Steve Turley, a religious-right media personality with more than a million YouTube subscribers, is celebrating the passage of extremely harsh new anti-LGBTQ legislation in Uganda that makes it a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison to simply identify as a gay or transgender person. The legislation is part of a broader crackdown on freedom and civil society in that country.
Like other right-wing political figures who posture as lovers of freedom while supporting freedom-crushing regimes around the world, Turley is a huge fan of Russia’s strongman Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, even celebrating the latter’s moves to consolidate power by “crushing” liberalism and threatening to jail journalists.
“Uganda BANS LGBT!!!” screamed the headline at Turley’s online newsletter Monday, celebrating the draconian law as evidence that “a new conservative age has already arrived!”
In the accompanying YouTube video, Turley mocked the United States’ condemnation of the Ugandan legislation and excitedly recounted anti-LGBTQ actions taken by governments around the world, including those in Russia, Hungary, China, and Kenya. Turley says these repressive measures are evidence of a “new geopolitical reality” in which the “liberal Western governing elite” is losing its power as “the world is entering into a new conservative age, a far more traditionalist, nationalist, civilizationist world!”
The rise of a new nationalist and “traditionalist” world order is a regular theme of Turley’s. In an address to the World Congress of Families in 2019, Turley celebrated that religious traditionalists were outbreeding secular people, ensuring that America’s future would be “evangelical, Mormon, and Amish.” That same year, in a podcast titled “WHITES Projected to Become Dominant SUPERMAJORITY in U.S.,” Turley said that multiculturalism is “slowly and surely dissipating.”
Turley is an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump; in 2021, he celebrated Trump’s “iron grip” on the Republican Party, claiming that “President Trump is in fact forming a de facto shadow government that is effectively directing the new Patriot-inspired GOP and the policies that they’re either advocating or enacting in their governments over the nation.”
The Ephrata, Pennsylvania-based Turley actively supported Christian nationalist Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano in last year’s gubernatorial race, producing and promoting a pro-Mastriano propaganda film titled “The Return of the American Patriot: The Rise of Pennsylvania.”
Turley is not the only religious-right figure taking note of the new legislation in Uganda. The international arm of the Alliance Defending Freedom, the religious-right legal behemoth that opposes LGBTQ equality in the U.S. and has supported laws criminalizing homosexuality oversees, linked without comment to a news article about the Uganda legislation under the “Marriage & Family” section of its March 22 daily digest.
U.S. religious-right groups have been partnering for years with their African counterparts to inflame anti-LGBTQ sentiment and promote anti-LGBTQ legislation.