Thursday, January 27, 2011

Via JMG: Clinton Condemns Uganda Murder

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has issued a lengthy condemnation of the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato.
We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato, who was brutally murdered in his home near Kampala yesterday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues. We urge Ugandan authorities to quickly and thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this heinous act. [snip] This crime is a reminder of the heroic generosity of the people who advocate for and defend human rights on behalf of the rest of us -- and the sacrifices they make. And as we reflect on his life, it is also an occasion to reaffirm that human rights apply to everyone, no exceptions, and that the human rights of LGBT individuals cannot be separated from the human rights of all persons. Our ambassadors and diplomats around the world will continue to advance a comprehensive human rights policy, and to stand with those who, with their courage, make the world a more just place where every person can live up to his or her God-given potential. We honor David’s legacy by continuing the important work to which he devoted his life.
The Advocate has the complete statement.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Obama Condemns Uganda Murder

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of David Kato. In Uganda, David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate. He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom. The United States mourns his murder, and we recommit ourselves to David's work. At home and around the world, LGBT persons continue to be subjected to unconscionable bullying, discrimination, and hate. [snip]

"LGBT rights are not special rights; they are human rights. My Administration will continue to strongly support human rights and assistance work on behalf of LGBT persons abroad. We do this because we recognize the threat faced by leaders like David Kato, and we share their commitment to advancing freedom, fairness, and equality for all." - President Barack Obama, via White House press release.

reposted from Joe



SMUG is a coalition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) human rights organizations. SMUG was born on March 3, 2004 to organize LGBTI groups to create one big strong LGBTI community in Uganda. The need for a coalition arose because there were several LGBT groups operating in the country lacked concrete organization and teamwork with fellow groups.  SMUG would then work on behalf of its member organizations, enforcing their activities and representing them in a more organized manner. 

The Baha'i Faith may have had Something to do with this Murder in Uganda!

Written by Elizabeth O'Brien, LifeSite   
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
KAMPALA, August 21, 2007 ( - Hundreds of people rallied today to protest the recent push by homosexual activists for gay rights in Uganda. Christian groups based their protests on the grounds that homosexuality is immoral, illegal and unhealthy.

The Christian organization Interfaith Rainbow Coalition (IRC) organized the event, bringing together members of different faiths, including the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), the Bahai Faith, Pentecostal churches and other non-government organizations.

Via JMG: Anti-Gay Activist Denies Hand In Murder: I'm The One Being Bludgeoned

As I noted here, Exodus International board of directors member Don Schmierer was part of Scott Lively's three-day conference in Uganda, where Schmierer advised Ugandans on how to turn their gays kids straight. But don't go blaming David Kato's murder on HIM, he was only trying to help. In fact, HE is the victim here.
On Thursday, Don Schmierer, one of the American evangelicals who visited in Uganda in 2009, said Mr. Kato’s death was “horrible.” “Naturally, I don’t want anyone killed but I don’t feel I had anything to do with that,” said Mr. Schmierer, who added that in Uganda he had focused on parenting skills. He also said that he had been a target of threats himself, recently receiving more than 600 hate mails related to his visit. “I spoke to help people,” he said, “and I’m getting bludgeoned from one end to the other.”

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Quote Of The Day - Jerzy Buzek

"David Kato was a man that fought for the rights of people to live freely regardless of their sexual orientation in Uganda. David Kato suffered a violent death and I send my condolences to his family. I call for the perpetrators of this crime to be brought to justice. He was a remarkable human rights defender. I regret that Uganda is a country where homosexuality is still considered a criminal act. David Kato's battle was to improve tolerance and encourage tolerance of divergent views of sexuality and defend the rights for lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender persons and protect vulnerable minorities." - European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, responding to yesterday's murder with a renewed call for Uganda to decriminalize homosexuality.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: BACKGROUND: Evidence Of Scott Lively's Complicity In The Murder Of David Kato

Yesterday Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato was bludgeoned to death in his home just weeks after his photo was emblazoned on the cover of a local newspaper with the accompanying headline "HANG THEM!" The newspaper articles and Kato's murder came after months of international outrage over Uganda's proposed and still-pending "kill gays" bill, legislation that orders the death penalty for homosexuals in some cases and life imprisonment in others.

The inspiration for Uganda's gay death penalty bill, and surely, Kato's murder, arises from the work of American evangelists, chief among them the repulsive anti-gay activist Scott Lively, whose infamous book The Pink Swastika blames the rise of the Nazi Party and the Holocaust on gay men. One year ago, the New York Times profiled Lively's hand in Uganda's burgeoning pogrom against homosexuals, which began after Lively hosted a three-day meeting attended by thousands of Ugandan police, teachers, and politicians.
The three Americans who spoke at the conference — Scott Lively, a missionary who has written several books against homosexuality, including “7 Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child”; Caleb Lee Brundidge, a self-described former gay man who leads “healing seminars”; and Don Schmierer, a board member of Exodus International, whose mission is “mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality” — are now trying to distance themselves from the bill.

“I feel duped,” Mr. Schmierer said, arguing that he had been invited to speak on “parenting skills” for families with gay children. He acknowledged telling audiences how homosexuals could be converted into heterosexuals, but he said he had no idea some Ugandans were contemplating the death penalty for homosexuality. “That’s horrible, absolutely horrible,” he said. “Some of the nicest people I have ever met are gay people.”

Mr. Lively and Mr. Brundidge have made similar remarks in interviews or statements issued by their organizations. But the Ugandan organizers of the conference admit helping draft the bill, and Mr. Lively has acknowledged meeting with Ugandan lawmakers to discuss it. He even wrote on his blog in March that someone had likened their campaign to “a nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda.” Later, when confronted with criticism, Mr. Lively said he was very disappointed that the legislation was so harsh. Human rights advocates in Uganda say the visit by the three Americans helped set in motion what could be a very dangerous cycle. Gay Ugandans already describe a world of beatings, blackmail, death threats like “Die Sodomite!” scrawled on their homes, constant harassment and even so-called correctional rape.
Yesterday Scott Lively's "nuclear bomb" against Ugandan gays went off in the form of the iron bar which crushed the skull of David Kato. In some countries, it's possible that Lively would be under arrest today. Also complicit in this murder is Peter LaBarbera, who for years has worked to publicize and praise Scott Lively's evil agenda. Then there's Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council, who last year paid lobbyists $25,000 to convince members of Congress to block a planned resolution denouncing Uganda's gay death penalty bill. And let's not forget Pastor Rick Warren, who supported, funded, appeared with, and publicized the work of Uganda's leading anti-gay activist, Pastor Martin Ssempa.

Today we mourn David Kato, a brave LGBT activist who paid the ultimate price in defense of his brothers and sisters. But we've also got start looking at some serious legal remedies to the actions of American anti-gay activists in other countries. Outside of the United States, many legals systems are not so constrained by the American concept of freedom of speech. What can we do to leverage that difference to end this madness? Lawsuits? The Hague?

reposted from Joe

Via Sonja in the NL: We need to make it better now!

January 27, 2011 
David Kato, Ugandan gay activist,  from his facebook account
David Kato, Ugandan gay activist, from his facebook account

From Baha’u'llah: The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes…
Yesterday, David Kato, a spokesperson for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) was murdered in his home in Uganda.

Three weeks ago I wrote a blog on bahairants referring to this letter from the Universal House of Justice sent the the National Assembly of the U.S.A.

“The purpose of the Faith of Baha’u’llah is the realization of the organic unity of the entire human race, and Baha’is are enjoined to eliminate from their lives all forms of prejudice and to manifest respect towards all. Therefore, to regard those with a homosexual orientation with prejudice or disdain would be against the spirit of the Faith. Furthermore, a Baha’i is exhorted to be “an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression”, and it would be entirely appropriate for a believer to come to the defense of those whose fundamental rights are being denied or violated.

(Letter from the UHJ to an individual, 27 October 2010) Emphasis added.

Further on in the blog I mentioned some instances of Bahais being associated with anti-homosexual organizations such as the “the Interfaith Rainbow Coalition Against Homosexuality” group in Uganda. I went into some detail there to show, that these examples were not just random nor small things and ended my blog with a plea for equality, a plea not to discriminate. In order to do that Bahais will need to change the current negative image towards a positive one of openness towards gays.

This blog is my attempt, and also a form of protest on hearing of the murder of Ugandan gay activist, David Kato.

Here is the story and please comment (anonymously or not).

From The Guardian
, 21 October 2010:

“Human rights activists have warned that the lives of gay people in Uganda are in danger, after a newspaper published a story featuring the names and in some cases photographs of 100 homosexuals under the headline “Hang Them”.

At least one woman named in the story has been forced to leave her home after neighbours pelted it with stones, while several other people have been verbally abused, according to the campaign group Sexual Minorities Uganda…

The widely read tabloid Red Pepper has already “outed” dozens of gay people under headlines such as “Top Homos in Uganda named”. But the Rolling Stone story goes further in apparently inciting violence against gay people.

…Inside, a headline reads: “Hang them; They are after our kids!!” The article lists personal details of those named, including their addresses. There are also photographs of about a dozen people listed in the story. …

Frank Mugisha, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda, said his organisation initially chose to ignore the Rolling Stone story, since the newspaper was not widely read. It was launched in August and has a circulation of 2,000. But after a few days he started to receive reports of harassment from some of those who were named. In the worst case, a woman who works for a gay rights organisation was unable to leave her home after it was stoned. …

“We didn’t want to give the newspaper publicity so we held off on legal action,” he said. “But now the threat against our members is real, so we are considering going to court… “

Read the full article here:

Some background:

“Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) is a non-governmental organization based in Kampala, Uganda. It pushes for the protection and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans.
In response to an article in the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone (of no relation to the American publican of the same name, which rejected the Ugandan paper and its actions as “horrific”), published a gallery of “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak” and stated “Hang Them” [], three members of SMUG whose faces appeared in the magazine – David Kato Kisulle, Kasha Jacqueline and Onziema Patience – filed a petition to the High Court seeking for the ending of the paper’s circulation of the article. The petition was granted on November 2, 2010, effectively ruling for the end of the Rolling Stone publication.

However, at 1 p.m. on January 26, 2011, Kato, whose picture was among the 100 listed in the Rolling Stone article and was featured on the cover of the edition, was assaulted in his home in Mukono Town by an unknown male assailant who hit him twice in the head before fleeing on foot; Kato later died on route to the Kawolo Hospital. The murder was decried by Human Rights Watch[], with senior Africa researcher Maria Burnett adding that “David Kato’s death is a tragic loss to the human rights community”.

Some more background:

“LGBT Ugandans have lived under a menacing atmosphere for more than a decade. The anti-gay hysteria has increased significantly since the introduction of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill into parliament in 2009. That bill, which remains under review Parliamentary committee, would impose the death penalty on LGBT Ugandans under certain circumstances and criminalize all advocacy by or on behalf of LGBT people. It would also criminalize even knowing someone who is gay if that person fails to report their LGBT loved one to police within 24 hours. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for February 18, and the bill is expected to be considered after Parliament returns for a lame-duck session before the new Parliament begins in May.
This horrendous murder adds to the fears that LGBT Ugandans regularly face over their safety. Brenda Namigadde, a lesbian asylum seeker in the U.K. has been threatened with deportation back to Uganda. Just yesterday, she received an ominous message from M.P. David Bahati, the author of the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill, in which he said that Brenda must “repent or reform” when she returns home.. “

Read the full artile here:

So Baha’is don’t wait, do something today in your home, in your community, to make things better for “The best beloved of all things in My sight

Vote below as an act of solidarity or go to David’s page on Facebook and post a note on his wall or light a candle for him.

I will light a candle for him this evening, here in the Netherlands.

Via HRC:

President Obama has been a proven advocate for the LGBT community. Now, it's time for the President to state his support for full, equal marriage. The President's clear and unequivocal support for marriage equality would be a powerful message that all Americans should be treated fairly and with respect and dignity. He has said that his thinking on the issue is "evolving." Help get him over the finish line.

Via HimalayaCrafts:

Favor and disgrace are to be equally feared. 
♥ Namaste ♥ ~ HimalayaCrafts