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:

– 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:

– 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):

– 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.

Uganda’s ‘Red Pepper’ – defending the indefensible.

February 25, 2014

redpepperIn 2011, the unfathomably brave gay rights activist David Kato was brutally murdered in Uganda, after a newspaper in the country published his name and photograph and demanded his execution. In 2014, A day after Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda signed the anti-gay bill into law, the nations homophobic tabloid newspaper ‘Red Pepper’ launched a brand new witch hunt, by releasing a ‘top 200 homosexuals’ front page, designed to incite the same hate and violence toward the LGBT community in Uganda that led to the horrendous death of David Kato.

It is very difficult to reason with the mentality of people who, when asked why they care more about what two consenting adults do in their home, rather than the growing number of child abuse cases, said:

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

– Simon Lokodo. Uganda Minister for Ethics & Integrity. Here is a man who seeks to oppress the rights of the adult gay community, whilst championing the sexual abuse of children. That is the nature of the men who currently run Uganda. Men that shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near children. And so it is perhaps futile to reason with them, but reason can be a powerful weapon and it is worth trying.

‘Red Pepper’ in their support for the anti-gay law, posted the warped and child-like reasoning of the President on their Twitter feed here:

– I thought I’d address both points. Both points are of course primarily hateful rather than based on reason, and so even if the claims were true, would be no excuse for oppression and hate. But I wanted to focus on the points specifically, given that this is their attempt to defend the indefensible.

The second point is the easiest to dismiss. A state has no inherent right to abuse its citizens without consequence, in much the same way that a parent – let’s call that parent ‘Simon’ – does not have an inherent right to abuse his children without consequence, or without others stepping in to stop the abuse from continuing. The gay community in Uganda should not have to live in fear for their lives, or to have to live without the basic human need to express love and enjoy happiness, and they should absolutely be protected by the international community. It is not a ‘Western value’ to not oppress others. It is a universal right to be free from such vicious oppression. It should be considered far more important to defend that right, than it is to ‘respect’ a government’s decision to abuse that right. The Ugandan government does not own those people, it is not free to abuse and oppress the fundamental human rights of anyone. The rights of all should not be at the mercy of the religious dictates of anyone else. There is no inherently supreme sexuality that has the right to command others to do as they say. 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. The government of Uganda and Red Pepper are the abusive parent, endangering the lives of their citizens, simply for whom they fall in love with. It is ideological and nothing more. National borders – like the four walls of the home – do not change the oppressive and abusive nature of the ‘parent’. Uganda has legalised abuse, discrimination, and oppression based on supremacist ideals of one group. Completely absurd, dangerous, and unjustifiable.

On the second point, ‘Red Pepper’ and the President promoted the line of reasoning taken up by the sponsor of the bill, Ugandan MP David Bahati, who said that homosexuality was a:

“…behaviour that can be learned and can be unlearned”.

– This is of course, not based on reality, but on an attempt to enshrine Christian ‘values’ into law. It’s simply what Christian extremists would like to be true. We should be under no illusion that ‘Red Pepper’ or those who back the anti-gay law have any justification based on anything but tribal myths. As with most enforced religious morality, if human dignity, human rights, justice or reason conflict with those tribal myths, they are considered less valuable and to be oppressed. As with all ideologies that seek state power; there are always those who are considered less than equal. Whether it be Jewish people in a Fascist state, or gay people in a Theocratic state. The powerful in an ideology-drive state, will always oppress those who do not fit its dictates. In this case, the right of Christians to oppress, is given supremacy over the right of those who don’t fit its antiquated system of moral righteousness, to not be abused. This is indefensible.

Contrary to what ‘Red Pepper’ tweeted, the scientific community is fully aware that sexuality genetic natural spectrum with no one sexual orientation being “right” and another “wrong”. That isn’t how nature works. That’s how ideologies work. We know that sexuality is a spectrum echoed throughout the natural World. Since a review by Canadian researcher and biologist Bruce Bagemihl in 1999, it has been widely understood that at least 1,500 species have been shown to exhibit homosexual tendencies. At least 10% of the population of domesticated sheep, are exclusively homosexual. A study in London by M.J Cole noted that homosexual behaviour in Giraffes tends to be more common than heterosexual behaviour. The African Lion has been noted to have homosexual tendencies.

On human sexuality, A wonderful in-depth study by Binbin Wang et al, found that allele types differed greatly between homosexual men and heterosexual men. A further study by Sven Bocklandt et al, found that mothers of gay sons, have higher rates of extreme skewing of X-Chromosome inactivation, than those without gay sons.

Another study – and more recently – showed that a section of the X Chromosome called Xq28 influenced sexuality. The same is true of an area of chromosome 8. The theory being that genes in the region of Xq28 – passed from mother to son, and linked to sexual orientation – make women who carry them far more fertile, hence surviving the harsh realities of natural selection. Here is a further study that links genetic material passed down on the X Chromosome, to both homosexuality, and the fertility of the female. Study after study after study show that genetics plays a role in determining sexuality, that it isn’t a “behaviour”, it is a natural spectrum. To suggest otherwise, is both uneducated, and based solely on the advancement of an oppressive ideology.

Dr. Jerome Goldstein, Director of the San Francisco Clinical Research Center, says:

“Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice, it is primarily neurobiological at birth.”

– Goldstein continues:

“Using volumetric studies, there have been findings of significant cerebral amygdala size differences between homosexual and heterosexual subjects. Sex dimorphic connections were found among homosexual participants in these studies.”

In fact, there is not one reputable scientific source that will in any way suggest that sexuality is merely a ‘behaviour’ as suggested by the Theocrats in Uganda who seek to justify the unjustifiable. None. This includes:
The American Psychiatric Association, The World Health Organisation, The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The Academy of Pediatrics, The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists Council on Child and Adolescent Health, The British Psychological Society, The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. All of these intensely reputable sources, with a wealth of research and evidence, will all tell you that sexuality, is part of a natural spectrum. There is no debate here. The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists released a statement to:

“…clarify that homsexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.”

– Further, Alfred Kinsey, the great biologist noted:

“Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.”

– This fundamental fact of nature is only ever opposed by those who seek to harm others. I cannot imagine how terrified gay individuals in Uganda must be right now. No one deserves to be abused, everyone deserves the right to love, and to pursue their own happiness, free from supremacist oppression based on any ideology. .

Therefore, both points promoted by ‘Red Pepper’ and President Museveni do not stand up to simple scrutiny. They exist only as a smokescreen to mask the true intent; to promote the supremacy of one ideology, and abuse and oppress those who don’t fit its violent and irrational dictates. It is a weak attempt to justify the inherent desire to control others, through abuse. This is echoed in the chilling comment on child abuse, by the horrendously named Minister for ‘Ethics and Integrity’.

Like an abusive parent full of excuses, the powerful in Uganda have given themselves the ‘right’ to abuse others. The international community should work to protect the LGBT community of Uganda from the extremists that wish them harm. That is the absolute right thing to do.

The Callous Smile of Cardinal Turkson

February 25, 2013

As the white smoke billows out from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, the World will be waiting to know who will be the man (not woman, that apparently, would be wrong) to take on the enormous challenges the Catholic Church currently faces.

One of the leading candidate to replace Pope Benedict, as the new Pontiff, is Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana. The media outlets love him on account of him not being European, or white. He may very well be the first black Pope, given that the Church will be under a lot of pressure to outwardly appear as if it is modernising in any way, and the election of another old, white, European is not likely to help that cause. However, the news media appears to be ignoring Turkson as a person, instead choosing to focus almost all of its attention on his ethnicity. His ethnicity must be noted, is irrelevant. The content of his character, and the beliefs he will bring with him to such a powerful position during a time of immense crises, are the key factors. And so this leaves the question, who is Peter Turkson?

Standing in front of the African Union Summit in January of 2012, Ban Ki-Moon asked all African Nations to stop prosecuting people for homosexuality, and to repeal all laws criminalising it, in accordance with the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana was not happy with this, and gave his response, not so subtly insisting that he does not believe that gay people should be afforded the same human rights as straight people:

We push for the rights of prisoners, the rights of others, and the last thing we want to do is infringe upon the rights of anyone. But when you’re talking about what’s called ‘an alternative lifestyle,’ are those human rights? Ban Ki-moon needs to recognize there’s a subtle distinction between morality and human rights, and that’s what needs to be clarified.

– He is quick to tell us that the Catholic Church defends ‘the rights of others’, but this does not extend to gay people, and those apparently aren’t worthy of the human rights his Church believes in. And so, instead of outright condemning the horrifying anti-gay laws which includes the death penalty, and even extradition back to Uganda for Ugandans known to be gay, outside of Uganda. This stigmatising (with ridiculous terms like “an alternative lifestyle” – alternative to what? I consider Catholicism to be an ‘alternative lifestyle’ to mine) has lead to newspapers and magazines in Uganda (wishing to win favour with the government) publishing the names and addresses of gay people in the country next to the headline “Hang them”. In other words, if you are Ugandan, you are trapped, in perpetual fear for your life. The Catholic Church itself opposes the anti-gay bill, and condemned it. Cardinal Peter Turkson suggested that the law that basically calls for a genocide against gay people, must be weighed against the rights of straight Ugandans to express their ‘culture’. As if the right to oppress, is a legitimate right that must be respected:

“Just as there’s a sense of a call for rights, there’s also a call to respect culture.”

His defence of violent African laws against homosexuality continues. His most bizarre rant came when asked about the child sex scandal that has engulfed the Catholic Church over the past few years. He doesn’t think the maybe blame the sexually repressed framework on which the Catholic Church operates, or anything else that might be considered a legitimate critique of the crises, instead, he decides it’s the fault of homosexuality is what leads to paedophilia:

“…African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency (child abuse) a little bit. Because in several communities, in several cultures in Africa homosexuality or for that matter any affair between two sexes of the same kind are not countenanced in our society, so that cultural, if you want, the taboo that traditionally has been there, has served to keep this out.”

– Here, he is suggesting three things. Firstly, the ridiculous and totally unfounded idea that homosexuality is linked to paedophilia, perpetuation an even deeper stigmatisation of homosexuality, that the Catholic Church has been intrinsic in defining over the decades. And secondly, he weaves in another defence of African anti-gay laws, as if they are beneficial to society. And lastly, that the child abuse scandal, could not possibly happen in Africa, because the anti-gay laws prevent such a thing. Here, he is building on remarks already made by Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan President. Museveni said:

“Before we came in touch with the Europeans, we had some few homosexuals…. Africans are by nature discreet people… We never exhibit our sexual acts in public. I have for instance never kissed my wife in public… The problem is exhibitionism… The second problem is trying to lure young children into homosexuality.”

– The ignorance is shocking. Museveni and Turkson are of the same belief that homosexuality, is the cause of child abuse. And apparently, that any show of affection, is a ‘problem’. Both of which (not being completely heterosexual, and showing affection in public), he believes are imported from European colonisation; the white man. The Cardinal, and the President of Uganda, believe that child abuse is caused by gay white people from Europe. Is it possible to be more absurd?

They appear to conveniently ignore the fact that one of the main causes of the spread of AIDs in young girls and women in African nations, is rape. By men. With girls. In fact, in 2007 Amnesty International reported that the Ugandan government was both covering up and supporting systematic rape of young girls. The report notes:

“Violence against women is endemic throughout Uganda”

– The Lord’s Resistance Army in the north of Uganda at the time, were responsible for kidnapped and forcing young girls into sexual slavery. Victims claim that Ugandan government officials, members of the police, and members of the judiciary in Uganda had abused them. One in four women, the report notes, say their first sexual encounter, was forced. All of this is glossed over as the President of Uganda, and the horrendous Cardinal Turkson stand atop their self-made moral ground, working tirelessly to keep up their ‘cultural tradition’ of stigmatising an innocent, and harmless section of the population they so instinctively hate.

He then turns his attention goes on to providing us with his reasons for why he isn’t a fan of reproductive rights for women, meaning contraception and abortion:

“There will be a racist agenda behind all of this”

“….The program being pushed does not reflect the true situation of women in the Third World, It derives from a certain thinking that you deal with poverty by eliminating the poor.”

– Cardinal Turkson believes those outside of Africa whom support condom use and are pro-choice, simply wish to de-populate the black population of Africa. Perhaps so we can take over, open the gates to all the gay, white child molesters.

So, that’s homophobic, racist, and anti-women’s rights. If this is the modernisation of the Catholic Church, it looks eerily similar to the pre-modernised Catholic Church.

When one of the most senior Cardinals in the Catholic Church, and one of the favourites for the Papacy spreads such vicious and bigoted senseless deceptions, further stigmatising a section of humanity who already face such oppressive measures that the Cardinal just wishes we’d all ‘respect’, it is little wonder that the Church, as an institution, is so widely disliked. View the grin on his face, whilst imagining the horror that a person in Uganda faces simply for being a sexuality that the Cardinal does not like; the violence he or she must face, and possible death. The smile suddenly becomes chilling, and callous and built on bigotry, and that is exactly how this awful man should be viewed. Electing this man to the Papacy would be an intolerable step backward, for an Institution already so far back, we need a telescope to see it.