Protesters outside Uganda High Commission, London, January 8, 2014.  Photo by Kaytee Riek - Creative Commons - Flickr

Protesters outside Uganda High Commission, London, January 8, 2014. Photo by Kaytee Riek – Creative Commons – Flickr:  riekhavoc

Last month Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a law making homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison. According to a recent report by Mother Jones, which features extensive video clips, Museveni said the measure had been "provoked by arrogant and careless western groups that are fond of coming into our schools and recruiting young children into homosexuality."

Videos show Scott Lively, 56, an evangelical minister and independent candidate for governor of Massachusetts, giving presentations to Ugandan lawmakers that played on anti-colonial resentment, claiming that Western agitators plan to spread homosexuality to children. Lively argued that Western Marxists and homosexual pedophiles were infiltrating Ugandan society and were coming for their children.

In a video provided by Political Research Associates, one attendee, when asked to discuss what he had learned from Lively's presentations,  said, "The man of God told us about the origin of all this. He said there is a movement that is behind the promotion of homosexuality, and it's called 'gay movement.' He told us it is more serious than we have ever thought. For me, I have never heard of that. But then I got to know that there is a force behind homosexuality that we need to attack also with force."

Uganda's law makes touching someone of same sex with romantic intent a crime punishable by life in prison in certain cases, and even non-homosexuals caught renting a room to a homosexual or "aiding and abetting" a homosexual can be sentenced to sentenced to seven years in prison.

In the furor surrounding the legislation, Ugandan newspapers published the names, home addresses, and photos of suspected homosexuals. The reports led to violent attacks on homosexuals and the beating death of a Ugandan gay rights activist with a hammer.

As in the fear-laced rhetoric of California's Proposition 8 proponents which later led to the demise of the proposition in Federal Court, Ugandan lawmakers acted in response to rhetorical hyperbole claiming that hordes of homosexuals were descending on the country in order to turn their children into homosexuals.

The use of fear-filled rhetoric makes it possible to manipulate people and has been one of the key drivers of religious persecution and genocide throughout history.

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

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