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More information coming out about Ugandan anti-gay conference

by Amanda Marcotte

More evidence has come out that people like Scott Lively, and others involved in organizing this Ugandan conference about homosexuality that led to anti-gay hysteria that has resulted in the drafting of a bill that would create harsh penalties for homosexuality (including, apparently, 3 years in prison for failure to report people you know are gay---a classic genocidal move, to punish people for “harboring” members of a hated group).  In this above video, which was sent to me by Evan Hurst, you really get an earful of both how over the top the hatred was that was aimed at gays, and also how much organizers presented themselves as world-renowned experts on homosexuality.  Lively presents himself in this video as the world’s expert on gays, the man who knows more than anything.  After that, he proceeds to describe gay men as monsters (he seems to forget about the existence of lesbians, which is a blessing in disguise in this case, since at least someone is spared being painted as murderous monsters)---men who have “nothing” in the world, and seem to be soulless in his eyes. I guess the pseudo-scientific idea is that sex with women has a civilizing effect on men?  It must be, because he proceeds to argue that without that specific heterosexual lifestyle, gay men turn into murderous thugs.

Lively’s theory is that being gay is basically behind the urge to murder.  He blames gays for serial killing, for instance. In his book, he claims that 68% of serial killers are gay.  He then proceeds to blame gays for the Holocaust.  This in itself was sadly unsurprising.  The Christian right has been flinging Nazi accusations like they were Bibles for a long time now, especially when it comes to abortion, which they say puts the Holocaust to shame.  The Holocaust thing has a threefold effect: it’s to make their claims seem more grandiose than they are, but also works to minimize the horror of the Holocaust, and also to distract people from the fact that it’s not liberals who share the Nazis’ view of family, but the Christian right.* Unfortunately, this tactic has been effective, and people have become numb to how awful it is for wingnuts to fling Holocaust accusations willy-nilly, and so Lively decides to raise the stakes by then suggesting that it was probably gays behind the Rwandan genocide. 

I doubt the choice was an accident, considering the fact that Uganda borders Rwanda, and so the horror of that genocide is probably not an abstract thing in Uganda. 

So here’s why the organizers of this conference and all their buddies who claim to think the Ugandan bill is too severe are full of shit.  If they actually believe this shit---that gays are mass murderers, that they’re serial killers, that they have no moral compass and are basically monsters---then they really can’t care if Uganda starts rounding up and executing people for homosexuality, since they don’t believe that gays are really human beings with any value anyway.  Or they don’t actually believe all this shit, and so we’re forced to conclude they deliberately set out to write the most appalling anti-gay propaganda, with the intention of creating this sort of genocidal reaction. 

Hopefully, the international outcry will result in Uganda backing off.  I also hope that this whole incident wakes people up to the fact that the Christian right leadership is completely willing to lie about their intentions to secure their spot in the mainstream discourse.  Since it’s obvious that someone like Scott Lively is straight up lying when he claims he didn’t think things would get this bad, we have to think about other times Christian right leadership plays innocent when their rhetoric turns to violence, like they inevitably do when someone shoots an abortion provider. 

*The Nazis banned abortion and sent gay people to the camps.  Aryan women were encouraged to have more children, in the same way that modern wingnuts wring their hands about declining white birthrates and plead with white women to have more children.  None of this per se makes the Christian right fascist, of course---remember, just because you get the trains to run on time doesn’t make you a fascist---but it does point to the fact that “patriotic” Americans who fall for harsh right wing rhetoric face a paradox that they have trouble resolving.  Which is that the America that they claim to love so dearly gave itself over to the cause of fighting fascism and won, and they want to be proud of this.  But since fascism springs from right wing thought, this creates dissonance.  Their solution is to project wildly, making outrageous claims about how it’s liberalism that gave birth to fascism (or that homosexuality or abortion were beloved by Nazis), which has the twin use of minimizing the dangers of fascism while also confusing the issue.  The irony there is that the way that fascism could exist in America is only if the people supporting it could convince themselves that they’re different---or else the nationalism that they need to exist would be compromised by the WWII victory---and so by flailing around accusing liberals of fascism, they’ve laid the groundwork that real fascism would need to grow.  I don’t think that it will, but I also don’t doubt that people like Scott Lively, who make accusations against gays that could be straight out of a Nazi playbook in demonizing Jews, would be in the front lines of such a movement. I just don’t think America as it currently exists would have enough people who agree with him to tip over.  I would say that even most people who identify with the right wing evangelical churches would start to balk if it got that ugly.  Most of them are actually too invested in their lives in the real world to really be 100% bananas.

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