Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, David Cato in Uganda

The shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona; The death through beating of Gay Activist David Cato in Uganda The deaths of some persons and the injuries sustained by Congresswoman Giffords and others in Arizona have prompted a rare joint public statement by Chuck Colson and Jim Wallis. Colson is described by some reporters as a representative of the Religious Right and Wallis of the Religious Left.

They say in their statement that "...no act of incivility can be blamed for the shooting of Representative Gabriele Giffords. But, we should not lose this moment for moral reflection and renewal. We must re-examine the tone and character of our public debate, because solving the enormous problems we face as a nation will require that we work for a more civil public square."

Some of the officials in Uganda have said that David Cato was beaten and killed as the result of an act of robbery. Others, understandably link his death to his protests against the anti-Gay legislation words and actions of some of the leaders of Uganda and others. The shootings in Arizona have had the effect of prompting some new discussions and symbolic actions in an effort to promote civility in our public discussions and debates.

WILL THE DEATH OF DAVID CATO DO THE SAME IN UGANDA AND IN THE USA WHERE SOME RELIGIOUS LEADERS HAVE EXPORTED THEIR BIASED AND BIGOTED BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION VIS-A-VIS SAME GENDER LOVING PERSONS TO UGANDA?

Many years ago, I first heard these words attributed to an African; "When the missionaries first came to Africa, we had the land and they had the Bible. When they left, they had the land and we had the Bible." The history of Christian support for colonialism in African and slavery in America is well known. It is unbelievable that the Bible-based bigotry that nurtured the enslavement of Africans and the segregation of African Americans is rearing its ugly head again in Uganda and elsewhere as persons whose sexual orientation is homosexual are being demeaned, de-humanized and debased because they are same gender loving.

It is my hope that Chuck Colson and Jim Wallis and other leaders of the Religious Right and Left will issue joint statements that address the anti-Gay attitudes and actions that exist in the USA, Uganda and throughout the world. These attitudes and actions also call for "moral reflection, renewal and re-examination of the tone and character of our public debate (and actions)" in response to LGBTQ persons and same-gender couples. Persons who profess religious faith and those who do not, regardless of where they are on a left to right continuum, are challenged to speak and act in ways that condemn verbal and physical violence, regardless of who the victims are, or where they live.