WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama and many members of Congress today attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast hosted by The Fellowship Foundation, a conservative Christian organization more widely known as "The Family."
This secretive organization is known for its global connections to homophobic violence and for supporting legislation around the world that would kill or imprison LGBT people.
The President, congressional leaders and many other elected officials attended this year's event, despite the fact that event organizers have been documented to play a role in the sponsorship of anti-gay legislation worldwide.
"The Family" has ties to Ugandan Parliamentarian David Bahati, sponsor of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill moving through the Ugandan Parliament at this moment, legislation better known as the "Kill The Gays" bill because it seeks to impose the death penalty upon anyone found guilty of same-sex relationships.
"For another year, President Obama has chosen to set aside his stated values of inclusion in order to attend the National Prayer Breakfast -- an event rooted in hatred of LGBT people and covered up by pastries and coffee," said Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEQUAL and a seminary graduate.
"There are so many communities of faith that fully embrace LGBT people and that are rooted in social justice -- we really don't understand why President Obama continues to give his permission for 'The Family' to support killing LGBT folks abroad. If the president is looking for ways to publicly demonstrate that he's a man of faith, he needs to find ways to do so without simultaneously putting the lives of LGBT people in jeopardy. The 'Kill The Gays' bill has been moving through the Ugandan Parliament at the very same time that President Obama was speaking to the group supporting it -- this practice has got to stop, and the president needs to understand the role he is playing in supporting the execution of LGBT people around the world."
At a previous National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama said "We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are -- whether it's here in the United States or ... more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda."
Despite this assertion of the rights of LGBT Ugandans to live in peace, Obama continues to attend and, therefore, support this event. Obama has recently come out in favor of LGBT equality -- including references in his inaugural speech and in an interview just days ago on Super Bowl Sunday.
"We’d like to see the President stop coming to events that are sponsored by people who are trying to kill and imprison us," said Cathy Kristofferson, co-lead organizer with GetEQUAL Massachusetts and active supporter of LGBT Ugandans. "We're disappointed that the president is sending mixed messages to our youth and to our friends abroad, by giving supportive speeches one day and then supporting those who was to murder us four days later."
In December, GetEQUAL called upon American politicians who are known to be part of “The Family” — including U.S. Senators Jim Demint (R-SC), James Inofe (R-OK), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) — to publicly denounce the bill and to urge Ugandan Members of Parliament to kill the bill, rather than killing LGBT Ugandans. This call to action is especially important now that the "Kill The Gays" bill has again returned to the Ugandan Parliament’s agenda this week