“While Obama’s address in Kenya was ostensibly about that country’s path to prosperity and the barriers it must overcome to achieve its full potential, it actually offered something much more powerful. In the 43-minute speech, Obama discussed something that we don’t typically consider a foreign policy issue: the legacy of past discrimination, and the burdens that legacy can impose on a society, its politics, and its economy. It sounded, at moments, like a speech about America.
“While his remarks focused on Kenya, they might as well have been about the United States. And this is what was so striking about the speech: the degree to which Obama seemed to articulate a worldview, and thus a foreign policy, rooted in the lessons of America’s history of racial discrimination. Obama was offering not just a prescription for one African country, but a diagnosis of how discrimination and hatred can endanger any society — one he seems to have drawn from his experiences engaging with America’s domestic struggles during his presidency…”
He touched on a number of issues, from racism to womens’ issues in the region, including forced marriage and genital mutilation. But what has really drawn attention is the fact that he also addressed growing anti-LGBT sentiment. And American far right groups are overwhelmingly outraged that he would do so. Here is a partial roundup.
Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins:
“Now, after seven years of aggressive bullying, the President’s crusade hasn’t exactly improved relations with America’s neighbors (not that it’s an administration priority). From Hillary Clinton to John Kerry, the State Department has repeatedly violated the first rule of the diplomatic process: to respect the traditions and beliefs of other countries. In most cases, this forceful approach has made more enemies of nations than friends — especially in countries as profoundly religious as Kenya.
“Like other African and South American nations, they don’t appreciate the administration’s decision to openly demonize their beliefs and promote homosexuality and abortion as international “human rights…”
Former Southern Baptist Convention policy head Richard Land:
“Evangelical Christians have been very concerned about the President’s views, pushing homosexual marriage and extreme gay rights…
[Responding to a question of whether Obama was “exporting immorality,” he adds] “There’s no question in my mind that he’s doing that…”
WorldNetDaily’s Lord Monckton, invoking HIV to portray homosexuality as a harmful public health emergency:
“Mr. Obama, of course, would never dream of admitting what paper after paper in the scientific journals has made plain: that it is not “habits” but dangerous and often fatal diseases that are spread by what homosexuals do to one another. Like it or not, homosexuality causes real harm by spreading disease and death.
“Even in the West, the average practicing homosexual is more likely to die before his time than a smoker. But in Africa, where all manner of infectious diseases are far more prevalent than in the West because public-health measures are largely non-existent, homosexuality is still more dangerous to the population. It is precisely because homosexuality does harm to people that it is firmly discouraged, and not just in Kenya…”
“One wishes that the president of the United States would listen to some of his fellow Africans, cousins, to what they have to say because they speak truth and they speak wisdom…”
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer:
“We are smart enough, we are bright enough, we are intelligent enough, we are sane enough to make this kind of behavior contrary to public policy,” Fischer said, as he approvingly laid out what he believe the correct African position on this issue to be. “We’re not going to embrace it, we’re not going to promote it, we’re not even going to make it legal.”
And the thing is, they say all of this knowing that homosexuality is criminalized in Kenya, with sentences of up to 14 years in prison. While the nation has been one of the more progressive in the region, there has also been a campaign in recent years to stir up anti-LGBT sentiment, which has led to a rise of violence.
Just in case it was unclear what these folks would like to use their religious freedom for.