One of my favorite aspects of our winter holidays is how they serve as a reminder of what’s truly important in life. And now, even as many of us settle back into our usual routines, I am rejuvenated, prepared for hard work in the New Year, bolstered by my precious time with loved ones. This spiritual renewal also leads me to contemplate how we love one another, protect one another, and hold each other in community.
And today, I am struggling with the knowledge that love is under attack in Uganda. To freely express our caring and commitment to one another is a fundamental human right. I hope you have seen the recent New York Times op-ed piece about homophobia in Africa. The author, Frank Mugisha, is a close partner of the UUA in our efforts to support human rights in Uganda. The anti-LGBT crusade here continues as people who have committed no crime are threatened with prison and even execution for their sexual identity or orientation. It seems unthinkable, but the danger is all too real.
I have written about this before. The climate of fear and hatred that is fueling anti-LGBT legislation in Uganda. The shameful role of U.S. evangelical leaders in fomenting such sentiment. The helplessness and terror that Ugandan citizens – among those, members of our own Unitarian Universalist congregation in Kampala – are forced to endure as a result of homophobia.
LGBT rights are advancing in many parts of the world. Spain, for instance, has moved from being a fascist dictatorship to a country that embraces marriage equality, all in a matter of decades. What must we do, then, to create a climate of acceptance and equality in Uganda?
Alone, few of us – if any – could achieve such change. Together, however, there is hope. The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) is standing on the side of love with our LBGT brothers and sisters in Uganda by lifting up a faith-based voice for equality, and by pursuing opportunities for coalition work in Uganda to oppose draconian anti-LGBT legislation.
As we hold our loved ones in our thoughts, I urge you to remember those suffering in Uganda. If you are so moved, as I am, consider taking action. One way to do so is by giving to the UUA-UU/UNO LGBT Uganda Fund.