Colonizing African Values

How the U.S. Christian Right Is Transforming Sexual Politics in Africa

Martin Ssempa

Martin Ssempa, one of the architects of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, screens gay pornography to boost support for antigay laws. Photo by Benedicte Desrus

While U.S. Christian Right leaders made headlines when international pressure forced them to retract support for Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, a new report by Political Research Associates shows that U.S. Christian Right groups continue to build organizational strength and campaign to inscribe homophobia and anti-abortion politics in the constitutions and laws of African countries in the years since.

The U.S. Christian Right’s most recent efforts are documented in the new report Colonizing African Values: How the U.S. Christian Right is Transforming Politics in Africa.

The report authored by Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest originally from Zambia, investigates the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, the Mormon-led Family Watch International, and the Roman Catholic Human Life International, as well as a network of Christian dominionists known as the Transformation Movement or New Apostolic Reformation. The report details ACLJ’s efforts to influence the constitution-writing process in Zimbabwe and Kenya, and the anti-LGBT and anti-reproductive justice activities of the other groups in such countries as Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.

Although anti-abortion and anti-LGBT legislation were established by British colonial governments, U.S. Christian Right groups label human rights supporters as “neocolonialists” imposing liberal sexual mores on Africa. Hiding behind African staff, these groups have established local offices and befriended key African political and religious leaders. The charismatic beliefs shared by many African Christians and American religious conservatives has also created an opening for the U.S. right-wing to exploit.

The result of on-the-ground research in four African countries, this report exposes the underlying goals of these organizations and points to who the true neocolonialists are. The investigation was inspired by the findings of Rev. Dr. Kaoma’s 2009 report, Globalizing the Culture Wars.

Download