Democrats and sane Republicans mourn the passing of the once-Grand Old Party . . . a party that is now in full-throated support of its indicted leader and incensed that public urination might be demoted from a criminal to a civil offense.

Read that piece if you’re curious; but today I want to talk about Uganda.

Nine years ago we learned how Uganda was Seduced by conservative American Evangelicals into making homosexuality punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Last week the Ugandan parliament voted overwhelmingly to crack down further, with life sentences and the death penalty.

And we learned How U.S. Evangelicals Helped Homophobia Flourish in Africa,

You don’t need to read those to get the idea.  (Likewise: US Christian Right pours more than $50m into Africa.)

What I’d rather focus on is what the Pope told the Associated Press two months ago:

We are all God’s children.

And God loves us as we are.

Being homosexual is not a crime.

It’s a sin.

But it is also a sin to lack charity with one another.

Let’s distinguish sin from crime.

Every man and woman must have a window in their life

where they can turn their hope and where they can see the dignity of God.

And being homosexual isn’t a crime.

It’s a human condition.

Not to mention what Jesus himself said about homosexuality!

(If you don’t know, it’s worth 30 seconds to watch.)

And it should be noted that Pope Francis later clarified his remarks to the AP:

When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which says that EVERY sexual act outside of marriage is a sin.

Gay and straight alike.


As for Wisconsin, this headline caught my eye:

Wisconsin School District Bans Miley Cyrus-Dolly Parton Duet with ‘Rainbow’ in Title.  

I mean, c’mon, guys.

We’re not realistically going to send all the immigrants — and descendants of immigrants, millions of whose ancestors “immigrated” involuntarily — “back to where they came from.”

Or non-straight folks back into the closet.

We’re just not.

And most of us, white, black, or brown, liberal, independent or conservative, straight, gay, or trans, urban, suburban, or rural — very much including most Trump voters — are good decent people once you get to know us.  We are!  And we share lots of common ground.

That was true of the Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda, who got along fine for decades until it went catastrophically wrong.  It was true of gentile and Jewish Berliners before the forces of darkness took hold.  (Have you seen Leopoldstadt?)

Among the forces of darkness working to stoke our divisions:

> Putin.

> White separatists.

> The profit motive.  Conflict sells.  And as Fox executives made clear, telling the truth would have been “bad for business.”

> Religion, the source of so much bloodshed over the centuries.

We need to make room for moderation, compromise, and common ground.

One three-part key to doing that:

> “Open primaries” (as in California), where candidates can’t win appealing only to the extremes.

> “Ranked choice voting” (as in Alaska and Maine), which also makes room for moderates to win.

> Easy voting by mail (Oregon and Utah, among others), so that most people vote in the primaries, not just the highly motivated extremes.

Rainbows are beautiful!

And so is religion, when not taken literally.  Which brings us back to Uganda.

As the simple Ugandan woman says near the end of “The Book of Mormon,” the most profane, blasphemous, irreverent show ever . . . thereby redeeming the entire show and bringing sense not just to Mormonism but to all religions . . . marveling that the young missionaries have lost their faith in the preposterous stories they’ve been told (everyone gets his own planet?) . . . religion is not to be taken literally — “Eet eez a MET-a-phor!

(As I’ve written before, could someone please get this word to the Islamic fundamentalists?  Or at least to those who believe God calls them to murder?)

(Here’s the banned Rainbow song, by the way.)

Have a great week!



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