Executing gays in Uganda, and destroying Turkey's secularism

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EC
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03 Dec 2009, 4:59 pm

Yep, it's This Week in Christianity!:

First up, American fundagelicals supporting the killing of gays in Uganda:

Quote:
As a gay Ugandan, Frank Mugisha has endured insults from strangers, hate messages on his phone, police harassment and being outed in a tabloid as one of the country's "top homos". That may soon seem like the good old days.

Life imprisonment is the minimum punishment for anyone convicted of having gay sex, under an anti-homosexuality bill currently before Uganda's parliament. If the accused person is HIV positive or a serial offender, or a "person of authority" over the other partner, or if the "victim" is under 18, a conviction will result in the death penalty.

Members of the public are obliged to report any homosexual activity to police with 24 hours or risk up to three years in jail – a scenario that human rights campaigners say will result in a witchhunt. Ugandans breaking the new law abroad will be subject to extradition requests.

"The bill is haunting us," said Mugisha, 25, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a coalition of local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex groups that will all be banned under the law. "If this passes we will have to leave the country."

Human rights groups within and outside Uganda have condemned the proposed legislation, which is designed to strengthen colonial-era laws that already criminalise gay sex. The issue threatened to overshadow the Commonwealth heads of government meeting that ended in Trinidad and Tobago today, with the UK and Canada both expressing strong concerns. Ahead of the meeting Stephen Lewis, a former UN envoy on Aids in Africa, said the law "makes a mockery of Commonwealth principles" and has "a taste of fascism" about it.

But within Uganda deeply-rooted homophobia, aided by a US-linked evangelical campaign alleging that gay men are trying to "recruit" schoolchildren, and that homosexuality is a habit that can be "cured", has ensured widespread public support for the bill.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/no ... ce-gay-sex

Next up, American(ED: see a pattern here?) Creationists are attempting to discredit the teaching of Evolutionary theory in Turkey:
Quote:
ISTANBUL -- Sema Ergezen teaches biology to Turkish students interested in teaching science themselves, and she has long struggled with her students' ignorance of, and sometimes hostility to, the notion of evolution.

But she was taken aback when several of her Marmara University students recently accused her of being an atheist, or worse, for teaching anything but the doctrine that God created the Earth and everything on it.

"They said I was a liar if I called myself a Muslim because I also accepted evolution," she said.

What especially disturbed -- and amused -- the veteran professor was that the arguments for creationism presented by some of the students came directly from the country where she was educated in the biological sciences years before -- the United States. Translated and adapted for a Muslim society, the purported proofs that Darwinism and evolution were wrong came directly from American proponents of Christian creationism and its less overtly religious offshoot, intelligent design.

Ergezen's experience has become increasingly common. While creationism and intelligent design appear to be in some retreat in the United States, they have blossomed within Muslim Turkey. With direct and indirect help from American foes of evolution, similarly-minded Turks have aggressively made the case that Charles Darwin's theory is scientifically wrong and is the underlying source of most of the world's conflicts because it excludes God from human affairs.

"Darwin is the worst Fascist there has ever been, and the worst racist history has ever witnessed," writes Harun Yahya, the most assertive and best-known critic of evolution in Turkey, and long a favorite of more conservative American creationists.


The evolution-creationism battle is playing out against a backdrop of a much larger conflict between the forces of secularism -- as represented by the Turkish military and many of the country's more educated citizens -- and forces, including the popular ruling party, that want to make religion more important in national affairs. The Islamic anti-evolution campaign is taking place in Turkey, and not Egypt or Saudi Arabia, because it is the Muslim nation where evolution has been taken most seriously. Like the Bible, the Koran says that God created the Earth and everything on it, and in many Muslim nations that ends the discussion.

But Turkey, which is officially secular, appears to be joining its Muslim neighbors on evolution. A recent survey, quoted in a 2008 article in the American journal Science, found that fewer than 25 percent of Turks accepted evolution as an explanation of how modern life came to be -- by far the lowest percentage of any developed nation. In a year in which conferences worldwide are celebrating the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and his contribution to science, the battle against Darwinian thinking in Turkey has become something of a rout, even among aspiring science teachers.

To many Turkish scientists and educators, this is a worrisome development. The founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was an advocate of science, education and, some say, even evolution. Turkish science has been especially strong in the Muslim world. If Turks close their minds to evolutionary thinking, advocates say, it won't be long before religion and politics shut off other scientific pursuits.

To John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, however, the news could hardly be more encouraging.

"Why I'm so interested in seeing creationism succeed in Turkey is that evolution is an evil concept that has done such damage to society," said Morris, a Christian who has led several searches for Noah's Ark in eastern Turkey. Members of his group have addressed Turkish conferences numerous times.

The Discovery Institute of Seattle, which researches and promotes intelligent design as an alternative to creationism and evolution, also sent speakers to Turkey after being invited by the Istanbul municipal government in 2007. President Bruce Chapman said the institute helped bring Turkish evolution critic Mustafa Akyol to a 2005 Kansas school board hearing on teaching critiques of evolution.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 33_pf.html



phil777
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04 Dec 2009, 12:56 am

I wanna take refuge in a small wooden house and close myself off from the rest of humanity when i read stuff like this. =.= So saddening.



xenon13
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04 Dec 2009, 1:06 am

Ugandan dictator Yowero Museveni has been a U.S. favourite for over twenty years and part of that is letting the fundies in... he also helped arm the South Sudan rebels which was another pet cause of theirs. He also invaded Rwanda in 1990 and his head of intelligence became leader of this army sent there to destroy and terrorise and triggered the African World War that killed millions.

Anti-gay legislation unfortunately is common in southern Africa - I know Mugabe was given grief for that (and his presidential predecessor Canaan Banana was convicted under such laws) but the death penalty goes beyond that and Museveni will not be personally criticised because he is so loved in the USA.



codarac
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06 Dec 2009, 6:44 pm

EC, the bit you highlighted in the first article you quoted refers to 'a US-linked evangelical campaign alleging that gay men are trying to "recruit" schoolchildren, and that homosexuality is a habit that can be "cured"'
No further details are provided about this link to the US.

So it's interesting that you manage to twist this into claiming that American fundamentalists are supporting the killing of gays.
If you want bash American Christian fundamentalists, you could have waited for a better opportunity.