Friday, February 5, 2010

Obama, Clinton Condemn Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill at National Prayer Breakfast (video)

Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington on Thursday and used the opportunity to condemn Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill.

This is big for two reasons. First, the National Prayer Breakfast is sponsored by the super secret group "The Family", whose membership reads like a who's who of Capital Hill's extreme right wing. This is the group largely responsible for inspiring the "Kill the Gays" bill in the first place, by exporting their extremist anti-gay rhetoric to third world countries like Uganda, where it has caught on like wildfire.

Second, and perhaps most importantly, this issue has forced the government of the United States for the first time ever to take a public stand against human rights violations targeting gays and lesbians. Some of us are old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan thought of us as disposable, brushing off the AIDS epidemic because it was only infecting "queers and junkies."

Hillary, who apparently had custody of the testicles yesterday, went first, speaking out against the use of religion "to justify horrific violence" and as a justification for the suppression of women and "to discriminate, even advocating the execution of gays and lesbians."

You can see the contempt in her eyes for the hypocrisy in the room. You gotta love Hillary, she's not afraid to step on toes.

The president's words were more measured and diplomatic, saying, "We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are, whether it's here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed, most recently in Uganda."

This clip from last night's Rachel Maddow's "Uganda Be Kidding Me" segment features parts of these speeches. Rachel had openly gay Episcopal Bishop Eugene Robinson on her show. Robinson's elevation to the position of bishop was the catalyst of a rift in the Episcopal/Anglican Communion over the role of gays and lesbians in the church and the issue of same-sex marriage.

As a response to the National Prayer Breakfast, Bishop Robinson and a group of LGBT activists took part in the "American Prayer Hour".

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