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From Religious Dispatches: A Nobel Prize for LGBT Civil Rights?

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From Religious Dispatches: A Nobel Prize for LGBT Civil Rights?

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the murder of Ugandan gay-rights advocate David Kato, 46, who was killed after months of right-wing threats – most notably being featured on the front page of a Ugandan right-wing newspaper. This anniversary should remind us of some important lessons.

First, right-wing rhetoric leads to right-wing violence. Kato’s murder comes the same week as yet another LGBT suicide, this time of 14-year-old Philip Parker, a victim of bullying in his school in Tennessee. In both cases the religious and political sources of hateful rhetoric have deplored, condemned, and above all distanced themselves from these horrible and unexpected tragedies.

Which is, in industry parlance, bullshit. Preachers preach because they hope people will take their words seriously, including words like “unnatural” and “abomination” (both mistranslations of Biblical text that are themselves hate speech). Pundits hope their words will be heard. And the American religious activists who spread their hate in Uganda, together with the newspaper publishers who literally marked Kato for death, hope that their efforts bear fruit. To subsequently deny any responsibility for the inevitable consequences of their hate speech is itself morally reprehensible. Of course, the bullies and assassins don’t have the same views as their instigators. But they are inspired by them, and it is inevitable that they will be.



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