By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com November 29 2012 8:20 PM ET
Tony Perkins claims that his tweet supporting Uganda's president had nothing to do with the headlines the country's Parliament generated by renewing consideration of the so-called "kill the gays" bill.
The timing of his tweet, he claims, is a coincidence. Perkins blames the media for a conflation and specifically calls out the Human Rights Campaign, which condemned Perkins as president of the Family Research Council for supporting Uganda at this critical moment.
In a newsletter today, Perkins downplayed his tweet, in which he said "American liberals are upset that Ugandan Pres is leading his nation in repentance — afraid of a modern example of a nation prospered by God."
As he often does, Perkins attacked the media. "With fewer journalists able to separate the news from their personal politics, groups like FRC are no longer fighting bias — but outright deception," he wrote today. Perkins said the tweet was in response to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni "who took the bold step of leading his country in a public prayer of confession for a multitude of sins Uganda committed over the last 50 years, including the genocide of Idi Amin."
Saying that Uganda is a "modern example of a nation prospered by God" apparently doesn't necessarily include its active consideration of a law that criminalizes homosexuality and potentially puts gay people to the death penalty. Activists are watching the country's Parliament with renewed alarm in recent days after its leaders pledged to pass the bill.
"If you want to get the press's attention, just say the word 'Uganda' and wait for the firestorm," Perkins said, perhaps alluding to his real intent in making the tweet. "For years, the African nation has been condemned for its severe laws criminalizing homosexuality. Despite allegations to the contrary, FRC has never supported that policy — or any policy that imposes the death penalty on homosexuals. What we do oppose is the suggestion that gay and lesbian acts are universal human rights."
It's unclear what the FRC believes should be the consequence for engaging in "gay and lesbian acts," but in the very least it has in the past backed campaigns to stop shopping at businesses that support LGBT employees. It has also defended so-called "reparative therapy" as a plausible remedy despite the dangerous consequences warned of by top psychological associations.
The HRC said the tweet was further evidence that the FRC is deservedly labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others as a "hate group."