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U.S. evangelicals, including a Southern California pastor, have been linked to passage of repressive bill

Hear our radio interview with Bishop Terry Angel Mason on KNSJ 89.1 FM Descanso today at 5 p.m. along with the full East County Magazine Show, or listen to a podcast of his interview here:

By Miriam Raftery

April 2, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Bishop Terry Angel Mason wants to bring his fiancé and their two adopted, orphaned children to America from Uganda. But his family is now in hiding –because of a new law in Uganda that  criminalizes homosexuality and imposes a life in prison sentence on gay people, as well as anyone falsely accused of being gay.

The law further requires that doctors, pastors, journalists and others  inform authorities about the identities of gays and prohibits all discussion of gay rights issues.  The law is fueling hate crimes, including beatings and burnings of gay people.  Nor is Uganda alone; other African nations have also passed restrictive laws penalizing gay people, creating a climate of fear.

National news outlets have reported that Uganda’s law, which as originally proposed would have imposed the death penalty on gay people with AIDS,  was enacted after visits from American evangelical leaders and their emissaries, along with Senator Inohe, urging Uganda’s Parliament to crack down on homosexuality.  One of those evangelicals is Rick Warren, a pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California.

At the time the Ugandan Parliament was considering the “Death to Gays” bill, Warren was asked his views but refused to denounce the measure, stating that it was not his role as a pastor to take sides.

But Warren has been a strong supporter of Pastor Martin Sempa, who led a march through the streets of Uganda calling on the government to “arrest all homos” and published names in newspapers of known homosexuals while lobbying for laws to imprison them, the Daily Beast (formerly known as Newsweek)  reported.  Warren has reportedly had Ssempa lead an abstinence-only AIDS program at Saddleback Church locally.

Warren has since said he did not support the death penalty for gays in Uganda and has further said he now opposes the criminalization of homosexuality in Uganda, in a statement published in the Christian Post.

The New York Times penned an editorial which pinned blame for Uganda’s law on hate stirred up by American evangelicals.  The newspaper concluded,  “You can’t preach hate and not accept responsibility for the way that hate is manifested.”