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'God Loves Uganda': How American Evangelical Religion Fueled An Anti-Gay Movement

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'God Loves Uganda': How Religion Fueled An Anti-Gay Movement

6 min 42 sec



Christopher Senyonjo says he was excommunicated from the Anglican church in the early 2000s, but continues his ministry and activism.

Christopher Senyonjo says he was excommunicated from the Anglican church in the early 2000s, but continues his ministry and activism.

Crispin Buxton

Four years ago, a bill was introduced in Uganda's parliament that would criminalize same-sex relations. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has not yet become law, but it has drawn international attention to the animosity against gays in the African nation.

In the director Roger Ross Williams traces the bill's origins to the American evangelical missions in Uganda.

"American evangelicals have done a lot of great work," Williams tells All Things Considered weekend host Arun Rath. "But it's a certain type of fundamentalist evangelical ideology that came in there and basically instilled in a lot of the young people in Uganda this message that biblical law is above any other law."

Director Roger Ross Williams won an Academy Award in 2010 for his documentary short Music by Prudence.

Director Roger Ross Williams won an Academy Award in 2010 for his documentary short Music by Prudence.

Marc Yankus

The film traces the missionary efforts of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) and follows a group of young people on a trip to Uganda.

"I think that the young missionaries in the film are really innocent and well meaning. They are just the foot soldiers, as I like to call them," Williams says.

He believes that powerful evangelical leaders have a larger agenda:
"Everyone I've talked to in my film has said, 'You know, look: America's lost.' As marriage equality has passed, America is lost to them, but they are winning the war in Uganda.

"And they believe that this war will be won by eradicating what they believe is sexual sin, and that means homosexuality. And that message gets translated very differently in an African context."

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo became an advocate for LGBT rights, when he began counseling young homosexual men who were being persecuted by their churches and families. "When I talked to these young people, they were so worried," he says. "And they didn't know really what they were, actually, because of the way they were being treated in our community. And I said, 'Accept yourselves as you are.' "

Senyonjo says his church urged him to condemn the men but that he refused.

"I believe this is the call, which God has called me to bring the good news to LGBTQ people," he says. "That they also were created by God, made in the image of God, which a number of our churches don't like to say."

Senyonjo was excommunicated by the archbishop of Uganda in the early 2000s, but has continued his ministry and activism. He says there are times when he's been fearful for his life. In 2001, he stayed in the U.S. for six months.

"But I felt God wanted me to go back," Senyonjo says. "I've been harassed, but people are coming to know that what I'm trying to do is not really something which should make someone regarded as an enemy of our nation."

Although Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill has stirred up major controversy, many activists and observers believe that it will not be brought before parliament for a vote. Senyonjo says the legislation has been a "blessing in disguise."

"This bill, I think, has helped us to understand that we are not all heterosexuals," he says. "There are different human sexualities which should be respected."

National Woman's Party


by on Oct. 12, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Replies (11-14):
TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2013 at 3:37 PM

 But He does, if invited.  If not, when man decides he knows better than to turn to God, you get tragedy on a minor or on a large scale.

He HAS to be invited, by His own rules.  He gave dominion to man.  Man can do his own thing, or ask for Godly wisdom.  But either way, God doesn't push Himself into a situation.   

That's the way it works.  Man needs God (just like children happen to need their parents), and to "remove him from the equation" creates negative consequences for innocent victims.

Quoting turtle68:

meh...that is a gimme.  god doesnt enter into the equation.

Quoting TranquilMind:

 It simply reinforces my belief that man is depraved at heart and has it in him to do horrible things to other people. 

Quoting turtle68:

does god know what is happening to women and children in Uganda....or is he only interested in homosexuals?

If what I see and hear about Uganda....reinforces my belief that god is non-existent 

 


 

IhartU
by Gold Member on Oct. 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM


Quoting TranquilMind:

 But He does, if invited.  If not, when man decides he knows better than to turn to God, you get tragedy on a minor or on a large scale. So, it's better to turn to an imginary being than for humans to take matters into their own hands and do soemthing on their own? This is the kind of stupid thinking that allows religion to control people. Tell them that they are puny, moronic humans who can't do anything right without god or be anything worthwhile without god. There is NO god and people are totally responsible for the negative and the positive they create- end of story.

He HAS to be invited, by His own rules.  He gave dominion to man.  Man can do his own thing, or ask for Godly wisdom.  But either way, God doesn't push Himself into a situation.   

That's the way it works.  Man needs God (just like children happen to need their parents), and to "remove him from the equation" creates negative consequences for innocent victims. Man does not need god what man needs is to have faith, trust and love of self and then faith, trust and love of others will naturally follow. The very fact that millions of people manage to do good in the world, get through tough times and leave a legacy of kindness and decency without god proves he's not necessary what so ever- you just wan to believe he is. Children are children,  grown human adults are not children and do not need a 'heavenly father' to show them to the right way.

Quoting turtle68:

meh...that is a gimme.  god doesnt enter into the equation.

Quoting TranquilMind:

 It simply reinforces my belief that man is depraved at heart and has it in him to do horrible things to other people. 

Quoting turtle68:

does god know what is happening to women and children in Uganda....or is he only interested in homosexuals?

If what I see and hear about Uganda....reinforces my belief that god is non-existent 

 


 


TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Oct. 13, 2013 at 3:58 PM

 The only stupid thing said here is the dismissal of God's existence.  I'm not talking about religion at all; I'm talking about relationship, though I do not expect you to understand that.

 

Quoting IhartU:


Quoting TranquilMind:

 But He does, if invited.  If not, when man decides he knows better than to turn to God, you get tragedy on a minor or on a large scale. So, it's better to turn to an imginary being than for humans to take matters into their own hands and do soemthing on their own? This is the kind of stupid thinking that allows religion to control people. Tell them that they are puny, moronic humans who can't do anything right without god or be anything worthwhile without god. There is NO god and people are totally responsible for the negative and the positive they create- end of story.

He HAS to be invited, by His own rules.  He gave dominion to man.  Man can do his own thing, or ask for Godly wisdom.  But either way, God doesn't push Himself into a situation.   

That's the way it works.  Man needs God (just like children happen to need their parents), and to "remove him from the equation" creates negative consequences for innocent victims. Man does not need god what man needs is to have faith, trust and love of self and then faith, trust and love of others will naturally follow. The very fact that millions of people manage to do good in the world, get through tough times and leave a legacy of kindness and decency without god proves he's not necessary what so ever- you just wan to believe he is. Children are children,  grown human adults are not children and do not need a 'heavenly father' to show them to the right way.

Quoting turtle68:

meh...that is a gimme.  god doesnt enter into the equation.

Quoting TranquilMind:

 It simply reinforces my belief that man is depraved at heart and has it in him to do horrible things to other people. 

Quoting turtle68:

does god know what is happening to women and children in Uganda....or is he only interested in homosexuals?

If what I see and hear about Uganda....reinforces my belief that god is non-existent 

 


 


 

IhartU
by Gold Member on Oct. 13, 2013 at 4:02 PM


Quoting TranquilMind:

 The only stupid thing said here is the dismissal of God's existence.  I'm not talking about religion at all; I'm talking about relationship, though I do not expect you to understand that. Nope. Can't understand why anyone would need to have a relationship with a mythological being. Aren't your human relationships enough for you? What's lacking in your self esteem and life experiences that you feel the desire to fill that void with fictional characters?


 

Quoting IhartU:


Quoting TranquilMind:

 But He does, if invited.  If not, when man decides he knows better than to turn to God, you get tragedy on a minor or on a large scale. So, it's better to turn to an imginary being than for humans to take matters into their own hands and do soemthing on their own? This is the kind of stupid thinking that allows religion to control people. Tell them that they are puny, moronic humans who can't do anything right without god or be anything worthwhile without god. There is NO god and people are totally responsible for the negative and the positive they create- end of story.

He HAS to be invited, by His own rules.  He gave dominion to man.  Man can do his own thing, or ask for Godly wisdom.  But either way, God doesn't push Himself into a situation.   

That's the way it works.  Man needs God (just like children happen to need their parents), and to "remove him from the equation" creates negative consequences for innocent victims. Man does not need god what man needs is to have faith, trust and love of self and then faith, trust and love of others will naturally follow. The very fact that millions of people manage to do good in the world, get through tough times and leave a legacy of kindness and decency without god proves he's not necessary what so ever- you just wan to believe he is. Children are children,  grown human adults are not children and do not need a 'heavenly father' to show them to the right way.

Quoting turtle68:

meh...that is a gimme.  god doesnt enter into the equation.

Quoting TranquilMind:

 It simply reinforces my belief that man is depraved at heart and has it in him to do horrible things to other people. 

Quoting turtle68:

does god know what is happening to women and children in Uganda....or is he only interested in homosexuals?

If what I see and hear about Uganda....reinforces my belief that god is non-existent 

 


 


 


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