The C Street home housing the Christian power broker group The Family, where Nevada Sen. John Ensign and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford sought refuge and advice — is also notable for its involvement in another realm of anti-gay legislation: Uganda’s bill criminalizing homosexuality.
We already noted the religious right-wing’s support of making Uganda a home base for homophobia, but now comes word that America’s own Christian politicos are backing President Yoweri Museveni’s campaign to make gay sex punishable by death.
As Jeff Sharlot, author of the expose The Family, tells it, the bill’s biggest supporter is a member of The Family. David Bahati, the lawmaker pushing for aggravated homosexuality crimes, “appears to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes their Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which The Family has poured millions of dollars working through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda.”
Moreover, says Sharlot, “we discovered that David Bahati, the man behind this legislation, is really deeply, deeply involved in The Family’s work in Uganda, that the ethics minister of Uganda, Museveni’s kind of right-hand man, a guy named Nsaba Buturo, is also helping to organize The Family’s National Prayer Breakfast. And here’s a guy who has been the main force for this Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda’s executive office and has been very vocal about what he’s doing, in a rather extreme and hateful way. But these guys are not so much under the influence of The Family. They are, in Uganda, The Family.”
And he found all this out by looking at The Family’s 990 tax forms; that’s something critics of the National Organization for Marriage have been pushing for.
So how did President Museveni get involved?
In 1986, a former Ford official name Bob Hunter went over on trips at the behest of the U.S. government, but also on behalf of The Family, to which – for which both of which he filed reports that are now in The Family’s archives. And his goal was to reach out to Museveni and make sure that he came into the American sphere of influence, that Uganda, in effect, becomes our proxy in the region and that relationship only deepened.
In fact, in late 1990s, Hunter – again, working for The Family – went over and teamed up with Museveni to create the Uganda National Prayer Breakfast as a parallel to the United States National Prayer Breakfast and to which The Family every year sends representatives, usually congressmen.
[...] It’s a very close relationship. He is the key man. Now…
[...] It means that they have a deep relationship of what they’ll call spiritual counsel, but you’re going to talk about moral issues. You’re going to talk about political issues. Your relationships are going to be organized through these associates. So Museveni can go to Senator Brownback and seek military aid. Inhofe, as he describes, Inhofe says that he cares about Africa more than any other senator.
And that may be true. He’s certainly traveled there extensively. He says he likes to accuse the State Department of ignoring Africa so he becomes our point man with guys like Museveni and Uganda, this nation he says he’s adopted. As we give foreign aid to Uganda, these are the people who are in a position to steer that money. And as Museveni comes over, and as he does and spends time at The Family’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, a place called The Cedars, and sits down for counsel with Doug Coe, that’s where those relationships occur.
It’s never going to be the hard sell, where they’re going to, you know, twist Museveni’s arm behind his back and say do this. As The Family themselves describes it, you create a prayer cell, or what they call – and this again, this is their language from their documents – an invisible believing group of God-led politicians who get together and talk with one another about what God wants them to do in their leadership capacity. And that’s the nature of their relationship with Museveni.
We needn’t tell you: The implications are dire. It’s not abnormal for foreign heads of state, like Museveni, to have ties to American politicos. But he’s deeply routed in a secretive organization that promotes hatred under the guise of loving Jesus. And the very people — America’s elected officials who believe in human rights — we would expect to pressure Uganda’s lawmakers not to make such a bill law are turning out to be its biggest supporters.