Early Thursday morning a human rights activist, with whom I had been
corresponding by email, phoned me from Uganda to tell me what I had just
read in an email from Rev. Michael Kimindu of Kenya:  David Kato had been
brutally murdered.   “You know,” the Ugandan activist told me over the
phone, “David took pride in saying that it was he who brought Other Sheep
to Uganda.”  

Other Sheep is the worldwide ministry I work with to “connect people with
people and people with resources” around the needs and concerns of LGBT
people of faith in order to empower one another, and for the purpose of
working together for the full inclusion of sexual minorities within their
respective faiths.

It was true. It was David Kato who introduced Other Sheep to Uganda.  In
2007 my husband and I were in Nairobi with the ministry of Other Sheep.  
Our plans had called for staying in Kenya, but a Kenyan clergyman with a
mainline denomination, who was a closeted LGBT activist, was informing us
that there was a David Kato, the Secretary of Integrity Uganda, who was
urging us to come to Uganda.  It was like the “Macedonian call” from the
book of Acts:  “Come over and help us.”  We decided to use our last days in
Kenya to make a short five-day visit to Uganda.  Traveling by car and then
by bus, we arrived in Kampala on Friday, August 17, 2007, between noon
and one, and met David according to plans.

For three days we were closely tied to David.  He took the first afternoon to
help us settle in, to find an ATM machine, and, over pizza, to brief us on the
previous day's press release given by Victor Mukasa, leader of Sexual
Minorities Uganda (SMUG), and others.  He proudly showed us the published
news articles with photos of LGBT people with their faces covered.   David
further assisted us by sharing his residence with a Rwandan we met through
the Internet in Rwanda who came to Kampala to meet us.

On the following day, from noon to five o’clock, David and three others –
Larry of Nairobi, our friend from Rwanda, and a Pentecostal gay man from
Kampala who had heard about Other Sheep through the Rwanda contact –
spent these five hours together with Jose and me at an Ethiopian
Restaurant, eating and drinking and talking activism and just getting to know
each other.  It was wonderful.  At the end of the day, Jose and I invited the
party of four – which included David – to come with us to our two bedroom
Red Chile Hideaway cottage to spend the night and the following day with
us.  They did, and it was pure joy to be with other LGBT people of faith, -
one from Kenya, one from Rwanda, and two from Uganda – all together.

That evening, David initiated putting me through on a phone call to the pro-
LGBT Anglican Bishop, Christopher Ssenyonjo, and the Bishop and I spoke
briefly by phone.  Later that year, a book published in Uganda, featured an
article written by the Bishop in which he mentioned “other sheep” and the
book that Other Sheep distributes,
The Children Are Free.  

We had only been in Uganda a mere 24 hours and David was hosting a
friend of ours from Rwanda, settling us in, briefing us on the recent activities
of SMUG’s press release, socially engaging us and others, and connecting
us with Bishop Ssenyonjo. In all of this, it was easy to observe that David was
intense, a serious leader, active and aggressive, thinking ahead to the next
step, as well as interactive socially, a team player, and part of the group. He
was an initiator in investigating new possibilities, new materials, new
resources.  That’s how we experienced him.  

But there’s more.  It was on the following day (all of us up from a good night’s
sleep – and yes, we did sleep –although some did talk late into the night)
that David spoke to me about his wanting to write an editorial.  He wanted to
see if he could publish something in a paper in Kampala.  He wanted to
address the religious resistance already raising its ugly head in their
collective effort.  Remember, this was 2007.  David was serious about this
task and wanted my help.  While the others in our group were somewhere
about the Red Chile Hideaway compound, David and I sat ourselves at the
cottage dining room table and applied ourselves to the task he insisted we
do.

At my laptop, I opened a document I had created while in Nairobi some days
earlier.  Observing firsthand the anti-gay sentiment coming from the religious
community in Nairobi, I had written my thoughts on toleration, the liberty of
conscience, and the imperative that government and the church has no God-
given prerogative to molest people because of their religious beliefs and
practices  – including the religious views and practices of sexual minorities.  
Of course, writing an essay like this was very therapeutic for a Baptist like
me.

David was immediately drawn into the essay.  He took it in like a sponge.  Of
course, the ideas expressed therein were not at all foreign to him.  He was,
after all, a human rights defender and he very aptly pointed out where the
addition of a certain phrase or wording would serve to improve the writing.  
And it did.  So, together we customized the article according to his comments
and suggestions.

Even with David’s experience as a human rights defender, however, he
found something in the writing that connected with him in a new way.  He said
to me, “How can I learn more about this.”  The idea that two individuals could
totally disagree on religious matters and be solely accountable to God
without having to answer to either the government or to the church, but
rather their right to believe differently would be protected by the civil
government, this was, I could see, a powerful concept for David.  Something
we take for granted in the West, but something about which David said, “How
can I learn more.”

The first paragraph of the editorial which we fashioned together, read
thusly:  

    “Certain views from different religious leaders against the fundamental
    rights of homosexuals have been brought up in reaction to the LGBTI
    press release of Friday, August 17, 2007.  A spokesperson of
    Integrity Uganda, a faith based Christian organization that maintains
    that the Bible does not condemn same-sex relationships, says the
    question of gay rights in Uganda is a fundamental human rights
    question and not a theological question.”

And, of course, the editorial went on to argue for and develop the main idea
that
“the question of gay rights in Uganda is a fundamental human rights
question and not a theological question.”

David said the editorial needed to quote some religious leaders in Africa.  He
said he wanted to ask Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Bishop
Christopher Ssenyonjo of Uganda, and Rev. Michael Kimindu of Kenya to
each provide a statement to be written into the editorial.  He saw the need
for African religious voices to be joined and raised together in defense of the
liberty of conscience.

It was a remarkable afternoon with David and I will never forget it.  It stands
as one of the highlights of my experiences with Other Sheep in my travels
worldwide – interacting with David that afternoon.

On the following day, while Jose and I were in town, we got a call from David
over our cell phone to come immediately to the SMUG headquarters to
advise them on how they might be able to answer the media with regards to
questions on Christianity and homosexuality.

We spoke with five – including David – eager-to-know (all taking notes)
SMUG members on how to respond to the Pentecostal community which was
presently staging public protests against homosexuals.  We gave them a two-
track strategy.  And again, all because of David’s interest in, and desire to
connect the ministry of Other Sheep with SMUG.  

Following that impromptu meeting with SMUG, Larry of Nairobi and David
walked Jose and me back to a main part of town where we could get public
transportation.  It was a bit of a walk.  We chatted and talked, walking two by
two, Jose with Larry, me with David.  Larry and Jose were laughing some,
happy, I recall, but David was still his serious self.  I insisted we stop and eat
“chicken on a stick” cooked over an open fire that one purchases on the
street sidewalk. Jose was reluctant, but I begged him and won.  It was at a
busy intersection with people walking all about.  So, together we got some
chicken.  And I have a picture of David with his arm around Jose, both of
them eating their chicken on a stick and David smiling a huge smile.  I caught
it on camera.  You didn’t see David smile much.  He was a serious person;
always looking as if the battle for freedom was constantly at hand.  Anyway,
that’s how he was with us these three days.  But now, the four of us standing
around a vender’s “chicken on a stick”, as if the battle was won, though
perhaps not the war, David was smiling, he was happy, he was throwing his
arm around Jose.  As if the last few days of the intensity of the battle, in
which he was in, was over for a moment, and the battle was won.

In heavy traffic he would take our hand or wrist; if he wanted us to move
along fast he took our hand or wrist and led us, dragged us, and once I
remember, just to show his affection , he took our hand just to take our
hand  – a common enough expression in many-a-lands around the world.  A
natural enough expression that says, “We are friends.”

But I wish to return to the editorial David insisted we create.  It was never
published in a Kampala newspaper.  But, of course, I did publish it on the
Other Sheep website, leaving the original form that indicates where David
said statements from Tutu, Ssenyonjo, and Kimindu should be inserted;  
leaving the title just as he wrote it, and leaving the heading that says:  “News
Release/ For Immediate Release/ Contact Person:  David” [with mobile
number and email address stated].

“For Immediate Release/ Contact Person: David.”

I would like to read a short segment of the editorial David and I customized
together that Ugandan afternoon at the Red Chile Hideaway cottage.  It
reads:

    "It must be said again and again in any society where religious
    teachings on homosexuality dominate, that the view of the religious
    majority is not to be legislated onto the views and practices of the
    sexual minority.   As long as a gay man or woman does not infringe
    upon the rights of other individuals, the homosexual (who is often
    Christian) has the same right as his [or her] heterosexual counterpart,
    to interpret the Bible according to his or her understanding and to
    answer only before God (and not to the government or to the church)."

And the writing was headed: “For Immediate Release/ Contact Person: David”

It says David, just David.  David who? David Kato, born around 1968, died
January 26, 2011, considered by many to be a father of Uganda’s gay rights
movement. This week, The New York Times reported that David “was a high
school teacher who had graduated from some of Uganda’s best schools.  He
moved to South Africa in the mid-1990s, where he came out.”  The Times
article also said, “A few years ago, David organized what he claimed was
Uganda’s first gay rights news conference in Kampala, the capital, and said
he was punched in the face and cracked in the nose by police officers soon
afterward.”

Upon hearing of David’s death, Jose, my husband, wrote:  “David was a
determined, committed and diligent servant for the cause of equality for
God's LGBT children in Uganda.  He was one of God’s shining lights for
justice. The embers of his fire will revive into a roaring blaze in all of us who
remain to stand against the darkness of bigotry rooted in ignorance and
arrogant religious fervor.”

David, we love you, we will miss you, we will never forget you.  Thank you for
your activism, for the life you lived and gave on our behalf.  As Jesus said,
and did:  “No greater love is there than this, that a man should lay down his
life for his friends.”

I will always see you as smiling, David, like you were with Larry and Jose and
me that afternoon after your intense three days – and more – of activism.  
Our figures stood golden by the rays of a sun beginning to close out the
day.  The vendor and others cast glances our way.  Who were we, the four,
the laughing and smiling, eating our chicken as if it were a heavenly banquet
prepared just for us?  We were and are the victors, those who live for justice
for all.  We were smiling then, we are smiling now, thanks to Jesus who gives
us the victory in loving our neighbor as ourselves.  You were then, you are
now, the victor.

Oh, and David, I hear the voices all across Africa. They are joining in with
Desmond Tutu, Bishop Ssenyonjo and Rev. Kimindu – these whom you
wanted to submit a statement to your editorial.  The voices are coming,
David.  Africa is rising up. We know. We hear it. Because we see it through
your persistent, patient, prophetic eyes.

For now, David, good night.  The day is over. The huge golden, African sun
is setting. We will join you in the morning and it will be a new day then for all.
In Memory of David Kato
Delivered at the
Love Alive International Sunday Memorial Service, January 30, 2011, 4PM
--meeting in the sanctuary of All Souls Church, 1157 Lexington Ave., New York, NY--
by Rev. Stephen Parelli
Executive Director
Other Sheep
About the origins of
this special service and
the development of it's
program, as I
experienced it. -- Steve

On Friday evening,
January 28, while
entertaining a friend in
our home, I received a
phone call from Rev.
Dave Franzo, an
associate pastor of
Love Alive
International,
who
informed me that
Love
Alive International
was
planning a memorial
service for David Kato
and asked if Other
Sheep could send out an
announcement on the
service.  Of course, I
said I would be glad to
help and asked Jose and
our guest to excuse me
so that I could prepare
a mailing on behalf of
David Kato and for
Love
Alive International
,
using the data Rev.
Franzo provided me.  

At some point, Rev.
Franzo told me that a
special offering would
be taken in memory of
David Kato for Other
Sheep.  I thanked him
and told him that Jose
and I would be in
attendance.

It wasn't until the
following morning, after
I had prepared the
e-Announcement and
mailed it out to our
Other Sheep readers
the night before, that I
found Rev. Franzo's
message asking me, on
behalf of Rev. Stacey
S. Latimer, the Senior
Pastor, to bring the
eulogy.  I accepted, of
course.  I was honored
and glad to have this
opportunity to publicly
remember David as I
knew him.  
This is an Other Sheep website
Go to Home Page
The Inclusive
Shepherd
____________________________________________________________________________________________
I have other sheep that are not of this
fold, I must bring them also
.
John 16:10
David Kato
circa 1968 - January 26, 2011
Man of Faith
Activist
Considered by many to be a father of
the Uganda Gay Rights movement
Photo by Steve
Parelli

Date and Place:
August 19, 2007
Red Chili Hideaway
Kampala, Uganda

Occasion:  David
Kato with Steve
Parelli, crafting an
editorial
All Souls Church
Presented here in order of their participation
in the memorial service . . .

Left:  Rev. Steve Parelli delivering his eulogy
of David Kato (see text of message at far left
of this webpatge)

Below Left:  Perry Brass delivering a peom
he wrote in honor of David Kato's life

Below Right:  Rev. Joseph Tolton, featured
speaking, delivering the message of the
service.
Love Alive International Special Sunday
Service, January 30, 2011, 4PM
,
In memory of David Kato
--held in the sanctuary of All Souls Church,
1157 Lexington Ave., New York, NY--
Rev. Steve Parelli
Author Perry Brass
Rev. Joseph Tolton
Above photo, left to right:  Rev. Joseph Tolton, Rev.
Steve Parelli, Rev. Stacey Latimer - host pastor, and
Perry Brass
Above photo, left to right:  Rev. Steve Parelli, Rev.
Dave Franzo, and Jose Ortiz
This web page was created January 30, 2011, and
published February 1, 2011.
Visits to this web page:
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David Kato
Perry Brass
2501 Palisade Avenue, Apt. A1
Bronx, NY 10463
belhuepress@earthlink.net


For David Kato

Murdered in Uganda, Jan 26, 2011

David Kato, there must be a place
in heaven waiting for you, and
Jesus will be on your right, and I

will be on your left and all of the people
who know you now will not let you go
til you rest, til you find the groves

of waiting trees and the fields of blowing grasses
and the sweet water and peaches and purple plums,
the cakes and roast chicken you liked,

and the music will lift you there from your seat
and give you sweet dancing partners
and the safety of paradise will surely be there,

the safety of a loving heart, and most
of all the safety of truth which you
will bear as you did, before hate invaded

to hammer you to death, shattering
the fine bones of your face and the fine things
you needed to say without flinching,

when you looked into the depths of your soul
and told us what was there, and how
we could reach the plains of African sorrow

and the heights of gladness there, as you
have so kindly taken us, David Kato, our fine
          David Kato—
                   without fear
without fear.


January  29, 2011
Bronx, NY
Also, on this page, lower
right, a poem
by Perry Brass dedicated
to the memory of David
Kato
.
The author delivered this poem at the
Love Alive International Sunday Memorial
Service, January 30, 2011, 4PM, held in
the sanctuary of All Souls Church, 1157
Lexington Ave., New York, NY
Author Perry Brass