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Death sentences for gays? Uganda be kidding me

American gays and lesbians who are impatient with the pace of achieving full equality should take a look at Uganda to see just how extraordinarily blessed they are.

The Ugandan government is considering a bill to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death, and the minister of ethics and integrity has declared: “Homosexuals can forget about human rights.” A comment like that would cost that person his job here. In Uganda, where "correctional rape" is seen as an acceptable means of "curing" lesbians of their attraction to other women, it's white noise.

If the law passes, Uganda should be punished by the international community. I would love for the U.S. to strip the country of foreign aid. Nothing focuses the mind like cash deprivation. But as my editor wisely points out, the power elite wouldn't suffer. More than 30 percent of the population lives in abject poverty.

Could things be better in the U.S.? Absolutely. The ban on gays serving openly in the military should be overturned. So should the so-called defense of marriage act. Job discrimination based on sexual orientation should be outlawed nationwide. These goals are achievable because, at its core, this nation and its people are ruled by fairness and respect for human dignity. Changes won't come easy, but they will with equal helpings of patience and persistence. Ugandans don't have that luxury.

By Jonathan Capehart  | January 5, 2010; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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This takes "the glass is half-full" to it's absolute extreme. It's tempting to use a sledgehammer to reply (as in, say, it's 1942 and you substitute "Jews" for "gays and lesbians" and "Germany" for "Uganda"), but really. Maybe it's the fact that I'm 60, and "patience and persistence" means there's a good chance I'll be dead when things change in this country, but I still don't get how a politically aware gay man is still defending the Obama Administration on this issue.

Posted by: DaveinNorthridge | January 5, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Dave, Nazi Germany sent homosexuals to its concentration camps whenever they were outed. Intellectuals too. As far as they were concerned, it was pretty much the same thing.

On the other hand, who are we to tell others to abide by our value systems?

History is replete with western nations trying to enforce their value systems in countries that don't share them over the last five centuries or so, resulting in the mess we have today. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Western nations doing forcing good behavior on each other (like Nazi Germany) is an entirely different matter than dealing with people whose languages don't conjugate suffixes at the end of their verbs.

Tell you what: Those who agree with what Uganda is doing can move there and make that place better, whatever that means to them. And those who don't like it there can go somewhere more to their liking.

By that yardstick, they're not doing well, and this is unlikely to help: Ugandans, gay and otherwise, have been voting with their feet since the days of Idi Amin.

Posted by: jwalter6 | January 5, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

It sounds like your intentions here are good, but the opening sentence is a disaster. Telling a group of people that suffers any degree of oppression or discrimination that they should feel blessed because they are not being rounded up and executed is pretty insensitive.

It's like telling a African Americans who have suffered racial discrimination that they should stop and consider the blessing that they are no longer slaves.

I like to believe that the U.S. is on the path to full equality for gay and lesbian couples and families, and it's worthwhile to celebrate progress. But there certainly are those who continue to deny that this as a "human rights" issue, and those who actively work to undo what has been achieved. Narrow minorities in California and Maine revoked marriage rights -- a stunning example of the fragility of progress.

Thus, I don't think it's appropriate to minimize the struggle here simply by comparing it to even more heinous conditions elsewhere.

Posted by: MontaraCA | January 5, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Three American “evangelicals” went to Uganda last year to speak on the evils of homosexuality: Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge, and Don Schmierer. All three have written about and held seminars about the sinfulness and dangers of homosexuality to children and families.

They spewed their hate and this is the result.

The Bible says that we will know them by the fruit they bear. These men do not produce a better world, a world that reflects the love of the Redeemer they espouse. The fruit they bear is hatred – Satan has these three firmly in his hands.

Posted by: amelia45 | January 5, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Several members of The Family on "C" street make regular trips to Uganda. Look for their hand in this.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 5, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

If one more person compares gay rights to being born black and enslaved in this country because of it…I will fall out of my chair. There is no comparison whatsoever. The racism I have experienced as a black man in America would not have been spared had I decided to change my personal preferences, sexual or otherwise. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. As a younger very immature man, when faced with intense discrimination I wished I could peel my skin off and white racists would simply leave me alone and let me run my business but that was not to be the case. I don’t care what sexual preference one chooses as long as they don’t choose me or anyone else against their will. I don’t wish gay people harm or pain. In fact, I don’t really think about gay people at all. If a person chooses to be gay then they also choose to accept the realities that come with it…some people are not going to care for you. That’s simply the way it is in this life. Demanding that everyone like and accept you is a sure sign that you seriously need to grow up! I am a straight black man and there are certain close members of my own family, who are also straight (I think), and I can’t stand to be in their presence either, get used to it if you plan to live on this earth.

Posted by: dhampton100 | January 5, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The Family trained the leader of Uganda, and is DIRECTLY behind this effort to make homosexuality a capital crime. The Family also includes several Republican Congressman, and is a MAJOR force in the Republcian Power. This law is an example of where the Republican Right would take the USA.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | January 5, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

fr dhampton:

>...I don’t care what sexual preference one chooses as long as they don’t choose me or anyone else against their will. I don’t wish gay people harm or pain. In fact, I don’t really think about gay people at all. If a person chooses to be gay then they also choose to accept the realities that come with it…some people are not going to care for you....<

Nobody "chooses" to be gay or straight. You are BORN either gay or straight. Deal with it, and grow UP.

Posted by: Alex511 | January 5, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

dhampton, you win this board's award for the most poorly reasoned and ignorant post. congratulations!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 5, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Nobody "chooses" to be gay or straight. You are BORN either gay or straight."

It is a "choice" to have sexual relations with someone of the same sex.

If a kleptomaniac declares: "Nobody "chooses" to be honest or a thief. You are BORN either honest or crooked.", does it make it a legitimate argument?

Posted by: jimc1 | January 5, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"Nobody "chooses" to be gay or straight. You are BORN either gay or straight."

It is a "choice" to have sexual relations with someone of the same sex.

If a kleptomaniac declares: "Nobody "chooses" to be honest or a thief. You are BORN either honest or crooked.", does it make it a legitimate argument?


Oh please, by your reasoning then you CHOOSE to have sex with the opposite sex, right? And you can than just as easily choose to have sex with someone of the same sex because to you having sex with someone is just a choice than can be followed or not. Simple!

What is apparent is your stupidity comes pretty naturally and you made that pretty clear in your post. You get second for dumbest reasoning on this thread, right behind dhampton.

Posted by: B-rod | January 5, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The homophobia I have experienced in this country as a black gay man is obviously well-known to you dhampton100. And the fact the the bulk of it is coming from straight African-Americans clearly delights you.

If you don't want us, fine. We'll take back Bayard Rustin, James Baldwin, Bessie Smith Langston Hughes, Alvin Ailey, Billy Strayhorn, and a host of others too numerous to mention.

You can keep Tyler Perry.

Posted by: cllrdr | January 5, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I give up. What have you got against Tyler Perry?

Posted by: hisroc | January 5, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

C-Street - The FAMILY-

C Street influence in our policies- You like it? It was bought for you! By ministering to the most powerful, The Fellowship believes, it can bring Christian beliefs to the larger culture.

“Bring Christian beliefs”?

For Lawmakers! What is wrong with this picture?

C Street residents include:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)-
Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.)-
Bart Stupak (D-Mich.)-
Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.)-
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) lived in the house before moving to his own condo, and he still attends events there.

Chip Pickering (R-MS)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and former Reps. have also studied at C Street.
Steve Largent (R-Okla.)
Jim Ryun (R-Kan.)
Read more:

The Do Nothings " Country First Congress

Let’s look at what they have done from 1995-2007

Check out the great work C-Street U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) did for the country and the telecommunication industry.

He was the man- the man - for our telecommunications. 1995-2007 12 years!

In the House, Pickering specialized in telecommunications issues, including one dear to Cellular South: making sure Congress took into account the interests of cellular companies serving rural areas.

Governor Sanford of SC emailed his mistress stating internet connection is unreliable at his farm.


Wonder why we can’t compete globally?

Wonder why JAPAN offers the World’s fastest broadband and we do not?

Telecommunications Lobbying created their oligopolies, (monopolies are illegal in USA)

4-3-09-By Saul Hansell

The fastest consumer broadband in the world is the 160-megabit-per-second service offered by J:Com, the largest cable company in Japan.

The cable modem needed for that speed costs about $60, compared with about $30 for the current generation.

By contrast, Verizon is spending an average of $817 per home passed to wire neighborhoods for its FiOS fiber optic network and another $716 for equipment and labor in each home that subscribes, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Company.

And now the SEC is worried about fast computers?

8 years of this mentality and neglect.

Look at where we are!!!

Posted by: sasha2008 | January 5, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Capehart's statement that gays here in the US should feel fortunate compared to those in Uganda is sick and an obious attempt to deflect responsability for lack of progress in obtaining equal rights fo gay Americans. It is analagous to blacks in Arkansas during Jim Crowe saying we are better because at least we don't live in Mississippi.

Posted by: tomniederberger | January 5, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Nobody "chooses" to be gay or straight. You are BORN either gay or straight."

Nobody is born gay nor straight.
It is the society, the culture, the family, the friends, the relatives and the environment that train you what to be.

Capehart is right more than two third of Ugandans lives on less than one dollar a day. The country is poor and can be compared to the USA one century ago or in 1910. What was the rights of the homosexuals in USA at the time?

I love it when a US black makes very loud noise only for things involving sex. African Americans in US are the most devastated community by AIDS and irresponsible sexuality. Africans South of Sahara are also the most devastated people by AIDS and irresponsible sexuality.

Why not make very loud noise first for the education of Africans, the promotion of Sciences and Technology in their societies rather than worry about how their societies understand males females relationship?

Homosexuality is rejected mainly in societies that are poor and traditional. You want them to live according to Western standards and rules. Wait for Uganda to be at least to the same level of development that North America and Europe had in 1950 and then whine for your right to sleep anywhere in the world with whatever please you.

Posted by: Makiz | January 5, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Capehart be kidding me. Are you serious, Jonathan??!?

I, for one, will not be GRATEFUL that at least my United States government is not executing me for being gay.

I used to be very proud of you - an accomplished Pulitzer-winning journalist at a national paper. However, that all-too-familiar bad taste experienced in that moment when you realize that your perception of someone is not at all reality has struck. Reading your post today has left me seeing you now as basically a self-loathing self-hating gay man...I had not realized that about you in the past, but it is crystal clear today.

Rather than preaching that we gay Americans should "see just how extraordinarily blessed we are" not to be executed by our own government simply for being gay, perhaps you should take a quiet moment in your comfy closet of patience & platitudes to be OUTRAGED prima facie by the proposed Ugandan law.

Only a self-hating gay American's first thought is to feel "extraordinarily blessed" that barbaric laws elsewhere in the world are not in force here at home. Without the very merited raw unvarnished OUTRAGE at what is happening in Uganda, Iran, and other nations around the world, you & other apologists leave the door cracked for prejudice-laden bigots everywhere to "justify" these laws in their own minds on some level and oppose real progress, giving them overt permission to tell us exactly the same thing you’re telling us -- “at least the government doesn’t kill you, be grateful!” THAT, sir, impedes the march the full LGBT equality in the most insidious of stealth in its deceit that clearly even you yourself do not see what you're doing. It is abundantly clear that you do not stand up as a human being who truly believes he is equal to the next.

I'm not grateful that it's not happening to ME, I'm OUTRAGED that it's happening to ANYONE!

Posted by: PattiFink1 | January 5, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

So Capehart believes that Uganda should be hostage to US AID and forfeit it's culture social norms?? What a fantasy Capehart lives in. On top of that Capehart is as ignorant as they come. There are no lesbian correctional rapes in Uganda, I have read it happens in South Africa. South Africa, Uganda, different countries get it Capehart?? South Africa like it's name is in the south of the African continent, and Uganda is in the East of the African continent. To blow away more of Capehart's ignorance, the US is not the only country that gives Uganda aid, China is very much in Africa which makes the US and other western nations nervous, and that is why Hilary Clinton went to 7 African countries in 10 days last year, if you can recall. I guess Capehart and most of the posters on here don't know this. Uganda also has oil which China will be willing to buy to keep up with it's rapid economic growth. So Capehart Uganda doesn't have to bend over backwards and forfeit it's cultural social norms for US aid.

Posted by: Oops1 | January 5, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

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