(left to right) Boise Weekly Features Editor Deanna Darr, yours truly, Boise Weekly Editor-in-Chief Rachael Daigle at the Idaho Press Club awards Sat. April 7, 2011.
My first feature published in the Boise Weekly Sept. 10, 2010, Exporting Homophobia:American far-right conservative churches establish influence on anti-gay policy in Africa won a 2nd place award at the Idaho Press Club’s Best of 2010 banquet category: Weekly Print Media Watchdog / Investigative Report. Having received such praise from other journalists is very humbling.
Thank you Idaho Press Club and most especially to Rachael Daigle, Deanna Darr and Nathanial Hoffman for believing in my work and providing the opportunity to write for such a great publication!
To start a completely new career at this time in life is a rather scary venture and I am extremely grateful to have such great readers and supporters. I could not have been more blessed to be encouraged, mentored, and at times kicked in the ass, by two of my very special and dearest of friends, John Redding, himself a very talented media professional and my BFF Melinda Moreno.
Nothing could make this a more perfect time than to also be enjoying Mother’s day with our amazing son Cody, and at the same time to be celebrating my 14th wedding anniversary with the love of my life Maria, who has not only loved and supported me unconditionally for more than 15 years, but with whom I cannot imagine a better life.
2010 has been an amazing year for the movement toward full LGBTQI Equality. Encouraging challenges to California’s Proposition 8 and the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, despite strong powerful forces against us, have set in motion a light forward for really substantive change toward federal employment non-discrimination, the repeal of DOMA, with full marriage equality, and same-sex partner immigration.
To those of you who have supported and passed along my work to your mailing lists, family and friends, those who shared stories on Facebook and Twitter, THANK YOU! I am very humbled and truly grateful.
Mostly, I wish to thank my sources because it is they, who put the faces and names to many important issues, explain complicated issues and help sort out fact from fiction in a corporate media world that is full of noise, spin and propaganda. Continue reading →
American evangelicals complicit in the anti-gay atmosphere.
By Jody May-Chang
It’s 11:00 PM on a late October night in a small village on the outskirts of Kampala. The power is out and the streets are dark when a mob of five men unexpectedly show up at the home of Peter Yiga, a known gay activist.
Yiga, like many gays and lesbians in Uganda, leads a double life, living a typical heterosexual existence with a woman who is also the mother of his child in order to provide cover from dangers like the one unfolding.
The men knock on the door, Yiga’s “wife” quietly asks, “Who’s there?” They tell her they’re friends of Peter’s and that he’s expecting them for a meeting. Just as she cracks the door to get a look, they force it open and enter the house.
Religion Dispatches is a daily online magazine dedicated to the analysis and understanding of religious forces in the world today, highlighting a diversity of progressive voices and aimed at broadening and advancing the public conversation.
UPDATE: May 7, 2011 Exporting Homophobia took 2nd place at the Idaho Press Club’s Best of 2010 banquet category: Weekly Print Media Watchdog / Investigative Report
What other’s are saying about Exporting Homophobia
“I was curious enough to do some research, and came across your excellent article. We’ve known for a long time about the U.S. Evangelical right exerting it’s influence in Africa…Thank you for shedding light on a truly troubling, frightening in fact, subject.”
Michelle Faul, Chief Africa Correspondent, Associated Press
“Some of Jody May-Chang’s story on homophobia in Uganda you’ve heard before. If you’ve read any of writer Jeff Sharlet’s work on The Family, or heard him on NPR’s Fresh Air, much of what you’ll read in “Exporting Homophobia” will not surprise you. This month, Sharlet is back on the airwaves and back on stands with a follow-up, and May-Chang interviewed him earlier this year as that work was just going public. It’s a dense read, but one I think is worthy of the page space and your time.”
Peter Yiga is a Ugandan born-again Christian with a degree in computer engineering. He is the father of a young child and is also a known gay activist in a country that is on a witch hunt.
In February, Yiga attended a human rights conference in the capital city of Kampala.
“I saw a member of parliament who attended, talking very bitter and vowing to kill everyone–including their sons and daughters–if they were proved homosexuals,” he told BW by Internet video conference from Uganda.
Yiga described how he and his friends are psychologically tortured and forced to endure daily warnings and promises of being hunted down and killed.
“The church and other leaders have done a lot to brainwash people, and all the community now is readily spitting fire against homosexuality. They are planning to kill or panga [machete] us. We have been running from house to house because when a neighborhood learns about your orientation, then you should expect mob justice anytime,” he said.
Although homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda since the colonial era, there has been an unprecedented escalation of hatred fueled by Uganda’s pending Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. If passed in its present form, the wide-ranging legislation calls for the death penalty for gays and lesbians who engage in sex and are HIV positive, have committed the offense of homosexuality more than once, have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol during a sexual encounter or one partner has a disability. For other, less “aggravated” offenses, they face life in prison.
Bryan Fischer is well-known in Idaho. To some he is a hero of “family values,” but to many he is a living, breathing example of what is wrong with America. Fischer is the pitchman for contempt and the poster boy for intolerance. The man’s obsession with and hatred of homosexuals is well documented, but recently he has been gaining national attention.
Fischer’s visceral scorn for gays was rarely, if ever, challenged by the Idaho news media that ran to him for a quote as if he was the anointed representative of all that is Christian in Idaho. He was essentially considered a “balanced” voice to oppose gays in Idaho.
Fischer is now climbing into the national spotlight to brand homosexuals and others who don’t fit into his narrow view of the world as threats that should be locked up or perhaps even executed. This past year, he was hoisted into the national spotlight when he was included in MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person segment for his xenophobic rant that called on banning Muslims from the serving in the U.S. military following the Fort Hood tragedy.
More recently Fischer has been calling for the national criminalization of homosexuality, comparing gays to everything from IV drug users to murderers. This fact was brought out by Fox News’s Alan Colmes who called out Bryan Fischer on is daily radio show.
Colmes did what no reporter or editor in Idaho had the common sense, guts, or journalistic integrity to do when it came to Bryan Fischer â€“ Colmes held him accountable for his words and pressed him with hard questions! Continue reading →
During Bryan Fischer’s self-righteous reign of terror in Idaho, he literally made a career out of issuing outrageously pious and ungodly statements aimed at dehumanizing and vilifying lesbian, gay and transgender people. He managed to do so with such skill that his propaganda was rarely, if at all, questioned by reporters covering him.
One of his most abhorrent deeds has been Fischer’s shameless promotion and support for Scott Lively, in his May 14, 2008 post “The truth about homosexuality and the Nazi Party” he abundantly quotes and summarizes Lively’s anti-gay Nazi propaganda book “The Pink Swastika”. Lively’s book, and Fischer by extension, among other things, blame homosexuals for starting the Nazi party.
“In fact, the Nazi Party began in a gay bar in Munich.”
“Most of Hitler’s closets aids were homosexuals or sexual deviants.”
“Heinrich Himmler, second in powered only to Hitler, was publicly opposed to homosexuality but may have been a closet homosexual himself, Himmler was deeply immersed in the occult.”
“May of the guards and administrators responsible for concentration camp horrors were themselves homosexuals.”
“The ‘Butch’ homosexual guards and capos were capable of unrestrained cruelty, sadism and savagery. A guard at Auschwitz, for instance, strangled crushed and gnawed to death as many as 100 boys and young men a day while raping them at his leisure.”
“Some parts of the American Nazi movement are explicitly homosexual.”
“What’s the point here?” Fischer asks, “Simply that there is another side to the constant refrain from homosexual activists who frequently mention the Nazi persecution of homosexuals and in doing so imply Christian who opposed the normalization of homosexuality Are in effect crypto-Nazis.”
Last year, Fischer wrote these things to promote and encourage attendance for the “Shake the Nation” religious hate fest held here in Idaho. Why is it necessary to revisit this? Well, for two very important reasons.
First of all, Bryan Fischer’s blossoming national fame has its roots in here thanks to the Idaho media which gave him free reign to make outrageous statements while never holding him accountable. The Idaho media gave Fischer ink and face-time on camera without so much as a single hard question.
The Idaho media’s kid glove treatment of Fischer has allowed him to attain his long sought after status as a national celebrity. His most recent claim to fame is his anti-Muslim racism, which is a huge embarrassment to fair minded Idahoans.
The second, and most troubling reason that revisiting this relevant, is because of Bryan Fischer’s connection and support of Scott Lively who now is an evangelical celebrity who promotes the notion that you can “pray the gay away” Fischer’s cronies are “credited to have inspired” Bill No. 18, The Anti-Homosexual Bill of 2009 in Uganda.
This bill, which is very likely to become law, will impose harsh sentences upon those who are gay, suspected of being gay or offer protection to those who support gay people. These so-called gay offenses include:
Commits the offense of Homosexuality, Life in prison
Aggravated Homosexuality, Death
Attempting to commit Homosexuality, 7 years in prison
Attempt to commit Aggravated Homosexuality, Life in prison
A person who funds or sponsors homosexuality, min 5 – max 7 years in prison
Know someone is gay and do not report them within 24 hours, 3 years in prison
Extradite citizens back to Uganda from anywhere in the world for prosecution if suspected of committing any of the above crimes.
Last spring, Scott Lively, who is now the president of “Defend the Family,” went to Uganda with Don Schmierer of “Exodus International” and Caleb Lee Brundidge of “The International Healing Foundation” to conduct an anti-homosexual seminar.
Lively is quoted by LifeSiteNews.com saying that his trip to Uganda was “with the purpose of getting them to liberalize the law making it more oriented toward therapy” and says the current bill “went too far.”
Lively is a fraud who is now trying to distance himself from his own propaganda, but what is very clear here is that he is deeply rooted in a longtime campaign of contempt against homosexuals. Lively, like Fischer, is a bold-faced liar and a propagandist. He admitted going to Uganda to testify in favor of this immoral legislation. In his own words, his reason was because of, “a lot of external interference from European and American gay activists attempting to do in Uganda what they’ve done around the world “homosexualize that society,” and “the many male homosexuals coming into the country and abusing boys who are on the streets.”
Fischer shamelessly promoted Scott Lively by encouraging the public to listen to this man’s hate speech. At the time Lively came to Idaho Fischer said that his merchant of hate will, “address some of the lessons we must learn from Nazi Germany and its disastrous embrace of homosexuality.”
Fischer posted a “Shake the Nation” event on his website to promote the conference which he later deleted, but not before I had a chance to PDF that post. You will note that “Shake the Nation” was organized by Fisher’s good friend Tom Munds who appears to have thought twice about stepping into Fischer odorous shoes.
A good friend once told me, “Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you what you are.” Bryan Fischer aligns himself with hate mongers then tries to rewrite history by deleting it from is his website. The Idaho news media had an opportunity to shed some light on Bryan Fischer, but instead of defending the public’s right to know about this miserable fraud, they ran to him as if he was the official spokesman of the Christian community.
The Idaho news media shares some responsibility in failing to examine Fischer’s record and giving him the keys to the newsroom to spread his propaganda.
Now the world is hearing about Scott Lively and the Ugandan Bill No. 18 that calls for throwing gays in prison and executing them. The rightwing echo chamber screams about so-called “death panels” well, this is what they really look like thanks to the unchallenged rants of a con-men like Bryan Fischer and his cronies.
The Rachel Maddow Show – Uganda Be Kidding Me – December 2, 2009