Will Homosexuality 'Experts' Be Able to Educate Uganda?

By: Sunnivie Brydum

Left: U.S. Secretary of State and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced this week plans to send American scientists to Uganda in an effort to counteract the flawed "science" cited by Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni when he signed into law the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which imposes lifetime prison sentences for multiple instances of same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults and criminalizes anyone who "aids or abets" homosexuality or LGBT people. 

When Museveni signed the law last month, he pointed to a so-called scientific report from antigay Ugandan lawmakers "with medical backgrounds" who concluded that homosexuality was partially innate but mostly influenced by environment and active recruitment.

"There are those who engage in homosexuality for mercenary reasons on account of the underdeveloped sectors of our economy that cause people to remain in poverty," Museveni said at the bill signing ceremony. "And then there are those that become homosexual by both nature [genetic] and nurture [upbringing]. … Can somebody be homosexual purely by nature without nurture? The answer is: 'No.' No study has shown that. Since nurture is the main cause of homosexuality, then society can do something about it to discourage the trends. That is why I have agreed to sign the Bill." 

But as out MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted on her eponymous show earlier this week, the harsh antigay attitudes of many Ugandan lawmakers were directly influenced by American evangelicals who traveled to the East African country in 2009 to hold a conference on the evils of LGBT people. One of the key speakers at that conference, Massachusetts minister (and gubernatorial candidate) Scott Lively, is currently facing international persecution charges alleging crimes against humanity for his role in motivating Ugandan lawmakers to violently oppress LGBT people there. 

"After American antigay evangelical activists exported their views to Uganda back in 2009, holding them out as the latest in American science on this issue of how God can make you straight, can the U.S. government undo that damage now by exporting actual scientists to try to clean up the mess that those other Americans left behind?" asked Maddow at the close of Tuesday's show. "Our government is apparently about to embark on a rather fascinating experiment in real science and real diplomacy in a faraway country that a number of Americans had a real hand in really, really screwing up."

Watch Rachel Maddow's report on the matter below.