Making my travel plans for the upcoming American Renaissance conference, it occurred to me that I might as well combine my customary tropical vacation with the conference trip. It would save me extra travel and expense. Being on a tight budget, I decided to spend a few days in the Mexican Riviera. I’d done so before, and it’s pretty darn close to paradise if you like beautiful beaches, warm weather, good food, history – and cheap accommodations.
Speaking of this last feature, I noticed that many Cancun hotels openly refuse to cater to single men (they have no problem with single women). I mentioned, to a dear family member, that nobody seems to care about discrimination against single men – unless said men are homosexual. She responded with something about gays in Africa, and how bad it is for them over there. At least in Mexico, there’s no government policy to hunt them down and imprison them or kill them.
She was referring to Uganda. I’ve written about anti-homosexuality in Uganda before, but I’ve been reading Empire by Niall Ferguson and I now have a slightly different angle on the issue.
Ferguson writes much about the exploits of the great explorer David Livingstone. Livingstone was only the most famous of a group of Brits who were willing to sacrifice everything in order to bring Christianity to the African savage. Many succumbed to disease, the elements or hostile natives. About these missionaries, Ferguson writes (pg. 100):
Converting the heathen was a dangerous enterprise. To succeed, the missionary movement needed an army of young men – idealistic, altruistic adventurers, willing to go to the ends of the earth to spread the Word. There could not be a greater contrast between the missionaries’ motives and those of previous generations of empire-builders, the swashbucklers, the slavers and the settlers.
Missionary work in Africa was a slow, painful process. It wasn’t always easy to persuade the natives to discard their animistic beliefs and practices. In Uganda, it would appear that homosexuality was incorporated into these practices. In fact, Christian opposition to homosexuality played a key role in the conversion of Uganda. According to the Dictionary of African Christian Biography:
In May and June 1886 a large massacre of Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, took place. Many were executed at Namugongo, the traditional execution site also used for the Muslim martyrs of 1876. The immediate cause for the killings was the Kabaka’s anger at the disobedience of his Christian pages, in particular their refusal to indulge in homosexual practices. Charles Lwanga, the Catholic head of the pages in the king’s private apartments, had been particularly vigilant in protecting the Christian boys under his charge from the advances of the Kabaka and some of the chiefs…
Undoubtedly these Uganda martyrs (there were Bunyoro and Basoga as well as Baganda) died believing and trusting in Christ as their Savior. They sang hymns on the way to their deaths, preached to their persecutors, strongly believed in a life after death, and their courage and fortitude made a great impression on those who saw them die.
How might a modern Ugandan respond to recent demands that his country accept homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle? He might call such demands a continuation of colonialism, as Martin Ssempa did when confronted by a reporter (once available on YouTube, but now removed). He might object that Africans should not be expected to modify their beliefs in accordance with every new Western fad and fashion that happens to arise.
My dear relative referred to the acceptance of homosexuality as “progress” and, to a certain degree, I agree with her. But when such progress is imposed from afar, it looks a lot like coercion. It took over a hundred years for most of Uganda to become Christian. It might take decades more (if at all) for sexual minorities to be accepted as full citizens and human beings. This is unfortunate, but it looks a lot as if the West is telling the rest of the world:
Yes, it’s true that we imposed Christianity upon you during colonial times. But now we have a new religion. It’s called Liberalism – and we expect you to discard our old religion in favor of our new one.
Every time the West meddles in the affairs of Africa (or anywhere else), it creates “refugees” – and these “refugees” end up fleeing their native countries in favor of our countries, in effect colonizing us. Isn’t it time to cease this cycle of mutual colonization?