Two more homophobic churches for South Africa!

Last year, I disagreed with Malusi Gigaba’s decision to bar the homophobic preacher Steven Anderson from entering the country. One of the arguments I made was that it’s good to be able to identify and expose bigots like him and his supporters, and that we can use occasions like this to demonstrate the weakness of their positions.

And now that the “unapologetically anti-gay” Reverend Oscar Bougardt is teaming up with Anderson to open two churches in Cape Town, we have another opportunity to highlight just how unreasonable their positions are, and to appeal to all good people – whether religious or not – to protest this bigotry and mendacity wherever they can.

Bougardt asked News24

Why should we be tolerant of their criminal lifestyle? Ninety-nine percent of paedophiles stem from homosexuality.

I’m saying so because it is proven that 99% of the paedophiles have a homosexual background. They are blaming their previous lifestyle on what happened. Go and read up on it.

This is a complete fabrication, as well as a perversion of what paedophilia means. Paedophiles are not (yet) criminals, and might never end up committing a criminal act at all. Before we even get to his homophobia, we can ask Bougardt whether he’s considered the possibility that his attitude here might in fact be counterproductive to the goal of protecting children from abuse, as I argue in the link above.

As for the fabrication bit, there’s no reliable scientific data indicating what he claims. Studies on this suffer from some very serious and common flaws, making it impossible to assert such a bold conclusion with any degree of confidence.

First, all the data is from self-reporting, and typically can’t be verified. Second, all the data is from people who are already known to be child abusers – we have no data from people who have not been so identified, making the sample even more skewed.

Third, it’s a mistake to assume that adult male molesters of male children are homosexual at all. If you read the National Research Council’s “Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect“, you’ll see that most adult male molesters of male children have no attraction to adult males.

They’re not homosexual, but simply people who abuse the vulnerable people they happen to have access to – in this case, male children.

He said he made a point of keeping children away from homosexual people, believing that children were being exposed to grave danger by standing in the same room.

Given that we’ve now established that Bougardt has a very tenuous understanding of data and scientific reasoning, perhaps I should point out that to date, we’ve found no evidence that homosexuality is contagious.

Reverent Bougardt, while I’m not a Christian, neither are you. You, Anderson, and all your followers are spreading hate and confusion, and making people suffer as a result of it.

By Jacques Rousseau

Jacques Rousseau teaches critical thinking and ethics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is the founder and director of the Free Society Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting secular humanism and scientific reasoning.