“Elite Fundamentalists,” The Family, and Uganda

As many may know, there is a proposed bill making its way through the Ugandan parliament that is incredibly draconian, yet consistent with those Fundamentalists (Christian, Jewish, or Muslim) that believe God demands the death of homosexuals (as described in the Levitical Law Code for Jews and Christians – Leviticus 20:13). Of course, even Fundamentalist Christians do not abide by even the demands of the Moral Law spelled out in Leviticus (despite the assertion that the Moral Law is still in force for Christians), yet they are all too quick to demand obedience to the Moral Law when they think the issue of homosexuality is concerned.
An article from the Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail, concerning the proposed Ugandan law and the British Commonwealth entitled, “Uganda’s anti-gay bill causes Commonwealth uproar.”
The issue concerning the proposed Ugandan law comes off the heals of reports of the politicized Religious Right and Neo-Con’s exportation of the Culture Wars to other parts of the world. Read about the report from Political Research Associates entitled, “Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia.”

A groundbreaking investigation by Political Research Associates (PRA) discovered that sexual minorities in Africa have become collateral damage to our domestic conflicts and culture wars. U.S. conservative evangelicals and those opposing gay pastors and bishops within mainline Protestant denominations woo Africans in their American fight.

Much of these efforts come out of the groundwork over the past decade of the Institute of Religion and Democracy (IRD). Read the “Reforming America’s Churches Project” (and here) of the IRD.
What this group does not recongnize or wants to admit is that in the same way they believe the mainline denominations have capitulated to the prevailing culture in order to be “relevant,” so have they and the Evangelical/Fundamentalist denominations capitulated to the same culture, only on different issues. There is legitimacy in the recognition that when the Church – of the conservative or liberal bent – takes on as its primary focus social or political agendas, it gives up its mission and its power. The more fundamentalist left and right do the exact same thing to the detriment of the cause of Christ in the world, but form opposite ends of the socio-political spectrum.
Then there is “The Family.” Listen to a report from NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross interviewing Jeff Scarlet, researcher of “The Family” and author of, “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.”
Read the Fresh Air transcript from the episode entitled, The Secret Political Reach of ‘The Family.'”
From the transcript, this brief portion:

GROSS: Let’s talk about The Family’s connection to Uganda, where there’s a, really a draconian anti-gay bill that has been introduced into parliament. Uganda already punishes the practice of homosexuality with life in prison. What would the new legislation do?
Mr. SHARLET: Well, the new legislation adds to this something called aggravated homosexuality. And this can include, for instance, if a gay man has sex with another man who is disabled, that’s aggravated homosexuality, and that man can be – I suppose both, actually, could be put to death for this. The use of any drugs or any intoxicants in seeking gay sex – in other words, you go to a bar and you buy a guy a drink, you’re subject to the death penalty if you go home and sleep together after that. What it also does is it extends this outward, so that if you know a gay person and you don’t report it, that could mean – you don’t report your son or daughter, you can go to prison.
And it goes further, to say that any kind of promotion of these ideas of homosexuality, including by foreigners, can result in prison terms. Talking about same sex-marriage positively can lead you to imprisonment for life. And it’s really kind of a perfect case study in the export of a lot of American, largely evangelical ideas about homosexuality exported to Uganda, which then takes them to their logical end.
GROSS: This legislation has just been proposed. It hasn’t been signed into law. So it’s not in effect yet and it might never be in effect. But it’s on the table. It’s before parliament. So is there a direct connection between The Family and this proposed anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda?
Mr. SHARLET: Well, the legislator that introduced the bill, a guy named David Bahati, is a member of The Family. He appears to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes their Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which The Family has poured millions of dollars working through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda.

From the HarpersCollins website description of Scarlet’s book:

They are the Family—fundamentalism’s avant-garde, waging spiritual war in the halls of American power and around the globe. They consider themselves the new chosen—congressmen, generals, and foreign dictators who meet in confidential cells, to pray and plan for a “leadership led by God,” to be won not by force but through “quiet diplomacy.” Their base is a leafy estate overlooking the Potomac in Arlington, Virginia, and Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to have reported from inside its walls.

This all reminds me too much of Christian Reconstructionism or Dominionism – read about both here and here. The interconnections between these people, groups, and efforts are not by accident. While the coordination behind many of these efforts are the work of what I think is a relatively small and radical group of people, the influence of their work both domestically and internationally cannot be denied.
Andrew Sullivan comments on all this on his blog, “Christianity vs Christianism, Love vs Power.”