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Originally published Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 3:44 PM

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A malicious blasphemy in Uganda

Gays and lesbians in Uganda fear for their lives after the political response to the evangelism of three American Christians.

A WISE man, in this season of wise men, describes religious evangelism as delivering messages of hope, love and forgiveness. Sadly, the themes are too often and too easily reduced to: us against them.

Gays and lesbians are a frequent target for those who preach a theology of exclusion and holier-than-thou dividing lines. Familiar language at home, but now it is a vile export.

Homosexuals in Uganda are literally in fear for their lives after three American evangelists traveled to Africa to find far-flung converts for the rhetoric of the U.S. culture wars.

The New York Times reports the evangelical Christians preached against the gay movement, described as an evil institution whose goal is to defeat marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of promiscuity.

All three claimed to be shocked — shocked — by the subsequent response to their provocations. A Ugandan politician introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, which sought to hang homosexuals.

As horrified nations, including the United States, threatened to withhold aid dollars, the bill was amended to punish gays and lesbians with life in prison.

The three evangelists are an embarrassment to the Christian faith and the values that inspire selfless, hardworking missionaries to work in the far corners of the Earth to help people and truly change their lives.

Cultural stereotypes and willful ignorance of AIDS cost the continent hundreds of thousands of lives, and fueled a financial and social catastrophe beyond the human toll.

The good word and good works brought to Africa by other evangelicals has been tainted by a malicious blasphemy.

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