I have no doubt that these men never thought the Ugandan government would go so far, but I do think their surprise is a little unwarranted. In America the culture wars may be fought in courtrooms and on pulpits and television screens. It may be over as mundane a thing as the right to legally wed. That’s how far we’ve come. In many other parts of the world, however, the culture war is a life or death matter. It’s playing with fire. At a certain point, when you see people playing with enough fire you have to wonder if they really don’t know its potential to burn. You begin to question whether or not maybe they’re aware that it will spread into a conflagration. You begin to think that maybe they are aware, that maybe their intention goes beyond what they claim – only they haven’t thought through the repercussions all the way. The long-term ramifications of their words and actions are uglier than they had at first imagined. The abstractions, when they solidify, becoming a little too grim.Unlike a lot of bloggers and even some friends, I'm not willing to say that these persons wanted gays in Uganda to die. I can't look into the hearts of these people and I'm not willing to judge them as wanting to kills gay folks. It's also too easy to paint everyone who is not crazy about homosexuality or voted against gay marriage as a potential murderer of gays.
That said, I do think these persons were as E.D. notes, "playing with fire," a dangerous game of naievte. Maybe they thought that the Ugandans would be like anti-gay activists in North America who fight gay rights in the courts and the ballot box and force gays back into a closet. But most people know that while being gay is not easy in most countries, in some nations you can get killed for loving someone of the same sex.
Many of the evangelical leaders are now offering "explanations." Again, I don't know what was in their hearts and frankly, I don't want to know. They have the right to express their opinions, but the leaders should be reminded that actions can sometimes have consequences no one ever intended.