Monday, February 22, 2010

Other Sheep Kenya to Conduct Gay-Topic Workshops in Mombasa, Kenya, for Sheikhs, Imams and Christians

by Rev. Steve Parelli, Bronz, New York

Rev. John Makokha of Nairobi, Kenya, Coordinator for Other Sheep Kenya announced today that Other Sheep Kenya will conduct workshops in Mombasa the first week of March (2010)  for Sheikhs, Imams and Christians. 

The announcement read:  "Other Sheep Kenya has organized a workshop for 30 Sheikhs and Imams in the Coastal town of Mombasa and another workshop for 30 Christian leaders during the first week of March. These workshops will address issues of sexual orientation and homophobia and transphobia in view of religious dogma."

Rev. Makokha noted:  "Pray for OSK as we take peace, justice and reconciliation with the love of God to the coastal community."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Other Sheep Kenya Conducts Nakuru PFLAG Seminar - 32 Participants Attend

by Rev. Steve Parelli, Bronx, NY.

Rev. John Makkha, Other Sheep Kenya Coordinator, in a February 21, 2010, email, reports: "Other Sheep Kenya held a seminar for parents, friends of lesbian and gay (PFLAG) persons in Nakuru, Kenya, on February 19, 2010. A total number of 32 participants attended the one day workshop. The seminar theme was 'Sexuality and homophobia/transphobia in view of religious dogma.'

"The participants were drawn from Muslim, Seventh Day Adventist, Supkem, United Methodist Church, Friends church, Reconciling Ministries Network, Family Hope, Human Rights Network, Mid Rift Human rights Network, God's Family Church, Africa Independent Pentecostal church, Catholic church, Integrity, Changing Attitude, Kinship International, Home Vision Kenya, St. Joseph Youth Center, Brahma Kumaris, Kenya Youth Alliance, Teachers, Thairira widows, and Anglican church."

Speakers at the Other Sheep Kenya Nakuru PFLAG Seminar included: Rev. Michael Kimindu, Rev. John Makokha, Ann Baraza, Pastor Jackson and Peter Wanyam.

The seminar participants made seven observations.

For a full report of what the speakers said, and for the seven observations of the seminar participants, go to the Other Sheep Report webpage.

In 2007, Jose Ortiz and Steve Parelli introduced the idea of PFLAG to the LGBT community in Nairobi, Kenya, using the Blue Book as a suggested course book for initial PFLAG meetings. Since then, the PFLAG idea of reaching family and friends with positive materials has been an ongoing thrust of Other Sheep Kenya.

Other Sheep acknowledges Rev. John Makokha with much gratitude in his accomplishment of this Other Sheep Kenya PFLAG seminar.

Other Sheep especially thanks UHAI-EASHRI for their support. Their generous grant, awarded to Other Sheep Kenya, made possible this seminar.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

With the Apostle Paul at the center of the clash, Uganda Pastor Martin Ssempa and President Barack Obama are at odds with one another over the morality of same-sex sex

by Rev. Stephen R. Parelli
Executive Director of Other Sheep, February 16, 2010.  Bronx, New York

Ugandan Christian minister Martin Ssempa claims: Same-sex sex is a criminal act contrary to nature
Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan Christian minister who runs the Family Policy and Human Rights Center in Uganda, recently took issue with the dissenting remarks President Obama made on the Anti-Homosexuality bill at the Washington, DC, February 4th National Prayer Breakfast.

In countering Obama's denouncement of the Ugandan bill, it is reported that Ssempa, addressing Obama's remarks, said "homosexuals and lesbians are never targeted for who they are, [but] rather [for] what they do. It is the repugnant sexual acts which they do which constitute a crime, a sin and a rebellion against the order of nature."

Ssempa's anti-homosexual rhetoric "against . . . nature" is grounded in the words of the Apostle Paul; hence, Uganda's divine call to pass its Anti-homosexuality bill

His comment, that same-sex sex is "a rebellion against the order of nature" is especially interesting to me because I am, like Ssempa, a Christian minister.

Ssempa, expounding like most preachers do, enlarged upon his "against . . . nature" assertion by calling it "repugnant," "a crime," and "a sin," so that we, his hearers, should obviously conclude that same-sex sex is the most horrendous affront possible against both God and society. Of course, being a preacher of the Book, Martin Ssempa is taking his "rebellion-against-the-order-of-nature" statement from the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans where the Apostle Paul, who is the author of the Biblical letter, refers to same-sex sex as "against nature."

So, there we have it. By the sacred text the Christian minister of Uganda speaks with absolute authority: a crime! a sin! rebellious! repugnant! Certainly, on the basis of such scriptural authority (and with the good preacher Ssempa telling us exactly how the text is to be interpreted), the Ugandan Parliament should enact certain "anti-homosexuality" laws.

Not so fast. Who is to say what the Apostle Paul meant? Certainly not the Ugandan Parliament

But that's just the point. What does "against nature" mean in the context of Romans chapter 1 (not to mention in the context of the entire book of Romans where Paul uses the phrase "against nature" in reference to other subject matters). Not all Bible scholars and teachers are in agreement with Ssempa. For these, Ssempa's inference of the passage is the least likely.

Thomas Hanks, agreeing with other Bible scholars like himself, says Paul is not condemning homoerotic acts as sin but is placing these acts under the cultural category of "uncleanness." Robin Scroggs, L. William Countryman, Robert Goss and Bernadette Broonten, James Miller, James Boswell and Daniel Halminiak all offer an interpretation of Romans 1 quite different from the Reverend Martin Ssempa. Jeff Miner very simply says that Paul is addressing a different set of facts and that therefore Romans 1 is "the easiest passage to interpret" because it simply does not apply to same-sex sex in the context of love, commitment and marriage, which is our present day context and not Paul's first century context. According to Miner, Romans 1 cannot be superimposed upon our present-day unique set of questions around homosexuality. Paul is not addressing our questions.

So now we are at an impasse. If the Ugandan Parliament is to enact laws against homosexuals because their acts are "a crime, rebellious, repugnant and a sin" based on the Apostle Paul's Roman 1 phrase "against nature;" and if the phrase "against nature" is really not as clear in meaning as it appears on the surface; then perhaps Parliament needs to step back a bit and not be so certain it's bill is somehow infallible, as Ssempa, on the authority of the Word of God, would have Parliament believe.

Enter Obama and his book The Audacity of Hope. Now two different, opposing Christian faiths appear: Obama's and Ssempa's

And as a matter of fact, that's exactly what Obama said in his book The Audacity of Hope: "I am [not] willing," he wrote, "to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans [chapter 1] to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount" (page 222, emphasis mine).

Obama would rather err on the side of loving his fellow man as himself (The Sermon on the Mount) than to accuse his fellow LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender) neighbor of being a rebel, a sinner, a criminal, and just plain discussing (Romans chapter 1) as Ssempa would and does. Now we have two distinct Christian walks: President Obama's and Martin Ssempa's. And the question is how does any Parliament enact laws preferring one Christian practice over against another Christian practice? It shouldn't.

Obama: It is not the business of government to impose any stipulation upon its citizens that would interfere with the individual's right to live according to the dictates of one's own conscience

And so, Obama also comments about this - Parliament's place in all of this - in his book The Audacity of Hope: "Our argument is less about what is right [and more] about who makes the final determination - whether we need the coercive arm of the state to enforce our values, or whether the subject is one best left to individual conscience and evolving norms" (page 221). And this, too, he writes: "Contrary to the claims of many on the Christian right who rail against the separation of church and state, their argument is not with a handful of liberal sixties judges. [Their argument] is with the drafters of the Bill of Rights and the forebears of today's evangelical church" (pages 216-217, emphasis mine).

Obama is saying the question of same-sex sex between two consenting adults is a moral question for the individual to decide for himself, not a question for government to determine on behalf of its citizens. It is a private decision left to the individual. And Obama is saying the first American evangelicals knew that, so they therefore created a government where the church does not rule through legislation and the government does not dictate to the conscience of the individual. (And especially, one might opinion in Uganda, when two words - "against nature," in the context that Paul was writing - is so misunderstood and misapplied as it is today.)

The basic difference between Obama and Ssempa on their view of the relationship between the church and government

Early on when the Anti-Homosexuality bill first erupted in Uganda, I authored the following words and placed them on the Other Sheep website: "I fear for Uganda, or any state, when the church, by how it acts, might as well be parliament, and parliament, by how it acts, might as well be the church."

In the matter of same-sex sex, the question for any society to ask is not "What is right?" but rather, "Who should determine what is right: the church, the state, or the individual?" The answer is the individual.

Obama understands these sentiments and expressed them clearly in his book The Audacity of Hope. Ssempa does not.

by Rev. Stephen R. Parelli, Executive Director of Other Sheep, Bronx, NY. February 16, 2010. Email:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) statement that "homosexuals are worse than beasts" is pivotal in Other Sheep East Africa's open letter Calling upon the Executive Secretary for Ethics, Justice and Peace of the AEA to Denounce the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

by Rev. Steve Parelli, Other Sheep Executive Director

Today, Other Sheep East Africa, in an open letter to Rev. Patson Netha, the Executive Secretary for Ethics, Peace and Justice of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA), called upon the AEA to make a swift and clear denouncement of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality bill.

In the open letter, Other Sheep East Africa cites AEA's publication of the Africa Bible Commentary in which a featured article on homosexuality (at Romans chapter 1) by Nigerian religious leader Yusufu Turaki states, among other homophobic and intolerant assertions, that "homosexuals are worse than beasts."   The open letter argues that AEA's Africa Bible Commentary, distributed in Africa among evangelicals since its publication in 2006, can be used to infer that the AEA supports the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality bill.

The open letter calls upon the AEA to denounce the bill and to distance itself from any inference that the Africa Bible Commentary article is to be considered an endorsement of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill by the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA).

The open letter noted Zondervan Publishing House of Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA), a major publisher of scholarly evangelical writings, as co-publisher.

The open letter was signed by Other Sheep East Africa Coordinators and other Other Sheep East Africa (OSEA) personnel from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and the United States.

View this blog as an Other Sheep Press Release.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Open Letter from Other Sheep East Africa to Rev. Patson Netha, Executive Secretary of The Association of Evangelicals for Ethics, Peace & Justice calling for the AEA's denouncement of the Anti-Homosexuaity Bill of Uganda

To:  Rev. Patson Netha, Executive Secretary of The Association of Evangelicals for Ethics, Peace & Justice, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, email:
Re: Calling for the denoncement of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009
From: Other Sheep East Africa
Date: February 6, 2010

We are writing you because we are greatly distressed about proposed legislation in Uganda which if passed could lead to the systematic elimination of a certain segment of society. Already, citizens have left Uganda out of fear for their safety. We are writing about the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 that would, by use of the death penalty and imprisonment, effectively purge Uganda of LGBT people (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) and any who would speak out on their behalf.

We are concerned that evangelicals in Africa may be turning a deaf ear towards the Parliament of Uganda at this time.

In 2006, the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) published the Africa Bible Commentary. The Commentary features Nigerian religious leader Yusufu Turaki's hateful and intolerant article entitled "Homosexuality" (page 1355).
Our question to you as leaders in the African evangelical world is this: Does it follow, in view of Turaki's article, that you endorse the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009? Turaki's article contains the following anti-homosexual remarks:
(1) Turaki's use of the words "abnormal, unnatural and a perversion" in reference to homosexuals; (2) his uncritical use of the quote that "homosexuals are worse than beasts" tied in with (3) his uncritical statement of the African Anglican church's rejection of Archbishop Tutu's call for tolerance, as well as (4) his one-sided account of African "coercive sexual relationships" as his example of "varied" African same-sex sex; (5) an uncritical censorship of all views of homosexuality that are not in keeping with his views ("Our views of homosexuality should not be derived from human sources but from the Word of God"), and (6) his expressed theological view that to be homosexual is sinful (a view not held by most evangelicals in the West).

Turaki's article effectively dismisses the church from its responsibility to speak out against the violence in Africa against LGBT people (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender). His article could be used by African evangelicals at this time as an argument for the endorsement of the Ugandan bill.

The Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 would criminalize anyone who "aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality," as well as anyone who engages in the "promotion of homosexuality," including broadcasting, publishing, the marketing of materials on homosexuality, and the funding and sponsoring of LGBT organizations. In addition, an authority must, under this legislation, turn in his colleagues, family, or friends who engage in the "promotion of homosexuality" or face criminal charges for failing to do so.

It is conceivable, for example, that any pastor who would teach - or even dialogue open mindedly - that the Bible does not condemn same-sex loving relationships between consenting adults, would be guilty of promoting homosexuality, and therefore a criminal. A Bible scholar in Uganda would not be at liberty to openly question what the Bible does or does not say about homosexuality. Any person of authority who would fail to report such a scholar or open-minded pastor within 24 hours would be subject to a significant fine and up to 3 years in prison.

Anybody who keeps a house or room for the purpose of homosexuality is subject to imprisonment. No one's private dwelling is safe.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill directly violates many of the basic human rights guaranteed in the Ugandan Constitution. It also violates the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and other international human rights treaties to which Uganda is a party.

The bill effectively creates a climate of fear and hostility. It will lend itself to misapplication and abuse, and implicitly encourages persecution of LGBT people by private actors. Effective HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex materials, will be difficult, if not impossible.

We are aware that, for the most part, evangelicals worldwide view same-sex sex between consenting adults as immoral. Nonetheless, I cannot believe that evangelicals can stand silently by and watch the Parliament of Uganda vote this inhumane bill into law, especially since evangelicals are so vehemently vocal on the issue of homosexuality.

Therefore, Other Sheep East Africa is asking you to demonstrate that Yusufu Turaki's inflexible and dogmatic article on "Homosexuality" is not to be misused by any evangelicals in Africa as an argument for the endorsement of the inhumane Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 by your swift denouncement of this bill. We urge the AEA (Association of Evangelicals in Africa) to openly denounce this bill. If not, then your silence will serve as a passive agreement that a Christian country could, and even should, imprison for life or sentence to death persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered, especially in view of Yusufu Turaki's article on homosexuality in the Africa Bible Commentary which you published in 2006 in association with Zondervan Publishing House of Garnd Rapids, Michigan, USA.

Other Sheep East Africa
Rev. Michael Kimindu, Coordinator for Other Sheep East Africa
Rev. John Makokha, Coordinator for Other Sheep Kenya
Rev. J. Elie Gasana, Coordinator ofr Other Sheep Rwanda and Dem. Rep of the Congo
Mr. Wamala Dennis Mawejje, Chairperson for Other Sheep Uganda
Rev. Steve Parelli, Executive Director of Other Sheep
Mr. Emmanuel Kamau, Other Sheep Coordinator for Africa
Mr. Jose Ortiz, Other Sheep Coordinator for Africa

Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the Deafening Silence of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa; or I've missed their statement - - have you seen one?

by Rev. Steve Parelli, Other Sheep Executive Director, Bronx, NY, February 6, 2010 

Tell the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) to Denounce the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009.  
(Other Sheep's Action Alert since October 19, 2009.)

Where is the voice of the Assocication of Evangelicals in Africa?  Since Other Sheep's posting of its Action Alert calling for people to write AEA, we are aware of some letters that have gone out to the AEA from individuals (and some Internet postings of the Other Sheep Alert by other bloggers and sites).  The AEA, to my knowledge, has not made a public statement denouncing the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. 

Today I searched the Internet, briefly, as well as the AEA site news announcements, to see if I could find a statement from the Association of Evangelicals in Africa.  I didn't.  But neither do I claim I did an exhaustive search.

Email me (Rev. Steve Parelli, Other Sheep Executive Director) at if you have a statement from, or link to, the AEA denouncing the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

You can visit our eNews, published October 19, 2009, calling for open letters to the AEA.  You can visit the webpage Other Sheep published October 20, 2009, calling for AEA to denounce the bill.

In our October 19 (eNews) and October 20 (webpage) publishings, we placed the following names which are officially associated with the AEA.  Other Sheep is still asking the following AEA individuals listed below (with their contact information) where they stand as individuals or where stands the AEA on the Anti-Homoseuxality Bill. 

Becasue Uganda is very much evangelical (whatever the denomination), it is paramount that the Association of Evangelicals in Africa speak out against this "kill-the-gays" bill in Uganda.

Association of Evangelicals in Africa
Contact Information

Ethics, Peace & Justice Commission (click here for AEA site listing of Ethics, Peace & Justice Commission)
P.O. Box 4035
T: +263 9 883 414 / 883 415 / 882 915
Executive Secretary: Rev Patson Netha
Ethics, Peace, and Justice Commission of the AEA holds the portfolio of
educating the Church on matters of ethics, peace, and social justice.

Executive Board (click here for AEA site listing):
Rev Ndaba Mazabane
P.O. Box 1045
3650 Kwazulu, Natal
South Africa
T: +27 31 716 3300 F: +27 31 716 3333

Pasteur Freeman Kompaore
Vice President
01 B.P. 108
Ouagadougou 01
Burkina Faso
T: +226 50 36 14 26 (O) +226 50 38 62 67 (Res.)
Fax: +226 50 36 34 66
Cell Phone: +226 70 21 45 35

Rev Mario Li-Hing
Chairman & Islands Regional President
39B Royal Road
Eau Coulée
TF: +230 674 0155 Cell Phone: +230 251 2540

Bishop Arthur Kitonga
Vice Chairman & Eastern Regional President
P.O. Box 51226
T: +254 2 6761138/6765986/6764 993

Justice (Mrs.) Esme Chombo
High Court of Malawi
P.O. Box 15
T: +265 1 711066/707017/857501

Mr. Mugo wa Karanja
P.O. Box 76533
Nairobi, Kenya
Cell Phone: +254 20- 2723312 or cell. 0722 753 167

Mr. David Mwaure
Legal Adviser
P.O. Box 75642
Nairobi, Kenya
T: +254 2 271 4509 / 10 / 24
F: +254 2 271 3922

Rev Moses B Khanu
West Africa Regional President
P.O. Box 948
Freetown, Sierra Leone
T: +232 22 226 854 TF: +232 22 228 670

Rev. Zecharias Abraham
North East Regional President
P.O. Box 2809
Asmara, Eritrea
Phone: +291 1 126859
Phone/Fax: +291 1 126237

Bishop Harrison Sakala
Southern Regional President
P.O. Box 31002
Lusaka 10101
T: +260 1 256 073
Fax: +260 1 292 489
Cell Phone: +260 977 88234

Pasteur Wally Sarr
North West Regional President
B.P. 2961
T: +221 21 825 3961 / 827 3379

Ato Mulatu Belachew
Compassion International
P.O. Box 76263
Nairobi, Kenya

Rev. Dr. Mrs. Judy Mbugua
AEA Team Leader
P.O. Box 49332
Nairobi, Kenya
T: + 254 2 / 2714 432 / 272 2769
Fax: + 254 2 / 2713 004

Mr. Solomon Gacece
AEA Deputy Team Leader
P. O. Box 49332
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel. +254 2 /2722769/2714432
Fax. +254 2 /2713004

Friday, February 5, 2010


Today in an email from Mel White, I (Rev. Steve Parelli)  received the following:

An Open Letter from Soulforce to Jan and Paul Crouch, founders of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and the Evangelical Christian broadcasters who are featured on Lighthouse Television, TBN’s affiliate in Uganda, including: Matthew Crouch, Joyce Meyer, Andrew Wommack, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, and Franklin Graham:

By now you are well aware of the anti-homosexual bill pending before the Parliament of Uganda. We urge you to denounce this bill. Use your personal friendships with President and Mrs. Museveni, with MP David Bahati (your Christian colleague who proposed this bill), and with Stephen Langa, (the Ugandan Christian organizer behind the bill) to take a public and passionate stand against it.

The media are blaming the visit to Uganda by three of your colleagues for this despicable and truly un-Christian law. In fact, for years you have used your Lighthouse Television programs, your radio broadcasts, and your massive public meetings to warn Ugandans of the so called “threat homosexuals pose to Bible-based values and the traditional African Family.”

In no small part you are already responsible for the current call by Ugandan leaders to enforce the old law condemning lesbian and gay Ugandans to up to 14 years in prison. This new law increases that sentence to life imprisonment and even death by hanging. Denounce this new bill or the blood of lesbian and gay Ugandans will be on your hands.

It isn’t just the “liberal media” who are condemning the bill. In mid-November, Exodus International, the ministry that promises to assist homosexuals in overcoming homosexuality, warned, "If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue.” While Soulforce does not agree with Exodus that lesbian and gay people need to be "cured," we wholeheartedly agree with their position on this hateful bill.

Warren Throckmorton, a member of the Clinical Advisory Board of the American Association of Christian Counselors warned that this legislation would make their mission “to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all” a difficult if not impossible task.

Your colleague, mega-church pastor Rick Warren, in a very public video appeal to his fellow clergy in Uganda, gives five reasons why Ugandan Christians should not support the bill: (1) it is “unjust, extreme and un-Christian; (2) it would “force pastors to report their pastoral conversations with homosexuals to authorities; (3) “…it would have a chilling effect on your ministry to the hurting… homosexuals who are HIV positive will be reluctant to seek or receive care, comfort and compassion from our churches out of fear of being reported; (4) “All life, no matter how humble or broken, whether unborn or dying, is precious to God… It would be inconsistent to save some lives and wish death on others…” And (5) “the freedom to make moral choices, and our right to free expression, are gifts endowed by God.” Warren reminds the clergy that Uganda is a democratic country “…and in a democracy everyone has a right to speak up.” Warren concludes by urging them “to speak out against the proposed law.”

The People of Soulforce urge you to take Rick Warren seriously. It is very possible that your silence on this matter will convince the people of Uganda that it is God’s will to condemn homosexuals to life imprisonment or even death by hanging. Your powerful media voices have made you superstars to Ugandans. We implore you to use your power to denounce this bill. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this time the Christian community became known for love and justice rather than fulfilling the stereotype of the “liberal media” as ‘hate-filled bigots?

You often ask others, “What would Jesus do?” This is the perfect time to ask yourselves that question.

The People of Soulforce

Mel White, Founder
Bill Carpenter, Interim Executive Director
Chuck Phelan, Board Chair


This bill has been condemned by leaders of Western nations including the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia, and Great Britain and the President of the United States. The European Parliament passed a resolution against the bill and threatened to cut financial aid to Uganda if it is enacted. They described the bill as “state-legislated genocide.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urge Uganda to shelve the bill and decriminalize homosexuality.

The 16,000 members of the HIV Clinicians Society of South Africa and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS warned that excluding marginalised groups would compromise efforts to stop the spread of AIDS in Uganda where 5.4% of the adult population is infected with HIV.

The Sunday Times in South Africa warned Uganda that it is in danger of being "dragged back to the dark and evil days of Idi Amin.”

The New York Times stated unequivocally “that such barbarism (in the bill) is intolerable and will make Uganda an international pariah.”

The Washington Post labeled the bill "ugly and ignorant", "barbaric", and "that it is even being considered puts Uganda beyond the pale of civilized nations.”

The Los Angeles Times warned that the bill would cause gay Ugandans to face an "impossible, insulting, historical, cruel and utterly false choice of having to choose between being gay and being African.”

The Anglican Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha said that the Bill "would become state-legislated genocide.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has said in a public interview that he did not see how any Anglican could support it: "Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers."

The Vatican legal attaché to the United Nations stated that "Pope Benedict is opposed to 'unjust discrimination' against gay men and lesbians.”



Stephen Langa, the March 2009 workshop organiser, specifically cited an unlicensed converstion therapist named Richard A. Cohen who states in a book that was given to Langa and other prominent Ugandans,

“Homosexuals are at least 12 times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals; homosexual teachers are at least 7 times more likely to molest a pupil; homosexual teachers are estimated to have committed at least 25 percent of pupil molestation; 40 percent of molestation assaults were made by those who engage in homosexuality.”

These statements were based on faulty studies performed by Paul Cameron who has been expelled from the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. Cohen, himself, confirmed the weaknesses of these studies, stating that when the book will be reprinted, these statistics will be removed.


Jeffrey Gettleman, writing for the New York Times, January 4, 2010, reported on “Americans’ Role in Uganda Anti-Gay Push.”

Erin Roach, posted on Baptist News, November 18, 2009, the news that “Exodus Opposes Uganda’s Proposed Anti-Gay Law.” 

Baptist Press, December 13, 2009, announced that “Mega-Church Pastor Rick Warren Condemns Uganda Anti-Gay Bill.

The editors of Wikipedia have assembled the best history of this bill and the world’s response:

YouTube carries the complete video of Rick Warren’s Open Letter to the Clergy of Uganda*
*We wish to express our thanks to the Rev. Rick Warren for taking this rather courageous step on behalf of the lesbian and gay people of Uganda. Pastor Warren did everything in his power to avoid meeting with our gay and lesbian parents and their families in 2009 during the Soulforce American Family Outing. We have tried on many occasions to help him understand the tragic consequences of his own teachings about homosexuality and homosexuals. And though we continue hoping that he will meet with a Soulforce delegation to hear the scientific, historic, psychological and personal evidence that homosexuality is one of God’s gifts, we pause in our pursuit just long enough to give him thanks for reaching out to save the lives of our lesbian sisters and gay brothers in Uganda. Thank you, Pastor Warren. We are grateful!

NPR November 24, 2009, radio broadcast TRANSCRIPT (by link) on the tie between The Family, an evangelical-fundamentalist group and Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill

by Rev. Steve Parelli, Executive Director of Other Sheep, with thanks to attendees of the RMN 2009 Convocation who notified me of the broadcast.

In a radio broadcast entitled "The Secret Political Reach of 'The Family" as heard on NPR Fresh Air from WHYY on November 24, 2009, host Terry Gross interviewed Jeff Sharlet about The Family and its connection to the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

You can find the full transcript by clicking here.  The second half of the transcript addresses the Uganda-Family "kill-the-gays" connection in detail.

I'm not surprised that such a group exists and that they could make their way into certain susceptible evangelical minds.  I'm from the evangelical-fundamentalist faith tradition and have heard it said personally, in the late 1980s, from the mouth of an evangelical-fundamentalist pastor who was ordained within a good-standing, well recognized conservative Baptist denomination that "they [gays in the USA] should all be taken out and hung." And he was saying it blatantly to my face, on Sunday morning just prior to entering the pulpit to preach, knowing full well I was dealing with same-sex attractions. My presence discussed him.  His response was to literally wipe out all homosexuals.  Such unbarred evangelical hatred of homosexuals is likely to find a religious, Bible-quoting country like Uganda where it can be unleashed.

So much for the myth of exporting homosexuality as a Western idea (as if homosexuality in Africa never existed before colonialism came to Africa); instead, what we actually have is the exportation of Western evangelical-fundamentalist extremism that says "kill the gays."  I'm thinking my evangelical fellow-pastor who said "they should all be taken out and hung" would be very much at home in The Family, at least in The Family in Uganda where evangelial extremism is sanctioned by the government as true religion.

I am indebted to friends I made at the Reconciling Ministries Network Convocation in September, 2009, who notified me by email on December 1, 2009, that they had heard this broadcast and were bringing it to my attention.

Other Sheep is a sponsor of The American Prayer Hour

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bipartisan congressional resolution condemning anti-gay legislation

February 3, 2010

Ugandan Anti-Gay Legislation Threatens Human Rights, Reverses Gains in HIV/AIDS Fight, Berman Says

Washington, DC – Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today introduced a bipartisan congressional resolution condemning anti-gay legislation now making its way through the parliament in Uganda
“The proposed Ugandan bill not only threatens human rights, it also reverses so many of the gains that Uganda has made in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This issue has united leaders of different political and religious views in Uganda and worldwide in one common belief in the rights of all human beings regardless of sexual orientation.”
More than three dozen members of Congress joined Berman in introducing the resolution (H. Res. 1064), including Committee Ranking Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA); Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Chair Donald Payne (D-NJ); Congressional Black Caucus Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA); and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.

Click here to read the text of the resolution.

From The New York Times: "National Prayer Breakfast Draws Controversy" (over Uganda); and Other Sheep's vital interest in Uganda

Following is an Excerpt of The New York Times article "National Prayer Breakfast Draws Controversy"
"The objections are focused on the sponsor of the breakfast, a secretive evangelical Christian network called The Fellowship, also known as The Family, and accusations that it has ties to legislation in Uganda that calls for the imprisonment and execution of homosexuals.
The Family has always stayed intentionally in the background, according to those who have written about it. In the last year, however, it was identified as the sponsor of a residence on Capitol Hill that has served as a dormitory and meeting place for a cluster of politicians who ran into ethics problems, including Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, and Gov. Mark Sanford, Republican of South Carolina, both of whom have admitted to adultery."
Above photo, left to right:  Bishop Carlton Pearson, Moses of Uganda, Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, February 2, 2010, The American Prayer Hour press conference, Washington, DC. Photo by Steve Parelli

Other Sheep is a sponsor of The American Prayer Hour.

Other Sheep is vitally interested in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of Uganda.  Other Sheep has had a presence in Uganda since 2008 with  the creation of Other Sheep Uganda by Ugandan participants of an all-day seminar on the Bible and homosexuality.  Other Sheep Uganda is led by Chairperson  WAMALA DENNIS  You can read his blog at Denkross' Life in Uganda

Other Sheep first visited Uganda in 2007.  The R. Rev. Bishop (Anglican) noted the Other Sheep visit indirectly by writing " . . . the sexual minority people whom some other sympathizers call the other sheep,"  Homosexuality:  Perspectives from Uganda, 2007, p15.

Other Sheep East Africa website is a feature of  the Other Sheep website.

Above photo: Jose Ortiz, Coordinator for Africa, teaching a seminar in Kisumu, Kenya, 2008, just days following the seminar given in Kampala, Uganda

Other Sheep works worldwide for the full inclusion of LGBT people of faith within their respective faith traditions by connecting people with people and people with resources. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How The Family links The National Prayer Breakfast to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of Uganda

Above Photo:  Moses of Uganda at the American Prayer Hour, The National Press Club, Washington, DC, February 2, 2010
Photo by Rev. Steve Parelli, Other Sheep Executive Director


February 2, 2010
The American Prayer Hour
National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Murrow Room, 529 14th St. NW 
It is no secret to many of you that I have never been a fan of the National Prayer Breakfast. I’m not comfortable, frankly, with any event that gives Americans the false impression that religion and government in our country are one and the same.

Our Constitution is based on secular values, including the separation of church and state. But too often, the National Prayer Breakfast itself seems to send the opposite message. Often it seems to be suggesting, as politicians and clergy participate together in this exercise of religious outpouring followed by power broking, that government and religion in this country have an unholy relationship.

This year, of course, the National Prayer Breakfast is mired in much greater controversy, which we’ve heard about this morning. Recent reporting has cast a revealing light on The Family, the secretive, very fundamentalist Christian organization that sponsors the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

And what that light has exposed is alarming. It’s reason enough for our elected officials to approach this year’s event with added caution. In fact, neither the president nor any member of Congress should attend in
anything like an unthinking or uncritical manner.

My primary concern is that The Family – also of course known as the Fellowship Foundation – has a long-running goal of reaching politicians, wealthy business leaders and other individuals of influence and drawing them into a politically problematic network. Far from being some benign form of generic religiosity, the National Prayer Breakfast has become The Family’s primary principal vehicle to insinuate itself into the very highest levels of the American government.

Yet the group’s expression of faith does not represent some broad range of religious thought in America. And while the organizers of the Prayer Breakfast claim that the event is ecumenical, the fact remains that it is sponsored by a shadowy organization that shuns all public inspection and apparently sees itself on a messianic drive to merge religion and government under its own narrow brand and understanding of Christianity.

Some of The Family’s actions that we’ve heard about today have had appalling repercussions around the world. This group has long had a longstanding presence in Uganda, and it has recently come to light that a member of the Ugandan parliament, David Bahati, who sponsored this evil legislation, is affiliated with The Family very directly.

Bahati has become famous – or better, I suppose, infamous – as the sponsor of that draconian law that would apply the death penalty in fact or in its effect to gay men and lesbians in Uganda. The bill would punish those who harbor gays and anyone who speaks publicly on their behalf.

It is difficult for many of us to imagine such a vile, backward policy being promoted in the 21st Century anywhere in this world, yet this one has the backing of many members of the Ugandan government and could in one form or another still become law. For a time, there were reports that Bahati himself might attend the Prayer Breakfast here on Thursday. More recent reports say he will not be there, but the real damage has already been done. This prayer service is already tainted with the stain of intolerance and religious extremism.

It’s time for political leaders to stop lending uncritical power and prestige to an extremist organization that all too often works behind the scenes to subvert the best of American values – values like human rights and
religious liberty and freedom. We tend to take these concepts for granted in America, too often forgetting that many people throughout the world still live under a yoke of oppression. The Family has never done anything to lift that yoke; it has simply added stones to it, decade after decade.

We cannot stand by while the United States government gives any aid and comfort to groups or individuals who do not understand the values or, worse yet, work actively to undermine the values of this country. I believe The Family does all of that.The Family, through its worldwide machinations of the rich and powerful, its espousal of an explosive mixture of religion and politics and now its ties to this hateful bill in Uganda, has forfeited any right to claim any position of moral authority. The fact that most of this activity is deliberately done in secret only amplifies the problem.

What does all of this have to do with Thursday’s breakfast at the Hilton Hotel? It has plenty to do with it. For many years, people looked at events like the National Prayer Breakfast, shrugged and said, “Well, it’s just another example of ‘civil religion.’” At least that’s what some of its defenders said. It’s just a little religious talk. What’s wrong with that?

Now I think it’s clear that this is about something more, because there is nothing wrong with religious talk and prayer when it’s freely chosen. But in this instance, we’re concerned with a corrupted messenger. We’re no longer shrugging over the National Prayer Breakfast. Rather, we’re taking a closer look at the group behind it and the alarming agenda that it brings and the consequences it spawns in Uganda and around the world. We deplore what we see, and people of goodwill should never be afraid to say it loudly.

If the president of the United States attends this event, then he should speak critically of support by government or organizations that support anti-LGBT legislation anywhere in the world. President Obama should affirm the primacy of personal faith and repudiate government involvement with it.

Moreover, the leader of The Family, Doug Coe, should himself in a public place like this prayer breakfast repudiate the horrific anti-gay legislation in Uganda and urge that persons of all faiths join in its worldwide repudiation. If the president condemns this legislation, and if Doug Coe acknowledges that this was a sin and a moral scar on the face of the earth, then it would truly be a prayer breakfast to remember. Maybe I’d go next year.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn is executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Moses of Uganda says thanks "Steve and Other Sheep" at The American Prayer Hour press conference

by Rev. Steve Parelli
Bronx, New York

Photo Below:  Moses of Uganda with paper bag to hide identidy with Rev. Steve Parelli, Other Sheep Executive Director;
The American Prayer Hour press conference, The National Press Club, Washington, DC, February 2, 1010

Yesterday, at the press conference at The National Press Club in
Washington, DC where key religious leaders announced the
formation of The American Payer Hour, Moses of Uganda, in his
address, publicly thanked "Steve and Other Sheep."

What is the link between Moses and Other Sheep? Moses is an
example of Other Sheep's motto at work: "...connecting people
with people and people with resources..."

Last fall (2009), Moses was sponsored to come to the USA for a
conference related to his work. That trip became his opportunity
to seek asylum in America as a gay Ugandan.

When he arrived in the USA he phoned me, and told me his story
and his desire to not return to Uganda.

Steve put Moses in touch with Emmanuel Kamau who is Other
Sheep co-Coordinator for Africa. Emmanuel is from Nairobi,
Kenya. Not too long ago, Emmanuel received asylum in the USA. He is now working full time, earning a living in Texas where he
resides. Emmanuel housed Moses and put him in touch with
organizations that could help Moses with asylum.

Yesterday, listening to Moses speak, I was transported back to
our (Jose and me) two summers in East Africa (2007 and 2008).
Hearing Moses' voice was like hearing the many, many stories of  LGBT East Africans during our travels. His narrative was the familiar for me. I was at home listening to him. Following the press conference he greeted me with a tight embrace, his arms wrapping tightly around me. I felt his thankfulness in that hug, a kind of "I've-been-rescued-thank-you-for-your-part" hug.

At lunch, I asked Moses how he first heard of Other Sheep. He said he was doing a search for Metropolitan Community Church on the Internet while still in Uganda and came across Other Sheep.

After lunch, Moses, Mike Nichols (a friend of Moses who drove Moses to and from the press conference, a two/three day trip) and I drove around DC visiting some of the sites.

They dropped me off at Union Station around 6:30 PM. I took the 188 NE back to New York City, returning the way I came earlier that day. It had been a long, wonderful, memorable day, meeting
at last, in person, Moses, a Ugandan whom Other Sheep had a small part in helping. I say a small part, but to Moses, that phone call he received from Other Sheep in response to his urgent email to me was, at the time, his life line.