A New York City pastor and politician running in a Democratic Party state senate primary defended Ugandan lawmakers’ support of anti-LGBT legislation in a video filmed during a visit there, Crain’s New York reported.
“Godly people are in government,” Bronx council member Fernando Cabrera says in the video. “Gay marriage is not accepted in this country. Even when the United States of America has put pressure and has told Uganda, ‘We’re not going to fund you anymore unless you allow gay marriage.’ And they have stood in their place. Why? Because the Christians have assumed the place of decision-making for the nation. Abortions are illegal here. Things that Christians really stand for. Why? Because the Christians here took the opportunity to take their rightful place.”
Cabrera is challenging incumbent state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D) in the Sept. 9 primary election. em>The New York Daily News reported last week that local LGBT activists and lawmakers accused him of holding “discriminatory and regressive views on marriage, protections for the transgender community and women’s rights,” and sent a letter calling on Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) to drop his endorsement of the candidate.
A spokesperson for Cabrera’s campaign argued that he did not specifically mention the country’s “anti-homosexuality act” in the video.
“It’s obvious to anyone who watches this video that the intent and purpose was to point out the positive influence that the church can have in a non-working government,” the unidentified spokesperson was quoted as saying. “This is another attempt by the Rivera camp to distort the truth and not address the issues facing the residents of the 33rd senatorial district.”
Cabrera also claims in the video that the rate of AIDS infections in the Uganda had gone from “30-something percent” to 6 percent. But, as Think Progress reported, the rate of infection in the country had never risen above 15 percent before declining to as low as 6.4 percent in 2005. But the infection rate rose again to 7.3 percent in 2012.
The “anti-homosexuality act,” which banned non-government agencies from promoting homosexuality and punished homosexuality with life in prison after being signed into law this past February, was struck down by the country’s constitutional court last month. Supporters are expected to appeal the ruling to Uganda’s Supreme Court.
The video, which was originally posted this past January, is a 27-minute address from Cabrera to members of Hope Alive Freedom Church in Louisiana discussing what he sees as the chance for Christians to “use the platform God has provided” in politics.
“Often Christians are given the notion that we are to compartmentalize our Christianity, that somehow what we need to do is separate the praying, the fasting, the church activities into one side, and then all the other stuff is considered to be secular,” Cabrera says in the video.
Watch Cabrera’s remarks, as posted online, below.
[Image via Fernando Cabrera official Facebook page]