U.S. Senator Inhofe’s trips to Uganda ‘A Jesus Thing’

There was an article published in 2008, in the Daily Oklahoman, that detailed Inhofe’s more than twenty trips to Uganda. Senator Inhofe described his influence there as “A Jesus Thing.”

WASHINGTON — In the past decade, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Tulsa has made at least 20 trips to Africa as part of a mission that he frequently describes in religious terms.

Inhofe’s African trips have cost taxpayers more than $187,000 since 1999, according to a review of expenses Inhofe and staff members have submitted through the Armed Services Committee.

Some of the trips have been taken on military planes that cost thousands of dollars an hour to operate. The military does not disclose the cost of flying members of Congress to their destinations.

In fact, Senator Inhofe has made 108 visits to Africa, more than any other Senator in U.S. history. Although it can be argued his trips could be justified by work that is focused on disbanding the “The Lord’s Resistance Army,” and protecting African children from kidnapping and made into child soldiers; his influence extends far beyond military interests. The homophobia that has been spread via taxpayer expense through the flavor of homophobic evangelizing supported by Senator Inhofe needs to be investigated. The blood of David Kato cries out for justice, and a determination of just what Senator Inhofe meant by his taxpayer funded trips to Uganda being described as “A Jesus Thing.”

Inhofe attempted to explain, “I’m guilty of two things. I’m a Jesus guy, and I have a heart for Africa.”

No sir, Senator Inhofe. Through your association with “The Family,” and their anti-gay evangelizing in Uganda, you are also guilty of promoting an atmosphere that led to the murder of a gay civil rights leader, David Kato. Jesus Christ didn’t promote murder, or homophobia, sir.

Not to mention there are countless LGBT Ugandans that have died due to the failed Faith Based Initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS promoted by Inhofe and friends. There are deaths that are directly related to the deliberate exclusion of the LGBT community and the indirect ones, like David Kato’s murder.

The most detailed and disturbing portions of Evertz’ report relate to how PEPFAR may have contributed inadvertently to the unraveling of Uganda’s previously successful fight against HIV/AIDS. The Ugandan Government readily adopted PEPFAR’s de-emphasis of condoms and related sex education as effective means of HIV prevention. Evertz also reveals tell-tale signs that some faith-based PEPFAR sub-grantees may have helped nurture the anti-gay climate in Uganda that has spawned a horribly homophobic draft law that may be put to a vote in the coming days. Those of us of the Christian faith should be first to speak out against this subversion of religion to justify state-sponsored homophobic hate, imprisonment, and even death.

Larger questions fleetingly emerge, without answer, from Evertz’ work. For example, how could the UN Security Council not have recognized until the year 2000 – almost 20 years into this health crisis – the global security repercussions of the spread of HIV/AIDS? But the most disturbing question is this: how were those who ran PEPFAR allowed to break the wall of public policy separation our Founding Fathers rightly erected between church and state – thereby infusing a ground-breaking public health program, and indeed America’s national foreign policy interests, with sectarian dogma?

Indeed. An investigation is more than warranted, and like Liz has pointed out in her most recent post, “Hero of the month: David Kato,” our LGBT Ugandan brothers and sisters are watching, waiting, and expecting us to do something about our political leaders who have made their lives so incredibly dangerous. These two paragraphs jumped out at me:

For friends outside Uganda … we remind you that, the lessons of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the lessons of the death of David Kato are quite clear. You have a lot of clout here. It is through public opinion of Uganda in your country. It is in your country that you move the politicians to move the leaders in Uganda. And, it is not only political. It is also religious, and cultural. …

What seems to matter, to the government, to the people, is the reputation. And, if Uganda is in anyway sensitive to its reputation in the family of nations, it is vulnerable. Our country people, our government will treat us gay Ugandans like shit. But, they will not do that when you ask your leaders to ask them what justification they have to do that.

Uganda is watching us, and it is imperative we hold our political leaders, like Senator Jim Inhofe, accountable for their actions.

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