Showing posts with label United Kingdom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United Kingdom. Show all posts

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lesbian Granted Temporary Reprieve from UK Deportation to Uganda; How "Gay" Someone Needs to Be to Seek Asylum Is Also a U.S. Issue

     Here's an update on my last post.  The BBC reports:
     A Ugandan woman who says she is a lesbian has been granted an injunction temporarily preventing her deportation.  Brenda Namiggade says she fears for her life if she is returned from the UK to Uganda, where gay sex is illegal.  Her initial asylum application had been refused. The Home Office said a court had ruled she was "not homosexual" and therefore did not have a genuine claim....  Ms Namiggade's case will now go to judicial review.
     Ms Namiggade's legal team asked a judge to grant an injunction against her deportation, which was due to take place on Friday evening.  The 29-year-old's lawyer told the BBC his client had already boarded her flight at Heathrow airport when the injunction was granted.  Her lawyer, Abdulrahman Jafar, said he would argue that Ms Namiggade should be allowed to remain in the UK regardless of her sexuality.  "The press coverage about her activities certainly expose her to a real risk if she is to be returned to Uganda," he said.
     Ms Namiggade, who was held at a detention centre just outside London, has told the BBC's Network Africa programme she was "shaking" with fear at the prospect of returning to Uganda.  She said she fled to the UK in 2002 after being beaten and victimised because of her sexuality.
     Before you conclude that the United States treats homosexuals, who seek asylum from their native states where LGBT persons are murdered or imprisoned, any better than the UK, read on.  The New York Times reports:
     Amid international outcry over news of the Czech Republic’s testing the veracity of claims of purportedly gay asylum seekers by attaching genital cuffs to monitor their arousal while they watched pornography, some gay refugees and their advocates in New York are complaining that they can be penalized for not outwardly expressing their sexuality. While asylum-seekers and rights groups here expressed relief that use of the so-called erotic lie detector is impossible to imagine in the United States, some lamented in recent interviews that here too, homosexuals seeking asylum may risk being dismissed as not being gay enough. 
     The very notion of “gay enough,” of course, or proving one’s sexuality through appearance, dress and demeanor, can be offensive — and increasingly androgynous fashions and the social trend known as metrosexuality have blurred identities in many people’s minds.
     “Judges and immigration officials are adding a new hurdle in gay asylum cases that an applicant’s homosexuality must be socially visible,” said Lori Adams, a lawyer at Human Rights First, a nonprofit group, who advises people seeking asylum based on sexuality. “The rationale is that if you don’t look obviously gay, you can go home and hide your sexuality and don’t need to be worried about being persecuted.”
     So basically, U.S. policy is if you can pass by lying about who you are and living in the closet, then you should.  So much for equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ugandan Lesbian to be Deported from UK and Possibly Face Death; David Kato, Ugandan Gay Rights Leader, Assassinated

     From an email I just received from Get Equal:
     Brenda Namigadde, a Ugandan lesbian in the UK, faces deportation TOMORROW back to the life-threatening persecution she fled eight years ago.
     We just found out that one of the leading figures in the LGBT movement in Uganda, David Kato, was murdered yesterday in his home. This awful tragedy makes clear what's at stake for Brenda if she is forced to return.
     Will you join more than 10,000 people in 85 countries and sign this urgent letter pressuring U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May to stop Brenda’s deportation?
     Click HERE to sign the letter.

     There was tragic news out of Uganda today.  The Guardian reports the murder of David Kato, gay civil rights pioneer and leader:
     He was known as the "grandfather of the kuchus", as gay people in Uganda call themselves, a brave and fiercely committed activist who led the struggle for gay rights for more than a decade. David Kato went to jail for his beliefs, and to court, winning his greatest victory three weeks ago against a newspaper that had called for him to be hanged.
     But early on Wednesday afternoon he appeared to have paid the ultimate price: he had been battered to death with a hammer in his home in Kampala, shocking the gay and human rights communities locally and abroad.
     Kato's friends and colleagues believe his sexuality and work are likely to have played a role in his murder. Oloka-Onyango said Kato did not appear to have been involved in "shady business or party politics, the things that normally lead to this kind of attack".
     "This is a very strange thing to happen in the middle of the day, and suggests pre-meditation," he said.
     A joint statement from several civil society organisations in South Africa, where Kato lived in the 1990s, paid tribute to "our courageous queer African martyr", and said that certain politicians and religious leaders in Uganda were "at least in part responsible for this callous murder" due to their "fostering of prejudice and homophobia".

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pope Benedict, Nazism, Atheism, & What He Should Have Said in the United Kingdom


     Imagine the prophetic witness that could have been made were Pope Ben to have admitted his wrongs and said this instead:  

     "Yes, Hitler was a Catholic.  In him, we see the tragedy of how religion can be used as a weapon and justification for the most horrendous of crimes against humanity.  I witnessed this with my own eyes, when I, myself, was a member of the Nazi movement.  

     "There is blood on my hands.  I failed to stand up for what was right and just.  I saved myself rather than risking my own safety.  I was a coward.  The gravity of this sin, I carry to my grave.  But from my failure, I have learned this.  

     "What Hitler did, what the warrior popes did before him, what religious believers around the world, including Catholics, have been doing throughout history: killing in the names of their faiths, ideologies, and political affiliations is wrong.  The greater mysteries of the universe that some call God can never be used to justify the taking of another human life.  

     "As a former Nazi, I can never forget that Catholics cooperated in such sinful atrocities as the Holocaust.  As I greet the Queen of England, I can never forget that followers of the Church of England were killed in the name of Rome.   These historical realities inform my passion as I call on people of all faiths to stop killing in the name of God."

    But, Pope Ben didn't preach the truth.  Instead, he lied and blamed atheists for the evils of the world.  In the process, he remained the self-preserving coward that he was when he cooperated with the extermination of six million Jews.
Saint Benedict, the Coward
Image via The Post Online

Richard Dawkins Refutes Pope's Claim that Catholic Hitler Was an Atheist

     Last week during his first address in the United Kingdom, an address to the Queen at Edinburgh, Pope Benedict blamed the crimes of Hitler and the Nazi regime on atheism--this coming from a pope, who remained silent in the face of the Holocaust.  The pope again showed the world that he's a self-serving liar and a hypocrite.

     Rather than standing up for his allegedly anti-Nazi Catholic faith and risking martyrdom, young Ben saved his own ass by joining Hitler Youth and eventually fought the Nazi army.  Now that's character befitting of the centuries-long tradition of warrior popes that sought to convert the world's non-Catholics by the sword.  This is the Tradition to which Hitler turned for justification of the Holocaust.

     "The anti-Semitism of the new movement (Christian Social movement) was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge."  [Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1, Chapter 3]
     "I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work."  [Adolph Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936]
     "And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God."  [Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf, pp.174]
     "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."  [Adolph Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941] 
     In the video below, Richard Dawkins speaks to protesters of the pope in London.  Dawkins refutes Pope Benedict's lies and unmasks the twisted logic and projection of a guilty church.  (The full text of Dawkin's speech is available here.)

     Here is one protester's video diary of the pope protest.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Pope Plot" Suspects Released Without Charges in United Kingdom

     It turns out that there wasn't a terror plot against Pope Ben in the United Kingdom after all.  

     Six men arrested by counter-terrorism police investigating a plot to attack the Pope have all been released without charge, Scotland Yard has confirmed. The men, all believed to be of North African origin, were arrested on Friday in London.
     A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Six men who were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000... were all released without charge late on Saturday night and early this morning."
     Police searched eight homes in north and east London and two business premises in central London, including a street cleaning depot as part of the investigation.  The Met said the searches of the premises had been completed and had not revealed any weapons or suspicious materials.
Ciao! 
 Image via Sky News

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pope's UK Visit Has Been One Long Non-Apology Apology for the Cover-Up and Sexual Abuse of Children

     The first three days of Pope Benedict's controversial £19 million+ visit to the United Kingdom are over.  The big question continues to be when and if he will apologize for his participation in the cover-up of sexual abuse committed by priests.  But sticking to the role of politician rather than shepherd, Ben continues walk the familiar path of the non-apology apology.

     On his flight to the UK, Ben dodged questions about child rape without giving an all-out apology.  Southern California Public Radio reports:
     Speaking in Italian to reporters on board a flight to Scotland, the pope acknowledged that the church failed to act decisively or quickly enough to deal with cases of child rape and molestation by priests that have spanned decades and involved tens of thousands of victims.
     Benedict, who led the Vatican office that investigated child abuse claims during Pope John Paul II's papacy, said he was shocked and saddened on learning of the scope of the abuse partly because priests take vows to be Christ's voice upon ordination.
     "It's difficult to understand how a man who has said this could then fall into this perversion. It's a great sadness," Benedict said. "It's also sad that the authority of the church wasn't sufficiently vigilant, and not sufficiently quick or decisive to take necessary measures" to stop it.
     But, he didn't say "I'm sorry. I was a part of this failure to protect and respect our most vulnerable and innocent children. I acted out of self-preservation, pride, and malice.  I take responsibility for the wrongs I committed." 

     Instead and once again, the spineless pontiff "acknowledged" a general failure of some amorphous "church," but failed himself to take personal responsibility for his actions in shuffling and protecting pedophile priests.  As I learned in seminary, if there is no contrition there can be neither absolution nor reconciliation.

Above photo of papal shoes via Gaurdian.
Below photo of Pope in a bulletproof bubble via Telegraph
     In regards to Ben's statement about the difficulty of understanding how priests could possibly become abusers, he's living in a bulletproof bubble.  It's not difficult to understand, unless of course you don't understand the psychology of sexual predators and if you've lived your entire life in an organization that views priests as stand-ins for one's god.  

     Priests are men first.  They are human.  They are just as corruptible as any other person.  It's that simple.  But dressing priests up as divine media and protecting them within an organization that is anti-science and anti-reason blinds those within the church, like Ben, from seeing simple reality.

     Using his strongest language so far when discussing the child abuse scandal the pope said: "I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes."
     But victims' representatives said his comments did not, in fact, add up to an apology.  Colm O'Gorman, from the Irish victim support group One in Four, said: "I feel deep sorrow about the suffering I see on the news, but there's an enormous difference between an expression of sorrow and an apology and acknowledgement of responsibility.  "The Vatican chooses its words very carefully and that so-called apology could have been written by lawyers. It has 'no liability' all over it."
     Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests asked: "Why, if the pope feels so much remorse, won't he take action? Showing remorse isn't leadership. Taking decisive action is leadership."
     Here's the homily from Ben's mass at Hyde Park today.  There is no mention of sexual abuse, the scandal, contrition, or responsibility for these acts.  There is only talk of how great and glorious the church is and the need for young people to dedicate their lives to serving the church's "culture of life."  As certain priests in my past use to rail on sinners: Out of sight, out of mind.

     Many gathered at Hyde Park in protest of Pope Ben and the Catholic Church's teachings that are supposed to promote "truth" and "life."  From the Guardian:
     Day three of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain and it was a day for protests and anti-papists under bright blue skies in central London. Around 10,000 people took to the capital's streets for a Protest the Pope rally and march against what the organisers called "papal intolerance" and to condemn the state funding of the visit.
     They came in red cardboard papal hats scrawled with the words "bigot" and "homophobe" and carrying placards, rainbow flags, pledges of atheism and balloons made of condoms. One giant banner showing the Pope carrying a swastika was later taken down after offending many of the protesters, who went as far as complaining to the police officers lining the route of the march to Downing Street.... [Wouldn't it be great if Americans were this intelligent in their protests?]
     The protest organiser Peter Tatchell told the Observer the event was held both to send a message to the Pope that child abusers had to be brought to account and to call on the British government not to tolerate the Pope's "harsh, intolerant views on women's rights, on gay equality and on the use of condoms which is so vital to stopping the spread of the HIV virus".
     If the pope's key message during his visit has been to warn against atheism and secularism, then this rally was the chance of those with those views to present their view of Benedict. "An enemy of humanity" was the unminced words of prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, who gave a strong speech to the rally on its arrival at Downing Street.
     Comedian Al Murray also figured among the crowd. He said: "Like a lot of people I am a perplexed that it is a state visit. The pope's opposition to condoms kills people. It is all very well him lecturing us on morals, but he should look at his own organisation's view."
     What will tomorrow's itinerary in Birmingham bring?  We can only assume more of the same.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Catholic Cardinal Kasper Makes Controversial Racist Comment on Eve of Pope's UK Visit

    Image from Guardian 
  The Guardian Reports:
     The pope's visit to the UK is mired in controversy after one of Benedict XVI's senior advisers dropped out after comparing an arrival in multicultural Britain to landing "in a third-world country".   Cardinal Walter Kasper – the Vatican's leading expert on relations with the Church of England – also accused the UK of discriminating against Christians.
     The pope's spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said tonight that the cardinal "had no negative intention, nor [a] lesser appreciation for the United Kingdom", but had been referring to Britain's multi-ethnic composition.  
     So according to the pope's cardinal and spokesman: People of Color = Poverty.

     Ouch.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pope Makes Preemptive Attack on Marriage Equality before Trip to U.K.

     In a prelude to his trip to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict has once again condemned equal civil marriage rights for same sex couples.  (For those of you in the U.K., there are some protests of the Pope being planned.  Join up here.)

     Benedict, speaking before paying a historic visit to the U.K. later this week, said the Roman Catholic Church “cannot approve of legal initiatives that imply a re-evaluation of the life of the couple and the family.”  The pope, in a reference to legalized marriage among homosexuals, said such laws “contribute to the weakening of the principles of natural law” and to “confusion about society’s values.”  He made his remarks today while receiving Germany’s new envoy to the Holy See at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.
 Image from Mario Piperni

Monday, September 6, 2010

Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandal Update; Pope Benedict to Have Secret Meeting with Victims in Britain

     The sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic church continues, even if it isn't on the news every night.


     Here are other secrets recently exposed:

     A grand jury in Sullivan County has indicted a former Roman Catholic priest on criminal sexual conduct and aggravated rape charges.  The charges are the latest against 76-year-old William Casey stemming from accusations of sexual abuse over 30 years ago.  Warren Tucker of Jeffersonville, Ind., has said Casey abused him for five years, beginning in 1975 when he was a fifth-grader at St. Dominic's church in Kingsport, Tenn.
     A Catholic priest convicted of sexually abusing three young sisters has been [sentenced to be] jailed for four years.  Father Eugene Lewis, 76, was found guilty of 11 charges of assault between 1963 and 1973. The sisters said the abuse began when they were as young as seven. He had denied the charges.  The abuse took place at their County Fermanagh home.  In May, a jury in Omagh unanimously convicted Lewis, who lived in Dublin before his six-week trial.The former provincial superior of the Society of Missionaries of Africa was also accused of raping one of the sisters, but since the alleged incident happened in Dublin he could not be tried for the offence in Northern Ireland.
     Father Owino, a native of Kenya, is a priest of the Apostles of Jesus, a religious community with regional headquarters in Philadelphia. He was arrested July 8 in Fairfax, Va., and charged with aggravated sexual battery involving the 11-year-old daughter of close friends in Herndon, Va. The abuse reportedly occurred in July, when he was staying with the family.
     A 51-year-old Catholic priest wanted in Texas for four counts of sexual abuse of a child was arrested Friday in Lawrence.  The U.S. Marshals Service tracked down John M. Fiala, 51, after receiving a tip on his whereabouts. Fiala was charged Tuesday in Edwards County, Texas, with the abuse, said Matt Cahill of the U.S. Marshals Service
     Vintage ceramic tile and linoleum in his new workplace led attorney Gregory Guggemos to recall his days at St. Vincent home for children in the 1950s, he said Tuesday. Guggemos said he was abused at that home by its founder, Msgr. John Slowey, who led Catholic Social Services of Lansing.  He settled a claim against the Catholic Diocese of Lansing for $225,000 last month. He said he hopes telling his story will help his healing process -- and other victims of clergy abuse.  "I know now I did nothing wrong when I was at the orphanage. I have no responsibility for being sexually abused. I am a victim," said Guggemos, who formerly lived in Haslett.
     In the dark, spartan room lit only by an oil lamp, the priest gave the little girl a piece of candy and told her to keep her mouth shut.  “He told me it was our secret,” that little girl said recently. “He told me to be quiet or I’d be in serious trouble.”  She was 7 and she’d just been raped.
     Shame and fear of ridicule kept him quiet about alleged sexual abuse by a Catholic priest in Eureka nearly 30 years ago, a Humboldt County man said Tuesday...  He is one of two Humboldt County men who filed lawsuits last month accusing the Santa Rosa Diocese of fraud and negligence for hiring the Rev. Patrick Joseph McCabe and failing to disclose his sexual misconduct to parishioners in Eureka.  The men, who both served as altar boys, were not identified in the lawsuits. They both allege they were repeatedly fondled by McCabe, now 74, at St. Bernard Church in Eureka in the early 1980s.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Priest-Terrorist's Bombing in Northern Ireland Covered up by Catholic Church

     While American Christians are busy calling Muslims terrorists, a police report in Northern Ireland shows that a Catholic priest was not only a murderous terrorist, but was also allowed to escape thanks to deal struck between Holy Hypocritical Mother Church and the British government.  

     How's that for respecting the "sanctity of life"?

     The British government and the Roman Catholic church colluded to cover up the suspected involvement of a priest in a 1972 bombing that killed nine people and injured 30, a new report said Tuesday.
     The Northern Ireland police ombudsman's report determined that Father James Chesney was the prime suspect in the blast in the village of Claudy, just outside of Londonderry and that the police chose not to pursue him. The Irish Republican Army has been blamed for the attack.
     ''A senior (police) officer sought the government's assistance in December 1972, through their engagement with senior figures of the Catholic Church, to 'render harmless a dangerous priest,' '' the report said.
     Despite the suspicions of authorities, the church and U.K. officials struck a deal that allowed Chesney to move to a parish in Ireland where British prosecutors lacked the jurisdiction to investigate him. Police approached the leaders apparently because of fears that arresting a cleric would inflame a tense situation...  
     The deal was struck following a meeting between Cardinal William Conway, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland at the time, and Britain's representative in Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw, documents cited by the report said.
     Of course, the current Cardinal Sean Brady of Ireland claims that the Catholic church had nothing to do with the cover-up of Father Chesney's murderous terror attack, just like Brady had nothing to do with the cover-up of the countless child rapes perpetrated by clergy.

The lives taken by Father Chesney's terrorist attack.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whirlwind Tour of Gay Rights around the World

     Here's a CNN report that gives a cross section of the state of gay rights in various countries around the globe. (Bump to Joe.My.God for the video.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Drill Baby Drill, Spill BP Spill, 34 Days of Clean-Up Hypocrisy

     After thirty-four days, the BP oil spill in the gulf of Mexico continues spewing oil as slicks coat the Gulf Coast.  Where are the chants of the Republican National Convention "Drill, baby, drill"?  Where does one drill in Sarah Palin's Real America?

     Here, Jon Stewart points out some of the numerous political hypocrisies in the ongoing environmental disaster the Gulf Coast is enjoying courtesy of BP.
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     Here is Rachel Maddow's latest coverage of the environmental disaster care of BP, our government, and our culture's addiction to oil that is literally destroying our planet.  Maddow discusses whether BP's promise to clean up every last drop is even possible.

     Keith Olbermann covers the environmental hypocrisy of BP's use of dispersants that the United Kingdom outlawed ten years ago due to their toxicity.  BP continues using the dispersants, even after last week the EPA ordered an immediate end to their use.  He also calls President Obama to task, for not taking charge of the situation.



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Uganda Kill-the-Gays Bill Update: United Kingdom to Ban Ugandan MP

     Finally the government challenges Uganda's kill-the-gays bill.

     No, not the United States government.

     The British government will ban a Ugandan MP from travelling to the UK if he is successful in passing a law that would impose the death penalty in Uganda for being gay.  Civil servants in the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development and the Borders Agency are drawing up plans to block the visa of born-again Christian MP David Bahati if he does not drop legislation that would see consenting adults who have gay sex imprisoned for life and impose the death penalty on those with HIV – which will be called "aggravated homosexuality".  The bill also proposes the death penalty for those having gay sex with anyone under the age of 18, with someone disabled or what the legislation describes as "serial offenders".  It also calls for life prison sentences for those "promoting homosexuality", which could come to mean human rights groups or those who fail to inform on a gay couple.  One senior British government source said the issue could turn into a "major diplomatic incident if the Ugandans do not back down".
     Thanks to Towleroad for the heads up!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Science vs. Religion: One View

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."

     The picture from Atheist Campaign in the United Kingdom.  Can you imagine the kind of violence and protest this sort of free speech would incite in the United States?