Boston-based think tank, The Political Research Associates of Boston, says that U.S based christian groups are attempting a “cultural colonisation” of Africa, opening offices in numerous african countries to promote attacks on homosexuality and abortion.
From The Guardian.
American religious organisations are expanding their operations across the continent, lobbying for conservative policies and laws and fanning homophobia, argues the Boston-based Political Research Associates (PRA).
The groups include the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson, which has established bases in Kenya and Zimbabwe.
"The religious right [in effect] claims that human rights activists are neocolonialists out to destroy Africa," the report states. Groups named in it vehemently rejected the claims.
Entitled Colonising African Values: How the US Christian Right is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa, the study analysed data from seven African countries and employed researchers for several months in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It identified three organisations it believes are aggressively targeting the continent: Robertson's ACLJ, the Catholic group Human Life International and Family Watch International, led by the Mormon activist Sharon Slater.
Each of these "frame their agendas as authentically African, in an effort to brand human rights advocacy as a new colonialism bent on destroying cultural traditions and values", the report says.
In the past five years, the report alleges, all "have launched or expanded their work in Africa dedicated to promoting their Christian right worldview. A loose network of rightwing charismatic Christians called the transformation movement joins them in fanning the flames of the culture wars over homosexuality and abortion by backing prominent African campaigners and political leaders."
Dr Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia and author of the report, said rightwing Christian groups encourage perceptions that same-sex relations are "un-African" and imposed by the west, a view that is in fact based on the Bible that arrived with colonialism rather traditional African culture.
He gave the example of a young lesbian in Zimbabwe who was taken to several churches to have "the devil driven out of her", but later honoured when her grandmother said she was in fact possessed by the spirit of her dead uncle, who had never married.
"The 'foreignness' of homosexuality is not true, but it is when presented in Christian-right language," Kaoma said.
Certain countries are more hospitable to US Christian-right campaigners than others, the research found, in part because of support from government officials.
"The presidents of Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Uganda themselves accused opposition parties of promoting homosexuality to undercut their influence and cater to powerful African religious conservatives."
The ACLJ was invited by Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, for example, to open offices to train lawyers to work on a constitution that would reflect "Christian values".
A similar effort was made to influence the writing of Kenya's and Zambia's constitutions with the inclusion of phrases such as "life begins at conception".
The report accuses Slater, from Family Watch International, of indulging in alarmist rhetoric that the UN's population control strategy will destroy the African family.
She has claimed homosexuals are significantly more promiscuous and "more likely to engage in paedophilia", it says.
Kaoma said: "[Slater] claims the UN has been taken over by homosexuals. She makes up nonsense and presents it as facts to Africans. She argues that terms such as 'gender rights' and 'sexual identity' are code for homosexuality."
Kaoma believes the American groups are in retreat in the US and so turning to Africa for quick gains.
"They seem to know they are losing the battle in the US, so the best they can do is to be seen to be winning somewhere.
"This gives them a reason to be fundraising in the US. Africa is a pawn in the battle they are fighting at home."
The report was welcomed by gay rights campaigners. Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities in Uganda, said: "I'm grateful for the documentation in the report that confirms that it is homophobia (not homosexuality) that is exported from the west.
"I hope this report serves as a wakeup call for faith communities in Uganda and the west alike to realise that the American culture wars imposed on us by the Christian right threaten not only African culture, but the very lives of LGBTI Africans like me."More at The Guardian.