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New report shows how US Religious Right is pushing anti-LGBT and Anti-reproductive rights in Africa

August 15, 2012

The US-based group, Political Research Associates, has recently published an excellent report that details how elements of the Religious Right in the US is the driving force behind the growing anti-LGBT and anti-reproductive rights laws throughout the continent of Africa.

The report, Colonizing Africa Values: How the US Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa, is a result of the work of Kapya Kaoma, who has been researching homophobic policies in Africa for over a decade.

The report states that after the Uganda anti-Gay legislation was first proposed in 2009, the issue had faded from the mainstream US media. However, the Uganda Bill was just the beginning of anti-gay and anti-reproductive rights legislation.

When Uganda’s parliament ended its session in May 2011 without passing the Anti-HomosexualityBill levying the death penalty for “aggravated”homosexuality, human rights activists in Africa andaround the world thought they had defeated the legislation, first proposed in October 2009. But parliamentarians reintroduced the “Kill the Gays” Bill in February 2012 with the same inhumane penalties, similar bills showed up in other countries,and anti-gay measures passed in Burundi in 2009,Malawi in 2010 and Nigeria in 2011.

The report identifies groups like the American Center for Law & Justice, Human Life International, and Family Watch International work both separately and in tandem to renew and expand colonial-era proscriptions on sexual rights. Some of these players may be familiar to U.S. audiences. The Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) recently opened offices in Kenya and Zimbabwe and actively intervenes in those countries’ constitution-making processes.

ACLJ is run by Jay Sekulow, a prominent figure in anti-gay, -abortion, and -Muslim legal strategies, who advised the George W. Bush administration on judicial nominees and is embraced by presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Other players in this American crusade, such as Mormon activist Sharon Slater of Family Watch International, are little known outside of international sexual health and rights circles, yet they wield influence well beyond their modest budgets.

These Right Wing Religious groups are seen by many activists in Africa as a form of neo-colonialism and they want those of us in the US to understand this and name this activity as such.

Colonizing African Values is an important and must read report for those who care about global solidarity, LGBT and reproductive justice. The research is well documented, with an excellent glossary of terms and US Christian groups involved. There is also an extremely valuable timeline of anti-LGBT bills and laws in Africa since 2006 that begins on page 27 of the report.


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