Stop The Deportation Of Joseph Bokombe

by Gwen Ashby

Three converging news stories this week may finally be giving us the redemptive interpretation of the creation story we’ve been seeking. Two new polls indicate growing support for LGBT equality among surprising quarters and Apple’s recent decision to pull a “gay cure” app from itunes, add up to a society that seems increasingly accepting of humankind’s diverse expression of love and sexuality.  Perhaps knowledge of ourselves and sexuality is not such a bad thing after all?

The first poll, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, indicates that Catholics are more supportive of gay and lesbian rights than both the general public and other Christians. In fact, an impressive 74% either support marriage equality (43%) or civil unions (31%).

The second poll, commissioned by Human Rights Campaign, indicates that a majority of Americans (51%) support the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which discriminates against gays and lesbians by defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. A recent Religious Dispatches blog by Candace Chellew – Hodge (whose book Bullet Proof Faith is resourced at BOL) offers a measured analysis of this poll and links it to growing support among conservatives to leave the issue of marriage to the states.

Finally, you may have heard about Apple’s recent decision to allow an itunes app from the anti-gay Christian group, Exodus International. Well, after just a few days of public pressure led by Truth Wins Out (which works to reveal the dangers of “ex-gay” ministries), Apple reversed itself, determining that such an app constituted “hate” and therefore violated its own standards of equality.

With all this good news, what is holding the mainline back? When will our churches catch up with the society? LGBT-affirming congregations continue to be in the minority, while Americans are increasingly claiming both a named spirituality and a belief in LGBT equality.

The people have led. Now its our turn, as leaders, to follow.

Image flickr Christopher JL

Joseph Bokombe, a gay man from Uganda living in San Diego, sits in a U.S. Immigration holding facility, his visa expired, awaiting deportation to a Uganda.

You’ve seen the headlines: “Uganda Debates Anti-Gay bill” – “’Kill the Gays’ Bill Includes Death Penalty Provision” – “Ugandan Gay Activist David Kato Murdered”. Uganda has an increasingly aggressive climate against the LGBT community, fueled by American conservative Christians who permeate the country with hate-filled belief systems.

Joseph fears that a return to Uganda is a sentence to death. He has ample reason to be afraid.

Help Joseph Bokombe now. Take Action: Send a message to your Member of Congress (this campaign is no longer active).

Image flickr weesam2010