Ugandan Kill the Gays Bill

Well…that was a crappy way to start the morning. Thanks, Jessica at Friendly Atheist!

By the end of 2012, Uganda’s internationally contentious “Kill the Gays” bill will become law.

The highly religious, highly Christian country has been trying to get this bill passed since 2009, and it faced a great deal of criticism on an international level along the way: several European countries threatened to reduce aid to the country if the bill was passed.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga described the bill’s passing as a “Christmas gift” for the Ugandan people.

Passing a bill that would kill or imprison for life homosexuals in Uganda – just in time for Christmas! Dead gay Ugandans – the perfect Christmas gift to celebrate Christian love and compassion!

The bill can be seen in it’s entirety at Box Turtle Bulletin. It’s some scary stuff. And boy oh boy have they spent a lot of time thinking about all the ways one can do teh gay.  Aside from all of the usual fun involving penetration or sexual stimulation of the anus, mouth, or sexual organs via penis, sexual contraptions or “objects”, according to the bill one can “commit the offense of homosexuality” if  “he or she touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.”

Nope, no way that could go wrong.

Joe.My.God picks out more idiocracy from the bill (bold is mine):

Box Turtle Bulletin notes that according to Clause One of the act, a “serial offender” is defined as a someone who has “previous convictions of the offence of homosexuality or related offences.” In other words, a second conviction brings the death penalty.  And those “related offenses” include renting a room to a gay person or failing to inform the government that someone they know is gay, meaning that a straight person could also suffer the “gay death penalty.”

I hope the international outcry deafens us all. Again, from Joe.My.God:

In 2009 the European Parliament threatened to end aid to Uganda should the bill pass.  Last year (soon to be former) Rep. Barney Frank said that the United States should do the same: “If the bill before the Ugandan parliament becomes law, it must be the policy of the United States government to oppose any aid to Uganda from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, or any other international financial institution of which we are a member.”

Jason Thibeault from Lousy Canuck has an article up with information on how to contact your local MP (if you’re in Canada) to ask for an end to Ugandan aid  from Canada.

Ugandan Kill the Gays Bill

Free Hamza Kashgari

I learned about this story on Greg Laden’s X Blog:

Saudi citizen and journalist Hamza Kashgari tweeted, on Muhammad’s birthday, sent three tweets:

  • On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you’ve always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.
  • On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.
  • On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.

I found these to be poignant thoughts about Hamza’s relationship with the Prophet. Others found it to be apostasy (a desertion from one’s religion) and have called for his death. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic monarchy, and apostasy is a religious crime punishable by death.

It is a subjective call whether or not Hamza Kashgari’s tweet constitutes apostasy; Kashgari will go to trial and a court will make that call. But after the media attention of this matter I am not very optimistic about his chances of escape from death. Kashgari had fled to Malaysia, but was detained upon his arrival and flown back to Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Amnesty International considers Hamza Kashgari a prisoner of conscience.

As Ophelia Benson points out, the media loves a good rally for justice, and if enough popular pressure can be brought to bear, perhaps it could make a difference in the fate of this brave, intelligent, freethinking Saudi man. Join the Facebook group Free Hamza Kashgari and sign this petition for his release. At the very least, we need to make this persecution visible. This suppression of human rights is what can happen when a country is ruled by theocracy.

Free Hamza Kashgari