On Oct 10, 2014 International Transformation Network (ITN) and its local affiliate Transformation Hawaii are holding a “Night of Inspiration” for Duke Aiona and Elwin Ahu, Republican candidates for Hawai’i Governor and Lt. Governor. You may recall that this is the organization which brought the “kill the gays” law to Uganda.
Although the Uganda bill started out requiring the death penalty for gays, when it became law it provided life imprisonment instead. ITN has denied their role in the law, claiming they pulled out of Uganda before the law was passed but observers disagree, citing ITN as one of the religious organizations complicit in pushing Uganda’s president into advocating for this law.
Duke Aiona lashed out against critics who linked him to ITN. In 2010 the Star Bulletin reported,
Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona denounced efforts to link him with an evangelical group that has been accused of trying to make Hawaii the first Christian state and supporting efforts to imprison gays in Uganda.
Video shows him denying any connection with ITN.
And yet here he is – the star speaker (along with his running mate) at a huge ITN event. His campaign is being featured prominently on the main event page complete with his campaign website and twitter name.
Several questions leap to mind. How can Aiona deny involvement with ITN if they are featuring his campaign in their event? How can a nonprofit religious organization put on an obvious campaign event without losing their IRS 501c(3) status? How does this square with Aiona’s contention that he doesn’t mix politics and his religion?
Chair of the GLBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Michael Golojuch Jr commented,
“Two former judges that want to turn Hawaii into the first all-Christian state, Transformation Hawaii’s goal, should make everyone ecstatic they are no longer on the bench.”