Why this site?

Here at What if they were Muslim we question what would happen if a Jewish, Christian, Hindu, ______(insert religion of choice) were to commit a crime in the name of their faith. Would it be treated the same way if a Muslim committed the exact same crime? Would very little emphasis be put on the perpetrators religion? Would it be stressed that the act is an aberration, a misrepresentation of the religion? Would the religion be mentioned at all?

Another Tid-Bit...

WITWM is not a site that opines on the “what if” scenario of your favorite Hollywood star being a Muslim. It has nothing to do with Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp, etc. It has everything to do with the double standards in both media and pop culture that perpetuate the myth that Islam is inherently more violent than other religions or the root cause of misdeeds by Muslims.

Archive: Evangelical

KKK: We Aren’t Hatefilled Terrorists, We Are Peaceful Christians


KKK: We Aren’t Hatefilled Terrorists, We Are Peaceful Christians

Just last month the KKK (which has seen an increase in membership) was dropping off leaflets in Virginia on people’s lawns, claiming they aren’t hate-filled terrorists but peaceful Christians.

Now with the horrific and saddening terrorist attack on Jewish centers in Kansas the hoodies have been torn off and once again we see what kind of terrorist threat they still pose to the USA. One wonders why the FBI didn’t catch this one? Why is there a continued  focus on Muslims that only feeds anti-Muslim hysteria?

KKK: We Aren’t Hateful, We’re Christians:

Robert James Talbot: Texas Patriot Terrorist Said it Was the Will of God to Bomb Federal Buildings


Robert James Talbot: Texas Patriot Terrorist Said it Was the Will of God to Bomb Federal Buildings

I wonder why we haven’t heard more about this guy and isn’t it curious that he isn’t described as a terrorist?

He believed that “stopping the regime with action by bloodshed,” was the “will of God.”


A Katy man is expected to appeared in federal court Friday to face several charges, including possession of explosive materials.

Robert James Talbot Jr., 38, was arrested Thursday following an eight-month undercover investigation by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

Authorities allege Talbot wanted to recruit other “like-minded individuals” to blow up government buildings, rob banks and kill law enforcement officers.

According to the criminal complaint, Talbot created a Facebook page titled “American Insurgent Movement” (AIM), and described it as “a Pre-Constitutionalist Community that offers those who seek True patriotism and are looking for absolute Freedom by doing the Will of God. Who want to restore America Pre-Constitutionally and look forward to stopping the Regime with action by bloodshed.”

The criminal complaint also states Talbot made several postings on the page between Jan. 30 and Feb. 9, 2014, seeking people interested in “walking away from your life…to stop the regime.”

According to the complaint, Talbot posted to the page on March 15 which read:

“In a few weeks me and my team are goin active for Operation Liberty…I will not be able to post no more.  We will be the revolution, things will happen nation wide or in the states.  They will call us many names and spin things around on media.  Just remember we fight to stop Marxism, liberalism, Central banking Cartels and the New World Order.  I will try to find someone to take over this community page, but most of the guys who are admins are part of my unit.  I will have a website up in 2 months…The funding is unlimited since the banking cartel will be forced to fund our movements.”

The complaint alleges Talbot sent $500 as a down payment for the explosive devices he had requested on March 22.

Then on March 27, the complaint states Talbot and others met at a storage facility in Houston with the intent to conduct an armor car robbery. Authorities allege Talbot provided detailed maps of the target bank, an escape route, and placed two explosive devices made of C4 into his black backpack to then be placed on the armor car.

Talbot was arrested on the way to conduct the robbery by the FBI Houston Division Special Weapons and Tactics team.

He is charged with attempted interference with commerce by robbery, solicitation to commit a crime of violence and possession of an explosive material, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“I believe this kid was as savvy or maybe more savvy than Timothy McVeigh, honestly I do. If he had a Terry Nichols with him, who knows what he would do?” said Terry Denny, who lived in the same boarding house as Talbot.

Denny said Talbot spent large amounts of time watching anti-government videos, and frequently talked about a cache of weapons stored in New York, although it was unclear Friday if that cache actually existed.

If convicted, authorities say Talbot faces up to a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a possible $250,000 fine for the attempted robbery, as well as another 10 years imprisonment and $100,000 fine for each of the remaining charges.

Talbot will spend the weekend in federal custody. He will see a judge on Tuesday.

Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force with their investigation, including personnel from the FBI, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Secret Service, Houston and Houston Metro Police Departments and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

Man Claims Cannibalism Was Act Of Revenge Against Muslims


Man Claims Cannibalism Was Act Of Revenge Against Muslims

Christian mobs kill innocent Muslims, in retaliation for Seleka mercenaries, ex-rebels, and bandits killing innocent CAR citizens, many of them Christians, it is then reported by the media in highly charged, sectarian terms, eventually feeding a vicious cycle. Violence in the Central African Republic is spiraling out of control.

In a shocking round of violence, angry Christians brutally murdered a Muslim passerby and desecrated his corpse. One of the murderous rioters, Ouandja Magloire, ate the victim’s leg, and even saved a portion of the flesh for later, as if it were restaurant leftovers.

Magloire put the leftover flesh of his victim between two halves of a baguette and ate it, with a side of okra.

Imagine the coverage on so-called counter jihad sites if “Mad Dog” Magloire had been a Muslim.

Months ago, when a Syrian rebel bit into the heart of his victim, we saw headlines like this: Syrian Jihadist Eats Human Flesh In The Name Of Allah. In the name of Allah? Cannibalism is not sanctioned in Islam.

If we were to mirror this response, our headline might read something like, “African Christian Eats Flesh in the Name of Jesus.” No context, no complexity. Just agenda-driven blame.

But this isn’t Jihad Watch, and we don’t employ the misleading tactics of so-called “counter jihad” sites. Christianity, like Islam, does not sanction cannibalism, and we do not reflexively claim everything Christians do is “in the name of Jesus.”

The agenda should not be to demonize one side or the other, but to bring this tragic conflict to an end.

 CAR cannibal: Why I ate man’s leg

Paul Wood’s report, via the BBC

Sectarian violence in the Central African Republic has reached a new extreme with an act of cannibalism in the capital, Bangui. The BBC’s Paul Wood has heard a graphic first-person account, which some might find upsetting.

The buses throwing up clouds of red clay dust had yet to rub out the ugly bloodstain in the dirt. A Muslim man had been murdered here a few days ago, by Christians. His limbs were hacked off. Then one of the crowd ate the flesh in a public demonstration of cannibalism.

We were filming nearby when a young man in a yellow T-shirt came up to talk to me.

“I am the naughty one,” he said in broken French. Puzzled, I shook his hand and was trying to ease past him when I noticed the machete tucked into his skinny jeans. “I am the naughty one,” he repeated.

I ate his leg, the whole thing right down to the bone – with bread. That’s why people call me Mad Dog. ~Ouandja Magloire

With a sickening feeling, I realised I was talking to the cannibal.

Camera phones had captured the crime. The pictures show a charred and dismembered body being dragged through the street by a screaming mob. A man held a severed leg and bit down into it.

The same, slightly built figure was standing in front of me. He was even wearing the same yellow T-shirt as in the video.

A few minutes earlier, I had spoken to a horrified witness, Ghislein Nzoto. He said it began when the Muslim man was dragged from a bus.

“People started attacking him, kicking him. They smashed a rock against his head. They kept going even after he was dead.”

He went on: “They set the body on fire. There were about 20 youths. They cut a whole leg off. Then one of them started to eat it. He bit into it four times and swallowed. It was raw, not burned.

“This was right in front of the Burundian peacekeepers. One of the soldiers vomited. Then he chased people away with his gun.”

‘I swore revenge’

The cannibal’s name was Ouandja Magloire – though he told me he was now known as “Mad Dog”.

There was a busy market either side of the street, people hawking brightly coloured cloth, skin-whitening creams, and piles of fresh loaves. We went somewhere a bit quieter so I could ask him why he had done this awful thing.

He told me that Muslims had killed his pregnant wife, his sister-in-law, and her new baby.

The media is blamed for presenting political conflicts in highly charged, sectarian terms.

He saw a man sitting on the minibus – he thought he looked Muslim so he decided to follow the bus. More and more people joined him until he was at the head of a mob.

“We followed him,” he said. “If he reached the intersection, the Burundians would protect him. So we told the minibus driver to stop. The driver said: ‘You’re right. He is a Muslim.’”

He described what happened after the man was dragged off the bus: “I kicked his legs out from under him. He fell down. I stabbed his eyes.

“Muslim! Muslim! Muslim! I stabbed him in the head. I poured petrol on him. I burned him. Then I ate his leg, the whole thing right down to the white bone. That’s why people call me Mad Dog.”

On the video, “Mad Dog” is seen happily chewing, his cheeks bulging. He waves a leg about in between mouthfuls. I returned to the question of why he had done this.

“Because I am angry,” he said. He had no other explanation.

During our interview, he betrayed no sign of that anger, or of pride, or regret, or of any emotion at all. His tone was neutral, his eyes and face blank.

Everyone’s so angry with the Muslims: No way anyone was going to intervene ~Ghislein Nzoto Witness

The witness I’d spoken to, Ghislein Nzoto, said no-one in the busy street had tried to help the victim.

“No-one at all,” he said, shaking his head. “Everyone’s so angry with the Muslims. No way anyone was going to intervene.”

But the most disturbing thing happened the next day, he said. “Mad Dog” returned, having saved some of the dead man’s flesh. He put it between two halves of a baguette and ate it, with a side of okra.

Ghislein didn’t agree with Muslims being killed but it was at least something he could comprehend, he said. Like most other Christians I spoke to, he was both appalled and baffled by the act of cannibalism.

Perhaps, he agreed with me, this atrocity was simply the act of an unbalanced individual. Or it might be the result of sectarian hatreds.

Or – his final explanation – this had something to do with sorcery.

Many of the Christian fighters we met – the anti-balaka – believe in magic. They go into battle wearing a variety of amulets. A group of fighters at a checkpoint told me some of the amulets contained the flesh of men they had killed.

“We are bullet-proof,” their commander told me, chuckling.

There has been, as far we know, no other act of cannibalism is this conflict. There is, however, precedent in the Central African Republic.

Sectarian feeling against Muslims is running high in Bangui

The “Emperor” Bokassa, who ruled from 1966 to 1979, was accused of having his enemies cooked and served at state dinners. Paris Match published photographs it said were of the body parts of children in a fridge at his palace. (After he was deposed, Bokassa was tried. While he was convicted of murder, he was found not guilty of cannibalism.)

There is no long history of sectarian hatred in this country. It exploded out of nowhere after Muslim mercenaries from Chad and Sudan joined the Seleka alliance that swept to power.

‘Polarising’ reporting

The Seleka were accused of murdering Christians in large numbers, of raping women and looting as they crossed the country. Christians formed self-defence groups, doing their own share of killing.

Western diplomats here blame the foreign media, too, in particular French TV and radio.

Reporting a simple “Muslim against Christian” story misrepresented what began as ethnic and political violence, they say: It polarised the two communities.

This is a complex country – with perhaps 200 ethnic groups and languages – but increasingly people see themselves this way. Last Friday, when the president resigned, we filmed a Christian crowd happily singing: “Today, we’re going to kill Muslims.”

“Mad Dog” Magloire’s crime was a singular act. It might have been the result of his own demons, not a symptom of a sectarian conflict.

But as we interviewed him, a small crowd gathered, all Christian. They shook his hand and patted his head, smiling and laughing as he, for the first time, smiled broadly. To them, he was a hero.

That does not augur well for the future of the Central African Republic.

Read the original article and see graphic video footage here.

Christian militia calls for Obama’s assassination on Facebook

Christian ExtremistsWhat if they were Muslim? 

Christian militia calls for Obama’s assassination on Facebook

by Michael StoneExaminer

(H/T: Sarah AB)

The Christian American Patriots Militia is openly calling for the assassination of President Barack Obama on their Facebook page. The Christian militia calls Obama a “dictator,” and claims the “authority to kill Obama comes from the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution.

According to a report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dated Nov. 22, the U.S. Secret Service is aware that Everest Wilhelmsen, leader of the Christian American Patriots Militia, is calling for Obama’s assassination.

The Christian American Patriots Militia sent out a post to the more than 1400 members of their Facebook group declaring the militia now has the “authority” to assassinate President Barack Obama:

“We now have authority to shoot Obama, i.e., to kill him,” Wilhelmsen wrote on the group’s Facebook page.

The following is an excerpt from the disturbing post, dated Nov. 19:

“The authority to kill Obama comes from the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution: He is levying war on the United States and aiding and comforting our foreign enemies – the 2nd Amendment gives us the right and duty (authority) to engage an enemy of the United States that does so with the design to reduce us under absolute Despotism. I would be very surprised, if Obama does not leave Washington DC today (Nov. 19th) … never to return, if he is not dead within the month.”

The group’s Facebook page claims Obama’s “rogues and thugs are in fact supplanting our Constitution with a communist Oligarchy of corrupt political and legal elites” and encourages “Christian American patriots” to “rise and fight vigorously to protect our nation and our posterity.”

The SPLC reports a spokesman for the Secret Service would not say if the Facebook post had prompted an investigation: “That’s not something we openly discuss,” the Secret Service spokesman said.

Yet one would hope a group of Christian extremists threatening to assassinate the President of the United States would merit close investigation by the Secret Service. After all, calling for the assassination of the President of the United States is a crime.

For more political news, information and humor see Left Coast Lucy on Facebook. For more news, information and humor relevant to atheists, freethinkers, and secular humanists, see Progressive Secular Humanist Examiner on Facebook. On Twitter follow Progressive Examiner.

Kookie Pastor Pat Robertson Babbles About ‘Demonic Islam’



Poor Pastor Pat, everywhere he goes he sees devils and evil. (h/t: JD, KP)

Pat Robertson Claims Islam Is ‘Demonic’ And ‘Not A Religion’ But An Economic System (VIDEO)

(Huffington Post)

Controversial conservative Christian Pat Robertson doubled down Tuesday on claims that Islam is not a religion.

According to Right Wing Watch, Robertson, an elder statesman of the evangelical movement, made the inflammatory claim during an episode of his TV program, “The 700 Club.”

“Every time you look up — these are angry people, it’s almost like it’s demonic that is driving them to kill and to maim and to destroy and to blow themselves up,” Robertson said of Islam. “It’s a religion of chaos.”

He went on to say, “I hardly think to call it a religion, it’s more of — well, it’s an economic and political system with a religious veneer.”

‘Non-Political’ Prayer Breakfast Welcomes Pastor Who Prays for Obama’s Death

Barack Ozombie

‘Non-Political’ Prayer Breakfast Welcomes Pastor Who Prays for Obama’s Death


(h/t: CriticalDragon)

As RWW reported two weeks ago, organizers of the official-sounding-but-not-remotely-official Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast hoped that Rep. Michele Bachmann, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Sen. Roy Blunt, and other big names would join them, along with birther extremist Joseph Farah.  After some embarrassing back-and-forth about Farah’s participation, he didn’t show up. Neither did Bachmann, Cantor, Blunt or Pat Robertson, though Robertson, Farah, and Pat Boone sent messages that were read out loud. People who did show up representing foreign embassies may have been duped by the name of event into thinking they were attending something connected to the actual inauguration.

Organizers insisted that the event had no political agenda, that it was called simply to pray for President Obama and the nation. But there was plenty of politics.  Speakers included Marjorie Dannenfelser of the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List.  Sid Roth, a Messianic Jew and radio host, said there were three sins that cause a land to “vomit out” its people: child sacrifice (abortion), homosexuality, and the “tipping point” sin of dividing up the land of Israel.  Stewart Greenleaf, a Pennsylvania state senator, said he could make an argument for Israel’s right to disputed lands based on history, but that the best argument is that “the Lord gave Israel that land.”

Even Pastor Wiley Drake – infamous for his devotion to “imprecatory prayers” against his political opponents, and his admission that he regularly prays for President Obama’s death, was recognized, applauded, and called up to the stage.

The interminable event – four hours and counting when I left – felt like a disorganized muddle. It started with an altar call and communion — “Let’s sing about the blood of Jesus for a moment….who has the chuppah?” — and included prayers from Native American Christians, a delegation from Newtown, repentance for anti-Semitism, and some marketing for a new American Christian flag. “We may not be as formal” as other events, said one speaker, “but I bet we love God more.”

The Chaplain of the House of Representatives, Patrick Conroy, did briefly lend an air of officialdom. Perhaps with the pre-event controversy in mind, Conroy led a prayer for President Obama and reminded attendees pointedly that Obama was reelected by a clear majority of Americans. Former Democratic Rep. Diane Watson brought a bit of bipartisanship, and while her belief that President Obama has been anointed for our time got a smattering of affirmation from Obama supporters in attendance, that was a minority view, to put it lightly.

Keynoter Jonathan Cahn decried the withdrawal of Rev. Louie Giglio from the inaugural program over anti-gay-rights comments, portraying it as evidence of anti-Christian persecution: “…it is a new America in which one can be banned from the public square simply for believing the Bible, where profanity is treated as holy, and the holy is profane. A new America where the Bible is treated as contraband and nativity scenes are seen as dangerous.”

Cahn’s overall message is that America is facing the judgment of God the way ancient Israel did when it stopped following God’s orders.  Cahn heads Beth Israel Worship Center, which bills itself the largest Messianic congregation in the world. He believes that the 9-11 attacks were a “wake-up call” from God, who lifted divine protection from America as a warning. Since the country did not turn back to God,  says Cahn, God slammed us with financial collapse. He warned President Obama of judgment “if you utter the words so help me God, and you should in any way take part in leading a nation farther away from God….”

Cahn’s speech was essentially a summary of the argument in his book, “The Harbinger,” which purports to connect the inauguration of George Washington, 9-11, and more through his revelations about the “ancient mysteries.”

“There exists an ancient mystery that lies beyond everything from 9-11 to the collapse of the American economy, a mystery so precise that it actually reveals the actions of American leaders before they take them, the exact words of American leaders before they speak them, a mystery so exact that it gives the actual dates even the hours of some of the most dramatic days in recent history.”

Cahn’s keynote ended with a rousing call against “political correctness” and compromise, saying “the shadow of judgment is upon us” and urging, “It’s time to be strong! It’s time to be bold! It’s time to be radical!” as shouts and shofar-blowing thundered through the room.

Cadet quits, cites overt religion at West Point

Cadet quits, cites overt religion at West Point

By MICHAEL HILL  (Associated Press)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A cadet quitting West Point less than six months before graduation says he could no longer be part of a culture that promotes prayers and religious activities and disrespects nonreligious cadets.

Blake Page announced his decision to quit the U.S. Military Academy this week in a much-discussed online post that echoed the sentiments of soldiers and airmen at other military installations. The 24-year-old told The Associated Press that a determination this semester that he could not become an officer because of clinical depression played a role in his public protest against what he calls the unconstitutional prevalence of religion in the military.

“I’ve been trying since I found that out: What can I do? What can I possibly do to initiate the change that I want to see and so many other people want to see?” Page said. “I realized that this is one way I can make that change happen.”

Page criticized a culture where cadets stand silently for prayers, where nonreligious cadets were jokingly called “heathens” by instructors at basic training and where one officer told him he’d never be a leader until he filled the hole in his heart. In announcing his resignation this week on The Huffington Post, he denounced “criminals” in the military who violate the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution.

“I don’t want to be a part of West Point knowing that the leadership here is OK with just shrugging off and shirking off respect and good order and discipline and obeying the law and defending the Constitution and doing their job,” he told the AP.

West Point officials on Wednesday disputed those assertions. Spokeswoman Theresa Brinkerhoff said prayer is voluntary at events where invocations and benedictions are conducted and noted the academy has a Secular Student Alliance club, where Page served as president.

Maj. Nicholas Utzig, the faculty adviser to the secular club, said he doesn’t doubt some of the moments Page described, but he doesn’t believe there is systematic discrimination against nonreligious cadets.

“I think it represents his own personal experience and perhaps it might not be as universal as he suggests,” said Utzig, who teaches English literature.

One of Page’s secularist classmates went further, calling his characterization of West Point unfair.

“I think it’s true that the majority of West Point cadets are of a very conservative, Christian orientation,” said senior cadet Andrew Houchin. “I don’t think that’s unique to West Point. But more broadly, I’ve never had that even be a problem with those of us who are secular.”

There have been complaints over the years that the wall between church and state is not always observed in the military. The Air Force Academy in Colorado in particular has been scrutinized for years over allegations from non-Christian students that they faced intolerance. A retired four-star general was asked last year to conduct an independent review of the overall religious climate at the academy.

There also has been a growing willingness in recent years by some service members to publicly identify themselves as atheists, agnostics or humanists and to seek the same recognition granted to Christians, Jews and other believers. Earlier this year, there was an event at Fort Bragg that was the first known event in U.S. military history to cater to nonbelievers.

Page said he hears about the plight of other nonreligious cadets in part through his involvement with the West Point affiliate of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The founder and president of that advocacy group said Page’s action is a milestone in the fight against “fanatical religiosity” in the military.

“This is an extraordinary act of courage that I do compare directly to what Rosa Parks did,” said Mikey Weinstein.

Page, who is from Stockbridge, Ga., and who was accepted into West Point after serving in the Army, said he was notified Tuesday of his honorable discharge. He faces no military commitment and will not have to reimburse the cost of his education.

West Point confirmed that it approved his resignation and that Page had been meeting the academic standards and was not undergoing any disciplinary actions. Page said he had been medically disqualified this semester from receiving a commission in the Army as a second lieutenant — like his classmates will receive in May — because of clinical depression and anxiety. He said his condition has gotten worse since his father killed himself last year.

It’s not unusual for cadets to drop out of West Point, an institution known for its rigorous academic and physical demands. But the window for dropping out without the potential for a penalty is in the first two years. Dropouts are rare after that point.

Page expects to leave for his grandparents’ home in Wright County, Minn., in the coming days. He plans to remain an activist on the role of religion in the military.

“I’d really love to be able to do this for the rest of my life,” he said.

Uganda “Christmas Gift”: ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill to Become Law

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has said 2009's Anti-Homosexuality Bill will become law by the end of 2012

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has said 2009′s Anti-Homosexuality Bill will become law by the end of 2012, referring to it as a “Christmas gift.”

Uganda “Christmas Gift”: ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill to Become Law

The treatment of homosexuals in Uganda has long been a problem, as it is in much of the world and now by the end of December convicting and executing homosexuals will become law.

The bill is broken up into two main parts:

1) ‘Aggravated homosexuality’ is defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders. If convicted, they will face the death penalty.

2) The ‘offense of homosexuality’ includes same-sex sexual acts or being in a gay relationship, and will be prosecuted by life imprisonment.

If a Muslim majority country were to ever be as blatant as Uganda in creating such a bill, with prominent politicians describing it as an “Eid gift,” Islamophobes would have a field day; we would never hear the end of how uniquely oppressive and repressive Islam is in comparison to other religions, and the said Muslim majority country would be ostracized and demonized as a “backward hell hole that needs to be obliterated”. It would be another excuse and justification for invasion along with the favorite “free their oppressed women” war slogan.

Should Christianity be described as uniquely repressive and oppressive of gays because of the bill in Uganda? Especially when Christians, including from the USA were instrumental in pushing this bill in Uganda and it is now being presented as a “Christmas gift”? No, of course not. Will the Islamophobes generalize Christianity as a backward religion, incompatible with human rights? No, of course not and nor should they since the problem doesn’t lie with the religion itself but with the interpretations of the followers who believe sexual orientation should be criminalized.

While in their mainstream Orthodox expressions Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism may hold homosexual acts to be a sin or against nature or “morally unacceptable”, such views should not and do not have to mean that one cannot allow and create space in society for a live and let live attitude that protects the rights of the “other”, the “minority,” the “homosexual.”

What if they were Muslim? (h/t:CriticalDragon):

Uganda to officially pass ‘Kill The Gays’ bill

Uganda will officially pass the ‘Kill The Gays’ bill at the end of this year despite international criticism.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the anti-gay bill will become law by December since most Ugandans ‘are demanding it’.

Referring to the law as a ‘Christmas gift’ to the population,  she spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals.

The law will broaden the criminalization of same-sex relationships by dividing homosexuality into two categories; aggravated homosexuality and the offense of homosexuality.

‘Aggravated homosexuality’ is defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders. If convicted, they will face the death penalty.

The ‘offense of homosexuality’ includes same-sex sexual acts or being in a gay relationship, and will be prosecuted by life imprisonment.

Originally put to government in 2009, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill had been temporarily shelved because of international criticism.

Several European countries have threatened to cut aid to Uganda if it passes, with the UK government warning Uganda it would face severe reductions in financial help.

US President Barack Obama has described it as ‘odious’, and Canadian politician John Baird has said it is ‘vile, abhorrent, and offends decency’.

Uganda lawmaker Atim Ogwal Cecilia Barbara has even suggested there should be a continent-wide ban on homosexuality, saying all African gay people should be jailed for life.

Gay rights activist David Kato was murdered in Uganda in January 2011 shortly after a local newspaper published images of him and other gay people under a headline urging readers to ‘hang them.’

Despite this, Uganda’s LGBT community held a weekend of gay pride events this summer.

According to a 2010 survey by The Pew Research Center, homosexuality is morally unacceptable to 89% of Ugandans.

Word Of Faith Fellowship Church Confined, Abused North Carolina Man For Being Gay: Report

We can’t believe we let this article escape us when it was published (10/22/12). Such an affront on human dignity is to be expected from the close minded; what if the Word of Faith Fellowship Church were Muslim? Would this have been bigger news?

Word Of Faith Fellowship Church Confined, Abused North Carolina Man For Being Gay: Report


A North Carolina man has alleged that he was held hostage for four months by officials at his former church after he told them he was gay,

As the Charlotte Observer reports, 22-year-old Michael Lowry says he was physically and emotionally abused by leaders of the Word of Faith Fellowship Church while being kept in confinement in a dorm-like facility from Aug. 1 to Nov. 19, 2011. The article cites statements given to a local sheriff’s department investigator last week in which Lowry, 22, claimed he was knocked unconscious on the first day after being confined.

“They hit my head with fist(s), and I was out on the floor…held my hands and feet down, and were pushing on my chest,” Lowry told ABC 13. The abuse, he says, was part of an effort to “expel the demon” that church members believed caused his homosexuality, according to the Observer. “You can’t stay on the grounds unless you want God,” he told the news station.

According to some reports, Lowry also stated that he was frequently accompanied to the bathroom because church leaders were in fear he might be masturbating.

A former Word of Faith Fellowship Church pastor has slammed the charges as “lies,” but as the Wisconsin Gazette points out, it isn’t the first time that the parish, which was founded in 1979 and now has about 750 members, has been hit with eyebrow-raising allegations. Former members interviewed by the Observer in 2000 say they were told where to live, where to work, what to read, how to dress and even when to have sex with their spouses.

On the other hand, the former member says he believes Lowry’s claims, calling Word of Faith “definitely” a cult. “I’ve witnessed it,” Jerry Cooper told ABC 13. “I’ve witnessed the paddlings, I’ve witnessed the people held down…I’ve witnessed all of it.”

Among those to support Lowry’s case was Brent Childers, executive director of Faith in America, who said “there’s no question that these actions constitute a hate crime” if the allegations are proven true, according to the Observer.

Ghana’s Solution to Mental Health Issues: Christian Prayer Camp!

Ghana grapples with mental health

By Medi Ssengooba, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Medi Ssengooba is the Finberg fellow at Human Rights Watch, working in the field of disability rights and the primary author of a new report, “Like a Death Sentence: Abuses against Persons with Mental Disabilities in Ghana.”  The views expressed are the author’s own.

When we met Elijah early this year in Ghana, he was chained to a tree at a “prayer camp.” Five months earlier, his family had him bound with rope and forcibly taken to the camp for “treatment.” Elijah told me that he had been chained to the tree ever since – the “healing” prescribed for the restlessness and insomnia that his parents and the camp’s spiritual leaders had decided was a mental disability.

Elijah said he longed to sleep indoors, and to have some measure of privacy. But he will probably remain chained to that tree, where he sleeps, bathes, and defecates in an open compound, until the camp’s spiritual leader, known as a “prophet,” has decided he has been cured and can return home.

Elijah was one of dozens of people I interviewed while researching how Ghana treats its 2.8 million residents with mental disabilities (mental health problems) including thousands in psychiatric hospitals and prayer camps.

My interest in disability rights is rooted in my experience living with a physical disability in Uganda. I already knew that in Uganda people with mental disabilities are the objects of stigma, discrimination, and sometimes serious abuse. I chose to go to Ghana because it is one of the leading democracies in Africa with one of the fastest growing disability rights movements, and I thought things would be better there.

But I was mistaken. Based on what I witnessed in three public psychiatric hospitals, eight prayer camps, and  communities all over the country, Ghana still has a long way to go to ensure that people with mental disabilities enjoy the same rights as other citizens.

Many of the people with mental disabilities we met in Ghana had been admitted against their will to overcrowded and unsanitary psychiatric hospitals and prayer camps. In one psychiatric hospital, there were only three nurses for more than 200 patients. The patients were often locked in their rooms or injected with sedatives to manage them. In some hospitals and prayer camps, many also lived among urine and feces because the staff had no time to clean. In hospitals, people either took their medication peacefully or were forced to. Some were beaten for resisting.

What I witnessed in the prayer camps was even worse. These privately owned Christian religious institutions operate throughout Ghana. In some, “prophets” treat people with mental disabilities through prayer and traditional medicines, like herbs. Administrators and pastors in seven of the camps I visited said that mandatory fasting – in some cases, as long as 12 hours a day, for 7 to 40 days – was a key component of their “treatment.”

In Jesus Divine Temple (often called Nyakumasi Prayer Camp), where I met Elijah and about 20 other people – including a 10-year-old child – all people with mental disabilities lived just like Elijah: with no shelter, chained to trees outdoors in a forest. Almost all of them complained of hunger, either because they were forced to fast or because the camp appears not to have provided food, putting that responsibility instead on their families.

At Heavenly Ministries Spiritual Revival and Healing Center (called Edumfa Prayer Camp), I met people who were chained to the walls of a very small, hot room. The buckets they used to relieve themselves were in that same room and it reeked of urine and feces.

In some camps, such rooms were locked even at midday when we visited – even though people with mental disabilities inside, some children as young as 9, were chained and could not leave. In any event, there was no place for many of them to go. Some people told me they had been abandoned there by family members. Family members and caregivers also said they had taken their relatives to the prayer camp because there was nowhere else they could get treatment.

The abuses we documented in state-run psychiatric hospitals, and in prayer camps, which operate without any government oversight, amount to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Forcible detention and assault are also crimes in Ghana. But these crimes are never prosecuted. Public officials, caretakers, and even family members generally accept that people with mental disabilities can be treated this way.

We also spoke to people with mental disabilities who were living in the community. While they complained that they faced stigma and lacked access to medication, food and shelter, they were also relieved to be living with their families and not in institutions.

International donors have poured millions of dollars of development aid into Ghana, funding nearly 15 percent of Ghana’s health budget. But government budgetary allocations for mental health are less than 6 percent of the national health budget. And none of the international development partners with whom I spoke, such as the World Bank and USAID, had mental health services on their agendas.

In July, the government of Ghana ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is proof of its commitment to ensuring the health and human rights of people with mental disabilities. Now Ghana needs to set up a system for people with mental disabilities to access support and effective treatment in their communities, rather than being consigned to abusive psychiatric hospitals and prayer camps. And while the government is setting up such a system, it needs to take immediate steps to end these horrific abuses.

Ghana has provided an example for African stability and peaceful political transition. If it takes these steps, it will offer regional leadership in mental health. And it will also provide millions of its people living lives of misery and torment the prospect of a productive and satisfying future.

danang01-6811.jpgIMG_6369IMG_5031Cicero and I hanging out in Elizabeth's and Pail's backyard.