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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for September, 2011

Ugandan Health Minister Says Prayer Cures AIDS, Linked to American Dominionist Movements

Jim Burroway

September 2nd, 2011

Health Minister and pastor Christine Ondoa

Christine Joyce Dradidi Ondoa wears two hats. She is a pentecostal preacher at a Life Line Ministry in a Kampala, Uganda, suburb, and she is also the new Health Minister for the Ugandan government:

Asked if she expected to be named a minister, the Mount St. Mary’s Namagunga and Moyo SS alumna, said: “Yes and no”.

“Yes because I knew that I was always meant for good things and knew that God was preparing me for a big task. But I did not know that it was going to come this soon and at this time.”

Ondoa is not without qualifications. She is reportedly a trained pediatrician, and she served previously as the Executive Director of one of Uganda’s three national referral hospitals. However, as Bruce Wilson discovered at Talk To Action, she has some decidedly unorthodox medical opinions. According to the Ugandan news magazine The Observer:

The newly appointed health minister, Dr Christine Ondoa Dradidi, has told The Observer that prayer heals HIV/AIDS, and that she knows three people who were once positive but turned negative after prayer for deliverance.

She, however, said medical workers and the general public should be cautious about people who claim they were healed of HIV.

“I am sure and I have evidence that someone who was positive turned negative after prayers,” Ondoa told The Observer on last week, promising to ask colleagues in Arua hospital, where she once worked, to find the relevant documentation.

As pastor, at Life Line Ministries, she works under the direction of apostle Julius Peter Oyet, who is one of the most influential evangelical leaders in Uganda you’ve never heard of. Oyet was present in the gallery when the Ugandan Parliament first considered the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in 2009, and he has been very open about his belief that homosexuality should be a capital offense. Oyet, who is also President of the Ugandan branch of the U.S.-based College of Prayer (or COP, which itself is a ministry of Rev. Fred Hartley’s Lilburn Alliance Church in Atlanta), was made a member of M.P. David Bahati’s staff to lobby Parliament for the bill’s passage. While Bahati is the bill’s author and sponsor, Oyet played a crucial role in its drafting. He reportedly told a documentary filmmaker:

I was there. Id have been part of the brains behind it. We worked on it. We planned who should propose it. It is the Ugandan’s bill. It is the culture of Uganda to keep purity. It is everybody’s voice. I worked with Bahati on this.

Wilson, who was among the first to raise the alarm over role played by the particular branches of Dominionism — you know, the thing that’s supposedly a myth — known as the New Apostolic Reformation and the so-called Seven Mountains Mandate in propelling the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill into Uganda’s Parliament, has effectively connected the dots between Ondoa and Oyet, to U.S. evangelical groups headed by Fred Hartley, III and C. Peter Wagner. Wilson points out that one key rhetorical hallmark of these groups is that they refer to homosexuality as a manifestation of “Baal worship.” Wilson also reports that two weeks after the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced in Uganda’s Parliament in October, 2009, Hartley led a two day COP training session in Uganda to “mentor” Bahati and fifty other members of Parliament. Wilson’s report has many more details on the entire movement, tracing its inspiration from Christian Reconstructionist R.J. Rushdoony and Gary North, who advocated bringing back the Old Testament as the basis for civil law, including the mandate to kill gay people.

Reports Build About “Stalled” Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Jim Burroway

August 6th, 2010

There are several reports going around the web that the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before Uganda’s Parliament is stalled. For regular readers of BTB, this may be old news, but it’s certainly worth revisiting.The current Parliament ends officially in May 2011 when new elections are held and a new Parliament is installed. When that happens, the bill will be officially dead if it hasn’t been acted upon before then. Parliament is expected to wrap up its final session before breaking for elections in the next few months, and as we noted in June, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill did not make it onto Parliament’s final agenda.

In December, MP David Bahati, the bill’s sponsor, revealed in an interview on state-owned UBC Television that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill had been referred to the Parliamentary Committee of Legal Affairs and also the Presidential Affairs Committee. In January, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, responding to international pressure, urged Parliament to “go slow” on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. By April, it appeared that members of Parliament had little appetite for passing the bill, and I speculated that the two Parliamentary Committees are where the bill was sent to die. While it’s always important to be cautious about such speculation — near-death isn’t death and bills sometimes have a way of being revived — that speculation was further reinforced by a special Presidential Committee, which reportedly “rejected” the bill in May — or more accurately, recommended radical changes to it, changes which have still not been acted on by Parliament.

One thing is for certain however is that if the bill were to be revived — and there are no assurances at this point that it cannot be brought back before Parliament — it would certainly result in an new round of persecutions for Uganda’s LGBT community. Apostle Julius Peter Oyet, who is President of the Ugandan branch of the College of Prayer (which itself is a ministry of Rev. Fred Hartley’s Lilburn Alliance Church in Atlanta), was brought in by MP Bahatito lobby Parliament for the bill’s passage. Oyet repordtedly told a documentary filmmaker:

I was there. I have been part of the brains behind it. We worked on it. We planned who should propose it. It is the Ugandan’s bill. It is the culture of Uganda to keep purity. It is everybody’s voice. I worked with Bahati on this.

In this British Channel Four documentary, Oyet is seen preaching against homosexuality. Later in the clip, he is brought face-to-face with a former employee who is gay. Notice how Oyet cannot even look at him. And notice how, with the young man in his presence, Oyet promises that “the imprisonment begins immediately when Parliament passes the bill” (at the 5:15 mark):

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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.