As you may know, some countries such as Uganda have established anti-gay laws, that is they have outlawed homosexuality. Homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment or death.
I was shocked to discover (on John Loftus’ Facebook page) that atheists think that evangelicals encouraged, supported and approved of this law that will result in the death of many homosexuals. This took me off guard because I have never heard an evangelical approve of these laws and in fact I have heard many evangelicals condemn the law.
I did a little digging and there is indeed a belief by some that this law is the fault of evangelicals. There are two reasons for this, one is the action of specific evangelicals and the other is the nature of evangelicals. I will deal with the former reason first.
I was told that certain evangelicals actively worked for this. I was pointed to this article. What I noticed is that these were three men who I had never heard of. They are an extremely small minority and by no means are they leaders in evangelicalism. Then I was pointed to this article where we are told that Pat Robertson and Rick Warren supported the anti-gay laws. I hope that people realize that Pat Robertson is not the voice of evangelicalism. Most evangelicals are embarrassed by the things he says. Whether or not he supported these laws, he does not speak for evangelicals.
Rick Warren is more of a voice for evangelicals. The only problem is that this article is incorrect and Warren never supported the law. You can find Warren’s response here. Of course you should never spoil a good story with the facts. It would be a very nice critique of evangelicalism if you could show they support African violence.
The truth is that the evangelicals by far have condemned these anti-gay laws. I am not talking just about liberal or progressive Christians but conservative evangelicals who do not believe that homosexuality is God’s will for humankind. This article gives a good understanding of what evangelicals think of the issue.
What about the nature of evangelicalism? It is no secret that many evangelicals do not support same-sex marriage. Could African countries think that by killing homosexuals that they will gain support from the west? I doubt it. People in Africa are not stupid. They know we don’t kill homosexuals. Homosexuality is legal and Canada and some of the United States allow same-sex marriages. There is no way that they are going assume they will get approval.
What would happen if another world leader read books by Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris where they claim that religion is dangerous? What if they took from that, that they should both outlaw Christianity and execute Christians? Is that something we could blame on atheists? It is obviously a misunderstanding.
What does this all mean? I am sure that there are a few evangelicals that think homosexuality should be illegal and an even smaller minority that are happy with what happened in Africa. But by far the majority of evangelicals are horrified by this law and strongly condemn it.