Meet Martin Ssempa: Uganda’s leading bigot.

July 3, 2014

Since late in 2013, Uganda’s anti-gay law and its obsession with persecuting human beings for whom they fall in love with has created an odious atmosphere leading to a rocketing increase in attacks on the LGBT community in Uganda by over 750% on the previous year, according to ‘Sexual Minorities Uganda’.

It isn’t difficult to see how that atmosphere came to be. As well as Scott Lively and Rick Warren from the US using Uganda as test ground for how far they could inject their bigotry into a society, the Ugandan Cabinet includes rather grotesque sexual predators like Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity. Lokodo, speaking on the growing number of child abuse cases in Uganda, said:

“Ah, But it is the right kind of child rape. It is men raping girls and that is natural.”

– Here is a man in charge of “ethics”, a man that I trust none of us would want within 100 feet of our children. Lokodo isn’t the only one:

Meet Martin Ssempa.

Martin Ssempa is a Pastor in Uganda famed for playing gay porn in his Church sermons (the ‘eat the poo-poo’ guy in the video above) to highlight his distaste for homosexuality. Ssempa is not happy unless the entire country is chained to his religion, and punished according to its rules. His goal is to enshrine his particular beliefs into the social fabric, regardless of how ill-informed, and dangerous that might be (his life threatening stance on condoms is symptomatic of this). He believes that his personal religious beliefs – anchored to 1st century Palestine – must be forced upon the entire country. He is therefore a sadist, stealing the lives of others for his own gratification.

Martin Ssempa is active on social media, with which he uses to post child-like words of wisdom to gay rights activists:

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– If this is what Uganda considers to be an intellectual powerhouse, capable of influencing their laws, they really do have a huge problem. Needless to say, Ssempa found justification for his inbuilt desire to control and harm the lives of others, in Christianity. According to Amnesty, and echoing ‘Sexual Minorities Uganda’:

“LGBTI people have faced a notable increase in arbitrary arrests, police abuse and extortion, loss of employment, evictions and homelessness, and scores have fled the country. At least one transgender person has been killed since the bill was signed, in an apparent hate crime.”

– Homelessness, abuse, extortion, frightening people into fleeing their homes, and murder; I don’t remember any of this advocated by Jesus in the Gospels or the writings of Paul. The early Christian community grew – according to Celsus – as a result of persecution drawing them closer together as a community. Today, Martin Ssempa promotes the very oppression that the early Christian community had to contend with.

On a scale comparable to the comment made by Lokodo, Ssempa – who seems to have no respect for individual liberty where it isn’t distinctly ‘Christian’ by his standards – compares intimate relationships between consenting and loving adults (a relationship that has absolutely nothing to do with him) to the enforcing of the non-consensual violation of basic human rights; female genital mutilation:

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– Leaving aside Martin Ssempa’s inability to understand the concept of love, in any meaningful sense, there’s an irony in his comment. Female genital mutilation is the result of the violent dictates of faith abusing the human rights of another to be free from those violent dictates, in much the same way that Uganda’s anti-gay law is the violent dictates of faith abusing the human rights of another to be free from those violent dictates. The freedom from being genitally mutilated, is the same freedom one has in order to be free from punishment and oppression if you happen to be gay. In both instances, no human being has an inherent right – including the state – to chain others to the beliefs of sex obsessed religious supremacists. Martin Ssempa and those who conduct female genital mutilation are of the exact same mindset.

He then goes on to misunderstand science (unsurprising, he’s a religious supremacist):

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– Contrary to Ssempa’s assertion, the scientific community is fully aware that sexuality is a largely genetic natural spectrum with no single sexual orientation being “right” and another “wrong”. That isn’t how nature works. That’s how ideologies work. I wrote on the science of sexuality in response to Uganda’s rejection of basic science here and so wont go into detail again, but needless to say; Ssempa is entirely wrong. As I noted in the aforementioned article:

“The spectrum of sexuality is amoral. I have no more right to oppress the rights of a gay person, than a gay person has the right to oppress me. Heterosexual privilege is therefore not natural, it is ideological. Much like white supremacy is not natural, it is ideological.”

– Martin Ssempa would be well advised to understand how nature works (it doesn’t involve 1st century Jews rising from the dead), and how ideology works.

Ssempa then went on TV and explained in detail what he thinks gay women engage in:

“For woman what they do is they begin their sexual acts, because she does not have the equipment, they begin to use their lips… so the mouth is used to lick the other person that is number one, it creates gonorrhea. Men and lesbians have gonorrhea and oral syphilis.
“Number two, because they don’t have the equipment, they begin to use gadgets like bananas.”

– The shocking ignorance aside – and his inability to distinguish between sexuality, and having sex – one has to wonder why this man believes the sex lives of others, have anything to do with him. One has to wonder why the love lives of consenting adults, who have just as much right to enjoy their lives as the rest of us, has anything to do with this him. And that is the very essence of religious supremacy; the desire to control the private lives of others, by force. Martin Ssempa bizarrely presumes that by simply believing a certain tribal myth, he is entitled therefore to chain you and I to it. My liberty as a human, to pursue my own goals, to love according to my own conscience, and to enjoy my life, Martin Ssempa believes is his to own and control. It is the manifestation of a deeply controlling and dangerous man. His recognition in the country is the poison that creates an atmosphere in which persecution and oppression based on nothing but archaic stories, and the controlling nature of one man, flourishes. It isn’t a game. It causes hideous devastation to families and individuals.

Given the Church’s recent history of actual sex abuse, coupled with Uganda’s Christian Minister for Ethics discussing what he considers to be the “right kind of child rape”, it would seem prudent for people like Martin Ssempa – obsessed with sexual oppression – to perhaps look a little closer to home when discussing sexual ethics, before setting out to dehumanise and violently oppress those who have done no wrong, because it seems more than apparent to me that chaining sexual ethics to his faith, hasn’t worked out to well in the past.

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Serving God and Money: Hobby Lobby prove Jesus wrong.

July 1, 2014

Hobby Lobby, Ohio. Author: DangApricot Source: Wikimedia Commons

Hobby Lobby, Ohio.
Picture credit: DangApricot
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to allow ‘closely held’ companies the right to opt out of secular law, to interfere with the private health decisions of female employees, based on extremely faulty premises and still receive tax benefits, shines a light on Hobby Lobby and their business dealings that might surprise many. Molly Redden at Mother Jones brilliantly reported back in April, that Hobby Lobby has been investing in the very companies that manufacture the pills they have a ‘moral’ objection with providing to their employees.

Hobby Lobby’s employee 401(k) plan held around $73,000,000 in mutual funds for investments in companies that include Pfizer, who make pills that induce abortions, TEVA who make IUDs and Humana; a health insurance company that offer surgical abortions and emergency contraceptives on their plans. Most notably, Hobby Lobby specifically mentioned IUDs, and Plan B as violating their religious principles. They submitted this objection, whilst investing in TEVA and Actevis; two companies that produce Plan B (which simply prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg – Hobby Lobby believe this amounts to murdering a baby) and IUDs.

In short, whilst Hobby Lobby have been seeking to chain women’s health and reproductive rights to the beliefs of the CEO, the company has been profiting from the very drugs they have a ‘moral’ objection to. It’s perhaps also worth noting that Hobby Lobby still covers Viagra for men. Whilst female employees will no longer be able to request morning after pills (manufactured by companies Hobby Lobby invest in, and perfectly acceptable to Hobby Lobby prior to the ACA) on their health plan, men will still be able to request help for erectile problems. The argument seems to be that Viagra aids procreation whilst Plan B and IUDs prevent it. One wonders then how they defend the fact that Hobby Lobby still covers vasectomies for men.

The Hobby Lobby management have appointed themselves the decisions makers for the health and wellbeing of female employees by mandating the boss’s religious views upon employees, whilst simultaneously violating their own apparent ‘moral’ standard when profiting is involved. Hobby Lobby is an extension of the Christian-Right’s war on women, masked as ‘religious freedom’, and completely irrelevant when there’s an opportunity to make more money. I guess the Jesus was wrong, when he said:

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
– Matthew 6:24

– Naturally, the Republican Party appear to fully endorse the Supreme Court decision. The Speaker took to his Twitter account to announce that the 5-4 court decision (the five being all men, the four being all women plus one man) was a victory for religious freedom. This shouldn’t surprise anyone given the party’s ceaseless attacks on women’s health and rights over the past few years. From Mitt’s “binders full of women” to Akin’s “legitimate rape” to Chambliss almost whimsically shaking off the seriousness of sexual assault in the military by claiming it’s simply down to young men’s “hormone level created by nature“, to refusals to renew the Violence Against Women Act, to under funding important health services and attempts to completely gut Title X of all funding; the GOP has been the political mouthpiece for obscene gender inequality for the past several years.

It seems apparent to me that if you wish for a healthcare system that ensures employees are dependent on the coverage provided by the company – that they work and contribute to the success of – for basic health and wellbeing, those employees should not be chained to the boss’s fondness for 1st century tribal Palestinian stories. The boss’s religious beliefs have absolutely no connection to the health and wellbeing and individual choices of employees. The sex lives of female employees have nothing to do with the boss of the company. There should be a set standard across the board, secular in nature. The company has no religious beliefs. It is not a person. Indeed, the Founder’s were not fond of corporate entities, believing them to be in need of careful regulation and certainly not to be treated as individual human beings. The boss’s religious beliefs should not be granted an opt out of secular law, nor should a boss be permitted the right to force thousands of employees to abide by his personal religious beliefs, where their choices do not affect his life in any way. A Jehovah’s Witness has no more right to deny an employee access to a blood transfusion, than a Christian has a right to prevent a woman making her own choices on her own sexual health. Health is vital. A company providing access to birth control does nothing to violate the religious freedom of the individual boss, but restricting access to birth control absolutely violates the right of the employee to personal choice and freedom. The CEO is not the company. The CEO is not paying for the health and wellbeing of anyone else, the employees are working for that coverage. They pay for it. The company is everyone who works for it, including the women that Hobby Lobby’s boss David Green doesn’t particularly care about, as he profits from the drugs he seeks to restrict access to, whilst ensuring men can still get it up.