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Theocracy is Coming! …To Uganda

Via Meadia has been reporting for months on the paranoids who allege that behind Mitt Romney’s businesslike affect lies a nefarious plot to smuggle a Mormon theocracy into American government.  As we’ve seen before, even major, respectable papers like the Times are not immune to these fever dreams.

And as one state after another votes in gay marriage there are still writers who obsess about the terrible Christianist danger — the fundie revolution waiting to sweep all the secular humanists off to the reeducation camps. We’ve scoffed at these fears more than once.

But maybe we’ve been unfair to our friends in the MSM. Maybe they simply don’t know what a true theocracy looks like. A new BBC report from Uganda, where a controversial anti-homosexuality bill has just been reintroduced, could help enlighten them.

While the bill has been watered down from it’s original version (homosexuality will no longer be punishable by death), it still goes well beyond what any reasonable modern society, religious or secular, would allow. Not only are homosexual acts still illegal; the bill would also require friends and neighbors to report suspected homosexuals to the authorities. The convicted would face life in prison, in addition to various forms of public harassment. The legislator who introduced the bill evidently rues the fact that the death penalty is no longer in play, admitting to NPR his desire “to kill every last gay person.”

This, friends, is what real theocracy looks like—and there is nothing like that on the table here.  The past century has seen a shift in American politics towards more openness and individual freedom, both economically and socially. It would take much more than the election of a Mormon president to change that. Critics in the Times and elsewhere should take a deep breath and focus their energy on actual problems rather than shallow fantasies and will o’ the wisps.

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  • WigWag

    There may be nothing like this on the table here but perhaps Professor Mead can explain why a fair number of American Episcopalian churches have chosen to look to the Ugandan Anglican Church and one of its Primates for spiritual leadership. I am sure that Professor Mead knows that the Anglican ecclesiastical authorities in Uganda have supported the new law on homosexuality.

    Apparently a fair number of American Episcopalians are more comfortable cleaving to an African branch of their Church that believes that anal intercourse should be punishable by life imprisonment than accepting the spiritual guidance of Katharine Jefferts Schori or the leadership role of Gene Robinson.

    The inescapable conclusion is that a not inconsiderable number of Professor Mead’s co-religionless would rather take spiritual advice from men who want gay people thrown into Ugandan dungeons for life than accept spiritual guidance from church leaders who support ordaining women and homosexuals and believe that Episcopal gay men and women should be able to marry in church.

    Doesn’t this at least suggest the possibility that perhaps things aren’t quite as far along in the United States as Professor Mead implies?

  • WigWag

    Sorry for the typo; co-religionists not co-religionless. Interestingly, it’s the auto correction that my I-Phone made.

  • andrewdb

    The BBC is not correct, the death penalty has not been removed. See here:

    Just keep scrolling. BTB has been very good about covering this issue, with lots of links to local reports from Uganda.

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