US Pentecostal churches blamed for homophobia ‘surge’ in Africa

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Extreme elements of the US Pentecostal Church are behind the ‘surge’ in homophobia across Africa, according to human rights groups.

Speaking to Metro, Renato Sabbadini, the secretary general of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, said: “What we’re seeing is that this surge of homophobia is being encouraged by an active influence of foreign sources and I’m mainly referring to Pentecostal churches in the US.

He added: “These evangelists are finding that homophobia is a sort of visiting card which will aid in getting more people to convert to their own version of Christianity.”

In 2009, American evangelist Scott Lively met with Ugandan public figures to teach against what he described as “the gay agenda”.

While in the capital, Kampala, he wrote a report for a website linked to his ministry which stated: “The international ‘gay’ movement has devoted a lot of resources to transforming the moral culture from a marriage-based one to one that embraces sexual anarchy.”

Emily Gray from Amnesty International said: “We have noticed that the religious right-wing, particularly from America, has had a big impact on the levels of homophobia and incidences of intimation and violence.”

Last weekend, Uganda’s Parliament adjourned for the year without voting on the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

First issued in 2009, the legislation widely became known as the ‘kill the gays’ bill, referring to one of the clauses proposing death for offences such as “aggravated homosexuality”.

Earlier this week, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said gay people should not be killed or persecuted, but warned that homosexuality should also not be promoted.

Although most African nations seem to be going backwards on LGBT equality, Kenya has been cited by Amnesty International as making significant progress.

South Africa remains the only country on the continent to have legalised equal marriage.