us_funding_of_anti_gay_african_groups_revealed_obama_must_do_moreDespite the American government publicly supporting LGBT rights, it’s been claimed that it has continued to provide funding to anti-gay groups in Africa.

In a recent The Nation article titled Obama’s Evangelical Gravy Train, journalist Andy Kopsa writes that the Obama administration was informed years before Uganda’s Anti Homosexuality-Bill that it was funding anti-gay religious and HIV groups, and did nothing.

Uganda’s Inter-Religious Council and other groups, which reportedly received grants of up to $30 million from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), championed the prosecution of LGBT people, including taking out a newspaper ad calling for President Museveni to approve the bill.

The ad railed against “the spread and promotion of homosexuality and lesbianism in Uganda” and described homosexuality as “a vice” and “sinfulness”.

It was only in March this year that a State Department spokesperson finally announced that the US would “demonstrate our support for the LGBT community in Uganda” by removing funding from the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda.

Kopsa also reports that the US has funded abstinence-only HIV groups and programmes in Africa that absurdly refuse to promote the use of condoms on religious grounds.

This despite health advocacy groups having “pushed the Obama administration to stop funding these ineffective, ideological programs, asking that such funds be redirected toward comprehensive sex ed instead,” she writes.

Much of the funding of evangelical and conservative groups was initiated by former American President Bush, but Kopsa claims that “… since taking office Obama has done little to end Bush-era funding to a whole range of conservative religious groups.”

She adds that “…conservative evangelical groups continue to receive millions of dollars under Obama to provide critical services in sub-Saharan Africa.”

America’s influence on LGBT persecution doesn’t end there. There has also been much documentation of the impact of American evangelists on African anti-gay fervour over the last few years.

They have held anti-gay workshops and rallies and briefed religious, community and government leaders on the “dangers” of homosexuality, warning that Africa’s children are in grave danger from this “foreign threat”.

Scott Lively, one of the most prominent hate-peddling evangelists, is even being sued in the US by a Ugandan gay rights group for “crimes against humanity” for his role in the formulation of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

In June, the White House was applauded after it announced that it would restrict entry to the US to Ugandans involved in LGBT human rights abuses, would cut or redirect aid and would cancel a military aviation exercise.

Less than two weeks later, it was accused of reneging on its own visa sanctions commitment by inviting President Museveni, who signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law, to attend next month’s American-African Summit in Washington DC.

Supporting Africa’s LGBT communities and their right to exist is not just a feel good “charitable” cause for America and its government. There’s a strong argument to be made that it is also a moral imperative in order to start undoing the damage they played a pivotal part in causing in the first place.

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