Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, March 5, 2010 8:49 pm

It only took the Vatican 400 years to catch up to science on cosmology …

… so maybe in a millennium it will catch up to science on human sexuality:

The Vatican is at the center of a gay sex scandal involving a young chorister who allegedly procured men, including at least one seminarian, for a lay member of one of Pope Benedict’s inner circles.

Angelo Balducci, a civil engineer and honorary Vatican usher, was quoted in police wiretaps allegedly negotiating with Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 29-year-old Vatican choir member, about the kind of men he wanted brought to him. Some of the wiretap transcripts were published Wednesday in the Italian daily La Repubblica.

Balducci has been a member since 1995 of “Gentlemen of His Holiness,” an exclusive fraternity of ushers within the papal household who serve during state and special occasions. Members of the group bore Pope John Paul II’s coffin in 2005.

The only good thing I can think of to say about this is that, so far as one call tell, everyone involved was 18 or older.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009 1:48 pm

Exporting terror

There’s really no other way to describe this: The formerly secret Christianist nationalist group called the Family now has members in other countries who are doing real damage:

GROSS: Let’s talk about The Family’s connection to Uganda, where there’s a, really a draconian anti-gay bill that has been introduced into parliament. Uganda already punishes the practice of homosexuality with life in prison. What would the new legislation do?

Mr. SHARLET: Well, the new legislation adds to this something called aggravated homosexuality. And this can include, for instance, if a gay man has sex with another man who is disabled, that’s aggravated homosexuality, and that man can be – I suppose both, actually, could be put to death for this. The use of any drugs or any intoxicants in seeking gay sex – in other words, you go to a bar and you buy a guy a drink, you’re subject to the death penalty if you go home and sleep together after that. What it also does is it extends this outward, so that if you know a gay person and you don’t report it, that could mean – you don’t report your son or daughter, you can go to prison.

And it goes further, to say that any kind of promotion of these ideas of homosexuality, including by foreigners, can result in prison terms. Talking about same sex-marriage positively can lead you to imprisonment for life. And it’s really kind of a perfect case study in the export of a lot of American, largely evangelical ideas about homosexuality exported to Uganda, which then takes them to their logical end.

GROSS: This legislation has just been proposed. It hasn’t been signed into law. So it’s not in effect yet and it might never be in effect. But it’s on the table. It’s before parliament. So is there a direct connection between The Family and this proposed anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda?

Mr. SHARLET: Well, the legislator that introduced the bill, a guy named David Bahati, is a member of The Family. He appears to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes their Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which The Family has poured millions of dollars working through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda.

GROSS: So you’re reporting the story for the first time today, and you found this story – this direct connection between The Family and the proposed legislation by following the money?

Mr. SHARLET: Yes, it’s – I always say that The Family is secretive, but not secret. You can go and look at 990s, tax forms and follow the money through these organizations that The Family describe as invisible. But you go and you look. You follow that money. You look at their archives. You do interviews where you can. It’s not so invisible anymore. So that’s how working with some research colleagues we discovered that David Bahati, the man behind this legislation, is really deeply, deeply involved in The Family’s work in Uganda, that the ethics minister of Uganda, Museveni’s kind of right-hand man, a guy named Nsaba Buturo, is also helping to organize The Family’s National Prayer Breakfast. And here’s a guy who has been the main force for this Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda’s executive office and has been very vocal about what he’s doing, in a rather extreme and hateful way. But these guys are not so much under the influence of The Family. They are, in Uganda, The Family.

Our tax code is subsidizing religiously driven state-sanctioned murder in other countries. There’s no pretty face you can put on this, and there’s no way, in hell or on Earth, you can sell this to any thinking person as Christianity.

Commenter YellowJournalism at Balloon Juice asks, “For his birthday, can we get Jesus some new followers?”

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