Bishop Christopher Senyonjo’s whirlwind trip brought local human rights activism a shot of inspiration. Supportive attendees at S.F.’s LGBT Center found weary spirits brightened just a bit—the soaring demeanor of this one warrior defiantly holds his sacred ground against the “Kill The Gays” bill.
Rebuffed is a historically ruthless system’s attempt to reignite a nefarious tendency: audaciously executing wide scale “genocidal” onslaughts. This time though, the blind rampaging fury is fed by external sources as religious anti gay fanaticism is injected by U.S. evangelicals—“colonial” Christian theology pushers that just happen to be predominantly white.
Rev. Roland Stringfellow (director of the Bay Area Coalition of Welcoming Congregations) held an enlightening conversation interviewing Senyonjo during the Center’s event. A sobering reality swept the room with Stringfellow’s dire concern: the bishop faces an uncertain future upon returning to Uganda—imprisonment and “life threatening” circumstances loom with frightening possibility.
Uganda’s ominous social climate is exacerbated by McCarthy-like operations: Red Pepper tabloid is “outing” individuals (publishing their names, photos and resident addresses); and actual Parliament members publicly state that if their own children “came out” gay they would personally flick the execution switch (or dole out life sentences) themselves.
Keeping up the heat a doggedly adversarial Ssempa constantly features (and parades) a so-called female “victim”: in “Missionaries of Hate” he claims that at age 16 she was “snared” by lesbian recruiters offering Western based money and gifts. Gay support institutions say they would love to find these alleged “sponsors”—their beleaguered centers are desperately in need of these “mysterious” contributions; critical resources from anxious Western donors still somehow continuously eludes them.
Stringfellow addressed the situation: in essence he inquired if Senyonjo was worried and still planning to literally go back and offer himself to the prosecutorial demon’s mouth. The retired 78 year old Senyonjo, sitting back in a peaceful repose, gracefully smiled and simply said “yes.”
At the S.F. Culture Complex on the previous night activist Bill Doggett asked Senyonjo a key networking question. Doggett realized that only two S.F. venues had provided “stages” to promote this critical message; he pointed out that the Bay Area has a multitude of both conventional and “gay based” African-American congregations, as well as “human rights” oriented enclaves—Doggett wondered whether sponsorships with them would have been desirable.
Again, the bishop simply said “yes” with a humble smile.
To be continued…