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First Look: A New Season of “Vanguard”

May 20th, 2010 by Rebecca Harper Editor

A new season of Current TV’s Vanguard starts next week, but you can get a sneak peek at the upcoming season starting today here on Hulu. First up: Correspondent Mariana van Zeller traveled to Uganda to report on proposed anti-gay legislation that would put homosexuals in jail for life, a bill that has ties to the evangelical movement here in America. Just after receiving a Peabody Award for her coverage of the prescription drug trade in South Florida (“The OxyContin Express“), van Zeller spoke to Hulu about her newest report,”Missionaries of Hate,” and her interview with her former boss, Laura Ling, the journalist who was imprisoned (along with producer Euna Lee) in North Korea last summer. Our Q&A follows. — Rebecca Harper (), Editor

What brought you to Uganda for this story?
When I first heard about this story, there was a small clip in the newspaper about this really harsh anti-gay legislation that had been introduced in Uganda. It would basically put gays in prison for life or, in some cases, [they could be given the] death sentence. Immediately, I thought this would be a story that would fit with Vanguard and one that I would be very interested in covering. It was a small clip, and the story wasn’t being widely reported. Shortly after this, I heard a radio interview where Terry Gross from NPR was interviewing Jeff Sharlet, who had just written a book [The Family] and had been doing some reporting about how American evangelicals had some sort of influence on this bill. That was when we decided this was a very important story for us to do, and we really wanted to dig deep and investigate how far this influence had gotten, and how much influence American evangelicals actually had on this bill. A month later, we were on a plane to Uganda.

We actually got there at a very important time in this bill. [We had access to] the backers of this bill, including the creator of the bill and the face of it, this Ugandan evangelical, a pastor called Pastor Ssempa. They were both together with all the other backers of the bill, really going out there and campaigning. It was sort of their last effort to try to make this bill pass, and they were actually getting a lot of people on their side. We followed them around for almost 10 days, and they had church rallies and mass protests. Every single venue that we attended with them was always packed. The most surprising thing for us was that it wasn’t just … you know when you go to church congregations in the West, and the majority of people are usually older people? Well in the church congregations and venues and rallies that we attended with them in Uganda, the majority of the congregation is actually young people, young people who are actually very supportive of the bill and had very anti-gay stances.

Well, in the episode, I noticed that Pastor Ssempa has a way of speaking that engages his audience — you can’t help but watch and listen.
He’s incredibly charismatic, and in speaking to some of these young people, it is incredible how much they admire him and how much they believe every word he says. So if Pastor Ssempa is saying to kids that homosexuality is evil and God will punish every single homosexual — and it’s their duty as a good Christian to go after these homosexuals — well, that’s what they do. That’s what sort of scary about this campaign.

When you were in Uganda, your tour guide, Long John, was gay. How did you find him? Was he an activist who had been outed in the newspaper?
As soon as we got to Uganda, one of our main goals was to sort of get to know what life is like for gays in Uganda. We had seen some news articles about this legislation here in the West, but there was rarely anything about what life is actually like for gay people in Uganda. So we went and met first with some gay rights organizations and sort of through talking to them, got to know this guy known as “Long John.” He’s not an activist himself, but he’s a person who’s been affected on several levels. He’s lost his job, he’s been threatened physically several times. Right after we left, he had to move to another house because his neighbors and the landlord didn’t want him there. He’s been put in jail for being gay. This unfortunately is not the exception; this is the rule for people who are openly gay in Uganda.

Can you tell us about this proposed bill and its implications for gays in Uganda?
It’s already illegal to be gay in Uganda. What this bill does is, it makes being gay in Uganda even more difficult. If you are gay in Uganda, you can get a life sentence — be put in prison for life — or in some cases, such as repeat offenders, you can suffer the death penalty. Another thing that this bill does is, if you know that somebody is homosexual, it is mandatory for you to tell the authorities, even if it’s your son or your mother. And if you don’t, you yourself can be put in jail for up to four years.

It makes everybody sort of be looking over each other’s shoulder. It separates families, because if you’re a homosexual and want to tell your family, your parents, you know you’re putting them at risk. If this bill passed, you’d put them at risk of ending up in jail themselves. The last thing you want to do is go and put them in jail.

And this bill hasn’t passed yet, right?
Yeah, it hasn’t passed yet. Recently there was a committee that came out of the Ugandan parliament that put out a strong recommendation for the bill not to pass. However, the bill isn’t entirely dead yet, and many people in the gay rights community are hoping that the bill will die as a result of the international pressure that has been put on the Ugandan president for the bill not to pass. But speaking to some of the supporters of the bill, they think that it will pass sooner or later; it’s just a matter of time. They still strongly believe that it will pass. This is an election year in Uganda, and over 90 percent of Ugandans are against homosexuality, so Pastor Ssempa himself told us that if the president were to not pass this bill, he could suffer politically. The president is sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, if he doesn’t pass the bill, he could lose a lot of internal support; if he does pass the bill, he could lose a lot of international aid, and Uganda is heavily dependent on international aid.

If it did pass, where would homosexuals in Uganda, people like Long John, end up?
The majority of gay people that we spoke to told us that, if the bill were to pass, they would be forced out of their country. For them, it wasn’t at all an easy decision. Uganda is their country; they have their whole family, their friends, their jobs, their lives in Uganda. For them to think that they might have to leave because they may be put in prison for life or even killed if they stayed, it is extremely painful. It wasn’t something they said easily. There aren’t a lot of places for them to go because, unfortunately, this wave of anti-gay sentiment is going across all of Africa. It’s not as if they can pop over to Malawi, where just yesterday news came out that this same-sex couple was sentenced to 14 years in jail because they held a symbolic marriage.

Not only are the backers of this bill, such as Pastor Ssempa and David Bahati, the creator of the bill, extremely proud that their country is being seen as this anti-gay symbol in the world, but they were extremely hopeful that the other countries around Uganda in Africa would follow their example. In fact, they said that they’d been receiving numerous calls from politicians from all over Africa who were trying to emulate this bill, and that is a very scary scenario.

Can you tell us about the influence of outsiders on this bill, specifically the presence of American evangelicals like Scott Lively?
Basically, when you ask where the idea of this bill started, the majority of the gay community in Uganda will point to this conference that happened in March 2009, where three American evangelicals traveled to Uganda and were headliners at this conference. They spoke at length about how the gay agenda is evil, and how gays are out there to recruit children into homosexuality. Shortly after, just a few months after this conference, this anti-gay bill was drafted. The gay rights community sees an important link between these two. In fact, they say that before these American evangelicals came to Uganda, the language such as “the recruitment of children” and “the gay agenda” didn’t even exist in Uganda. Now, if you go to any of these Pastor Ssempa rallies or you hear David Bahati speak, this is all they’ll say. They’ll tell you that “we have to pass this bill because our children are at risk. They are trying to recruit our children to become homosexuals.” The language is actually scarily similar.

A few weeks after we came back, we finally got an interview with Scott Lively and we asked him what he thought of this bill. It surprised us that he knew there was a bill being drafted when he went to Uganda. The sense we got from him was that, if he were to draft the bill himself, he would not include the death penalty. He thinks they might have gone too far, but as he says himself, “what is the lesser of two evils: to have a bill that is overly harsh, or to have this sort of gay agenda that is being pushed down the throats of these Africans from the West?” We’ll let him answer that.

In this report, you mention that Ugandans would spend $50 on a ticket to see the white Christian evangelicals talk — and that’s more than most of them would make in a month. What do you think is the draw?
We actually asked the exact question to a gay rights activist, Pepe, who’s also profiled in the piece. The way she put it was, “We so admire the people in the United States. America means everything to us, we try to emulate America all the time. So to have an American evangelical come to our country and tell us how we should feel or think about homosexuals, it is obvious that we are going to follow that. It’s obvious that the majority of people are going to accept that as the truth and the fact.” It seems that, in many ways, that’s what happened.

What about AIDS, is there a perception of AIDS and homosexuality being linked in Uganda, hence the backlash?
Uganda was actually one of the most progressive countries when it came to the fight against AIDS. For many years, while the rate of AIDS growth in other countries was actually increasing, it was actually decreasing in Uganda. That was mainly because of the ABC — Abstinence, Be faithful and Condom — program that they really implemented in Uganda. It had enormous success. However, with President Bush and the PEPFAR [President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] program, which poured millions of dollars into Uganda, it put focus on the abstinence side of the ABC. Instead of telling people to use condoms, it was telling people not to have sex. Many people believed it had a negative impact on AIDS in the country and they think that, in coming years, AIDS is already growing and will start growing even more. Of course, if this bill is introduced, anyone working in AIDS in Uganda will say this could have a devastating impact [in the fight against] AIDS in the country. People won’t want to come out or tell their doctors or family that they’re having sex with other men. Doctors can end up in jail if they decide to run an AIDS test on someone they suspect is gay and don’t report them to the police first. This is going to put more people in the closet.

Do you know how many gays there are in Uganda?
No, it’s obviously so hard to know. I actually asked a gay Ugandan if he thought there were more Ugandans who out of the closet or in the closet. He said that those who stay in the closets far, far outnumber those who come out. Coming out of the closet in Uganda is like committing suicide — it’s suicidal, he said, those were his words. They get shunned by their family, they get made fun of by everyone around them, and in some cases, they get put in prison, they lose their jobs and their homes, and get physically abused.

Your work has taken you to some dangerous locales. While you weren’t escorted by young men carrying automatic rifles this time, did you have any interesting encounters on this assignment?
I was four-and-a-half months pregnant when I was traveling there, and as soon as I told Pastor Ssempa and a few others that I was pregnant, they held my belly and started preaching for my baby not to be homosexual. It happened three times with three different pastors. I couldn’t do anything — it was just before I was about to interview them, and obviously I wanted them to speak openly to me about this bill. It was such a crazy experience.

From the start, we wanted to get this perspective of what it’s like to be gay in Uganda. We wanted to really go in deep and spend time with gays in Uganda. Through Long John and a couple of others, we were able to do that. What really surprised us was that even with everything that has happened to them and all the threats they have to endure, and the possibility of this law passing, they are so courageous. They thought it was so important for them to this story, to raise awareness for what is happening in their country that they were willing to speak to us knowing that there could be repercussions. They thought it was so important to put it out there. That was really surprising; we thought it would be more difficult.

Let’s talk about your Peabody Award for “The OxyContin Express.” When did you find out and how?
Oh, it’s a great story. My dad was in town, visiting. Darren [Foster], my husband and producer, who also won the award, found out and couldn’t get a hold of me. He called my dad, but I wasn’t actually with my dad at that time. So my dad got the news and five minutes later, when I arrived, I looked at my dad and he was crying. He said “I have some amazing some news,” and I said “What’s wrong, dad? Why are you crying?” And he said “You won a Peabody.” Hearing the news that I won the Peabody, which obviously is the dream of anyone in TV, but hearing it from my dad’s mouth and knowing how proud he was, it was amazing. The ceremony was held this Monday. It was incredible, just being in the presence of some of the female journalists that I’ve admired my whole life, like Diane Sawyer and Lyse Doucet from the BBC. Just being in the presence of these monsters in journalism, being in the same room and going up there to receive the award was an incredible honor.

The Vanguard special featuring Laura Ling aired last night. Can you tell us about the interview, which covers her experiences while she were imprisoned in North Korea?
You know, Laura was my boss for four years, was my colleague and is my dear, dear friend. To be able to sit down and interview her about the hardest time in her life was an incredible opportunity for me. What I think we got was a very personal story from Laura about what happened while she was there. My part of it was just a sit-down interview with Laura that took us everywhere from why she went there in the first place, what story she was reporting on, what happened on the river the day she was captured, whether she knew she was doing something illegal, and then everything that she experienced while in captivity until Bill Clinton came to rescue [her and producer Euna Lee].

You have two other stories on the way this season. What are they?
There’s “Rape on the Reservation.” One out of every three American Indian women is raped in their lifetime in the United States. It’s a crazy, staggering statistic. So we went to the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota to investigate these high rates of rape and violence against women.
The other piece is about soccer trafficking, the trafficking of African soccer players to Europe. It’s the first time that Africa is hosting the World Cup. The World Cup is the biggest sports event in the world, and we take a look at the ugly side of the sport in Africa and Europe. Always the uplifting stories, Rebecca. We always try to make people smile. [Laughs.]

Someone’s got to do it! Well, we’re looking forward to the new season. Thanks for your time, Mariana.

New episodes of Vanguard are posted each Thursday on Hulu. On Wednesday, May 26, we’ll also have the “Captive in North Korea” special, featuring journalist Laura Ling.

Last comment: Mar 14th 2017 19 Comments
  • Paul says:

    This piece puts a face on the other side of the debate: the moving interviews with Pepe and Long Johns and other gays who are confronting the fevered hostility, regardless of its source. This part of the picture has been lacking in the other stories I’ve followed on the legislation. Their bravery and kindness outshines the spiraling hatred in their midst. Thank you for bringing us their voices and stories. I pray for their happiness and safety.

  • M. D. Allison says:

    I am amazed, with the Evangelicals’ feeling that it is fine, for them to break the first, of there own ten commandments; (Thou shall not Kill)! Saying it is fine to Hang gay men, and woman. Is equal to the radicals that kill doctors, for preforming abortions, Or, Hitler killing all the Jewish people. I say if you live by the sward, die by the sward. As Americans we should be shamed in knowing, a few of our so called Christians, would go to a third world country ! Plant these kinds of toxic seeds; then turn on their heels, and walk away. They should be put at the top of the governments hit list. Being a gay man, I was very impressed by the Journalist work, and Long John’s,as well as the other gay men and women that spoke out to her. I was also, impressed with Hillary stand on the issue in Uganda!

  • Sami says:

    I wish you guys had a “contact us” or something similar so I could point this out there instead of on something completely unrelated, but w/e. I just want to point out that “Egyptian” is misspelled as “egyption” in the tags on the Stargate page. Normally I wouldn’t care…but “egyption” is in the video tags for basically all of the Stargate SG-1 episodes and there are 214 of them, which does seem significant. This constant misspelling makes someone look like an idiot…I just wanted to bring it to your attention.

  • Clara says:

    Wait… If I am straight but I practice sodomy, is that an abomination? I am confused.

  • Selena Vizcarra says:

    Watching this episode. I have not ever viewed anyone with such pity in my heart. Using the LOVE of GOD as a way to spread fear of the unknown to a large majority of individuals who know not what they do. Being Christian is loving all human live. None of us were mistakes, because GOD does not make mistakes. This world is slowly dying because of how so many choose to use religion as a way to spread fear and hatred.

  • Drake says:

    This is a travesty for human rights. Regardless if a person thinks homosexuality is right or wrong, no one deserves to be arrested, beat & possibly killed for simply being themselves. If homosexuality is a choice, then that means that heterosexuality is a choice and that heterosexuals can be gay if they choose to be. The “choice” rational is ridiculous and idiotic at best.

    Also, if you ask historians to translate the main verses against homosexuality in the bible, they overwhelmingly agree that it has nothing to do with homosexuality at all, but instead with disrespecting the hospitality of another. Do your research and you will find this to be true.

    Finally, as is the case with numerous politicians in the U.S. who are fanatically anti-homosexual, I am sure that many of these anti-homosexual fanatics will be revealed to be homosexual themselves. In a scientific study regarding homophobic and non-homophobic “heterosexual” men, Prof. Henry E Adams of the University of Georgia tested homophobic men who said they were exclusively heterosexual. They were shown gay sex videos and four out of five of the homophobic men became sexually aroused by the homoerotic imagery, as recorded by a penile circumference measuring device – a plethysmograph. The study estimated that 80% of the homophobic men showed some sort of arousal to those videos. I noticed that the preacher in the video is obsessed with gay porn…goes to show you that those who find vice in others oftentimes hold the vice in themselves.

  • LOBO says:

    I wonder how fast we can get a law like this passed here in the U.S., which sadly what Mr. Lively said was true, the U.S. is getting farther and farther away from being a Christian nation. I think we can all see the path that has led us down. Here in TX we had laws that made sodomy and homosexuality illegal, but the federal govt. felt this didn’t meet their liberal views and over turned state law. How is it in the land of supposedly free men does a central govt get off with over turning the will of the people? However if other states wanted to make homosexuality legal to the point they could legally marry… this was some how ok. Now we can’t turn around without having something with “gay pride” being thrown in our faces. Which I find interesting since all the years prior, the gay community whined that they just wanted to live like everyone else… of course when was the last time you saw a hetero pride event? I applaud Uganda’s effort to keep their nation pure from this evil. As it’s been clearly shown in America, when the gay agenda is given an inch of tolerance, they end up taking several miles.

  • Travis says:

    I think its funny how people take the words from a fictional book so serious. Bible was written by man for man. Therefore it is flawed. Here are some of the flaws, and why we should NEVER take a religious book into consideration for governing man.

    “It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.”
    31:17 exodus

    If GOD gets tired and needs to refresh His energy, then how can He have no beginning and no end as we believe about him? If His energy is limited, then wouldn’t that make Him limited too? God is impossible.

    If we are created in his image…explain homo’s, cancer, deformities, & sickness just to name a few. God is impossible.

    BUT HEY GIRL HAY! if we’re going to follow the bible you might as well follow it to the T.

    God on Slaves-
    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

    God on Rape-

    If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

    God on Capital punishment Crimes –

    Kill People Who Don’t Listen to Priests

    Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

    Kill Witches

    You should not let a sorceress live. (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

    Kill Homosexuals
    “If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)

    Kill Fortunetellers

    A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death. (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

    Death for Hitting Dad

    Whoever strikes his father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 NAB)

    Death for Cursing Parents

    1) If one curses his father or mother, his lamp will go out at the coming of darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 NAB)

    2) All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense. (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

    Death for Adultery

    If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)

    Death for Fornication

    A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)

    Death to Followers of Other Religions

    Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed. (Exodus 22:19 NAB)

    Kill Nonbelievers

    They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

    Kill False Prophets

    If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, “You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.” When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through. (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)

    Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God

    Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

    Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night

    But if this charge is true (that she wasn’t a virgin on her wedding night), and evidence of the girls virginity is not found, they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her fathers house and there her townsman shall stone her to death, because she committed a crime against Israel by her unchasteness in her father’s house. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst. (Deuteronomy 22:20-21 NAB)

    Kill Followers of Other Religions.

    1) If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

    2) Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)

    Death for Blasphemy

    One day a man who had an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father got into a fight with one of the Israelite men. During the fight, this son of an Israelite woman blasphemed the LORD’s name. So the man was brought to Moses for judgment. His mother’s name was Shelomith. She was the daughter of Dibri of the tribe of Dan. They put the man in custody until the LORD’s will in the matter should become clear. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take the blasphemer outside the camp, and tell all those who heard him to lay their hands on his head. Then let the entire community stone him to death. Say to the people of Israel: Those who blaspheme God will suffer the consequences of their guilt and be punished. Anyone who blasphemes the LORD’s name must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the LORD’s name will surely die. (Leviticus 24:10-16 NLT)

    Kill False Prophets

    1) Suppose there are prophets among you, or those who have dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles, and the predicted signs or miracles take place. If the prophets then say, ‘Come, let us worship the gods of foreign nations,’ do not listen to them. The LORD your God is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul. Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone. Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him. The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Since they try to keep you from following the LORD your God, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NLT)

    2) But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.’ You may wonder, ‘How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?’ If the prophet predicts something in the LORD’s name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message. That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22 NLT)

    Infidels and Gays Should Die

    So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved. When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. They are fully aware of God’s death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. (Romans 1:24-32 NLT)

    Kill Anyone who Approaches the Tabernacle

    For the LORD had said to Moses, ‘Exempt the tribe of Levi from the census; do not include them when you count the rest of the Israelites. You must put the Levites in charge of the Tabernacle of the Covenant, along with its furnishings and equipment. They must carry the Tabernacle and its equipment as you travel, and they must care for it and camp around it. Whenever the Tabernacle is moved, the Levites will take it down and set it up again. Anyone else who goes too near the Tabernacle will be executed.’ (Numbers 1:48-51 NLT)

    Kill People for Working on the Sabbath

    The LORD then gave these further instructions to Moses: ‘Tell the people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you forever. It helps you to remember that I am the LORD, who makes you holy. Yes, keep the Sabbath day, for it is holy. Anyone who desecrates it must die; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community. Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest. I repeat: Because the LORD considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.’ (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)

    Soooooo according to the bible…I lol’d

  • E Mulwa says:

    We all know what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah.

  • Hi David, I’ll let our team know about that clip – you’re right, there is no audio towards the middle/end.

    And noted on the slow loading times for the blog, I’ll see what we can do about that.

  • Dennis says:

    This is a major clash in cultures, specifically on morales, seemingly between Uganda and generally western nations. I believe that this bill will just become another means for mass genocide and/or imprisonment in Africa.

    A lot of variables need to be taken into considerationbefore even trying to understand how a nation can accept such an atrocity. Here are a few. First is the culture, people in Uganda and people in the US for example simply have different mindsets. We just do not rationalize the same way. Second, is education, Uganda is obviously, by no real fault of their own probably, greatly undereducated compared to other nations of the world. Their belief and morale system is more reliant on anecdotes and religion rather than scientific research and critical thinking. Without more education and critical thinking, the easier it is to persuade and/or influence anyone. Third is that being anti-gay was already part of the Ugandan mindset except now it’s amplified to extremes.

    What Uganda needs is someone to show them that not all gays are poo poo eating pedophiles–just like how not all Muslims are terrorists or all christian Whites are members of the KKK. They need to be convinced and realize that Gays are people just like anyone else. Someone needs to show them that people cannot be judged in such a black and white mentality and rather realize we are all just shades of gray.

  • David Smith says:

    I want to report this news as having no sound …. it works for the 1st half, but the sound cuts out from 2 minutes to the end of the clip

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/151178/nbc-nightly-news-with-brian-williams-usher-money-couldnt-be-enough%E2%80%94i-have-to-give-time

    Also, this blog page is laggy on my dual-core system… too many videos and pics loading, and I even have a video card.

  • HipHopSays says:

    @jeremy – i am not sure there was a large brush used to paint the evangelicals in the piece, and while rick warren denounced the bill the evangelical focal point of the piece – lively – wasn’t a strong condemner of it. His tone was one of the bill is in the right direction, but you shouldn’t ‘kill’ people … instead try to rehabilitate them (i wonder if this should be the prescriptive supported for christians in predominantly muslim african countries).

    overall the piece was solid, but i felt there were one to many inferred connections and i would have liked a more direct causal link (ie – ‘the smoking gun’ – a letter perhaps linking lively to premeditating his visit with the soon to be crafted bill) . as an american (and specifically an african american) i am always ambivalent about us shaping developing and least developed countries into our own image both market wise and morally. I have high regard for american social change movements (ie – the civil rights movement, the labor movement – which gave americans the concept of a ‘weekend’, etc.), and i feel it was the ‘organic’ nature of those movements that made them a force of change….i don’t think they would have been as powerful if they were heavily orchestrated by those outside of the country.

  • Jerry Franklin says:

    Homosexuality is a sin. Whether you think it’s ok or not doesn’t matter…God say’s it’s wrong and that’s all that matters. Those who support what God hates can expect to receive harsh judgement when they die. One day many liberals will face the wrath of the Almighty God whom they rejected. God have mercy on them. As an American I support Uganda trying to stop homosexuality but I feel the death penalty is too severe and even imprisonment is too harsh.But Uganda is sending a message that homosexuality is not welcome and the gay lifestyle will not be tolerated.

  • AJ Tigner says:

    @ Jeremy — The “denouncement” the aforementioned evangelicals have made is almost 100% posturing. The fact of the matter is that this systematic crucifixion of a minority group was at least in part born from their dangerous, exclusionary rhetoric.

    People like Scott Lively might not have literal blood on their hands, but every second they spend on this planet without doing everything they can to undo the damage their “mistranslated” message has done to homosexuals in Uganda is a second they have wasted talking out of both sides of their mouths.

    People are being tortured and murdered for completely non-violent behavior and this injustice is more or less getting a free pass because it is done under some abstract connection to faith. Freedom of religious expression is something I personally hold very dear, but never so far as to infringe upon the most basic human freedom of being able to LIVE.

  • pauly hart says:

    i agree. homosexuality is wrong. i would love to live in a country where heterosexuality is promoted.

  • Bart k. Mace says:

    I JUST WANT SAY YOU JOURNASIT ARE WONDERFULLY FULL OF PASSION ON REPORTING THE FACTS HOW THIS PLACE CALLED EARTH FUNCTION’S DAY TO DAY
    AND WILLING TO GO ABOVE AND BEYOND IN THE FACE OF DANGER !!!
    GOD YOU GUY’S AND LAFIES ARE AWSOME!!! HOW I LOVE TO SEE YOU IN ACTION AND DREAM OF HAVING THE OPPERTUNITY TO GO WITH YOU ONE DAY!!!!!!!!

  • jeremy says:

    I was VERY sad to see the evangelical community painted with such a large brush in the piece “missionaries of hate”. In no way are the opinions of those men who actually led that conference representitive of the views or beliefs held by the vast majority of any of the evangelicals that I have know which is a considerable number. Even the names mentioned in the piece all denounce this legislation. What ever happened to balanced journalism.

  • Edward Riggins says:

    And once we’ve wipe out all the Jews and Tutsi roaches and pederast homosexuals the world will be A-Okay. Come on.

    Seeing the children of Uganda shaking with fear, condemning their friends and neighbors to death in public with smiles on their faces. Shouldn’t this frenzied hatred of the other feel familiar?

    For anyone who hasn’t read the bill in question, I highly recommend it. It condemns to death the repeated offenses homosexuality, aiding or abating a homosexual, failing to report a homosexual offender, or the failure to report your spouse within 24 hours after your arrest.

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