The following update on the Uganda anti-gay movement comes from the Box Turtle Bulletin:
American Evangelist To Rally Against Gays In Uganda
April 21st, 2010
The month of May will be a very dangerous time to be gay in Uganda, as Pentecostal churches there gear up for a series of crusades, marches and rallies commemorating the 50th Jubilee of the Pentecostal movement there. An anonymous BTB reader in Uganda reports that television is already carrying commercials advertising at least one event, a three-day conference to be held at the sports grounds at Makerere University (Uganda’s largest institution of higher learning) with a march and rally to be held the following Friday, May 7.
In the midst of that expected furor steps yet another American anti-gay extremist, Lou Engle of The Call, who has announced plans to hold a rally in Kampala on May 2, also at the Makerere University Sports Field. The Call Uganda’s web site gives these reasons for holding the rally:
It is intended to awaken and revive the young and the old, men and women, church and family, government and the public and to fight vices eating away at our society. We shall all join our hearts across tribal, political, denominational, and generational boundaries, to cry to God to help us with the challenges in our country such as:
- The heightened political tensions and wrangles in the country, especially as we go towards the 2011 general elections
- The increasing level of social evils in our society, some which are threatening our values and lifestyles e.g.
- Witchcraft and human sacrifice
- Homosexuality and increased immorality
- Disasters and the resultant suffering of the people
- The decay of morals and infrastructure of our city Kampala
Engle’s emotionally-charged extremism and violence-laden rhetoric has become quite familiar here in the U.S. Engle believes that gays are possessed by demons, and was part of a major rally for Prop 8 in San Diego where he called for Christian martyrs. Casey Sanchez, of the Southern Poverty Law Center describes one talk that Engle gave this way:
“I believe we’re headed to an Elijah/Jezebel showdown on the Earth, not just in America but all over the globe, and the main warriors will be the prophets of Baal versus the prophets of God, and there will be no middle ground,” said Engle. He was referring to the Baal of the Old Testament, a pagan idol whose followers were slaughtered under orders from the prophet Elijah.
“There’s an Elijah generation that’s going to be the forerunners for the coming of Jesus, a generation marked not by their niceness but by the intensity of their passion,” Engle continued. “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. Such force demands an equal response, and Jesus is going to make war on everything that hinders love, with his eyes blazing fire.”
Engle has also said, “The most ‘dangerous terrorist’ is not Islam but God. One of God’s names is the avenger of blood. Have you worshiped that God yet?”
Last year, a BTB reader shared with me his experience of attending a Call rally in Nashville in 2007. Tyler (his last name is being withheld) remembers that day vividly — July 7, 2007 (07/07/07 was their “Holy Date”):
I went to Nashville and the day was a whole day of fasting and prayer to “turn the nation back to God.” Their tactics include, in my opinion, a lot of manipulation using emotionally-driven songs, yelling, dancing, and the like to get individuals charged up.
The Call Uganda’s web site lists the following endorsements by Ugandan Christian leaders:
- Bishop Simon Peter Emiau – Chairman Evangelical Fellowship of Uganda;
- Archbishop Luke Henry Orombi – Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda;
- Pastor Jotham Mutebi – Chairman Full Gospel Churches of Uganda;
- Pastor Titus Oundo – Chairman Deliverance Churches of Uganda;
- Apostle John Mulinde – World Trumpet Mission, which also has extensive staff in Orlando, Florida under International Director Mark Daniel.
- Apostle Jackson Ssenyonga – Christian Life Ministries;
- Pastor Gary Skinner – Watoto (formerly Kampala Pentecostal) Church. An elder of that church is Stephen Langa, who helped to organize last year’s anti-gay conference featuring three American anti-gay activists. That conference delivered the “nuclear bomb” that served as a precursor and catalyst to the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before Uganda’s Parliament.
- Apostle Joseph Ssewadda – General Overseer of Born Again Federation;
- Peter Asiimwe – Uganda Evangelical Mission Agency;
- Pastor Fred Wantaate – Coordinator for Pentecostal Golden Jubilee – Full Gospel Church.
The next several weeks will prove to be exceedingly dangerous for LGBT Ugandans. Last year’s conference led to a massive public anti-gay pogrom that included a public vigilante campaign in a major Ugandan tabloid and various FM stations in Kampala in which gay people were forcibly outed. We have reports that several people lost their jobs and were abandoned by their families as a result. Several were arrested, and there are reports of at least one death in the eastern city of Mbale.
Frank Mugisha, president Sexual Minorities of Uganda, said, “Gay people are already fleeing their homes and have to move from house to house because of threats to their lives. Americans need to stop Lou Engle from coming to Uganda.”
When we first reported on the anti-gay conference last March in Uganda, we warned that it was a very dangerous move. But even knowing and warning of those dangers, we had no idea that it would ultimately lead to a proposal to put gay people to death under certain circumstances.
After that experience, there now can be no excuse. We know what can happen following rallies like this one. And whatever happens as an aftermath of this rally, no one can say they could not predict what would happen next. Given the virulent hatred openly expressed by ordinary Ugandans and their religious leaders toward the gay community, Engle’s rally is a dangerous and reckless escalation.
I’d like to know this: at what point will other countries began offering political refuge for gay Ugandans? At what point will there will be airlift evacuations? When will American people of faith intervene with these extremist religious leaders?
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