate and exploit be it on economic ( read colonalism ) racial discrimination (read aparthide South Africa ) or just fear (read homophobia ).
    I think the truth will triumph.

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