It's not often we get to praise Prime Minister Stephen Harper around these parts (umm, like, never!) but this weekend, he boldly went where no Obama has gone before in condemning Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni for his government's proposed new anti-gay laws. The bills would jail gay people for life (with a death penalty for anyone who transmits HIV) and would even jail others for not turning in any gay people they might know. Here's Harper to the rescue:
"I did raise it directly with the president of Uganda and indicated
Canada's deep concern, strong opposition and the fact we deplore these
kinds of measures."
Oooooh! I'm sure Museveni took one look into Harper's beady, dead eyes and felt the full, passionate weight of international law bearing down on him.
Well, maybe not. But hey, at least Canada did something. Obama's Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton was silent on the issue but Rick Warren, Obama's favourite purpose-driven pastor, appeared on Meet the Press this weekend and, given his support for African AIDS relief, had this to say about Uganda's death penalty:
"As a pastor, my job is to encourage, to support. I never take sides."
Man, I hope never to be stuck behind this guy at a deli counter. Corned beef or turkey? Who could possibly say? Here's a taste of Warren's famous Switzerland style in action, around this time last year:
Such encouragement. Such support.
Guys like Warren and Harper and even Obama represent the new, blander face of homophobia. They may privately feel just sick about gay people losing their jobs, their homes or even their lives but it would be just be so rude to say so! As Warren explained, "it is not my personal calling as a pastor in America to
comment or interfere in the political process of other nations."
No, even in the face of homicide, we must remain objective and polite and never, ever interfere -- though our neutral leaders will, of course, cast glares of disapproval at those terribly outspoken lesbians and gay men who dare to advocate on their own behalf. Why can't they be nice? Everything would be fine if these Ugandan gays could just keep silent. As we look to another World AIDS Day tomorrow, however, that's a song we've heard one time too many: