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U.S. evangelicals exporting anti-gay efforts to Africa

Conservative U.S. Christian groups are “culturally colonizing” Africa to fight for anti-gay and anti-abortion legislation, according to a new report from Political Research Associates in Boston.

The report says evangelists such as Pat Robertson, along with ultra-conservative Catholic and Mormon groups, are setting up institutions and campaigns in Africa that are “reshaping national political dynamics and even laws based on an American template.”

For the report, the PRA examined trends in seven African nations, including Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The researchers concluded that the American Center for Law and Justice founded by Robertson, Family Watch International led by Mormon activist Sharon Slater and the Catholic Group Human Life International have “launched or expanded Africa-based offices dedicated to promoting their Christian right worldview. A loose network of rightwing charismatic Christians called the transformation movement joins them in fanning the flames of the culture wars over homosexuality and abortion by backing prominent African campaigners and political leaders.”

Another report from the group, Resisting the Rainbow: Right-Wing Responses to LGBT Gains, says stoking homophobia remains one of the most successful right-wing tools for mobilizing voters in the United States.

“Whenever a seemingly progressive victory occurs, we need to keep an eye out on the opposition,” said report compiler Pam Chamberlain. “After the president’s coming out in favor of same-sex marriage on May 9, it is important to realize that a response from the right is coming – especially, people should be aware for the upcoming election.”

The paper profiles a number of anti-gay leaders, including Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and National Organization for Marriage co-founder Maggie Gallagher.

“In an electoral season where social conservatives have had lackluster interest in the presumptive nominee, the president’s announcement revives hope that this can become a get out the vote opportunity,” said Tarso Luís Ramos, PRA executive director. “In important swing states, and especially states such as Maine and Minnesota where same-sex marriage initiatives are appearing on the ballot, we can expect to see this become a general election issue.”

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