It's surprising when you think of it, that in the era of Macklemore and Neil Patrick Harris and openly gay football players that we could live in a world where homophobia still happens, where this is still even an issue. But 2014 has been a mixed bag when it comes to ensuring basic respect for same sex couples.
We continue to hear about religious groups who cover-up sexual abuse. We have been exposed to the Catholic Church's abuse of young people that was kept hush-hush for decades. Unfortunately, just as Pope Benedict XVI is retiring, we are hearing about more abuse and the attempt to hide the truth, again. Those of us who believe in God cannot stand by and allow fundamentalists to second religion and then abuse the flock.
On an official visit to Canada last week, Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of Uganda's parliament, found herself in a bit of a tiff with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Speaker Kadaga protested Minister Baird's "arrogance" and "promoting homosexuality." She declared, "We are not a colony of Canada." But Canada will not be any better off if Uganda stops threatening its gays. Minister Baird called out Speaker Kadaga because today, in the community of nations, where we all theoretically equal, it is anathema to the concept of human dignity that a state should sanction the persecution of a group of its own citizens for no reason other than who they are. Standing up against that is not colonialism; it's decency.
Small acts of courage by gay rights activists in Uganda are taking place against a backdrop of virulent hatred and fear. The country's tabloids, most notably Rolling Stone (not affiliated with the music magazine) and Red Pepper, thrive on spreading messages of hysteria with regards to the 'gay epidemic'. Rolling Stone published a list of 100 'homos' and called for them to be hanged. David Kato, a prominent Ugandan gay rights activist, was one on the list and he was brutally beaten to death with a hammer shortly after.