Sign Of Things To Come - World Bank Debanks Uganda Over Conservative Laws
By Ben Johnson/The Washington StandAugust 30, 2023
Share this article:
A growing number of Christians who believe in traditional morality are finding themselves without financial services, both in the U.S. and around the world, as Western leaders engage in "insufferable" actions that resemble secular "religious fundamentalists who are intolerant of other faiths."
Globally, the World Bank decided to cut off all new funding for Uganda over a bill that outlaws homosexual child molestation, knowingly having sex with others while carrying the AIDS virus, and drugging or coercing vulnerable people into nonconsensual gay sex -- acts the bill describes as "aggravated homosexuality." At home, a U.S. bank canceled the bank accounts of a Christian charity that carries out philanthropy in Uganda and the U.S. church that financially supports it.
Engaging in same-sex relations has long been illegal in Uganda, as in at least 30 of Africa's 54 nations, but the penalties increased thanks to the Anti-Homosexuality Act signed on May 29. The World Bank announced this month it will not approve any future funding until the nation comes into "alignment with our environmental and social standards," or ESG policies. "These measures are currently under discussion with the authorities."
"Inclusion and non-discrimination sit at the heart of our work around the world," said the taxpayer-funded global financial institution.
The nation's leader, who describes himself as a born again Christian, refused to bow to international pressure. "Some of these imperialist actors are insufferable," said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who compared secular-progressive international bankers to "religious fundamentalists who are intolerant of other faiths."
It is "unfortunate that the World Bank and other actors dare to want to coerce us into abandoning our faith, culture, principles and sovereignty, using money. They really underestimate all Africans." His words echo those of Pope Francis, who said in March, "Gender ideology, today, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations." Political commentator Jim Jatras called the top-down imposition of Western sexual morés "rainbow fascism."
Museveni obliquely referenced these setbacks in a warm message to last week's BRICS summit, a global financial consortium aligned with the People's Republic of China.
Rejection of homosexuality, as well as Western blackmail aimed at advancing the LGBTQ agenda, is widely shared throughout Uganda. Museveni's rival, National Unity Party leader Bobi Wine, wrote, "It's disturbing how institutions like these ones give priority to only gay rights and ignore all the other gross human rights violations."
The World Bank had made $10 billion in loans to Uganda between 1963 and 2020, and it currently has a $5 billion portfolio in the country. Projects currently funded will not lose their financing, but future projects cannot receive financing. Critics across the political spectrum say such boycotts will disproportionately hurt the poorest people, while likely doing little to change the policy, which they acknowledge has the overwhelming support of the population.
"Unfortunately, the World Bank manages to find time to bully poor nations like Uganda that reject its sexual imperialism. The American people don't support this agenda," Chris Gacek, coalitions senior research fellow at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. "Uganda should run, not walk, at the approach of anyone from the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
These organizations are designed to ensnare such nations in a web of debt repayments that makes them vulnerable to Western diktats. It is long past time for the Congress to scale back our spending on these institutions."
Despite its decision to tie financial services to its progressive worldview, the World Bank funded numerous Marxist dictatorships in the past. The World Bank doled out Western dollars to repressive communist nations including Hungary, Poland, Romania, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia during the height of Soviet imperialism in the 1970s and 1980s.
Observers say the bank's largely advance the interests, and social views, of secularist Western leaders and their governments. "In real terms, the [World Bank] is firmly under the control of the U.S. government which negotiates, with the governments of other major capitalist powers, the policies to be followed within the World Bank, and under its leadership," wrote French historian and political scientist Éric Toussaint.
Sanctions, long promised to trigger regime change in nations around the world, often galvanize support behind the leader while hurting those at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. "If the World Bank is trying to advocate for queer people, then pushing them further into poverty while withholding life-saving healthcare, infrastructural and entrepreneurial support hardly seems the way to do it," said one far-Left African writer.
"American taxpayers fund largely irrelevant international organizations like the World Bank -- a relic of the post-World War II era -- under the false notion that it serves the good of the people in less wealthy countries," Gacek told TWS. "Nothing could be further from the truth."
An American church and its associated charity face a similar financial shutdown. Bank of America closed the bank accounts of Indigenous Advance, a charity that serves the poor and vulnerable in Uganda, as well as a Memphis-based church that financially supports its work.
"Upon review of your accounts, we have determined you're operating in a business type we have chosen not to service at Bank of America," read a letter sent to the charity on April 30. The bank subsequently stated aiding the mission "no longer aligns with the bank's risk tolerance."
"It's obvious they're trying to reverse-engineer" a rationale for their actions, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Jeremy Tedesco told Fox Business Channel's "The Bottom Line," but "none of them stands up to the simplest scrutiny." Tedesco noted the ministry "serves poor people in some of the most impoverished areas of the world, digs wells for them, provides them education, food, and clothing."
"There's a ton of pressure through ESG activism to debank people that the political Left disagrees with," Tedesco said. "These reputational risk policies that permeate the banking industry are a huge risk. The Obama administration used them in Operation Chokepoint to push out industries that were disfavored by political actors. And they're still on the books, and the threat is still there."
"Americans are rightly fearing they could lose their bank accounts, because of their political or religious views," said Tedesco.