GLAAD provided strategic planning, media assistance and co-sponsorship to the first American Prayer Hour, on February 4, in 17 cities nationwide, to pray for Uganda and all countries that criminalize gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. On the same day, President Obama attended The National Prayer Breakfast and called the anti-gay law in Uganda “odious” and ”unconscionable.” The National Prayer Breakfast gained notoriety this year because its sponsor, ”The Family,” an evangelical Christian group, has ties to MP Bahati who proposed Uganda’s anti-gay law. Bahati is “The Family’s” organizer in Uganda.
The American Prayer Hour opening press conference was held in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, February 2, and included Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in The Episcopal Church. Poignant remarks were made by Moses, a gay Ugandan man who is seeking asylum in the US.
Moses spoke at the National Press Club press conference with a bag over his head to avoid retribution, highlighting the serious impact of the proposed law. He shared his story of being raped by police and being too afraid to go to the hospital for treatment. He said, “It breaks my heart that I have to leave my family and loved ones to seek asylum in this country simply because I am gay. Even as I speak, gay people are being persecuted as a result of this proposed law against gay people. I can only imagine how bad it will be if the bill actually passes.”
The New York Times, Religion News Service, Christian Post and blogs covered the opening press conference in the nation’s Capital on Tuesday. Key American Prayer Hour gatherings were held on Thursday in Washington, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Berkeley, Dallas, Boston, Anchorage and Atlanta.
GLAAD collaborated on the American Prayer Hour with the Human Rights Campaign, The National Gay & Lesbian Taskforce, the National Black Justice Coalition, Metropolitan Community Church, PFLAG, Progressive Christians Uniting, Truth Wins Out, Two Spirit Press Room, Arcus and Haas Jr.
GLAAD also worked to amplify the voices of these inclusive faith leaders by drafting press materials and earning media coverage.