Tuesday, March 30, 2010
' Pastor' Martin Sempa's Bibilical University rejects him
Guess they didnt teach him to show porn in Church there....!
visit this link to read university statement.....http://www.pbu.edu/news/100326ssempa.htm
Response to Ugandan Pastor
Recently, Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa made statements concerning public policy regarding homosexuals in that nation. Philadelphia Biblical University (PBU) categorically condemns any position that calls for violence against human beings created in the image and likeness of God, or violent solutions to socially controversial issues. While PBU holds to a biblically defined position regarding human sexuality, to call for such action clearly violates the teaching of the Bible, and the principles and practices taught at PBU. Ssempa did earn a graduate degree from PBU in 1994. Ssempa also received an honorary degree from PBU in 2006 for his ministry of compassion to HIV/AIDS victims in his native land. The University was not aware at that time of Ssempa’s recently expressed views. His present publicly stated position in no way represents or reflects the views of the University, its administration, or its faculty. It is our sincere hope that Christians would hold their convictions regarding homosexuality with a spirit of grace and compassion toward all human beings.
-From the University Administration
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Gospel Truth Music Ministry Condemns Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Rev. Rizi Nasele Timane (in picture)' and the Gospel Truth Music Ministry (http://www.rizigospel.com) are voicing their support for Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their distress at the new perils that the community faces under the country's proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, but the proposed legislation would create a new offense of "aggravated homosexuality," punishable by death. An extraterritorial clause would require that even Ugandans living in other countries be extradited to face prosecution for offenses listed within the bill. The bill also proposes jail sentences for failure to report a homosexual act and for "promoting homosexuality," which could cover the activities of human rights groups, including organizations working on HIV and AIDS prevention.
Christianity is the most widespread religion in Uganda. In an open letter addressed to President Obama, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Timane' points out the disparity between the proposed legislation and God's law. She draws attention to the command in Micah 6:8 "to do justice, and to love kindness" as well as Mark 12:28-31 where "Jesus spells out the two commandments that encompass every other commandment," the second of which is "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." "The proposed anti-homosexuality bill is in direct violation," Timane' states.
A lesbian reverend from Nigeria, West Africa, Timane' was one of the first people to identify as openly gay in Africa and knows firsthand the life-threatening effects of homophobia. Her letter continues, "The Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill is anti-human, anti-Christian and in violation of the fundamental rights that ALL people living in our world today are entitled to. It is in essence, government-legislated genocide." Timane' calls on all Christians to oppose the proposed law. She also writes, "I ask Uganda's president (Yoweri Museveni) and all Ugandan lawmakers, to please engage in dialogue with the rest of the world on the importance of protecting the rights of minorities."
On February 21, 2010, the ministry took spiritual action by conducting a prayer vigil at the Unity Fellowship of Christ church in Riverside, Calif., praying against the passage of the bill. A record of the vigil is posted in the video section of the Gospel Truth Music Ministry Web site.
In addition, the ministry will be offering monthly video devotionals at its Web site, starting Sunday, March 7, 2010. The devotionals will be video responses to the most often asked questions the ministry receives and occasional sermons on God's inclusive love for all people. "Gospel Truth Music Ministry is available to LGBT individuals 24 hours a day worldwide, including those suffering in Uganda," said Timane'. "We are a resource for anyone in need of encouragement or struggling to reconcile their sexuality with their spiritual faith."
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Ugandan plan would punish media for ‘economic sabotage’
Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill has received considerable international attention, particularly concerning its harsh criminal sanctions, but another piece of repressive legislation threatens to criminalize the activities of another maligned group: the vibrant independent press in this East African nation at the confluence of Africa’s largest lake (Victoria) and the world’s longest river (Nile).
Uganda is not above putting restrictions on journalists and politicians deemed as opposing President Yoweri Museveni, the former guerilla leader who has ruled the country since 1986. The police here have a special “media crimes” division. One journalist, Andrew Mwenda, is battling more than 20 separate criminal cases alleging libel, sectarianism, and sedition for his reporting. Under the Ugandan 2002 Anti-Terrorism Act, journalists risk lengthy prison sentences or death while reporting on the activities of groups the government deems “terrorists.”
Now, it appears the government wants to go much further, at least judging by a leaked copy of cabinet-approved principles for a bill amending the 1995 Press and Journalist Act.
The proposal would introduce new licensing conditions for newspapers, invigorate the rather moribund Media Council, and empower the council to punish media outlets. Especially disturbing is section 5.1.8, which aims:
To amend the existing Act to create offences and penalties against media houses that publish material prejudicial to national security, stability, and unity, or utterances that are injurious to Uganda’s relations with her neighbors or friendly countries or utterance and publish materials that tantamount to [sic] economic sabotage. [Bold in the original]
In an interview in January, Minister of Information and National Guidance Kabakumba Masiko told me the bill aims to ensure that journalists are penalized if they “are going to injure or give information that will cause instability that will affect our economy.”
Museveni accused press of sabotage in 2008 address. (Monitor)Fears of “economic sabotage” by the media are nothing new in Uganda. In a June 2008 parliamentary session, Museveni brandished a copy of a 2005 article from Uganda’s leading independent newspaper, Monitor, which alleged the government wanted to “sell” the state-owned Dairy Corporation Ltd. to a Thai investor for a nominal fee. "What right do such saboteurs have to sabotage our investment? What right do you have to damage our future?" he asked. The newfound focus on economic interests now likely refers to Uganda’s nascent oil wealth. With the recent discovery of oil in the western part of the country, the proposed law would likely seek to control media-stoked controversy over the contentious and secretive oil deals being made.
Some independent journalists scrutinizing the government and oil multinationals over their Production Sharing Agreements (PSA) are already facing problems. Monitor reporter Richard Wanambwa said he received death threats over a January 3 article that cited a leaked report on alleged oil deal irregularities. In February, a magistrate dismissed a freedom of information petition on oil deals that was filed by Monitor journalists Angelo Izama and Charles Mpagi. The same day, another magistrate from another court handed Izama and another Monitor journalist criminal libel charges over a December 19 opinion column critical of the president.
In a country where much of the national budget comes from foreign aid, donor criticism over Museveni’s handling of the media has put the state in a difficult bind: How does it to maintain the illusion of a press that is wholly free while ensuring that underlying regime and economic interests are secured? The government’s stance appears to be one of freedom for the media in exchange for their implicit collaboration. Minister Masiko echoed this sentiment in a Monitor article in January when commenting on the government’s ongoing ban of prominent broadcaster Central Broadcasting Services (CBS). She said, “As a government, we are willing to forget and forgive if the CBS management is cooperative.”
The bill, in the context of the ongoing suspension of CBS, a ban on popular debate programs, and prosecutions of journalists, has many concerned that with election season about to begin in earnest, further clampdowns and repressive measures will be taken. In an interview with The Independent, Masiko dismissed such concerns. “We are trying to streamline the operations of the media,” she said.
Many journalists fear the only thing the government wants to streamline is penalizing the news media for loosely defined offenses.
Despite the ruling NRM’s party’s 24 years in power, attempts to rid the country of corruption and patronage have proved largely unsuccessful. Uganda rates 130th out of 179 in Transparency International’s 2009 Corruption Perception Index, a drop of four spots from the previous year. New laws that curb the media’s ability to scrutinize government irregularities could erode imperil transparency and accountability.
The proposed amendments seem to be worryingly in line with Freedom House’s 2009 assessment of Uganda’s press freedom climate, one in which “the government’s aggressive application of several repressive laws to control the media has led to widespread self-censorship.”
Ariel Rubin is a freelance journalist who recently relocated to New York City after working in Uganda with The Independent newsmagazine.
An Open Letter to the HIV and Public Health Community in Uganda
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) applauds efforts by people living with HIV in Uganda to
stand up against the proposed “Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009”, and urges HIV service providers in
the country to join them by making a clear, collective public statement condemning the proposed
legislation and calling for its immediate dissolution. If enacted, this legislation will have a profoundly
detrimental impact upon the effort to address HIV in Uganda. Implementing organizations dedicated
to delivering HIV & AIDS prevention, treatment and care services in Uganda have contributed
enormously to fighting the epidemic on the ground, and as such are uniquely positioned to speak out
against the bill - especially those implementers receiving significant funding from large global donors
like PEPFAR and the Global Fund. Moreover, implementers have an obligation to the health and
safety of all people in the communities they serve, including gay men and other men who have sex
with men (MSM), their families, their loved ones, and agencies who work to provide them essential
health services. Protecting and promoting public health includes weighing in on any debate that
threatens to undermine HIV service implementers’ ability to deliver effective public health programs.
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV is deeply concerned about the ways in which the proposed anti-
homosexuality bill will undermine the nation’s efforts in addressing the HIV epidemic:
First, the bill is very clear with regards to people living with HIV: anyone charged with the offense of
aggravated homosexuality will undergo HIV testing, and all those found to be HIV positive are subject
to the death penalty. Simply put, one’s HIV status is grounds for execution. This proposal not only
reinforces stigma, discrimination and violence against people living with HIV, it is an outrageous
violation of human rights and should be roundly condemned by all committed to the effort to end
Second, the extreme criminal penalties proposed in the bill further marginalize men who have sex
with men (MSM), a community that is already criminalized in Uganda, as well as highly stigmatized and
vulnerable to HIV infection. In low and middle-income countries, MSM are 19 times more likely to be
infected with HIV than the general populationi. The gold standard public health principle for
addressing HIV – “know your epidemic, know your response” – necessitates targeting HIV-related
services at most-at-risk communities. The harsh penalties in this bill drive MSM underground, fueling
HIV risk and transmission in a context of silence and fear, and making it difficult to (a) assess the HIV
burden among MSM, and (b) subsequently reach out to high-risk individuals with essential information
and services. Uganda’s own AIDS Commission has specifically called for a review of legal
impediments to the inclusion of most-at-risk populations – including MSM – in the national AIDS
Third, conditions in the bill against the “promotion of homosexuality” are vague, raising serious
concerns that AIDS service providers’ work to provide critical HIV-related information and services
tailored to the needs of MSM may be considered illegal. Without clear guidance on what specifically
constitutes “promotion of homosexuality”, the materials necessary for HIV prevention among MSM
would be classified as homosexual “promotional materials”, even though such products and
information are integral to save lives and prevent transmission of HIV. The 2009 AIDS Epidemic
Update (UNAIDS) explicitly highlights the need to implement prevention programs for MSM and
other key populations of higher risk as an important part of all national AIDS responsesiii. Given the
severe nature of the proposed sentencing - convicted organizations are liable to having their
registration cancelled and their executive director imprisoned for seven years - it is reasonable to
expect most AIDS service organizations to halt vital HIV-related outreach to key affected populations
for fear of possible broad interpretation of the law that would invoke criminal penalties.
Finally, the bill would jeopardize the critical relationship between healthcare providers and patients
seeking HIV-related services by mandating that any person, including doctors, report suspected
homosexuality to the authorities. In such an environment, people who may be at risk for HIV will
delay seeking information and services, or may not present to healthcare facilities at all. Early
identification of people living with HIV is a critical public health imperative in the prevention of
onward transmission, and these provisions would seriously undermine the ability of the National
AIDS Response to do so effectively.
In sum, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will fundamentally compromise the effectiveness of the HIV
response in Uganda. We urge HIV service providers, including international non-
governmental organizations, committed to halting and reversing the spread of HIV in
Uganda to stand with us in calling on legislators to withdraw the bill under question
immediately. We share a collective responsibility to speak out in the interests of the communities
we serve, and every voice is paramount in our work to challenge discriminatory public policy
practices that undermine our efforts to end AIDS.
URGENT ACTION FUND WANTS ANTI HOMOSEX BILL WITHDRAWN
The Urgent Action Fund-Africa, a Pan-African women’s human rights organisation, notes with great concern Uganda’s draconian Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009, the ongoing parliamentary debates and the suggested amendments to the Bill. We acknowledge that people have different personal persuasions on the question of homosexuality. However, we are deeply concerned that by enacting this law, the State will set a precedent where anyone different from the mainstream can be legally demonized, stripped of their dignity and rights and persecuted, at a time when we seek to establish democratic societies of tolerance and equality. There will be no limit to a state’s tyranny and manipulation of laws to oppress any group of people considered different, dissenting or a minority. We underscore the fundamental principle that people are different in their beliefs, orientation and opinions YET equal in their rights, dignity and worth.
UAF-Africa asserts that all human rights are equal, inalienable, interdependent, and indivisible, and should be promoted, protected, and respected by all states. UAF-Africa holds further that the proposed Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 is not only in contravention of, but violates Articles 3 (right to life, liberty and security of person), 5 (No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment), 11(presumption of innocence) and 19 (right to freedom of expression) of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The Bill also violates Uganda’s Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international and regional human rights treaties to which Uganda is signatory.
In line with the work Urgent Action Fund-Africa has done over the past nine years to raise the visibility of the discrimination and marginalization faced by gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, we stand in solidarity with the gay and lesbian community in Uganda, which is already marginalised since homosexuality is criminalised and punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment (Uganda’s Penal Code 145). The proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill as it stands empowers the state to impose heavy fines, life imprisonment and death sentences based on an individual’s sexual orientation. The bill further criminalises relatives, counsellors, healthcare providers, religious leaders, and individuals for knowing and not reporting practitioners of homosexuality, imposing a fine of 5 to 7 years on any person who ‘aids, abets, counsels, or engages in the promotion of homosexuality’.
We are alarmed that the Bill proposes that Uganda withdraws from any international agreements to which the country already is a party, or file reservations to them, if they are re-interpreted to include protection for homosexual behaviour, or that promote same-sex marriage, or that call for the promotion or teaching about homosexuality as being healthy, normal, or an acceptable lifestyle choice, or that seek to establish sexual behaviour, sexual orientation, gender identity, or sexual minorities as legally protected categories of people. This is in contravention of international law which prohibits States from doing such a thing. Article 26 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties requires that “Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.”
We are greatly concerned that the Anti-homosexuality Bill in its current form or various amendments conflates personal values with state values, creating a never ending downward spiral in legislative practice. It will lead to widespread and unjust persecution of persons based on their sexual orientation, and will lead to widespread censorship among organizations, the media, and individuals, as they seek to avoid heavy fines or criminal prosecution. We are also alarmed by the Bill’s effect on Uganda’s HIV programming. Through stigmatizing a certain sector of Uganda’s society, the bill practically drives this sector underground, denying it the right to access health care and other public resources. This Bill will create an environment of intimidation, fear, and hostility, narrowing the spaces for private and public debate, as well as the principles of freedom of expression.
UAF-Africa is further concerned that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill demonstrates a growing trend in several African countries to enact retrogressive legislation that violates the human rights of minority groups in their countries, in contravention of Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Urgent Action Fund-Africa therefore calls upon:
• Hon. David Bahati, the architect of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, to promptly withdraw it from Parliament
• The Parliament of Uganda not to waste tax-payers’ money debating the bill; and certainly to ensure its defeat if debated, in the interests of safeguarding the values of democracy, tolerance and equality.
• The Parliament of Uganda to repeal the existing provision of ss.145 of the Uganda Penal Code that criminalizes homosexuality
• The Ugandan public to be open and debate sexuality issues with the view to understanding that people of different sexual orientations do exist, not only in Uganda, but in ALL communities and countries across the world
• All Ugandans to unite in publicly condemning this draconian Bill in the interests of their own democratic freedom
• The international community to stand in solidarity with this group of Ugandan citizens, and other such citizens in different African countries
• African states to cease drafting and passing similar draconian laws on homosexuality and stop discrimination against fellow citizens on grounds of sexual orientation.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Pope Silent on Uganda's 'Kill-the-Gays' Bill
Pope Benedict XVI met with the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Uganda at the Vatican last Friday and delivered a speech summing up what he saw as the main tasks of the church in the East African nation -- but made no mention of the draconian anti-homosexuality bill that has prompted an international outcry.
The legislation pending in the Ugandan parliament provides for life imprisonment for homosexuals and even execution in some cases -- hence its nickname, the "kill the gays" bill -- and for jail terms for those who do not out those they believe to be homosexuals.
The bill has not only sparked international protests, but also finger-pointing at conservative American Christians who have been seen as giving aid and comfort to Ugandan Christians and politicians who want to toughen Uganda's law criminalizing homosexuality.
As we wrote here, the protests and media coverage have prompted a number of American Christians, mainly evangelicals and a few Catholics with longstanding ties to Uganda, to renounce any support for the legislation. There have also been mounting calls for the pope and the archbishop of Canterbury -- head of the Anglican Communion, which has a high profile in Uganda -- to throw their weight against the bill.
But in his address to the bishops of Uganda last Friday, Benedict XVI made no reference to the anti-gay bill or the international outcry surrounding it.
Instead he called on the bishops to "encourage the Catholics of Uganda to appreciate fully the sacrament of marriage in its unity and indissolubility, and the sacred right to life" -- the latter a reference to abortion. He also urged them "to resist the seduction of a materialistic culture of individualism which has taken root in so many countries" -- a reference to concerns about an encroaching cultural influence from Europe and North America.
The closest he came to mentioning homosexuals seemed to be in his call for the church in Uganda to support those who "care for people afflicted by poverty, AIDS and other diseases, teaching them to see in those whom they serve the suffering face of Jesus." AIDS is a plague in Uganda and afflicts straights and gays, men and women and children alike.
The papal address was wide-ranging and covered a number of topics of concern to the church's internal development; such is typically the case when the pope meets the entire hierarchy of a country in Rome, as he does for each nation every five years. But the pope will typically touch on hot-button social and political issues as well. In speaking to bishops from the United States, for example, the pope would always comment on abortion and immigration.
There are several reasons why Benedict may not have mentioned the anti-gay bill -- or rather the broader issue of human rights and protections for homosexuals and love of the sinner, since for diplomatic reasons the pope would not target a specific piece of legislation. One is that he may not be aware of the legislation or the controversy. Another is that his aides know that if he raised the issue it would become the lead of every story. There is also concern that having religious leaders outside Uganda speak out against the popular bill would backfire and ensure its passage.
Moreover, the bishops themselves may have asked the Vatican to refrain from addressing the issue (though that has not always stopped the pope from speaking his mind) since they are in the tricky position of trying to maintain the church's position in Uganda in the face of serious challenges from conservative evangelicals and Pentecostals, as well as Muslims, who are far more severe in their approach to homosexuals than the Catholic Church is.
Just before Christmas, Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga of Kampala, the Ugandan capital, released a statement reiterating church teaching that homosexuality is immoral but saying the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, as it is known, "does not pass a test of a Christian caring approach to this issue."
"The targeting of the sinner, not the sin, is the core flaw of the proposed Bill," he wrote. "The introduction of the death penalty and imprisonment for homosexual acts targets people rather than seeking to counsel and to reach out in compassion to those who need conversion, repentance, support and hope."
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