Christina Engela's picture

The Parliamentary Drowning Pool

Last weekend, Mr Gay South Africa won the Mr Gay World contest - the second time a South African title holder has walked away with the top honors of this prestigious event - and also incidentally, the second year of the Mr Gay SA event. To crown this achievement, South Africa has also been selected to host next year's Mr Gay World event in Johannesburg. This is no doubt a remarkable achievement, and something to be proud of, well, at least one would think so.

Yesterday the news broke on Twitter and Facebook that the DA (Democratic Alliance), the official Opposition party in Parliament, was to make a motion to congratulate Mr Gay SA and the organizers on this fine achievement. It was alleged that Upon hearing of this motion, the ACDP (African Christian Democratic Party) immediately declared that it would oppose this motion.
Many folks, myself included, felt that the ACDP stood a snowball's chance in hell of blocking this motion with its puny three seats in over 400 in Parliament, but it seems we were in for a surprise.

The DA filed the motion - and as promised, the ACDP voted against the motion with all three its little votes - joined by the Freedom Front Plus, an equally tiny right wing, racist and homophobic Afrikaner party which probably doesn't appreciate fully the extreme irony in it's name. Apparently, according to some obscure little regulation in Parliamentary procedure somewhere, only 7 votes are required to block such a motion - which is exactly what happened.
Christina Engela's picture

Making The Difference

I want to focus today on Africa, and African affairs. Of late, African countries all around us have been flaunting their peculiar brand of homophobia, laced with ignorance on matters of medicine, science, fact - and tasting remarkably of religious fundamentalism. Relating to this, an item came across my inbox today, which was forwarded to me by a friend. It was a message from an ACDP support group on Facebook, and it went as follows:

"Jo-Ann Downs May 27, 2010 at 2:28pm Subject: DRC visit

I am off to Lubumbashi in DRC tomorrow to teach about 1000 Church leaders about getting involved in improving the country. Need lots of prayer. There are so many terrible things happening to women and children I hope to really make a difference."

This of course, is Where the ACDP completely crosses the line between religion and politics, and works to blur the line separating church and state as well - which it does, simply by existing.

We all know the ACDP, or African Christian Democratic Party. At least, those of us with the inclination to take an interest in affairs which affect us, do.

The ACDP are to South Africa as the Republican Party is to the USA. They are partisan Christian religious fundamentalists, and as is typical of people of this persuasion, their political outlook cannot be separated from their religious outlook. For them, the two are as one and the same - and to that end, government should be inherently Christian and fundamentalist too. By that reasoning, people who commit ritual religious offences (a.k.a. "sin") should also face criminal charges under the law of the land, and in particular as described in the Old Testament - which is rather odd if you consider that the Christian faith is actually based on the New Testament.
Christina Engela's picture

How To Hoodwink Friends And Influence People

Erroll Naidoo has for years been pushing an anti-human rights agenda in South Africa, with the help of his friends in foreign radical groups based in the USA (and here in South Africa), who help fund and support his "Family Policy Institute". (Here he is shown meeting with Tony Perkins, leader of the Family Research Council - a recognized hate group in the US and mentor to his FPI) He is on record in the media as saying he hates gay people and has been closely associated with the ACDP, a fundamentalist "Christian" party, along with similar organizations such as the Cape Town based "Christian Action Network". All these groups and affiliates have been engaged in a bitter battle to oppose and remove all gay rights from the SA Constitution even before the Constitution was finalized - and right up to this very day.

In the latest JOY! Magazine, like his kindred American radicals, Naidoo has continued his attack on "liberals" and whatever media do not wish to give fundamentalists a soap-box to stand upon to peddle their hatred and incitement to intolerance to a wider public. That's right - the media is "censoring" the "Christian" message of spreading hate. Whatever, Errol.

"Too many Christians are being influenced by the liberal secular media and falling prey to political deception." Says he. "This is obvious not only in South Africa, but particularly in Obama’s America. I am concerned by the alarming levels of Biblical ignorance and deception amongst Christians. Many are more influenced by the liberal secular media than by the Word of God." - by Errol Naidoo from JOY! Magazine. Of course, this man has interesting views as you can see here, where he espouses the belief that Christians can and should rule the world and turn it into a little Christianist Utopia free of those pesky unbelievers - and of course, us nasty evil gay and trans people.
Christina Engela's picture

By Their Fruits Shall You Know Them

The draft "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" was tabled in Uganda's parliament on 14 October 2009, and has been slated world-wide by human rights groups concerned for the well-being of gay and transgender people in Uganda.  If passed, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill will violate the internationally recognized human right to non-discrimination, to be free from violence and harassment, the right to life, the right to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and freedom of movement.

Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill, if passed, introduces the death penalty for the offence of "aggravated homosexuality" - which describes anyone who engages in same-sex relations with children under 18, disabled people, or who tests HIV-positive when arrested for homosexuality related "crimes".

Still, this disturbing development did not happen overnight. It has been coming for some time now - and only the brutally stupid or blatantly uninterested can claim complete surprise.

Half a year ago, Uganda brought the current law into effect, which makes any gay sex a criminal offence.  As can be seen by the names of high profile people involved in exacerbating the Ugandan anti-gay hysteria, it is clear that religious fundamentalism is playing a leading role, which if unchecked, will lead to a major human tragedy, very soon.

Christina Engela's picture

Storm Clouds Gather

One of my main arguments over the past few years has been that the pink community should involve itself in government, politics, religion etc so that those who act against our equality and human rights cannot make a move without it getting past us first. Few groups could embody or give form to my fears for South Africa than the ubiquitous ACDP.

Another strange (yet unrelated) thing I have noticed is the number of representatives of certain bigot religious groups who seem to want to "meet me for coffee" lately. I suppose they have figured out that threatening letters and hate mail don't work on me. Nevertheless, public spaces are always, always a must - and so is being among people - and letting others know who I will be meeting, and where I will be meeting them. Be that as it may, back to the ACDC - I mean, P.

On September 21, Cheryllyn Dudley, on behalf of the ACDP applauded Lithuania "for courage in passing child-protection law condemned by European Parliament" in a press release.

By its own admission, the ACDP views "Lithuania’s new law on the protection of minors which prohibits promotion of homosexual, bisexual or polygamous relations among children under 18" as "protecting families and children".

Christina Engela's picture

Beating Ploughshares Into Swords

Is religious fundamentalism fascist in nature? Are religious fundamentalists prone to it? I have heard them being called fascists, and agreed with it simply because of the general perception - and my own personal experience - that fascists aren’t very nice people either. I have often drawn comparisons between them - and I find it surprising that I never realized that they seem to genuinely have so much in common with our totalitarian friends who like to march under flags sporting propeller-like symbols – and marginalizing sections of society they don't like very much - whom they delight in pointing out how much "better than" they are.

To find examples, take a look at recent campaigns to strip social minorities of human rights or equality around the world (such as the recent Proposition 8 and the current Referendum 71 in the USA, and the violence at pride events in Russia and the Baltic states over the past three years) and you will find that the groups behind them are religious, fanatical, fundamentalist – and often racist and nationalistic as well.

People, particularly those who like philosophy, like to quote the old saying that “violence never solves anything”. Parents teach it to their children. The state tries to teach it to the populace – and then hammers them if they don’t listen, but is it true? On this point, the other day I saw a poster online that cast a different light on the matter, claiming "Violence never solved anything - except for ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism." Phew. Profound, don’t you think?
Christina Engela's picture

March Hares And April Fools

Since the April 22 Election in which it got its chronometers soundly cleaned, the right wing Christian Democratic Alliance has been quiet - dare I say "silent as a tomb"? No press statements since April. No more boisterous squawking in nauseating radio ads about gay people being "enemies of Christianity" and a "threat to the family" or rabid press releases aimed at the government for the folly of including human rights of gay people in the Constitution and "dethroning almighty God" in favor of the rule of mere human law. In fact, short of one or two blog posts by one of its fearless leaders, Colin Fibiger - obviously on the inseparable issues of religion and politics, and suggestions on training the youth to "know better” next time, there has been no visible activity on their part. I'm thinking they ran out of a lot more than cash at the end of the elections - they ran out of supporters, interest and credibility as well.

It seems most of its supporters have skittered back to the ACDC, - I mean, P - or cast their votes elsewhere, since even that slightly larger party had its conservative voter support decimated by half.

Since having its nose rubbed in its’ own misogyny and anti-diversity utterances, the ACDP has over the past week or so been (very surprisingly) commenting favorably on Caster Semenya’s gender test ordeal, presumably only because every other political party has been doing so as well - and it has realized that agreeing with everybody else tends to make them less bad. It's called PR, I believe - aka brown-nosing. I wonder what they would have to say should her tests, due out soon, show her to be a transgender or transsexual person? Considering the things their reps have had to say about gay and trans people in the past, I should expect one of them to drop a political clanger over it.

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