President Barack Obama has spoken at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the Fellowship Foundation which allgedly supports Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill.
Obama did not heed to calls by civil right groups to boycott the event today (7 February) over allegations the religious right evangelical organization (also known as ‘The Family’) has aided the rise in anti-gay hate in Uganda.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a US government watchdog group, has alleged Doug Coe, The Family’s chair, has ‘pushed for anti-gay legislation in Uganda that made homosexuality a capital offense’.
The Family has not confirmed or denied Bahati’s membership, although member J Robert Hunter, said it was unfair to blame The Family for the anti-gay legislation introduced by Bahati.
Hunter told the New York Times that about 30 Fellowship members have previously conveyed their dismay about the legislation to Ugandan politicians, including to Bahati.
At the prayer meeting, Obama delivered an intensely religious speech, but did not mention The Kill The Gays bill.
The US has been involved in diplomatic evidence against the proposed Ugandan legislation, officially called the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The only version of the bill currently in the public eye includes the death penalty for repeat or ‘aggravated’ homosexuality.
Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEQUAL criticized the president’s attendance, saying: ‘For another year, President Obama has chosen to set aside his stated values of inclusion in order to attend the National Prayer Breakfast — an event rooted in hatred of LGBT people and covered up by pastries and coffee.
‘We really don’t understand why President Obama continues to give his permission for “The Family” to support killing LGBT folks abroad.
‘The Kill the Gays Bill has been moving through the Ugandan Parliament at the very same time President Obama was speaking to the group supporting it — this practice has got to stop, and the president needs to understand the role he is playing in supporting the execution of LGBT people around the world.’
CREW has also repeatedly called for the president not to attend the breakfast.
During the 2010 National Prayer Breakfast, president Obama stated: ‘Surely we can agree it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians… in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.’
But today he was silent on the matter.
In 2011, Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, tied American evangelical leaders to the Ugandan ‘Kill The Gays’ bill. It signalled out in particular Pastors Rick Warren, Joel Osteen and TD Jakes.
Writing in the New Civil Rights Movement blog, David Badash stated: ‘Whether or not they’re tied to The Family, they’ll likely be at the National Prayer Breakfast.’