Monday, November 30, 2009

C Street and Uganda's Homosexual Death Penalty

On tonight's Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel's first guest was Dan Rather, fresh back from Afghanistan. Her second guest was Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, talking about connections of The (C Street) Family and other American evangelicals to the proposed Ugandan death penalty law for homosexuality, which would also imprison anyone who knowingly failed to report a homosexual to the police. Specifically, Pastor Rick Warren (of the Saddleback Church and of the Obama Inauguration ceremony) and Senator James Inhofe (R–OK) have strong ties to Ugandan politics, but have pointedly refused to denounce the proposed law.

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If you missed the live broadcast or the first repeat, you still have one more shot, in about an hour, at 2 a.m. Eastern/11 p.m. Pacific on MSNBC. (The whole show is top-notch TRMS.) Failing that, you can watch the clip here above (courtesy of, and check back here for my expanded comments tomorrow. Rachel also covered several other issues, like Tiger Woods' failure to speak out against the sex trade in Dubai, despite his familiarity with the financially troubled emirate, perhaps because of his financial dealings there.

It's quite simple: advocating the death penalty for homosexuality is so abhorrent that no member of civilized society can stand idly by without at the very least condemning the proposal. President Obama said that he would be a tireless advocate for LGBT rights but yet he failed to speak out against Maine's Question 1; will he also stand idly by when it's not LGBT marriages at stake but their lives? In particular, Kenya shares Uganda's largest border, so it's not unreasonable to think that a well-crafted comment from President Obama, as both Kenya's "favorite grandson" and a sincere Christian, would have some influence. But certainly people with strong ties to Uganda itself must speak out publicly and unequivocally.

Am I right in recalling that The Family held up as role models, not only Hitler and Stalin, but also Idi Amin? Those were all people whom God had "anointed" to have power over the ignorant and unworthy. I'll have to double check with Jeff Sharlet's book and/or past TRMS clips, but I think they did. A bit of digging, and then more to say tomorrow....

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