Pastor Names Helpful - and Not So Helpful - Ways to Help LGBT People in Uganda

Pastor Joseph Tolton published an op-ed in Religion Dispatches that explained the harm in “hactivism” for LGBT people in Uganda. The op-ed was in reaction to the news that an LGBT supportive group called “Anonymous” had hacked into several African government websites, posting messages of affirmation for LGBT people.

Tolton wrote the op-ed to remind the LGBT community in the United States that action in support for LGBT people in Uganda needs to be done at the direction of, and with the cooperation of the LGBT leaders on the ground in Uganda. The “hactivism” was widely condemned by the major LGBT organizations in Uganda.

Tolton has been a leader in raising awareness in the United States about the “kill the gays bill” in Uganda, and the oppression of LGBT people in that country. He organized a memorial at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem for Ugandan LGBT activist, David Kato, after he was murdered in 2010.

Tolton is currently running a campaign along with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, called Hope in Uganda, which calls on American clergy to sign on to support the LGBT people of Uganda and call for the protection of human life in all the countries where being LGBT is criminalized or punishable by death. He reminds groups like Anonymous that there is great power when clergy come together for justice, and that the roots of the oppression in Uganda is within the extremist anti-LGBT wing of evangelical Christianity.

It is always difficult to speak out against the LGBT community, but Joseph Tolton does it with grace and with the wisdom that comes from someone who has been following the lead of Ugandan LGBT leaders.