HRC: U.S. Pastors Exporting Bigotry to Uganda with Murderous Results

by HRC Staff

Murder of Ugandan Human Rights Defender Could Have Been Prevented

Washington- In the wake of the murder of Ugandan LGBT civil rights leader, David Kato, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest civil rights organization dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, is calling on U.S. fundamentalist pastors Carl Ellis Jenkins, Lou Engle, and Scott Lively, to quickly abandon their hateful and dangerous anti-LGBT rhetoric and actions. David Kato, the gay Ugandan human rights defender, was brutally murdered in his home on Wednesday. David was the Advocacy Officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex human rights organizations in Uganda.

"While they didn't physically beat Mr. Kato, the words and actions of these three U.S. fundamentalist ministers were just as harmful," said Dr. Sharon Groves, acting director of HRC's Religion and Faith Program. "They have perpetuated a climate of fear and violence that runs contrary to the core values of all religious traditions. Stoking fires of hostility isn't religion, it is blasphemy."

At the top of his agenda, U.S. pastor Lou Engle has called LGBT people a threat to Uganda. Engle has publicly defended the Ugandan government's efforts to pass the "Kill the Gays" bill, citing increased sponsorship of gay lifestyles in schools and colleges by international NGOs and the increase in gay clubs attracting materialistic youth as rationale. Scott Lively held an anti-gay conference in Uganda that provided religious justification for the "Kill the Gays" bill. Carl Jenkins is opening 50 new churches in Uganda to "help clean up bad morals, including homosexuality."

Earlier today HRC sent a nationwide action alert to its 1.3 million members and supporters, asking them to sign a petition to the three leading anti-LGBT fundamentalist pastors to stop exporting hate in the name of religion. Planning is underway for nationwide vigils honoring the life of David Kato.

"We hope and pray that some good will come out of David's untimely and tragic death," added Groves.

The Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program's mission is to change the conversation about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and faith. Because of the pioneering efforts of brave religious people speaking out for equality, a new movement for change is emerging that embraces a culture of welcome, compassion, and hospitality - values that are at the heart of all our faith traditions.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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