Sunday, August 29, 2010

Christians can be brutal too

Christians can be brutal too

Last weekend’s impassioned protest against plans to build an Islamic Center two blocks from Ground Zero included a group of people afraid of what they call the “Islamisation of America.” The signs they carried had just one word on it: “Sharia.” They fear that core of American institutions such as our legal system, will be replaced by Islamic law, sharia.

We, in the West, know of sharia only that it sanctions the stoning to death of women caught in adultery and other equally brutal treatments of women. Many Americans consider these brutalities typical of what they see in Islam, a religion of violence and terror.

Alas, that is a very one-sided view. Christians are equally capable of great brutality.

Here is one example:

The Ugandan government recently proposed an anti-homosexuality law which imposes a life sentence on any single homosexual act and the death penalty on three or more acts. Anyone witnessing but not reporting a homosexual act within 24 hours is liable to three years in prison.

This proposed law has widespread support in Uganda, especially among the evangelical Christian communities. What is more, it has been given open support by some American evangelicals who went to Uganda and held workshops on the evils of homosexuality. Some of the Ugandan sponsors of this legislation are closely connected to the well-known US evangelical leader Rick Warren (who has since distanced himself from this proposed law). Various  reports in the US link the Ugandan author of this legislation to an American evangelical group that calls itself “The Family” or “The Fellowship.” This is not a well-known organization but some of its members are powerful, right-wing legislators such as Bart Stupak who delayed passage of Obama’s health reform by insisting that the government not finance abortions for poor women.

There can be little doubt that fanatical Christians in this country are behind the brutal anti-gay legislation proposed in Uganda. In earlier days, Christians burned accused witches at the stake. Today they cheer on the Ugandan government that proposes to execute homosexuals.

No religion has a monopoly on fanaticism and brutality.