Andrew Wommack is an American Evangelical Pastor who has a very large presence in Uganda, where that nation’s Parliament is considering the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would provide for the death sentence for HIV-positive LGBT people, and life imprisonment for the rest. That bill would also penalize friends, family members, and co-workers who don’t report LGBT people to police within twenty-four hours with up to three years’ imprisonment, and would criminalize anyone “aiding and abetting” homosexuality — health care professionals fear that this would include them if they provide health care and counseling to LGBT people — with seven years’ imprisonment.
So where does Andrew Wommack stand on the bill, and would he speak out against it? We decided to ask. We sent an email to an address provided on Wommack’s contact page on Monday. We outlined just a few of the provisions of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, along with a link to the full text of the bill. We also mentioned Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren’s December statement against the bill, in which he called it “unjust, extreme and un-Christian toward homosexuals.” We reminded Rev. Wommack that he maintains a prominent office at 39 Cham Towers on Kampala Road, and his television program is broadcast daily every morning at 8:30 am and again at 8:30 pm on Kampala-based Lighthouse TV.
Given his prominent position in Uganda and the severity of the bill, we implored him to raise his voice as a voice of reason against this bill. We didn’t hear back from him directly. Instead, our email was passed on to Lealand Shores III, who is the Director of Andrew Wommack Ministries of Uganda. He responded by email this morning:
Dear Mr. Burroway
Thank you for your email.
As the Director of Andrew Wommack Ministries of Uganda I have been living in Uganda for 5 years now, I am married to a Ugandan and I have been embraced and loved by the people. Our ministry serves this country sharing and teaching the “Unconditional Love and Grace of God” and one thing I have learned, as a foreigner here, is that the Ugandans are passionate about their families and their love for God. It does not matter the denomination.
In reading through your email I have decided to respond because I believe that you must not be aware that there was a response to Mr. Warrens’ letter from Uganda. For your convenience and review I am including the response from the Uganda National Task Force Against Homosexuality. I believe this correspondence reveals the truth of the proposed Bill that is currently being presented.
Personally, I support this Bill, its’ premise and the proposed changes that are being made in Uganda. While I can not speak for Andrew I believe that if you have watched his programming on Christian Philosophy 1 and 2 you would find his response in those programs.
If you will read CAREFULLY you will see that this bill is aimed the ACTIONS of people that are endangering the lives of innocent people. This bill proposes accountability for actions that cause harm, especially to children and minors, and the spread of HIV/AIDS. In addition, I believe it is clear that the main aim of this bill is to protect children and minors (with an emphasis on males) that have no protection against sexual crimes under the current laws. Further, it is aimed at upholding the moral and ethical fiber of family-rights in THIS country. Finally, this Bill is dealing with the issues that are related to a Third-World Community. These issues are so very different from the Globalized mold Western activists and the press are trying to suggest that Uganda squeeze into.
Jim, the bottom-line is that the social-dichotomy here will always be intolerant, not hate as you have suggested, to homosexuality because of the strong social and family dynamics that dominate and drive the cultural existence here. Therefore, the Bill is not aimed directly at the equality and family dynamics of the homosexual agenda which is the foundation of the gay-rights agenda in the Western communities. The issues here are based from a traditional perspective which Western cultures find hard to wrap their minds around.
For example: Sodomy is promoted by traditional healers, witchdoctors, as a way of curing AIDS. Homosexuality is used as a recruiting tool to lure young boys into receiving financial gain. Homosexuality is used as a manipulation to keep young boys and girls as slave labor, they don’t leave or tell for fear of being shunned by the community. Homosexuality is used in traditional rituals and in some cases ends in sacrificial offering of the victim. While in other places homosexuality is promoted as a lifestyle choice, here it is used as a way to manipulate and control others for personal gratification. And the targets are the youth in this country.
If you will note who makes up this task force you will see that it is not a single group of anti-gay vigilante’s but a coming together of those cross-cultural sectors that are the moral foundation of this country. As far as I know I am not aware of an American anti-gay sector within this group.
Finally, let me say that in this instance I am so proud of this nation for standing up for something they believe in regardless of the threats that have come from around the World and especially from the USA who has threatened to pull funding if this bill is passed.
In closing please know that my purpose for responding to you is not to create discord but to present you with the response to Mr. Warrens’ letter which I must say sheds quite a bit of light on the subject. It may or may not change your view, however, I would hope that as someone that is fighting for human rights you will see that this Bill is really not about impeding on someones human rights but ensuring the protection of their human rights in accordance with needs of this country.
May the Lord Bless you,
Pastor Leand Shores, III
Director – Andrew Wommack Ministries of Uganda
[All emphases in the original]
Contrary to Shores belief, we are well aware of the provisions of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, as we have posted the entire text of the bill online for the world to see. We have also seen the the many responses from Martin Ssempa to Rick Warren’s opposition of the bill. Ssempa heads the task force that Shores finds so authoritative. Shores believes that I must not have read the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that I posted online — and it should be obvious by now that I have — but his statement makes clear that either he hasn’t read the bill despite my providing a link to it, or he is willing to go along with the distortions that Ssempa and others are putting out about the bill.
Either way, this statement has Andrew Wommack and his ministry on record as being proud to stand behind this draconian bill and all of its provisions, which include:
- Expanding the definitions for homosexual acts, making conviction easier. Current law requires evidence of penetration. The new law would expand the definition of homosexual activity to”touch(ing) another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” Touching itself is defined as “touching—(a) with any part of the body; (b) with anything else; (c) through anything; and in particular includes touching amounting to penetration of any sexual organ. anus or mouth.”
- Affirming Uganda’s lifetime imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality.
- Defining a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” for those who engage in sex with someone under the age of 18, who are HIV-positive, who is a “repeat offender” (so broadly defined as to include anyone who has had a relationship with more than one person, or who had sex with the same person more than once), or who had sex with a disabled person (consensual or not). The penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is death by hanging.
- Requiring anyone arrested on suspicion of homosexuality to undergo HIV testing to determine the individual’s qualification for prosecution of “aggravated homosexuality.”
- Criminalizing “attempted homosexuality” with imprisonment for seven years.
- Criminalizing “promoting” homosexuality with fines and imprisonment for between five and seven years. This overly-broad provision would criminalize all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda . It would also criminalize any attempt to repeal or modify the law in the future, as those moves could also be seen as “promoting” homosexuality.
- Criminalizing “aiding and abetting homosexuality” with seven years imprisonment. This provision could be used against anyone extending counseling, medical care, or otherwise providing aide gay people.
- Criminalizing the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment.
- Adding a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment for up to three years.
- Penalizing people who run “brothels” with five to seven years imprisonment for renting to LGBT people. However, it defines a brothel as “a house, room, set of rooms or place of any kind for the purposes of homosexuality” instead of the more normal definition of a place where commercial sex work takes place. Anyone’s bedroom would be a “brothel” under this definition, placing landlords and hotel owners in jeopardy for renting to LGBT people.
- Adding an extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
- Voiding all international treaties, agreements and human rights obligations which conflict with this bill.