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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.

Ssempa, Oyett Press Uganda’s Parliament on Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Jim Burroway

April 6th, 2011

Pastor Martin Ssempa (pointing) and Julius Oyet at Uganda's Parliament House (VOA / M. Onyiego)

The Voice of American is reporting that Ugandan pastors Martin Ssempa and Julius Oyet led a group of anti-gay activists to demand that Parliament pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. According to VOA:

Lead by Pastor Martin Ssempa, a charismatic and vocal opponent of homosexuality in Uganda, the group asked Ugandan Parliamentary Speaker Edward Kiwanuka to fight the emerging “homo-cracy” in Uganda and enter the bill for debate.

“We as religious leaders and civil society are distressed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is being deliberately killed largely by the undemocratic threats of western nations,” he said. “These same nations who promote democracy don’t want our representative to discuss laws to protect our children from the human trafficking of recruiting our children into homosexuality.”

Ssempa leads the Inter-Religious Taskforce Against Homosexuality. During the session with Speaker Kiwanuka, the Task Force presented a portion of over 2 million signatures it said were gathered from around Uganda in support of the bill.

The group trotted out Paul Kagaba, an “ex-gay” associate of Martin Ssempa who alleged that he had been “recruited” into homosexuality at the age of seventeen by murdered LGBT advocate David Kato. Kagaba has been implicate in at least two vigilante outing campaigns, the most recent of which is suspected of having been orchestrated by Ssempa himself.

George Oundo

Another putative ex-gay, George Oundo, re-appeared in this latest episode with his own allegations of foreign recruitment. Oundo has also participated in vigilante campaigns as well, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the infamous March 2009 anti-gay conference put on by American activists Scott Lively, Don Schmierer and Caleb Lee Brundidge. Oundo himself appears to have a great deal of difficulty deciding which side he should be on, but for now he appears to have cast his lot with Ssempa once again.

Julius Oyet’s appearance here is notable. Oyet and Ssema were present in the gallery when the Ugandan Parliament first considered the indroduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Oyet, who is President of the Ugandan branch of the U.S.-based College of Prayer (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 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.

Two weeks ago, Information Minister Kabakumba Masiko spoke on behalf of President Yoweri Musevini’s government to announce that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would not be voted on by Parliament. Bahati however insists that the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, where the bill currently resides, will still hold hearings. The bill will automatically die if it does not come up for a final vote before the current Parliament ends on May 20.

Update: Daily Monitor picks up the story and adds a couple of interesting items. First, Daily Monitor quotes Parliament Speaker Edward Ssekandi:

“The mover of the Bill (David Bahati) is still a member of the 9th Parliament and even if the current Parliament doesn’t debate it, the new Parliament will do it,” Mr Ssekandi said.

This, I believe, indicates that he expects the bill to be reintroduced into the next Parliament after the current one ends.

And finally there’s this: a group of students from Makarere University had earlier met with Steven Tashobya, chairman of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, and told him that ” recruitment of gays was rampant at the university campus“:

The students told Mr Tashobya that each of their colleagues who join homosexuals is paid a monthly salary of Shs800,000.

That’s about US$340, which is more than the average annual per-capita income in Uganda. Where’s my US$340? Nobody told me about this!

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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Another Uganda Documentary In the Works

Jim Burroway

July 20th, 2010

French filmmaker Dominique Mesminsent has completed this trailer for an upcoming documentary he’s working on. The people speaking are unidentified, but one of the speakers appears to be pastor Julius Oyet, who has emerged as a close confidant to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill’s sponsor MP David Bahati. Oyet was in the visitor’s gallery and recognized by the Speaker when the bill was introduced into Parliament last October. This video captures Oyet defending the death penalty for gay people.

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Oyet was a key speaker at Lou Engle’s TheCall rally last May. Oyet is also the head of the Uganda division of the College of Prayer International. 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.

Lou Engle’s Uganda Sermon Endorses Country’s “Stand for Righteousness”

Jim Burroway

June 23rd, 2010

TheCall’s Lou Engle has been trying to have it both ways in addressing questions of whether he supports Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill. These questions were especially pertinent when it was announced that Engle would be putting on one of his TheCall rallies in Kampala last May. Engle issued a statement denying that he was going there to promote the bill.

We then learned through multiple sources that he had, in fact, promoted the bill at the rally. He was surrounded on stage with key supporters of the bill: Pastor Julius Oyet; the bill’s sponsor, MB David Bahati; and Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo. Engle later issued another statement saying he regretted promoting the bill at the rally, but in contradiction to eyewitness accounts, Engle protested that the bill’s promotion took place after he left.

Current TV’s Vanguard reporter Mariana van Zeller’s outstanding documentary, “Missionaries of Hate,” explored the relationship between American Evangelicals and the rising anti-gay campaigns that have been taking place in Uganda over the past year. Engle’s TheCall Uganda appeared briefly in that documentary. Today, Mariana posted an extended clip of what Engle said at that rally.

And I went through a personal wrestling in my own heart whether we should come here and join you. We know that Uganda has been under tremendous pressure in the church. We felt that same pressure. But I felt like the call was to come and join with the church in Uganda to encourage you, that in the nation you are showing courage to take a stand for righteousness in the earth. [Applause]

Jesus is a merciful savior today for everyone trapped in sin. But he is also the architect of society and the great governor of the universe. Establish marriage between a man and a woman from the beginning so that society would be preserved and read right and it would be for the well-being of the children.

And so we’ve come here to join you to pray that your government would have wisdom to uphold righteousness in this land. We are restraining, trying to restrain an agenda that’s going to hurt the nation and hurt families. Right now that homosexual agenda is sweeping into our education system, and parents are losing their rights over the education of their children. I believe there’s only one hope. Help us God! Help us! But I believe Uganda has suddenly become ground zero, not because they asked for it, but God brought you to make a statement and a stand for righteousness.

Keep in mind, Engle said this right after Oyet took the stage to call for the bill’s passage, and Engle was immediately followed by Buturo, who also called on the Parliament to pass the bill. It’s no surprise that Oyet and Bahati left the rally ecstatic in the belief that they had Engle’s full support. I don’t see how anybody watching could have walked away from the rally with any other conclusion. Engle fully supported the bill, and that his support was so strong that he he felt that “the call was to come and join with the church in Uganda to encourage you.”

And now we have Engle’s more recent statement saying he supports criminalization. The only thing he criticize now is the death penalty. But even there, he believes that the death penalty is biblically sound. That’s not exactly a rousing denunciation. Not nearly as rousing as the full-bore, no-exceptions support he gave to the people of Uganda.

Uganda’s latest American kill-the-gays bill supporter is now in St. Louis, where he has been speaking nightly at the Gateway House of Prayer on S. Lindbergh Blvd. in the western St. Louis suburb of Rock Hill. He will be speaking every night through July 12.

Lou Engle Supports Criminalization of Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

June 22nd, 2010

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

Lou Engle, the Dominionist evangelical preacher behind TheCall, has confirmed more or less what Uganda MP David Bahati told author Jeff Sharlet: That Engle supports Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill – at least some form that is similar to the one that is currently under consideration.

Sarah Posner, author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Votersposted an interview she conducted with Engle for the Religion Dispatches web site. In this exchange, Engle denied knowing MP David Bahati (the bill’s sponsor) or Julius Oyet, who appears to be a major behind-the-scenes player in promoting the draconian bill in Uganda, and he denied supporting the bill when meeting with Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo. But he also said that “we appreciated the two guys [Bahati and Oyet] whose hearts were to bring forth a principled bill.”

Posner asked a series of questions specific to the bill. Engle denied supporting the death penalty provision, although he believed that there was a biblical basis for having one under certain circumstances. She also asked what other provisions in the bill he didn’t support:

I pressed him about which penalties in the bill he didn’t support — and he did say that although he could see someone supporting the death penalty, he did not, and he did not support “hard labor” as punishment or the requirement that churches report LGBT people to the authorities. But when I asked him if he would support a bill with less harsh penalties, he added: 

My main thing is to keep — is to not allow it to be legalized, so to speak, so then it just spreads through the legal system of the nation. So I’m not — I’m not making a statement as to what I think the penalties should be. It’s not my job to do that. I do think, I do think that these leaders are trying to make at least some kind of statement that you’re not just going to spread the agenda without some kind of restraint, a legal restraint and punishment. And I don’t know what the line is on those, but I can’t go that far as I understand that bill already said. [emphasis mine]

Engle admitted that his praise for the bill’s supporters’ “principled stand” might have led them to believe that he supported the bill. Although he insisted he did not support the bill as written, “I did support the principle of a nation saying, restraining it from coming into their nation.” He then went on to maintain that because homosexuality hasn’t been “restrained” in the United States, “I don’t think it’s going to be good for the nation, it sweeps into the education system, and the church is going to end up losing its privilege to have its own voice. Gender rights, will trump religious rights. I think it’s wrong, it’s not good for society. Those are the statements I came with, so frankly I was quite surprised to be thrown into this huge controversy.”

According to this interview, it appears that Lou Engle’s position on Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill is virtually identical to that of Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively. Lively, too, says that he doesn’t support the death penalty, but he finds the rest of the bill acceptable. Lively has called the bill “a step in the right direction” several times. More recently, he told Current TV’s Marianna van Zeller that passage of the bill would be “the lesser of two evils.” When asked whether that endorsement includes the death penalty, Lively had to struggle with that option for quite a long time before finally deciding that he still doesn’t support it, even as the “lesser of two evils.”

Engle now appears to hold the exact same position as Lively.

Does Lou Engle Really Oppose Uganda’s “Kill-the-gays” Bill?

Jim Burroway

June 14th, 2010

The answer to that very simple question was never clear. Today, we might have a bit more clarity than before. If so, the news isn’t good.

Lou Engle addressing a rally in Kampala, Uganda. (Marc Hofer/New York Times)

American evangelical leader Lou Engle traveled to Uganda last month to put on another of his TheCall rallies on the sports field of Makarere University in Kampala. That event turned into a political rally in support for passage of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The rally featured key bill supporters like MP David Bahati, the bill’s sponsor; Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo, and Ugandan pastor Julius Oyet. Just before Engle traveled to the rally, he released an extremely ambiguous statement in which he promised that he “will not promote this bill.” He continued:

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.

But news reports from Uganda itself suggests that Engle went back on his promise and spoke in favor of the bill. The New York Times reported that he praised Uganda for its “courage” and “righteousness” in proposing the bill. Further reports indicate that while Engle was clearly careful in not calling explicitly for the bill’s passage, he nevertheless gave his implicit support by defending Uganda’s pastors who were dealing “with a controversy they never wanted.” He also refused to comment when other speakers took the stage and demanded the bill’s passage. It’s pretty obvious from several reports of people who were there that the crowd was left with the distinct impression that Engle supported the bill, and Engle did nothing to disabuse them of it.

Five weeks later, and almost immediately following Exodus International president Alan Chambers’ contrite statement regretting his failure to more vigorously oppose the infamous “nuclear bomb” conference held in March of 2009, Engle tried to jump on the same bandwagon. Just two days later, Engle issued a press release:

I was actually asked to release a petition at TheCall for the people to sign in support of the Bill. I did not allow that to happen because the purpose of the gathering was not a political gathering; it was a prayer gathering. However, I had to leave the prayer meeting early to catch our flight back home. After returning home, I was told that the Bill had been clearly promoted after I left the meeting. I apologize that this took place and that my stated purpose of not promoting the Bill was compromised. I take responsibility for what was done on the stage of TheCall, even in my absence.

Engle’s apparent defense is that his tacit non-endorsing endorsement could have been worse. He could have circulated a petition that would have removed any lingering doubt whatsoever as to his real stance on the bill. Thanks for small favors.

But even if we try to look at this with the deepest rose-colored charitable glass-half-full benefit of the doubt, Engle’s true position on the bill still remains ambiguous at best. Even in this latest statement, he repeated his admiration for Uganda’s commitment ” to raise up a principled stand to protect their people and their children from an unwelcome intrusion of homosexual ideology.”

So even under the most generous assumptions, Engle’s stand with this bill would still remain anybody’s guess. I think you know mine. And today, we have some more information which confirms my strong suspicion that Engle really supports the bill but won’t actually allow those precise words to escape from his lips.

Engle’s most recent statement prompted Jeff Sharlet to write about his encounter with the bill’s supporters while attending Engle’s rally in Kampala. Sharlet, author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, spent quite a bit of time with Oyet and Bahati immediately following the rally and reports that they were both “ecstatic at what they perceived as Engle’s strong support of the bill. They felt his rally and his statements would be a turning point for the bill, reassuring their Ugandan allies that they had support abroad.”

Sharlet also says that Oyet and Bahati both insisted that Engle had explicitly supported the bill when speaking with them, but that he had to “lie to the Western media because gays control it.” Bahati recounted that Engle spoke to the BBC against the bill, and then promptly walked over to Bahati offer his private support. Sharlet continues:

I tend to believe Bahati here, since Engle didn’t mean anything to him until he met him that day. He hadn’t heard of him and decided to attend the rally only after I’d told him a few things about Engle. In other words, he left the rally thrilled with Engle based on that encounter with Engle alone. Clearly, Engle did something to please him.

Sharlet also says that despite reports that Uganda may remove the death penalty from the bill, both Bahati and Oyet strongly support retaining the provision.

"Apostle" Julius Oyet

Sharlet confirms that Oyet is playing a very prominent role in promoting the bill, and is now officially working for Bahati. I’ve heard some suggestions that Oyet is the bill’s true author, but that hasn’t been confirmed. He is, nevertheless, very closely identified with it. For example, we know that Oyet was in the visitors gallery when the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced in Parliament last October, and that the Parliament’s Speaker specifically acknowledged him and commended his presence there.

Oyet is the self-styled “apostle” who is vice-president of the Born Again Federation, an umbrella group of some 10,000 Ugandan Pentecostal churches. He is also an adherent of “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.

Finally, according to Sharlet, “Oyet insisted that there are American church leaders who are supporting the bill privately but lying to the American media about it.” This repeats almost word-for-word what Bahati told Current TV’s Mariana van Zeller

The many friends that we have, especially evangelicals in America, when we speak to them privately they do support us. They encourage us, but they are in a society that is very hostile. And we appreciate that and we say do what you think is right for your conscience. …But we have support in America. There are people who support what we are engaged in.

At that time, I asked aloud who some of those Americans might be. Today, we may very well have one answer: Lou Engle.

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.

American Joins Kampala Rally Pushing For Passage of Anti-Gay Bill

Jim Burroway

May 3rd, 2010

Lou Engle addressing a rally in Kampala, Uganda.(Marc Hofer/New York Times)

American anti-gay extremist Lou Engle joined several Ugandan pastors and political leaders in calling upon that nation’s government to enact the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As we already noted late last night, the New York Times quoted Lou Engle of TheCall this way:

“NGOs, the U.N., UNICEF, they are all coming in here and promoting an agenda,” Mr. Engle said, referring to nongovernmental organizations. “Today, America is losing its religious freedom. We are trying to restrain an agenda that is sweeping through the education system. Uganda has become ground zero.”

Engle also reportedly commended the Ugandan’s “courage” and “righteousness” in formulating the bill, which imposes the death sentence on gays under certain circumstances, criminalizes all speech and advocacy on behalf of gay people, and mandates that friends and family members report gay relatives and acquaintances to police.

The Moses Mulidwa of the Gay Activist Alliance Africa has more details about that rally. Mulidwa reports that Engle told the crowd, “We warned the youth against the act, when America allowed homosexuals freedom, it was the end of their Nation.”

Mulidwa also has some further information about other speakers at the rally:

Reports state that Pastor Mulinde of Trumpet Church called on other pastors present to come to the floor and pray for the nation of Uganda and in his prayer he condemned ‘evils in society’, committed by both homosexuals and heterosexuals.

He further emphasized that homosexuality is invading schools, families and the entire community and that it should be stopped.

Pastor John Mulinde is the founder of Kampala-based World Trumpet Mission, which is headed by founder John Mulinde. World Trumpet Mission also has extensive staff in Orlando, Florida under International Director Mark Daniel.

Another speaker at the rally was Pastor Julius Oyet. He was also present in the Ugandan Parliament on October 14 when the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced. We have extensive information about Oyet’s role in this bill here. He also spoke at the rally:

Pastor Oyet Julius [sic] pointed out that Uganda is not for sale and that western civilization should not be allowed to take over the country.

“Members of parliament should not waste time by debating the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, they should quickly make it a law”, Oyet reportedly said.

He also called upon the cabinet, media, and business community to take a firm stand against homosexuality, also accusing homosexuals of paying school fees for young children while recruiting them to ‘the act’.

“Uganda cannot be intimidated by the Western World, we cannot put our dignity for sale” He said.

Mulidwa confirms that Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo spoke at hte rally and declared that Parliament would be passing the bill “soon.” MP David Bahati, the bill’s sponsor, also attended the rally.

Lou Engle’s TheCall Going To Uganda in 2010?

Jim Burroway

December 21st, 2009
Lou Engle at TheCall in Nashville, 2007

Lou Engle at TheCall in Nashville, 2007

Bruce Wilson at Talk To Action has uncovered some very troubling information. Lou Engle, organizer of TheCall who believes that gays are possessed by demons, may be planning on taking his violence-laden rhetoric to Uganda in 2010.

Wilson uncovered a couple of indications that plans are in the works for a massive stadium rally in Uganda for late spring of 2010. Jo Anna Watson, founder of Touching Hearts International, says her November 2009 ministry newsletter:

I attended the International Call Summit, October 28 -30 hosted by Lou Engle and Stacey Campbell. Over 20 participants for other nations were gathered who are interested in holding a Call in their nation. This summit was very informative as we were filled with the DNA of the CALL and encouraged to follow through with what God has placed on our heart. On October 30th I flew to Chicago to attend the last two days of Pastor John Mulinde’s prayer summit. We met on Saturday to discuss in more detail and make preparations for the CALL Uganda to be held May 29, 2010. I will arrive in Uganda on January 6 and will be living in Uganda to partner with Pastor John Mulinde as we prepare and mobilize this Sacred Assembly, similar to the one described in Joel 2. I ask you to keep theCall Uganda and our team in prayer and if possible to fast one day a week or month, along with us, in preparation for the Call Uganda on May 29, 2010.

According to the Touching Hearts International web site, Watson has been traveling to Uganda yearly since 2002. According to a note on THI’s home page, Touching Hearts International will partner with Kampala-based World Trumpet Mission, which is headed by founder John Mulinde. World Trumpet Mission also has extensive staff in Orlando, Florida under International Director Mark Daniel.

Three weeks ago, we discussed reports by Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton and Talk to Action’s Bruce Wilson describing the importance of  the Seven Mountains Mandate and Transformations theology as key connections between many U.S. evangelical anti-gay extremists and current events in Uganda. Mulinde is an adherent to Transformations theology, which calls on churches to establish theocratic control over governments and civil society. Another Transformations adherent, Julius Oyet, heads the Kampala campus of U.S. based College of Prayer International and has been identified as a key supporter of the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill which is now before Parliament.

If a rally by TheCall takes place in Uganda, this is the sort of reckless, fear-mongering and violence-inducing rhetoric we can expect:

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

“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.

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.