God Loves Uganda

god loves uganda 202x300 - God Loves UgandaRoger Ross Williams’ powerful documentary God Loves Uganda shines a light on the American evangelical Christian group that instigated Uganda’s horrid anti-gay movement. Focusing on the Kansas City church called International House of Prayer (yes, IHOP), the film follows a group of fresh-faced idealist missionaries as they head out to spread the Word a world away from home. They truly believe that they are doing good and in many ways they are. They bring medicine and schools, but serve a heavy dose of indoctrination alongside their philanthropy. Right there beside their love of Jesus is their demonization of homosexuality and a call for the local community with a high rate of HIV/AIDS to stop using condoms. And this same movement, along with other American evangelicals, is able to have a disproportionally large influence on Ugandan government policy. It is all very scary.

The filmmakers were allowed pretty unfettered access to the IHOP insiders, who display a brazen certainty in their mission. Speaking for the other side of the issue are two Ugandan clergymen who have been removed from their jobs because of their acceptance of homosexuality. One had to flee to Boston; the other is still in Uganda. They lead the audience through the evangelicals’ scheme to win a war on homosexuality, noting that it is the war they have lost back home in the US. And they explain that the evangelicals’ lack of understanding of the Ugandan culture directly led to the murder of a leading LGBT activist there and a violent landscape for all gays in the country.

God Love Uganda
is a powerful indictment of the internationalized evangelical movement that is spreading the culture wars into a country where half of the population is under 15 and is therefore extremely impressionable and especially receptive to Western promises of hope wrapped in redemption. It is not a happy movie, but it is very well done and is an important contribution to the discussion of the dangerous power of religious indoctrination.

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