Friday, 15 February 2013

Canadian Government Shows Its True Colours By Funding Anti-Gay Religious Groups In Uganda

Julian Fantano (source: CBC)
So, I turn my back for a week or so to fund-raise for a school that could very well be part of the solution to social problems in Uganda and look!  The government goes and gets caught red-handed adding to the problem in Uganda. They've been funding an anti-gay organization working within one of the most homophobic countries on the planet.  The group is Crossroads Ministries, who make that terrible show my grandma used to watch all the time, 100 Huntley Street.

The first thing I heard about this was on the evening of the 11th.  I had just finished furiously typing away to finish off the landing page for a fundraiser to benefit the Kasese Humanist Primary School in Uganda.  This is a school that is actively working to stamp out homophobia and religious superstition in one of the most homophobic and religiously superstitious places in the word.  Sort of ironic, isn't it?

Due out the door, with other tasks pressing, I peeled off my first tweet about the fundraiser and seconds later I got a tweet back from Kevin Smith, the president of CFI Canada.


I honestly was so pressed for time that the reference to Julian Fantino went straight over my head.

Julian Fantino is the minister in charge of this business and he defended his stand by claiming they fund results-based programmes.  It has absolutely nothing to do with religion!

I guess this isn't much of a surprise.  Just recently it was found this government has been very keen to work with religious charities over and above secular ones.  Don't believe me? First, you've got the study by the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid that shows the Conservatives boosting funding to religious organizations by 42% between 2005 and 2010.  Then, you've got folks like Conservative MP David Anderson who's primary concern seems to be to ensure public sphere space is given to religious institutions and people who are speaking to faith issues and then the initiative they need to take in order to have their voice heard.  You know, like promote Jesus and stuff, which is evidently way more important than feeding them or teaching them about science.  Results, results.

Now that I look back at all this, I wonder how many Humanist schools, gardens and chicken coops $500,000 would buy?  I'm sure Crossroads is doing many great things to help Ugandans. Don't get me wrong!  But wouldn't it make more sense to help initiatives that do not see homosexuality as a sin (had to use the Google cache version) in a country where gays and lesbians risk death?  I mean, why strongly condemn Uganda's medieval stance on homosexuality with your mouth and support an anti-homosexuality group with your wallet?

Meanwhile, I know it's a day late, but a tardy Valentine is a Valentine nonetheless.  Why not pop over to this Change.org petition to end the Kill the Gays Bill in the Ugandan parliament - you know... what our goverment should be doing rather than fund an anti-gay organization in a country where gay people could get killed for merely existing?


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