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attracted to those of the same gender
at a very early age. A tiny few of them –
generally women – might choose their
sexuality, but this is largely irrelevant.
What consenting people do in private,
as long as it harms nobody else, is abso-
lutely up to them. We live, thank God, in
a free, liberal, democratic and pluralistic
Frankly, I find some of the excesses of
the pride parade vulgar and annoying
and I find some of the intolerance and
triumphalism of gay activists in North
America and Europe to be offensive. All
people, irrespective of sexuality, race
or gender, can be oppressive. But this
has nothing to do with the fact that, in
Uganda and much of Africa and Russia
and even allegedly progressive Brazil,
gay people are beaten, persecuted,
Imagine just for a moment if your child
were gay and suffered such a fate sim-
ply for being who and what they were.
Imagine if your brother or sister had to
live in hiding, was called a pervert or a
sodomite, was beaten, even murdered.
We are at our best when we exhibit
empathy and, on this issue in particular,
empathy is essential.
People in Uganda are mistreated not
because they are evil, dishonest or
cruel, but just because they love peo-
ple of their own sex. It’s a barbaric and
unacceptable attitude and we have to
oppose it. Uganda has a rape crisis, it
struggles against poverty, its schools
are under-funded, infrastructure is poor,
AIDS is endemic. Yet the government
believes that arresting gay people is the
solution to their problems. It’s not the
first time that scapegoats have been
used and abused as a false solution to
I take pride in the fact that I have never
pulled back from criticizing Muslim fun-
damentalists when they commit terror-
ist horrors, so nor can I remain silent
when Christians (or alleged Christians)
act appallingly. At the end of February
in Uganda, a strident and violent
campaign against homosexuals was
announced, and this is largely the result
of the efforts of indigenous evangelical
Christians and American evangelical
groups pumping money and support
into this anti-gay campaign. I am not
making a direct comparison between
the countless acts of Islamic terror and
what is going on in Uganda, but I have
to speak out against this travesty of
Uganda considered imposing the
death penalty for the “crime” of homo-
sexuality, but diluted this to life prison
sentences in the new legislation. The
new law also obliges Ugandans to
inform on their fellow citizens who
are gay. The American government
became extremely precious when all
of this came to light and questioned
continuing foreign aid, but that’s utter
hypocrisy. Saudi Arabia treats women
appallingly, doesn’t tolerate gay people
at all, and yet remains a close U.S. ally
and recipient of enormous amounts of
Washington’s cash; but then, Uganda
has no oil supplies. As for the rest of the
Western world, after a few tokenmoans,
little was said about Uganda’s policies
by governments and leader.
But the deeper issue here is that this
is unjust, unfair, inhumane, wrong, im-
moral, anti-God, dark, hideous and stu-
pid. This isn’t the place for a discourse
about the nature of sexuality but, in
my experience, if people are not born
gay, they certainly find themselves
Michael Coren
a society’s pain and problems.
National newspapers have “outed” gay
people in Uganda, leading to beatings
and killings, gay teenagers are terri-
fied of revealing their sexuality so feel
desperately alone and isolated and
subsequently take their own lives. Gay
women are also at severe risk of being
raped, as a means to“cure” them of their
lesbianism! Truth and common sense
scream to be heard.
Some even in Canada, however, are
ambivalent about this or are convinced
that there is a gay agenda, a conspiracy,
something sinister going on. Sorry, but
while I don’t know any homosexuals
who want to make other people ho-
mosexual, I know many homophobes
who want to make other people homo-
phobic, and I say this as a serious and
observant Catholic who has often been
accused of being too conservative.
We have to see through the collective
to the individual – the ordinary, flesh-
and-blood, living, loving individual. This
is not about agendas, not about main-
taining morality, not even about same-
sex marriage. It’s about basic human
rights and the dignity of the individual.
We are all so much better than
this, and Uganda, so are you.