Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, has been accused of lauding Uganda's controversial anti-homosexuality bill in a Nov. 26 tweet that was actually about a public repentance ceremony led by the president of the African nation.
"American Liberals are upset that Ugandan Pres is leading his nation in repentance – afraid of a modern example of a nation prospered by God?" questioned Perkins in his tweet.
Soon after Perkins' comment, a report emerged claiming that the FRC president was "praising" Uganda's plan to pass into law in 2013 an "Anti-Homosexuality Bill", which further criminalizes homosexual acts in the country and has been widely condemned by the international community for its inclusion of the death penalty.
"Family Research Council head Tony Perkins sent out this tweet Monday praising Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni for embracing criminalization of homosexuality," wrote Carolyn Lochhead for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign also condemned Perkins' tweet, saying in a statement to The Advocate: "Tony Perkins can't claim that FRC isn't a hate group, while at the same time support a bill that many believe would bring the death penalty to gay Ugandans."
The Family Research Council has clarified, however, that neither Perkins nor the organization are advocating support for the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill".
"FRC does not support the Uganda bill, and does not support the death penalty for homosexuality – nor any other penalty which would have the effect of inhibiting compassionate pastoral, psychological, and medical care and treatment for those who experience same-sex attractions or who engage in homosexual conduct," read a statement the pro-family organization shared in the comments section of Perkins' tweet.
Perkins' comment was actually in reference to an October public prayer ceremony in which Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni commended the country's 50th anniversary of independence from Great Britain by repenting of sins and announcing Uganda as a country belonging to God.
"We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own," Museveni prayed, according to Uganda publication New Vision.
Additionally, JP Duffy, vice president of communications at the FRC, told The Christian Post Wednesday that these most recent inaccurate accusations echo a similar occurrence in 2010, when false Internet rumors suggested that the FRC had lobbied against a congressional resolution that condemned the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill".
"President Museveni's prayer was given at a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ugandan independence from Britain. President Museveni did list 'sexual immorality' – as only one of 29 separate sins for which the nation should repent. Neither the event nor the prayer had anything to do with, or made any reference to, the proposed bill on homosexuality in the Ugandan parliament," Duffy told CP.
He added, "Bloggers may try to resurrect false rumors but we will continue to applaud President Museveni's prayer of repentance.
"Museveni took the very powerful step of dedicating Uganda to God when he said, 'We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own.'"
Uganda's "Anti-Homosexuality Bill", which has recently had the death penalty provision for "aggravated homosexuality" dropped, has reportedly received a large amount of support among Ugandans and could pass into law by the beginning of 2013.