Did you actually watch the video? Watch it first, cuz it’s important. If you already watched it, watch it again. Then you may continue to read this post.
Last night on Twitter David “thereisnospoon” Atkins retweeted this:
This Daily Show interview w/ the God Loves Uganda director makes me so angry. Fundies lost the fight here so they're killing LGBT ppl there.
— Ilissa Gold (@Goldni) January 14, 2014
That tweet made me curious. Those of you who have been paying attention know that when Spoony is involved you should automatically be skeptical. (That rule also applies to his brother Dante as well.) So I did some research (cuz even though I’m Just a Blogger I tries to get my facts straight.)
So I watched the TDS segment in question. Did you ever have someone tell you something, and even though you didn’t know what the truth was you were pretty sure that what they were telling you wasn’t it?
God Loves Uganda is a documentary flick that is creating a lot of buzz. It’s already won a Sundance Film Festival award and it could even win an Oscar. As Joe Biden would say, “It’s a big fucking deal.”
God Loves Uganda is a straight-up left-wing propaganda hit piece on the religious right and evangelical Christians. This is the kind of bogus bullshit that makes me despise Vile Progs.
You’d never guess the subject matter of “God Loves Uganda” from its innocuous-sounding title. Although the documentary begins as an examination of the work of American Christian missionaries in Uganda, it methodically, and in almost roundabout fashion, circles ever closer to its true target, which is the anti-homosexuality bill currently being considered by the Ugandan parliament. The most controversial feature of the law is a proposed death penalty for so-called repeat offenders.
Just as alarming is the connection that the film draws between the brand of conservative Christianity being imported into the country and this legislative attempt to institutionalize barbarism. One Ugandan pastor, Robert Kayanja, compares homosexual activity to murder. Another, the U.S.-eductated Martin Ssempa, is shown delivering a fiery anti-gay sermon in which he presents graphic images of coprophilia, as if that behavior, along with child molestation, were the norm of gay sex.
Human-rights watchers allege that this religion-stoked homophobia has already manifested itself in an eruption of anti-gay street violence, including the 2011 bludgeoning death of Ugandan gay-rights advocate David Kato.
The film by director Roger Ross Williams, who won an Oscar for his 2010 short “Music by Prudence,” proceeds largely without narration. The Rev. Kapya Kaoma, a Zambian priest and Ugandan gay-rights researcher who fled to Boston because he feared for his life, sets up the film’s central premise: That however well-intentioned, the American Christian missionaries in Uganda have facilitated a climate of hate.
To be fair, most of the young, beaming, well-scrubbed missionaries shown in the film, many of whom come from the Kansas City, Mo.-based International House of Prayer, do not say anything terribly inflammatory, though nearly all condemn the sinfulness of homosexuality activity.
A few, however, go off the deep end, notably Scott Lively, an American anti-gay activist and evangelical minister who has prominently worked in Uganda. The film strongly implies that his talks there on the evils of the gay agenda, beginning in 2009, led directly to the current anti-gay hysteria. Lively is on record as having uttered some mind-boggling stuff, such as that gays were largely responsible for Nazism. Never mind that, in reality, homosexuals were among the victims demonized — and exterminated — by the Nazis.
“God Loves Uganda” starts slowly. And because it avoids the type of facts and figures that one typically sees in documentaries, it’s hard to tell the exact state of things in Uganda. Although some people identify themselves on camera as Muslims, it’s hard to gauge precisely how many Christians there are in the country. From the look of things, it’s a lot. One of the rare statistics cited in the film says that half of all Ugandans are younger than 15, making that (presumably more impressionable) population ripe for conversion.
Whatever the state of homophobia in Uganda — which Kaoma likens to an incipient wildfire — “God Loves Uganda” clearly lays the blame for it at the feet of the American evangelical movement. The movie doesn’t really argue its case, preferring to stand back, in quiet outrage, as the representatives of that movement are shown with the match in their hands.
If this movie was blaming “the Jews” for what is happening in Uganda then Jon Stewart would recognize it for what it is – anti-religious bigotry. But hating Christians is okie-dokie, especially white, conservative (Republican) Christians. (Nobody ever mentions that millions of black Christians oppose homosexuality too.)
Now lets get something straight here – I support LGBT rights and Same-Sex Marriage. In this day and age there is no justifiable reason for the law to discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation. If you think homosexuality is wrong then don’t be gay – but leave everybody else alone. I don’t want there to be any ambiguity or misunderstanding on my position.
On the other hand, I support the right of people to believe differently than me. There are some people who, with good intentions and no malice in their hearts, believe that homosexuality is a sin. I don’t agree with them, but that’s what they sincerely believe. Thankfully, every year there are more people who agree with me and fewer people who agree with them.
Yes, it is true that while there are some Christian sects that are enlightened and fully accept gays in their church, some/many/most of them still teach that homosexuality is a sin. Most of those churches that oppose homosexuality have adopted a policy of “Love the sinner, hate the sin” but there are always a few nutballs and fringe lunatics. The Westboro Baptist Church is a prime example.
I’m not particularly religious but I am sure that if there is a God that He loves all of His children, including the gay ones. The idea that someone should be imprisoned or even put to death because they are gay is repugnant to me.
Uganda is a country in sub-Saharan Africa that is about the size of Wyoming with about as many people in it as California. It’s safe to say the place is fairly crowded and it pretty much goes without saying that most Ugandans are poor.
I really don’t know much about the politics of Uganda except that Idi Amin used to run the place and he was a brutal dictator. My research tells me that almost everybody over there is black. The official language is English but they also speak Swahili and a bunch of other languages I ain’t never heard of before.
As for religion, here is what Wikipedia says:
According to the census of 2002, Christians made up about 84% of Uganda’s population. The Roman Catholic Church has the largest number of adherents (41.9%), followed by the Anglican Church of Uganda (35.9%). Evangelical and Pentecostal churches claim the rest of the Christian population. There’s a growing number of Presbyterian denominations like the Presbyterian Church in Uganda, the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Uganda and the Evangelical Free Church in Uganda with hundreds of affiliating congregations. The next most reported religion of Uganda is Islam, with Muslims representing 12% of the population. The Muslim population is primarily Sunni; there are also minorities who are Shia, non-denominational Muslims and those belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The remainder of the population follow traditional religions (1%), Baha’i (0.1%), other non-Christian religions (0.7%), or have no religious affiliation (0.9%).
You might take note that none of the Christian sects mentioned was the International House of
Pancakes Prayer. Catholics and Anglicans (aka Episcopalians) make up 75% of the Christians. I don’t know how many IHOPers there are (here or in Uganda) but I’m confident they are less than a fraction of one percent in either country.
I don’t know what is driving the anti-gay hysteria in Uganda. It might have something to do with the AIDS epidemic that has been ravaging Africa for decades. One thing I am sure of though is that a handful of American missionaries are not to blame.
Now obviously it doesn’t help the situation to be preaching intolerance of gays. But “not helping” is not causation. Any preacher who could get millions of people to do what he tells them would not be preaching to poor people over in Africa, he would be over here with his own mega-church and a cable station.
God Loves Uganda does not try to enlighten the people of Uganda. Most of them will probably never even see it anyway. What the movie tries to do is make you think there a straight line of causation between evangelical Christianity and anti-gay violence. And it tries to do it over here. That’s bullshit.
There are countries that do execute people for being gay. Conspicuous among them are Saudi Arabia and Iran. All the seven countries that have a death penalty for homosexuality are Islamic.
The new Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill was passed last month, but the maximum sentence is life in prison.