Keeping Faith: Remembering David Kato

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David Kato, the Ugandan gay rights campaigner who last year sued the local newspaper Rolling Stone, which had outed him as being gay, has been murdered, bludgeoned to death by an attacker who broke into his home.

This follows an extensive campaign by the paper, which ran the headline ‘Hang Them’, and published the identities of one hundred gay people. A number of others on the list have also been attacked. Rolling Stone also ran a story claiming that homosexuals were trying to recruit one million children and that a deadly disease causing “shattered flesh” was spreading through Uganda’s gay community.

The paper is supported by the Christian churches of Uganda and its new anti-gay legislation bill (there is already anti-gay legislation in place) has been implicitly supported by a number of US church groups. For details of those, go here.

David Kato had dedicated himself to changing attitudes in an oppressive regime that is prone to outbursts of religious hysteria. His assassination has yet to be widely reported, although the BBC carried news of it this morning.*

*Within minutes of writing this, the story has been picked up and can be found on most news sites.

5 comments on “Keeping Faith: Remembering David Kato”

  1. FabienneT says:

    This is terrible. This man was very brave indeed.
    Journalists in the UK complain about attacks against gay people increasing. Nobody really wants to talk about the real reasons…
    I have worked as a teacher in Greater London for several years and I can tell you that we have a difficult future in front of us. Unfortunately, an enormous amount of kids grow up in extremely conservative, religious cultures, and then you have the people considered as “chavs” (sorry, it is not PC to call them that!)… by the time they are in their teens, they have warped opinions about women and hate (HATE) gays. I was shocked by the intolerance in those schools, they are a boiling cauldrons of hatred (try to come out at the Peckham Academy!). And let me tell you schools were absolutely not ready to do anything about it… One of my PGCE essays was about this issue, the fact that schools sexual education policies were discriminatory to gay students, it started a big, positive debate in our group.
    I remember a flatmate who was lovely, and Sikh, very anti racist, but the worst homophobe I had ever met. vicious. A flatmate and I tried to make him understand that racism and homophobia were the same. In vain…

  2. Helen Martin says:

    There is a fear among conservatives that “gay rights” is just the thin edge of a wedge that will put gays in power everywhere. I don’t understand that fear. Unless they fear that gays will force straights into gay relationships the way straights did to gays for so many generations. Fear is a great motivator of violence but I just don’t understand this one at all. There have been so many horrible deaths and now here is another one.

  3. Rick says:

    The only good that can come from this is an increased awareness of this madness. All anyone has to do is insert “black/Jewish/blue-eyed/…whatever” in place of “gay” and wonder why such a thing is so easily tolerated. An incendiary combination of church and state. Where are the international sanctions?!

  4. Steve says:

    The Bible thumpers cite Leviticus and Corinthians, neither of which has anything to do with Jesus. One of the funniest things I ever heard was when a rather flamboyant gay friend said – to a Bible thumper no less – “Jesus? Oh my God, Jesus was the epitome of gay! He was followed around by twelve men in dresses!”

    I realize this isn’t really the place for humor, but I find it keeps me from leaping off of a tall building in total despair of the human race.

  5. FabienneT says:

    From the National Secular Society Newsletter:
    Muslims charged with inciting hatred against gay people
    Two Muslim men have been charged with stirring up hatred against gay people for handing out leaflets outside a mosque calling for homosexuals to be executed. It is the first such prosecution in this country.
    The men charged were named as Razwan Javed, 30, and Kabir Ahmed, 27. They are accused of handing out a leaflet entitled The Death Penalty? in Derby.
    The leaflets, which were also pushed through letterboxes, are understood to have called for homosexuals to be executed. The defendants will appear at Derby Magistrates’ Court today.

    Sue Hemming, a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The charges relate to the distribution of a leaflet, The Death Penalty?, outside the Jamia Mosque in Derby in July 2010 and through letterboxes during the same month. This is the first-ever prosecution for this offence and it is the result of close working between the Crown Prosecution Service and Derbyshire Police.”

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