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Posts for May, 2010

Engle Offers Tactical Support For Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Jim Burroway

May 4th, 2010

Lou Engle on stage with other supporters of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill at a TheCall rally in Kampala (Michael Wilkerson / Religion Dispatches)

Religious Dispatches as a very detailed eyewitness account by Michael Wilkerson of Lou Engle’s participating at an anti-gay rally in Kampala last Sunday. Wilkerson points out that Engle didn’t mention the the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill directly, but given the context of the entire all-day rally he didn’t need to.

Preceding Engle’s performance at the rally, Julius Oyet called on Parliament “not to debate heaven. We call on them to pass the bill and say no to homosexuality.” Oyet, you may recall, is the self-styled “apostle” who is vice-president of the Born Again Federation, an umbrella group of some 10,000 Ugandan Pentecostal churches.

Oyet was in the Parliament’s visitors gallery and was commended by Parliament’s speaker when the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced last October. He is also an Oyet is an adherent to “Seven Mountains” theology, a Dominionist theology that calls upon Christians to “establish the Kingdom of God on earth” by claiming possession to “the Seven Mountains of Culture namely: Business, Government, Religion, Family, Media, Education and Entertainment.” Oyet is also the head of the College of Prayer International’s Uganda branch. MP David Bahati, the credited author and sponsor of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, is one of eight MP’s serving on COPI’s “servant leadership team” in Parliament.

According to Religion Dispatches, Oyet spent considerable time at the rally pushing for the passage of the draconian bill:

Oyet also brought up the common Ugandan perception that homosexuality is an import of the West which “recruits” new members primarily by bribing children. “Father, our children today are being deceived by the West. To buy them, to give them school fees so that they can be homosexuals. We say no to that,” Oyet said with a rolling voice as a live band played smooth jazz in the background.

Engle took the stage right after Oyet, and almost immediately launched into a defense of the anti-gay bill. According to Wilkerson, Elgle repeated what he said in his statement last week when he claimed that he didn’t know about the bill. He also claimed that he almost canceled his trip over the controversy. But at no point did he contest Oyet’s support for the bill. In fact, he picked up on the homosexuality-as-Western-import theme and ran with it:

We know that Uganda has been under tremendous pressure—the church. We felt that same pressure. But I felt like The Call was to come and join with the church of Uganda to encourage you that in the nation who are showing courage to take a stand for righteousness in the earth,” Engle said.

Since arriving, Engle went on, he had consulted with Uganda’s pastors, who are “dealing with a controversy they never wanted.” He then pivoted to the blame-the-West assertion so popular among the bill’s Ugandan supporters. “What I found out was that NGOs, the UN, and UNICEF were coming in and promoting an agenda that the church of Uganda did not want to be in this nation.”

Engle was careful never to explicitly call for the passage of the bill itself, and to avoid being accused of inciting violence. “We are not standing with violence or hatred to people with homosexual lifestyles,” he preached. Still, as he does in the United States, he insisted that homosexuality harms society: “We are trying to restrain an agenda that is going to hurt the nation and hurt families.”

Engle is trying to have it both ways. When he took the stage, at no time did he distance himself or criticize the draconian bill. Instead, he pivoted and repeated the oft-cited propaganda, with no apparent attempt to verify the “facts” themselves, that homosexuality is a Western imperialist import. But in private, while speaking to reporters on his way back to the car, Engle sought to distance himself from the bill again. Ugandan LGBT advocates noted the tightrope act:

“They tried to avoid the issue of inciting violence but they did not come out and condemn the bill, which was in their [press] statement,” said Dennis Wamala, who works with a group called Icebreakers Uganda. “They did not come out in any way to say this bill is wrong.”

Engle likes to portray himself as a courageous, fearless and bold trumpet of righteousness. When he issued his statement addressing concerns about his then-upcoming rally, we noted then that he tried to weave some sort of middle ground and we were left wondering what message he would deliver in Kampala. We now know the answer.

The problem all along is that the way the bill has been framed by its supporters, there is no room for middle ground. You are either in support of the bill or you are against it. Either you want to legislate LGBT people into oblivion or you don’t. Engle’s actions now leaves him squarely in the supporting camp. He had the opportunity to “[reflect] compassion for those struggling with same-sex attraction and equal justice for criminal offenses committed by heterosexuals or homosexuals,” but he blew it.

Instead, he demonstrated public solidarity with the people who want to kill LGBT Ugandans, and repeated their propaganda to do it. He stood beside those who want to kill LGBT people, including Oyet, Bahati, and Ethics and Integrity Minister James, Nsaba Buturo, among others. Nobody heard an ounce of caution or criticism from him. Instead, Engle affirmed the “righteousness” of the people who want to kill you. He’s an articulate man. Words never fail him. Which means that when he left only one conceivable take-away message for everyone in that crowd, that they are on the right track in trying to legally kill gay people, he did this with deliberate intent. And really, that is all you need to know about him.

“Hey Gay Pervert”: A Gay Ugandan’s Conversation With A Legislator

Jim Burroway

December 16th, 2009
MP Benson Obua-Ogwa

MP Benson Obua-Ogwal

Yesterday we posted exclusive clips from the print edition of Uganda’s largest independent newspaper The Monitor, which provided several examples of how ordinary Ugandans talk about gay people. Today GayUganda posted a series of emails from an exchange he had with MP Benson Obua-Ogwal, who has been identified as a co-sponsor who helped draft the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act. These emails give us a good sense of how some Ugandan politicians talk to gay people:

Hey Gay Pervert,

How about this one coming from all religious leaders across board right here at home?:

www.monitor.co.ug/artman/publish/news/Church_
leaders_back_govt_on_anti-gay_Bill_95758.shtml

We love gays, but hate homosexuality which has no place here.

Forget about the Bill being withdrawn, for it will be passed in due time.

Benson.

There’s much more at GayUganda’s website.

MP Obua-Ogwal has been identified as a core member of the American-based College of Prayer International, which established a Ugandan campus under the leadership of Julius Oyet. Obua-Ogwa and MP David Bahati, the proposed bill’s sponsor, were two of eight MP’s appointed to serve on the College of Prayer’s “servant leadership team.”

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of the past year’s anti-gay developments in Uganda.

What’s Good For Uganda Is Good For Canada?

Jim Burroway

December 6th, 2009

That’s what the College of Prayer thinks. Two members of College of Prayer introduced the notorious “Kill Gays” bill in Uganda’s Parliament, with the full blessing of the head of the College of Prayer’s Ugandan campus. Now Bruce Wilson at Talk To Action has found that College of Prayer Canada head Rev. David Chotka wants to plant some seeds for Ottawa:

When the team returned to North America, they received a phone call from David Chotka, COP Canada. David said, “I have three-twelve members of the Canadian Parliament who have heard about what God is doing in Uganda and would like to attend the Parliamentary COP [College of Prayer — ed.] in Uganda next year. They are interested in bringing the College of Prayer to the Canadian Parliament.” It seems that God continues to expand our spheres of influence. The extraordinary favor of God is resting upon us. All glory to His name!

While I doubt that this will bear much fruit in Canada, this is indicative of COP’s ambition. Great catch by Bruce Wilson.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Seven Mountains Theology At the Heart of Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill

Jim Burroway

December 4th, 2009

Yesterday, Warren Throckmorton began delving into the “Seven Mountains” theology that has surfaced in investigations into American Evangelical ties to the current Anti-Homosexuality Act which has been put before Uganda’s Parliament. Today, Bruce Wilson, of the New Apostolic Reformation Research Group, has published a major exposé on extensive ties between those behind Uganda’s latest draconian proposal and American Evangelicals. Again, “Seven Mountains” theology appears to be at the core.

According to news reports, the Anti-Homosexuality Act was tabled before Parliament on October 14, but that wasn’t the first time discussions surrounding the proposal occurred in the chamber. A transcript of Parliamentary proceedings from April 29, have come to light which show MP David Bahati first introducing the bill before Parliament. This is likely to have been similar to the draft dated April 20, 2009 that we obtained in September. (The current bill is dated September 25.) According to the Parliamentary transcript, the Speaker noted several distinguished visitors in the gallery before turning the floor over to MP Bahati:

Let us hear from hon. Bahati. In connection with the motion he is moving, we have in the gallery Apostle Julius Peter Oyet, Vice-President of the Born Again Federation; Pastor Dr Martin Sempa of the Family Policy Centre; Stephen Langa, Family Life Network; hon. Godfrey Nyakaana; the Mayor of Kampala City Council; Julius, a young boy who was sodomised, and his mother. His story has been in the press. They are all here in the gallery. Please, let us deal with them so that they can leave. There is also George Oundo who came out to speak against homosexuality. Please, let us balance the public good and our good since all of them are important. We shall do them all very quickly. Hon. Bahati.

For longtime BTB readers, many of these names are familiar. Stephen Langa organized the anti-gay conference in Kampala in March featuring three American Anti-Gay activists which ultimately kicked off this latest round of anti-gay vigilantism and, eventually, this bill. Martin Ssempa has enjoyed close ties with many American Evangelicals, most notably Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren. Ssempa has used the latest anti-gay furor to exact revenge against rival pastors by accusing them of homosexuality. Those accusations were unfounded, and Ssempa himself is the subject of a police investigation for filing false reports. George Oundo is the unstable so-called “ex-gay” who participated in several acts of vigilantism in the media.

"Apostle" Julius Oyet

"Apostle" Julius Oyet

But one name we haven’t paid much attention to — and should — is that of the self-designated “Apostle” Julius Peter Oyet. He’s vice-president of the Born Again Federation, and umbrella group of some 10,000 Ugandan Pentecostal churches. He is also head of Lifeline Ministries. According to Throckmorton and Wilson, Oyet has gained favor and influence with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni for going to Northern Uganda and praying over territory once controlled by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army. His prayers reportedly resulted in the “miraculous” return of hundreds of child soldiers abducted by the LRA, as well as other fantastic stories of miraculous healings, cleansing of poisoned rivers, casting out demons, and the like.

Oyet is an adherent to “Seven Mountains” theology, a Dominionist theology that calls upon Christians to “establish the Kingdom of God on earth” by claiming possession to “the Seven Mountains of Culture namely: Business, Government, Religion, Family, Media, Education and Entertainment.”  Warren Throckmorton explains:

This viewpoint seems to be quite popular among those who follow C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation. Wagner is the Presiding Apostle for the International Council of Apostles, a subsidiary of Global Harvest Ministries which admits new apostles by invitation only.

Wagner’s 2008 book Dominion: How Kingdom Action Can Change the World, is described by the publisher as an exploration of “the biblical roots of dominion theology.” According to Wagner, the task of the church is less about individual salvation and more about taking dominion over the culture by reclaiming seven domains: family, business, arts & entertainment, government, media, education, and religion.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, Caleb Lee Brundidge, one of the speakers at that anti-gay conference at Kampala last march, is a member of a group called Extreme Prophetic, which also adheres to Seven Mountains theology.

Bruce Wilson’s report at Talk to Action takes up the thread from there:

Some observers have wondered if Purpose Driven Life author and mega-evangelist Rick Warren has had a role in the globally controversial bill, especially because of Warren’s close association with Ugandan anti-gay activist Martin Ssempa and, more broadly, because Warren has refused to denounce the anti-gay bill.

To little notice, a charismatic network overseen by Warren’s doctoral dissertation advisor, C. Peter Wagner, has played a major role in politically organizing and inspiring the Ugandan legislators who have spearheaded the anti-gay bill.

Wagner is the Convening Apostle in a movement of charismatic networks which has extended its reach from the United States to Uganda, and worldwide. Under its umbrella of authority are virulently anti-gay apostles in the United States and Uganda including Lou Engle of TheCall, who led thousands of young people in a twelve hour November 1, 2008 stadium rally in support of California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition Eight.

The San Diego event closed with Engle, a member of Wagner’s inner circle of “prophets,” calling for Christian martyrs. Peter Wagner heads the New Apostolic Reformation, which he openly touts as an effort to take Christian dominion over the globe by putting “born again” believers around the world under the authority of these apostles and prophets.

Both C. Peter Wagner and Rick Warren want to transform the world, and both have proclaimed the advent of a second Reformation. Wagner calls it the New Apostolic Reformation, while for Rick Warren this is a “purpose driven” effort powered by Warren’s global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. In Uganda both visions for societal transformation appear to include the categorical elimination of homosexuality – by any means.

The word “transform” is key. Wilson identifies Julius Oyet as a one of Wagner’s Apostles, and is featured in one of the movement’s Transformations series of video documentaries. Wilson says these videos “depict cities and even whole nations transformed to earthly utopias when charismatic Christians take control of societal structures and government.” The “Transformations” ideas promoted these videos have spawned Transformation organizations around the world, including the International Transformation Network

Oyet is also identified as being the head of the Uganda division of the College of Prayer International. BTB readers may recall from last month that MP David Bahati, who introduced the Anti-Homosexualty Act into Parliament, and MP Benson Obua-Ogwa, identified as one of the bill’s cosponsors, are core members of the College of Prayer International’s Uganda branch. They were appointed as two of eight MP’s to serve on the Christian “servant leadership team” in Parliament for three years.

Some parts of Wilson’s report covers some of the same ground that we’ve reported, but his well-researched report goes much deeper than anyone has been able to accomplish so far. He does an excellent job of not only tying it all together, but demonstrating how Seven Mountains theology works, as adherents seek to infiltrate the seven spheres of cultural influence — particularly the governmental sphere. He also documents the close ties that these groups have with the President and First Lady of Uganda. For example:

A March 8th, 2007 news release, hosted on the official web site of Republic of Uganda State House, reveals the extent to which the Transformations model is being integrated into Ugandan government policy:

“President Yoweri Museveni and his wife Mrs. Janet Museveni today hosted at State House, Nakasero 2 officials of California based Harvest Evangelism. Founder and President of Harvest Evangelism Mr. Ed Silvoso was accompanied by Mr. Graham Power.” According to the release, the Musevenis discussed with Silvoso and Power “issues pertaining to investment opportunities in the country particularly road construction and the development of infrastructure.”

Ed Silvoso is an apostle in C. Peter Wagner’s International Coalition of Apostles and is CEO of the International Transformation Network (ITN). Janet Museveni has spoken at several Transformation conferences around the world including one hosted by Silvoso’s Argentina-based ministry.

So now we see how Peter Wagner’s “Seven Mountain” theology is having a very real impact in Uganda. And with Rick Warren as Wagner’s protegé, Warren’s refusal to take a stand on the impending disaster in Uganda is starting to make sense. One would think that denouncing such a draconian attempt at criminalization would be easy to denounce, but Warren can’t find it in his heart to do so.

The more we look at the ties between American Evangelicals and Uganda’s political leadership, the more we see the true nature of what the American Evangelical movement has in store for LGBT people if they get their way. One Uganda pastor called the proposal “genocide.” That’s an extreme word describing an extreme situation. But the more we learn, the more it looks like it’s not hyperbole after all. This is real.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

More American Evangelical Ties To Uganda’s Anti-Gay Politicians

Jim Burroway

November 9th, 2009
L-R: Unidentified woman, American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, International Healing Foundation's Caleb Brundidge, Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer, Family Life Network (Uganda)'s Stephen Langa, at the time of the March 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda.

L-R: Unidentified woman, American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, International Healing Foundation's Caleb Brundidge, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, Family Life Network's (Uganda) Stephen Langa, at the time of the March 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda.

Regular readers of this web site are well aware of the significant role American anti-gay Evangelicals have played in fomenting Uganda’s political climate against its LGBT citizens, beginning with a March 2009 ex-gay/anti-gay conference held in Kampala.  The fruits of their actions flourished over the following weeks with a full-fledged public vigilante campaign and culminated in a bill being introduced last month which provides for the death penalty for LGBT Ugandans under certain circumstances. The bill also criminalizes all free speech and defense of gay people in that country and provides criminal penalties against friends and family members who refuse to report LGBT people to the police.

Fred Hartley, College of Prayer International

Fred Hartley, College of Prayer International

While we’ve focused our attention on those three American anti-gay activists whose actions are most directly tied to the latest chain of events in that country, the roots of American Evangelical involvement in Uganda run extraordinarily deep. According to the pro-government newspaper New Vision, Dr. Fred Hartley, the president of the College of Prayer International, held a prayer meeting in Kampala, where he instructed several MP’s on the power of prayer over — get thiswitchcraft:

“You should not consult witchdoctors for success but instead seek help from God,” Dr. Fred Hartley, the president of the College of Prayer International, said.  “I know witchcraft is a big problem in Uganda but as MPs, you should be exemplary,” he said.

…Hartley explained to the MPs that the Kingdom of God involves righteousness, joy, peace and the Holy Spirit. He told the MPs that if they prayed in line with the Kingdom of God they would be able to cast out demons.

The College of Prayer International identifies casting out demons as one of its core missions. They also seek to “train national leaders” with their superstitions:

  • Satan Evicting – As Christ’s Kingdom advances, demonic strongholds are exposed and eradicated. Practical teaching is provided to equip leaders with tools to engage the enemy in the gateways of life.
  • …Nation Discipling – We are passionate about training national leaders and national churches to reach the final unreached peoples of the earth.

What does all this have to do with the latest Anti-Homosexuality bill that’s been introduced in Uganda’s Parlaiment? Well, it turns out that two pivotal players in that saga have been involved with the COP, which is targeting Uganda’s political leaders for influence.

Uganda Member of Parliament David Bahati, who introduced the Anti-Homosexuality bill into Parliament last month, was part of this prayer meeting, which resulted in his being selected as one of eight MP’s to serve on the Christian “servant leadership team” in Parliament for three years. Also at that meeting and included in that gang of eight was MP Benson Obua-Ogwa, who has been identified as one of the cosponsors who helped Bahati draft the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before Parliament.

The U.S.-based College of Prayer International has extensive ties throughout Africa. After having worked elsewhere in Uganda, COP established a campus in Kampala, Uganda last April, with the specific intent of targeting Uganda government officials for recruitment:

The team consisted of Fred and Sherry Hartley, Mike Plunket, Joel Kangas, Julius Oyett and Rian Seipler. We were all amazed at what God is doing to transform this country. In the wake of civil war and bloodshed is a desire to seek the Lord and rule according to His righteous principles. We had two mornings with members of Parliament and we witnessed their earnest desire to pray and seek God for protection and guidance in their duties as heads of state. Join us in praying for this group of believers who want to establish a College of Prayer among the governmental leaders of Uganda.

The College of Prayer’s Third Quarter 2009 Report (PDF: 540KB/11 pages) identifies the Kampala branch as “one of our most exciting advances as the government open its doors to host the second module of the COP.” Is was that second module that was reported on in last week’s New Vision article. That meeting followed a larger African Prayer Summit held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire July 21-25, with four more days of additional College of Prayer training. According to the COP’s report, MP Obua-Ogwal was also at that summit, where he heaped praise on the COP gathering:

On Thursday evening following our glorious day of prayer, the Honorable Benson Obua Ogwal, member of Parliament in Uganda declared,”Today was the greatest day of my life.” He explained that with all the demands placed on him as a governing official, this fresh encounter with Christ was the most refreshing and impactful moment in his life.

Later, he is quoted as saying:

It left a very big impact on me and I can assure you all that I am not the same Benson who left Uganda for Abidjan!

[Hat tip: Richard Bartholomew at Talk To Action]

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.