Violence erupted in Mukono, Uganda at the funeral of gay rights advocate David Kato, two days after the Ugandan activist was beaten to death with a hammer Jan. 26.
The religious rite was punctuated by a denunciation of homosexuality from the pulpit by the pastor, and the refusal of congregants in the village to bury Kato.
“The world has gone crazy,” the pastor said, according to Reuters. “People are turning away from the scriptures. They should turn back, they should abandon what they are doing. You cannot start admiring a fellow man.”
Those statements drew a sharp reaction from a crowd of 300 people that included about 100 gay supporters. Gay activists, some wearing t-shirts with Kato’s picture on them, stormed the podium, grabbing the microphone. ?
Condemnation of Kato’s death is strong in Uganda’s gay community, with many blaming it on hatred, while the authorities called the death the result of a robbery.
“David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. evangelicals in 2009,” Val Kalende, the chairwoman of one of Uganda’s gay rights groups, said in a statement to The New York Times. “The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S. evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood.”
Kalende believes Kato’s picture in a Ugandan newspaper in October with the words “Hang Them” printed next to it led to Kato’s death. The Ugandan parliament is considering making homosexuality a crime punishable by death.