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Anti-gay group gets government funds

An evangelical organization that describes homosexuality as a "perversion" and a "sin" is receiving funding from the Government of Canada for its work in Uganda, where gays and lesbians face severe threats.

The federal government has denounced virulent homophobia in that East African country and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has condemned plans for an anti-gay bill that could potentially include the death penalty for homosexuals.

At the same time the government is providing $544,813 in funding for Crossroads Christian Communications, an Ontario-based evangelical group that produces television programming, to help dig wells, build latrines and promote hygiene awareness in Uganda through 2014.

Until Tuesday, the organization's website carried a list of "sexual sins" deemed to be "perversion": "Turning from the true and/or proper purpose of sexual intercourse; misusing or abusing it, such as in pedophilia, homosexuality and lesbianism, sadism, masochism, transvestism, and bestiality."

Lower down the page, the group asks sinners to "repent."

"God cares too much for you (and all of His children) to leave such tampering and spiritual abuse unpunished," according to the group's website.

Just hours after The Canadian Press contacted the group to ask a spokesperson about the site, the page in question disappeared from public view.

The organization is being funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. Just a few days ago the Quebec government announced its desire to create its own parallel agency because it no longer supported CIDA's policy choices.

When the minister responsible for CIDA, Julian Fantino, was made aware of the situation on Wednesday, both he and a CIDA spokeswoman said funding is doled out "on merit."

But once the Crossroads story became public Sunday, the minister sent out a comment on Twitter Sunday night.

"While original content (of the Crossroads' website page) is down, I have asked to review this organization before further payments are made," he wrote.

The Canadian Press
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