A still from "Vice" episode, "A Prayer for Uganda." Photo courtesy of HBO

Ugandan priest: LGBT people are fleeing for Kenya to avoid rampant discrimination

A still from Vice episode, "A Prayer for Uganda." Photo courtesy of HBO

A still from "Vice" episode, "A Prayer for Uganda." Photo courtesy of HBO

 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (RNS) A growing number of LGBT Ugandans are fleeing to neighboring Kenya to escape violence and persecution, a Ugandan Catholic priest says.

People are beaten, raped, evicted and dismissed from their jobs because of their sexual identity or orientation, the Rev. Anthony Musaala said during a talk at All Saints Catholic Church as part of a monthlong visit to the United States and Canada.

Even associating with or advocating for LGBT people may spur discrimination, he said.

Musaala, who spoke at the invitation of the All Saints Parish LGBT Task Force, estimates 500 gay and lesbian Ugandans are seeking asylum in Kenya. He recently met with U.N. officials, seeking increased financial support and human services for resettling “sexual refugees.”

He supports a worldwide refugee program for people affected by anti-gay policies and violence.

In 2013, Uganda’s parliament passed the “Kill the Gays” law, which called for life in prison for people who engage in same-sex relations. The law also punished individuals or groups that support gays. After international outrage, the constitutional court overturned the law in August 2014.

But Musaala said that did not end discrimination, and he said a new proposed bill may be even harsher.

The displaced don’t always find better circumstances in Kenya -- already burdened with more than 650,000 refugees from other African nations, he said.

“When their status is revealed, the police are quite brutal,” Musaala said.

Musaala, 58, was born in Ireland and educated in England and Uganda. He was ordained in 1994 in the Archdiocese of Kampala and began ministering to gays and lesbians in 1999. His archbishop considered that work “not in step with the church,” Musaala said.

In March 2013, Musaala wrote a paper challenging priestly celibacy and criticizing African priests who abuse minors or father children and abandon them. His archbishop, Cyprian Lwanga, said the paper “damages the good morals of the Catholic believers and faults the church’s teaching.” He suspended Musaala indefinitely from priestly duties, which means the priest cannot celebrate the sacraments.

An energetic man who speaks with a British accent, Musaala is also an award-winning musician with a large following in Africa. Uganda’s Daily Monitor called him “a household name performing a cocktail of reggae to R&B.”

Before his suspension, some in the church had criticized the “Dancing Priest” for “desecrating the robes which are meant for the altar,” the newspaper reported.

Musaala now works with Ark Communes, which creates safe housing communities for LGBT people in Kenya, and he used his talk as an occasion to ask for donations for the organization.

Ugandan political and religious leaders say Westerners brought homosexuality to the country. But Musaala criticizes American evangelicals who “parachuted into Uganda and started spreading their message of hate.”

Last month, HBO’s documentary newsmagazine series “Vice” aired “A Prayer for Uganda,” which highlighted the anti-gay atmosphere Musaala described. The segment includes pastors who compare homosexuality to terrorism and pedophilia. It also shows a Ugandan newspaper that says, “Hang them. They are after our children.”

Uganda has “become like Sodom and Gomorrah,” Pastor Scott Lively said in the documentary, referring to the biblical cities punished with fire and brimstone for sin.

Lively, an American evangelist, was sued in 2012, accused of violating international law by inciting the persecution of gays and lesbians in Uganda. Since 2002, Lively has “conspired with religious and political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings that gay people would sodomize African children and corrupt their culture,” The New York Times reported.

U.S. LGBT rights envoy Randy Berry plans to visit Uganda next month.

The "Vice" segment features a lesbian who said she became pregnant after four men raped her when they learned of her sexuality. It also talks with young men who tell a reporter they would kill gay men and rape lesbians.

The Rev. Kopya Kaoma, an Anglican priest who has testified before U.S. Congress and the United Nations on U.S. conservatives’ role in spreading homophobia in Africa, said anti-gay activists like Lively are motivated in part by the growing acceptance of gay marriage in the U.S.

“They want to see if they can defeat them on a global scale,” he said in the documentary. “On a global scale, they are winning.”

Vince Sgambati, a parishioner at All Saints who attended Musaala's talk, encouraged the 40 people in attendance to share the story of LGBT asylum-seekers.

“When you are queer, when you cannot live an honest life under heterosexist domination," he said, "then you have to speak for your brothers and sisters everywhere."





  1. But the assaults, rapes, murders and public discrimination is all done in the name of “hating sin”. Those people really loved the victims of those acts and were showing concern for the souls of the gay people. /sarcasm

    What makes this especially galling is the tacit support these African nations received from American evangelicals to put these discriminatory measures in place. They cannot enact a pogrom of gay people in the US, so they do so abroad.

  2. Scott Lively is one of the principal anti-gays from the US who incited Uganda to make those anti-gay laws. He is defending his misdeeds in federal court now.

  3. “Sexual refugees”…..wow, another sub group, of a subculture, of a culture, of humanity at large. I’m sure there are more immediate issues in Uganda that this Catholic priest could be addressing, but no, he is sponsored by an LGBT group to concentrate specifically on 500 refugees who are afraid to have sex in Uganda. Does anyone think that Uganda embraces western morality….. low standard that it is? Let the 500 move on and settle in Kenya…….within 6 months they will be slated as guests at the Academy Awards, introduced by Clooney and Sarandon. Catholicism should not embroil itself in the homosexual manifesto, since their ACTS are foundationally sinful. Protect the individual, but do nothing to forward their agenda.

  4. Its funny how you show zero sympathy for people who are being beaten, murdered, raped and discriminated against. You just attack their identity and justify the repugnant behavior against them.

    “Does anyone think that Uganda embraces western morality”

    They were inspired to act so badly by AMERICAN Christian groups who sponsored such discriminatory laws. SO the answer is they embrace American conservative Christian morality. ie, justify any kind of bad acts towards others and claim God sanctions it.

    Can you feel the Christian love here?

    JR, don’t ever make claims that Christians like yourself have any concept of morality.You are sanctioning murder, assault, rape and discrimination. Your post is a perfect example of how repugnant your version of morality is.

    Also the next time you make the phony claim that atheists or others don’t really have a moral compass because they are not Christian like you, go eff yourself.

  5. Yes, Larry, it was just hilarious that poster wrote, “Catholicism should not embroil itself in the homosexual manifesto,” whereas we know anti-gays have enjoyed the collusion committed by the Catholic bishops in throwing anti-gay Hate Votes. The federal judge who revoked the 2008 California anti-gay H8te Vote had in his possession an email written by Catholic bishops to Mormon leaders in which they both agreed to violate California campaign finance laws to throw the H8te Vote by making secret, illegal cash and in-kind contributions to the H8te Vote. The email serves as proof positive they knew they were breaking the law; the email itself is an act of criminal collusion. Here is documentation about that email:


    The email is now in the possession of the US Supreme Court.

  6. I made no judgement on the murders, rapes, etc. of gays in Uganda, so cool your pumps. It is not a civilized country, and homosexual activity should not be entwined with Catholic action by a priest. It implies recognition of homosexual acts, which the Church condemns. Let gay activists take this on themselves and not using a Catholic priest that suggests normalcy or virtue.

  7. Big deal. Dealing with subversive propaganda from the gay underbelly , whose lies are astounding, may make it necessary for the righteous to choose to do whatever is necessary to keep a moral truth alive. Am I supposed to be alarmed that the Supreme Court has the smoking gun? Could care less. I’m proud of the Catholic/Mormon fight for a healthy society.

  8. Beatings and murders and rapes, oh my!

    This article is highly problematic in presenting a narrative of Africans as violent savages who conduct witch hunts against LGBT people. Instead, why not frame the story as one of a strong indigenous population holding to their deeply held traditional Christian beliefs in the face of colonially-imposed athiestic Western humanist values.

    Fight the Kyriarchy! Decolonize religious journalism!

  9. Catholic double speak.
    The Catholic clergy were among those who petitioned the Constitutional Court of Uganda to stand in DEFENSE of the Anti Homosexuality Act.

    Now they are standing up and presenting themselves as the saviors of the homosexuals?

    Setting the house on fire, then presenting yourself as the great savior fighting to put out your own fire does not exempt you from bearing liability for the fire you started.

  10. Christianity is a “Western Morality” that was imposed on Uganda by colonial powers. So yes, Uganda does embrace “western morality”.

  11. When you refer to “moral truth”, you are referring to the “moral truth” you have chosen to adopt and adhere to.
    There are many truths. There is only one body of facts.
    Fact is the enemy of truth.

    Your beliefs and the followers of those beliefs do not have a monopoly on morality or truth.

  12. Violence is not an option for a true Christian, “…for violence is an enemy to justice.” Justice means to give each person his or her due.

    The proper way to protest is to pray for the person(s). No one has the right to harm another person for ANY REASON except self-defense.

  13. ” …Musaala criticizes American evangelicals who ‘parachuted into Uganda and started spreading their message of hate.’ ”

    American evangelicals and other conservatives are a loveless bunch unless you live by their attitudes. I’ve been with them and see how they work. They have few kind words to say about others and continually praise themselves.

    Also, read again Larry’s comment of 4:49 PM

  14. Congrats JR, you are saying just what we said when it was the Jews.

  15. It is super-clear to me that in Germany in the 1930s JR would have denounced Jew-friendly pastors in the same style

  16. Joe, you are comical. Truly, you are. Do you need the approval of the atheistic gay anarchists here that bad? Sorry your life is so desperate. Anyway, Jews could do nothing to improve their lot in Nazi Germany. Their acts were not an issue, it was their Jewishness. If you were a Jew, you were a target……even a Christian baptized Jew was marked for elimination.
    And we are talking multi-millions of people. The atheistic Nazis were the murderers.
    Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, no different than in the US 50 yes ago.
    Let them fight their own fight. Don’t cloud the issue by engaging a Catholic priest to do your dirty work. Really, “sexual refugees”? I gotta laugh.

  17. You’re welcome, Josie. Put on the pink triangle now, like a good girl/boy.

  18. Your version of “Moral Truth” involves indifference or sanctioning of murder, rape, assault and discrimination. JR you are in no position to tell anyone what is and isn’t moral. You have no concept of the words.

  19. Yes you did. You not only showed indifference to the acts, you belittled the victims with crass remarks about them being a “trendy cause”. So now in addition to being a repugnant human being, you are a bad liar as well.

  20. So why don’t you show a spine and denounce the political and religious leaders who are inspiring the violence in a clear and direct manner?

  21. I bet these folks would think dealing with someone not wanting to bake a wedding cake for a gay wedding is, to excuse the pun, a cakewalk.

    Sad that gays in the US have to rail about cakes when you have gays in other countries who are assaulted, beheaded, and thrown off tall buildings.

  22. Oh, Larry, you are running out of names to call me. If you want to worry about 500 gays leaving Uganda then jump on the next plane to Kenya and help them. I think the comical idea of “sexual refugees” would be a cause you are prepared to be an ambassador for. Hundreds of thousands of people are being forced out of their countries for reasons far, far, more important than who they are allowed to have sex with.

  23. @Sister,

    “Violence is not an option for a true Christian…”,

    Except nobody ever explained this to Jesus.

    “Bring to me those enemies of mine WHO WOULD NOT HAVE ME FOR THEIR KING, and EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    A true believer is the most terrifying thing on earth.

  24. “gays in the US have to rail about cakes…”

    Religion insists on bigotry no matter which country it is preached. Jesus demands it:

    “they are dogs” – JESUS
    “they are swine” – JESUS
    “they are fools” – JESUS
    “Testify against them” – JESUS
    “go and tell him his fault” – JESUS
    “execute them” – JESUS
    “the master will cut him to pieces” – JESUS
    “he will be punished severely” – JESUS
    “Hate them” – JESUS

    Go ahead and look for the context – it fixes nothing.
    The heart of Christianity, Islam and other tribalist, ancient philosophies is simply a game of ‘follow the leader.’

    Primitive peoples needed this nonsense in order to survive against other tribes thousands of years ago. Religion is worse than useless to us today.

  25. Oh no, I don’t want you to worry about the handiwork of people who share your views. That is far too inconvenient to think about.

    I just find it ridiculous that someone can dare lecture others about “moral values” and be utterly indifferent to rampant murder, rape, assault and discrimination. I am not surprised you do so.

    I just want to make it clear that I have no reason whatsoever to take you seriously when you start spouting such hypocritical garbage.

  26. Lecturing morality? Isn’t it you that believes morality is set by the standard of the indigent society? Why should Uganda imitate your morals, is it one of our States? It is illegal and immoral to commit sodomy in Uganda…… have they no right to express this? That’s discrimination on your part.
    I suggest you and your army invade Uganda under your rainbow flag and fight the crusade for sexual indisgression. Let me know how it turns out.

  27. “Isn’t it you that believes morality is set by the standard of the indigent society? ”

    Um, no. I never said that, ever. Nice try. Come back again when you have a response which isn’t canned horsecrap.

    Relative morality is all you. All acts are permitted if you claim God told you its OK. You can murder, rape, assault and discriminate against anyone you think God hates. Its not the act which is bad, its who is giving the orders for you.

    I am an absolutist when it comes to morality. Morality isn’t what someone tells you is right and wrong and following an arbitrary set of rules unthinkingly. It is making decisions based on how it will affect/harm others. Knowing intentionally harming others is bad. All sane human beings know being harmed is bad. Sane human beings also know others don’t like being harmed as well.

    Its called being a human being. Something you know nothing about.

  28. What hokey crap.You reword your endless tirades which render all of them meaningless. Morality is not fluid with society, it is a standard that people should seek to achieve that is immovable. Murder is always wrong…immoral, and Uganda may reach that understanding someday. Bending the rules of morality is simply immorality, whether its out of ignorance, selfishness, or fanatical defiance of what is good.

  29. JR, instead of attacking a strawman position based on absolutely nothing I have ever said, try being more responsive to the issues presented.

    “Morality is not fluid with society”

    I NEVER SAID ANYTHING THAT. You are making crap up rather than address what I have said.

    I accused YOU of being fluid in morality (“whatever I think God wants is OK to do”) and declared having a personal absolute concept of morality (actions are judged on its impact on others, not arbitrary codes and pronouncements from outside authority)

    “Murder is always wrong…immoral, and Uganda may reach that understanding someday”

    It was AMERICAN CHRISTIANS who taught them it was OK to murder gays, because God says so. They even pledged money and political support to make it easy. You certainly didn’t condemn the actions either. So your little attempt at writing this off as the work of savage Africans is pure dishonest nonsense.

  30. JR,,

    “The atheistic Nazis were the murderers.”

    Atheistic? Is that why they slaughtered atheists along with the Jews?

    “My Lord and My Savior Jesus Christ, a fighter, a soldier who knew those Jews for the demons and vipers they were and he cleansed the Temple of their vile evil.” – HITLER, Mein Kampf

    The Nazis were more Christian than the Pope.
    And the Pope AGREED!*

    *Vatican Koncordat 1933 –
    The first Nazi peace treaty included the Catholic Church’s full endorsement of the Nazi Party and its stated objectives of ridding Europe of the Jews.
    Catholic Church bells celebrated Hitler’s birthday every April – even during the WAR!


    “Article 16”

    “Before the bishops take possession of their dioceses
    they shall take THIS OATH OF ALLEGIANCE..before the Reichsstatthalter..as follows:

    “I swear and promise before God and on the Holy Gospel, as befits a bishop, loyalty to the German Reich and to the province of …. I swear and promise to respect, and to have my clergy
    to respect…In dutiful solicitude for the welfare and interest of the German State, I shall try… to prevent any injury that might threaten it.”





    ARTICLE 27:

    “The Army Bishop is responsible for the direction of the military pastoral care. His ecclesiastical appointment is made by the Holy See after the latter has put itself in touch with the Reich Government in order to designate in agreement with it a suitable candidate.
    The ecclesiastical appointment of the chaplains and other military clergy is made by the Army Bishop after prior agreement with the competent authorities of the Reich.”

    The Catholic Church remains a criminal organization.

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