Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Obama Dines With Killer

David Bahati, the MP who authored Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill, is expected to attend a prayer breakfast with US president Barack Obama.

Bahati told the Ugandan newspaper Sunday Monitor he would be attending the National Prayer Breakfast on February 4th.

The event usually attended by the president, who the newspaper described as a "gays-tolerant liberal president".

The breakfast is organised by The Fellowship – a secretive conservative Christian organisation which is also known as The Family. Its members include politicians, religious leaders and corporate executives.

Bahati may be asked to speak at the event, which will also be attended by Congress members and Cabinet secretaries. Previous speakers have included Tony Blair, Bono and Mother Theresa.

Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni signalled last week that he was stepping back from the bill, which would execute gays in some circumstances.

He said his country must consider its "foreign interests" and cited world leaders such as British prime minister Gordon Brown, who had expressed his concern about the proposed legislation.

Bahati, the MP for Ndorwa West, has refused to back down, saying his bill will "protect the traditional family".

The country's minister for ethics James Nsaba Buturo said recently he believed Museveni did not support the death penalty for gays and said the provision was likely to be removed from the bill.

Aston Kajara, minister of state for investments, has also said the bill is "unnecessary".

The bill would impose the death penalty on gays who sex with minors, disabled people or while living with HIV, along with repeat offenders. Other homosexuality offences, such as failing to report incidents to police, would result in imprisonment.

It is expected to come before parliament in late February or early March.


The main sponsor of Uganda's "kill the gays" bill, David Bahati, is planning to attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. in February, Uganda's Sunday Monitor reports:

David_bahati "Mr Bahati, according to reports, may speak at the event where President Barack Obama – a gays-tolerant liberal president, is also expected to attend. On Friday, Mr Bahati said he would attend. The event is organised by The Fellowship- a conservative Christian organisation, which has deep political connections and counts several high-ranking conservative politicians in its membership. 'I intend to attend the prayer breakfast,' said Mr Bahati - himself a part organiser of the Ugandan equivalent of the national prayer breakfast. This week, citing international pressure, President Yoweri Museveni advised his party’s National Executive Committee, his cabinet and the NRM parliamentary caucus to 'go slow' on the Bill. Mr Bahati told Inside Politics he is set to meet a special cabinet session to discuss the Bill tomorrow. 'The nature of legislation is such that one cannot have a final version. There are bound to be amendments but the process will go on,' he said. The entire affair has given the Museveni administration its worst spate of bad publicity in recent times. Mr Museveni called it a foreign policy matter - elevating the Bill to the status of other concerns for the government like its engagement in the African Union and the United Nations Security Council."

"The Fellowship" is aka "The Family".

Last week, it was announced that prominent Ugandan evangelical pastor (and pal of Rick Warren) Martin Ssempa was planning a "Million Man March" to demonstrate popular support for the "kill the gays" bill.


A media personality who has been accused of homophobia will reportedly be appointed South Africa's ambassador to Uganda next month.

Jon Qwelane, a writer for the Sunday Sun, has used his column to espouse his views on homosexuality. He has attacked gay marriage and said he would disown his children if any were to come out as gay.

He has also praised Robert Mugabe for his "unflinching and unapologetic" views on homosexuality. The Zimbabwe president described gays and lesbians as "sub-animal".

Opposition party Democratic Alliance called Qwelane an "admitted homophobe" and said his appointment could be seen as a "tacit endorsement" of Uganda's current stance on homosexuality.

Uganda's parliament is currently considering a bill which would execute or imprison gays. The bill is expected to receive strong support when it is debated this spring.

Gay groups in South Africa have also reacted angrily to Qwelane's reported appointment with SA GLAAD calling him a "disgraced" homophobe.

Christina Engela, of SA GLAAD, told PinkNews.co.uk: "This is a resounding slap in the face to the pink community in South Africa and coupled with the government's failure to condemn the Ugandan genocide bill, it gives tacit approval to Ugandan human rights violations – and raises valid concerns about the future of gay rights in this country also."

The South African press has reported that President Jacob Zuma will announce Qwelane's appointment next month. Qwelane supported Zuma when he was accused of corruption.

The Sunday Times said that the International Relations department was waiting for Uganda to approve the choice.


More about the National Prayer Breakfast -

The National Prayer Breakfast is a yearly event held in Washington, D.C., on the first Thursday of February each year. The founder of this event was Abraham Vereide.[1] The event—which is actually a series of meetings, luncheons, and dinners—has taken place since 1953 and has been held at least since the 1980s at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue N.W.

The breakfast, held in the Hilton’s International Ballroom, is attended by some 3,500 guests, including international invitees from over 100 countries. The National Prayer Breakfast is hosted by members of the United States Congress and is organized on their behalf by The Fellowship Foundation, a conservative Christian organization more widely known as "The Family." Initially called the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, the name was changed in 1970 to the National Prayer Breakfast.

It is designed to be a forum for political, social and business leaders of the world to assemble together and build relationships which might not otherwise be possible. ("[T]he breakfast is regarded by the Family as merely a tool in a larger purpose: to recruit the powerful attendees into smaller, more frequent prayer meetings, where they can 'meet Jesus man to man.'"[2]) Since the inception of the National Prayer Breakfast, several U.S. states and cities and other countries have established their own annual prayer breakfast events.

The event has been criticized by organizations such as American Atheists and the Freedom From Religion Foundation,[3] who describe it as violating separation of church and state.

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