Since I’ve been talking about civil discourse, I think I really need to talk about the tragic death of David Kato. David Kato was an LGBT activist in Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal and where a bill was introduced in 2009 suggesting the death penalty for anyone convicted of committing homosexual acts. Much of the international community made a stand against it, and the evangelicals from America, like Scott Lively and Rick Warren, who had pushed a very strong anti-homosexual agenda in Uganda got a lot of negative press attention because of it.
A tabloid in Uganda called “Rolling Stone” (no relation) published Kato’s picture along with other suspected homosexuals with a tagline that read “Hang Them”. Kato and a few other’s pictured led a successful lawsuit against the magazine, but only a few weeks after that victory Kato was bludgeoned to death in his home.
Some of the LGBT activists are placing the blame on the American evangelicals for stirring up the hatred originally, some are blaming the magazine, and many are blaming Uganda for being religiously intolerant. I can only say that this is the danger of talking about gay people as though they aren’t human.
I cannot help but see some similarities between the “Hang Them” tagline and the rifle sites on Sarah Palin’s target list. Both Giffords and Kato noted that that rhetoric was going to lead to violence against them. At what point does violent rhetoric become the equivalent of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre? I’m not sure, myself. It’s difficult, these things are so upsetting it’s almost impossible to find the rational response to them.