The President of Uganda has just signed into law extreme anti-gay legislation. In addition to imprisoning anyone who counsels or reaches out to the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community in Uganda, the law establishes a crime of “aggravated homosexuality” which include acts where one person is infected with HIV, “serial offenders,” and sex with minors. “Aggravated homosexuality” is punished with life in prison. A previous version of the law, amended after worldwide protests, proscribed the death penalty.
The legislation was written and promoted by David Bahati, a member of the Ugandan Parliament. According to scholar and writer Jeff Sharlet, Bahati—who has said he wants to “kill every last gay person”— is a core member of a secretive network of American evangelical Christians called “The Family.” The Family sees its aggressive, worldwide evangelism embodied in the saying, “Jesus didn’t come to take sides; he came to take over.” The organization has also referred to itself—proudly—as “the Christian Mafia.” For over 75 years, its goal has been the “consecration” of America to God. But facing defeat in the American culture wars, The Family and its ilk looked elsewhere—including to Uganda.
The Family organizes the National Prayer Breakfast in the U.S. Bahati organizedthe Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast—as well as overseeing a student leadership program in Uganda to which The Family has contributed millions of dollars. According to documents about The Family’s work in Africa, the organization’s strategy is “a Congressman and/or Senator from the United States will befriend the leader of another country and tell him/her how Jesus and His teachings will help his country and its poor … and to teach them how to live, what to think and what to say.” Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is The Family’s missionary in Uganda.