Lou Engle Answers Uganda Rally Critics

Jim Burroway

April 27th, 2010

Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton has obtained a press release from Lou Engle addressing his scheduled May 2 rally in Kampala and questions surrounding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before the Ugandan Parliament. In his statement, Engle denies having any knowledge about the draconian proposal, and says that he does not support the anti-gay bill as written:

Now recently, TheCall has been wrongfully marked and vilified as an organization promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals and as one that supports the Uganda bill as currently written. To the contrary, we have never made a private or a public statement of support for that bill. Though we honor the courage and stand with the stated purpose of the many Church leaders in Uganda who are seeking to protect the traditional and biblical family foundations of the nation, we have serious concerns with the bill as presently written, especially in terms of some of the harsh penalties for certain homosexual behaviors or offenses. Sadly, many around the world are identifying TheCall with these aspects of the bill.

BTB is among the blogs who have noted Engle’s extremist anti-gay rhetoric in the recent past and openly questioned the message Engle intends to deliver at his Kampala Rally this coming weekend. Past is prologue, as they say, and Engle’s silence on the bill (his current protestations that he knew nothing about it stretches credulity) raised many well-founded concerns, especially given the impact that other American anti-gay activists have had in Uganda. As far as his past rhetoric is concerned, Engle prefaced his remarks on the Ugandan bill with an apology of sorts:

TheCall belief and intent has never been about promoting hatred toward the homosexual community as a whole or towards individuals who identify as LGBT. We have always sought to offer a message of love and redemption to those with same-sex attractions, though at times our communication could have been expressed more effectively and graciously. In this aspect, we humbly seek your forgiveness if we had not communicated God’s righteousness and mercy adequately.

Engle then announces that TheCall will go forward on May 2 as scheduled at Makerere University, but he denies that the rally will be a forum to support the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:

Therefore TheCall, though continuing to be held in Uganda, will not promote this bill. In fact, we challenge the Church of Uganda to join with Christians around the world, to first examine our own moral failures, confess our own lack of love, and from that heart seek to establish true biblical standards, reflecting compassion for those struggling with same-sex attraction and equal justice for criminal offenses committed by heterosexuals or homosexuals. We believe this also reflects the heart and intent of the Christian leaders of Uganda.

It’s unclear what message Engle will deliver at the rally itself. We know he intends to address homosexuality since it is one of the talking points included in his announcement for TheCall Uganda. Will he criticize the bill? Or will he applaud “the courage and stand with the stated purpose of the many Church leaders in Uganda who are seeking to protect the traditional and biblical family foundations of the nation”? This statement is unclear, and without further clarification it looks like we may not find out until it’s too late.

TheCall Uganda Press Release:

When TheCall was invited to come to Uganda our intent was to join with the leaders and the people of the great Ugandan Church in a gathering of fasting and prayer to confess our personal and national sins, to pray for God’s blessing on the nation, and for a great spiritual awakening among her youth. Personal and national repentance among Christians and prayer for spiritual awakening has been the core focus of TheCall since her inception.

TheCall had no knowledge at the time, of the Uganda homosexual bill and the controversy surrounding it. TheCall was unaware that our genuine intent to encourage the Ugandan church in prayer would thrust us into an international controversy.

TheCall, in 2008, mobilized thousands to pray and fast in California that marriage would be upheld between a man and a woman, believing this to be God’s design for the good of society, family, and children. TheCall belief and intent has never been about promoting hatred toward the homosexual community as a whole or towards individuals who identify as LGBT. We have always sought to offer a message of love and redemption to those with same-sex attractions, though at times our communication could have been expressed more effectively and graciously. In this aspect, we humbly seek your forgiveness if we had not communicated God’s righteousness and mercy adequately.

Now recently, TheCall has been wrongfully marked and vilified as an organization promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals and as one that supports the Uganda bill as currently written. To the contrary, we have never made a private or a public statement of support for that bill. Though we honor the courage and stand with the stated purpose of the many Church leaders in Uganda who are seeking to protect the traditional and biblical family foundations of the nation, we have serious concerns with the bill as presently written, especially in terms of some of the harsh penalties for certain homosexual behaviors or offenses. Sadly, many around the world are identifying TheCall with these aspects of the bill. Our concern is not to avoid the controversy the bill is stirring up, but to give an accurate representation of biblical values and the heart of Christ for all humanity. Though TheCall is not afraid to take a clear stand on biblical truth on matters of sexuality, we are deeply concerned that TheCall ministry would not wrongfully reflect the character of Christ, and we do not see the character of Christ reflected in some key aspects of the language of the current bill.

Therefore TheCall, though continuing to be held in Uganda, will not promote this bill. In fact, we challenge the Church of Uganda to join with Christians around the world, to first examine our own moral failures, confess our own lack of love, and from that heart seek to establish true biblical standards, reflecting compassion for those struggling with same-sex attraction and equal justice for criminal offenses committed by heterosexuals or homosexuals. We believe this also reflects the heart and intent of the Christian leaders of Uganda.

In releasing this statement, we want to take this opportunity to reiterate our deep love for the homosexual community and, as followers of Jesus, our commitment to oppose all hatred and violence directed towards that community.

For TheCall,

Lou Engle

Frijondi

April 27th, 2010

Saying that TheCall Uganda had no knowledge of the bill is as egregious as saying that TheCall California had no knowledge of Prop. 8.

As for Engle’s claim that he has never promoted violence against gays: does he really not understand that people other than his followers can Google him and find any number of speeches where he does just that?

The rest of the world is well aware that he has “compassion for those struggling with same-sex attraction.” What he has not yet done is admit that he’s been waging open war for years on gay people who are not struggling with anything but discrimination, and only wish to live their lives as they see fit. But the evidence is there on the Internet for all to see, world without end, amen.

Why does this man think he has a right to be judged by his (recently) stated intentions, rather than his actions?

anteros

April 27th, 2010

wow. this dude really needs to hire a new PR consultant.

i suspect that when he’s on a roll in front of a like-minded audience, he speaks his mind passionately… blurts it all out. then when the complaints and negative attention surface, he attempts damage control. i’m wondering how some of his extreme anti-gay statements could have been expressed in a more gracious or christ-like manner that would have made them more acceptable. hate delivered in holy gift boxes? …and how genuine is that apology?

his ugandan hosts are likely to get his anti-gay juices flowing. then he gets to blindly drop 2010’s nuclear bomb on Uganda’s LGBT community. then after the consequences of his visit become apparent and after months of criticism, he gets to say, “oops! it came out all wrong. i should have been more gracious and christ-like while praying, fasting and discussing what to do about the homosexual problem faced by ugandan pastors and legislators who just wanna protect their traditional family. it’s not my fault, i didn’t start that fire… remember, i love those struggling with same sex attractions.”

heard it all before.

Lynn David

April 28th, 2010

So, Engle didn’t want himself to be tarnished by any accusation that he wants gays locked up, etc… Isn’t it a little too late for that?

DN

April 28th, 2010

“It’s unclear what message Engle will deliver at the rally itself.”

True.

We do know, however, *how* the message will be delivered: like Greek folk music. He’ll start out at a relaxed pace in a normal speaking voice, and he’ll get faster and LOUDER as he goes, until he’s full-on screaming his hysterics into the microphone with his WWF voice.

As you said, past is prologue, and this guy is pretty predictable this way :)

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