(Hey look, a story that isn’t about cheaply made fast food!)
A new report has come out detailing the activities of the Religious Right in Africa. The days of colonialism may be technically behind us, but that doesn’t mean conservatives’ views of people who are different from them have changed, and so over the last few decades, they’ve shifted their focus onto a sort of cultural colonialism, where they exploit the situations faced by many Africans and convince them to solve all their problems by adopting a white American Religious Right view on everything. Thing is, it’s more dangerous when they do it over there, because in secular democracies like the United States, there are certain safeguards against their beliefs doing too much damage to society, but in many African countries, there are not.
While U.S. Christian Right leaders made headlines when international pressure forced them to retract support for Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, a new report by Political Research Associates shows that U.S. Christian Right groups continue to build organizational strength and campaign to inscribe homophobia and anti-abortion politics in the constitutions and laws of African countries in the years since.
The U.S. Christian Right’s most recent efforts are documented in the new report Colonizing African Values: How the U.S. Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa.
The report authored by Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest originally from Zambia, investigates the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, the Mormon-led Family Watch International, and the Roman Catholic Human Life International, as well as a network of Christian dominionists known as the Transformation Movement or New Apostolic Reformation. The report details ACLJ’s efforts to influence the constitution-writing process in Zimbabwe and Kenya, and the anti-LGBT and anti-reproductive justice activities of the other groups in such countries as Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.
The report is available for download at the above link. I’ve made the point many times in the past that, as the Religious Right loses cultural influence in the United States — their kids don’t even buy their crap anymore in large part, so their beliefs are quite literally being bred out of the population — they are looking desperately for places they can still find a strangle-hold with which to control people. People like Scott Lively can’t really get away with what they do in the West anymore. It’s not socially acceptable. But when they go to places like Africa and Russia, they find people who are suffering and looking for hope, and unfortunately, sometimes their fact-free, hate-filled pablum works, because it gives them a scapegoat. Far too often, those scapegoats are LGBT people and women. It’s important to realize that the fight for gay rights in the United States and the fight for gay rights abroad are not mutually exclusive things, as our foes, unfortunately, have embarked on a world tour.