A Ugandan pro-LGBTQ+ church was promoted in newspapers, resulting in the church being targeted for persecution.
On February 21, 2020, Ugandan newspapers Trumpet News and Red Pepper, published photos and a video of a pro-LGBTQ+ church in Uganda, known as The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. As a result, the church was targeted for persecution in a premeditated media campaign to silence and erase this progressive ministry.
LGBTQ+ activists in Uganda have denounced American Acting Intelligence Head, Richard Grenell, and American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, for keeping their silence on the threats.
In 2019, American President, Donald Trump, appointed Richard Grenell, who serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, to lead a highly-publicised campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in countries where being LGBTQ is against the law.
Grenell is an openly gay ambassador, and has been leading the campaign, which mainly focused on the execution of a gay man in Iran. Initially, the plan was to involve U.S. Embassies across Europe, as well as the US State Department, to raise awareness about homophobia.
A year later, the only result observed has been the systematic targeting of LGBTQ+ people in Uganda.
LGBTQ+ affirming Christian organisations have been calling Grenell’s 2019 campaign to decriminalise LGBTQ people “a failure” in Uganda.
As a consequence, leaders and members of the The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries church have gone into hiding, fearing violence, vandalism and destruction of their building.
This comes hot on the heels of local politicians resurrecting Uganda’s “Kill the Gays Bill” first introduced in 2009 and signed into law in 2014 to international condemnation, only to be struck down by Uganda’s Constitutional Court. The Ugandan Parliament threatened to reintroduce the bill In 2019 resulting in a year of well-documented murders, arrests, and violent attacks on LGBTQI Ugandans.
Sexual Minorities Uganda’s Executive Director, Frank Mugisha, said: “The TFAM church in Uganda was founded about the same time as the “Kill the Gays” bill was exhumed by the Ugandan Parliament. Outsiders infiltrated the worship services and collected videos and photos for a campaign of hate. This is part of an outright effort to erase LGBTQ+ advocacy in Uganda and to destroy all progressive movements.”
This hate campaign has been met with silence from President Trump and the U.S. State Department, despite President Trump’s purported global effort in 2019 to decriminalise homosexuality.
The Fellowship for Affirming Ministries is using this violent episode to launch the ‘Our Freedom is Your Freedom’ campaign, to bring together progressives around the world to defend LGBTQ+ lives, and to promote the ideals of justice and social inclusion globally.
“‘Our Freedom is Your Freedom’ will bring together progressives around the world to defend the lives of LGBTQ+ Ugandans, even as we defend yours,” Mugisha said.
Pastor Simon Mpinga, said: “While the US is fighting to preserve its democracy, we know first hand that your fight for freedom is connected to ours. Americans, you must fight to be who you are so we can fight to be who we want to be. It is time for affirming Christians around the world to get behind the ‘Our freedom is Your Freedom’ campaign and tell Ugandan and USA leaders to stop the persecution of LGBTQ+ people.”
Read GLAAD’s Jeremy Hooper commentary here.
Read The Trumpet News’ article with the video here.