The U.S. ambassador to Zambia, Daniel Foote, is being recalled by the State Department because his criticism of Zambia's laws against homosexual behavior and the jailing of a gay couple sparked criticism from the country's president, who has declared that Zambia is saying "no to homosexuality" and that pro-LGBT activists "should go to Hell."
In a Dec. 2 press statement, Ambassador Foote -- appointed to his position in 2017 by President Trump -- harshly denounced Zambia's government for enforcing "discriminatory and homophobic laws, under the false flags of Christianity and culture," and for inaccurately associating HIV/AIDS with homosexuality.
The Republic of Zambia, in south central Africa, is a former British colony that is strongly Christian, about 75% Protestant and 20% Catholic.
"I was shocked at the venom and hate directed at me and my country, largely in the name of 'Christian' values, by a small minority of Zambians," said Amb. Foote in his statement. "I thought, perhaps incorrectly, that Christianity meant trying to live like our Lord, Jesus Christ."
"I am not qualified to sermonize, but I cannot imagine Jesus would have used bestiality comparisons or referred to his fellow human beings as 'dogs,' or 'worse than animals," allusions made repeatedly by your countrymen and women about homosexuals," declared Foote.
The ambassador also noted that Zambia receives $500 million in U.S. aid each year, and claimed that some Zambian officials had stolen "millions of dollars in public funds."
On Dec. 15, Zambian President Edgar Lungu announced that he had written to the U.S. State Department, asking that Foote be recalled.
"We have complained officially to the American government, and we are waiting for their response," said Lungu, as reported by CNN. "[W]e are waiting for their response because we don’t want such people in our midst. We want him gone."
On Dec. 24, Reuters reported that Foote would be leaving Zambia and the State Department "remains committed to [its] partnership with the Zambian people."
Earlier in December, Foote had complained that two homosexual men were convicted and imprisoned (in 2019) for "having sex against the order of nature." Foote said he was "horrified" by the court's ruling and claimed that same-sex behavior "hurt absolutely no one."
The two men were sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Zambia's laws against homosexuality were inherited from its British colonizers (since 1911) and carried over into independence (in 1964). The anti-homosexual law is defined under the same law proscribing sodomy and bestiality. Gay "marriage" is also prohibited.
Commenting on the sentencing of the two men, President Lungu told Sky News, “We are saying no to homosexuality. Why should we say we are going to be civilized if we allow it … are you saying that we’re very primitive now because we’re frowning on homosexuality?"
“Even animals don’t do it," said Lungu, "so why should we be forced to do it because we want to be seen to be smart, civilized and advanced and so on?”
According to PinkNews, Lungu in 2017 said, “Those advocating gay rights should go to Hell.... That issue is foreign to this country.”