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God Loves Uganda: Review/Essay

As an avid fan of documentaries and strangely a bigger fan of self inflicted pain by the way of listening to religious zealots – I put myself through watching ‘God Loves Uganda’. I will give a review/walkthrough of some important parts of the film. By all means, watch the documentary and see for yourself as it highlights many things I could never pick apart in this blog. Also for those of us who need to be reminded – SPOILER ALERT.

This film is quick snapshot of the stomach-churning interference from the United States within the political spectrum of Uganda. We hear from brainwashed yet sincere missionaries & heart-warming speeches from a bishop, who was excommunicated from the Church of Uganda for simply respecting Gays as equal human beings.

For those who do not know, Uganda has of late been the centre of an ongoing battle against homosexuality. Mostly because of Uganda’s near extinction due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic which in only a few generations has swarmed the nation. The United States have not only infiltrated the country with their religiosity and ethics – stemming mostly from Christianity – but also spread a violent campaign against an already shamed & hunted group of humans – gays.

I made a small amount of notes throughout the film and will include them below. For clarity I will explain that all quotes used are either verbatim or as close as I could remember between pausing Netflix and typing on my tablet. As the fanatical companions of the lord gave me so much fodder for this piece, I began to stop taking their names, as they all morphed into one monotone being. Based on their rhetoric I simply couldn’t tell them apart – except one young American who for some reason spoke as an American but preached in an Irish accent; truly baffling.

“The west has been in decline,” said Lou Engle, A Christian leader known for hosting twelve-hour prayer rallies.

“but right now I think Africa is the firepot of the spiritual renewal and revival.”

Engle is a strange character who seems to be on the verge of tears throughout the whole film, I’m not sure if this is his normal state – or if the subject of gays has this effect on him, but either way his lump-in-the-throat almost screech like voice is off-putting from the start. I could check one of his regular videos to confirm; there are many things I will put myself through for a story, but I can’t bear to hear this man spit hate again and I doubt I want his twelve hour videos in my youtube “watched” section.

His claim of western decline is new to me. The only three options I can think of would be the rise of obesity, of abortions (only because the numbers are now documented) and the decline in a backbone when it comes to political correctness – but these aren’t all universal.

Health in the west has steadily increased, especially every time those pesky scientists find a medical breakthrough: one which religious nuts picket, stand against, claim is inhumane and against the will of god, refuse to administer – and then finally once it is clearly a success, claim they thought of it all along (see every major breakthrough since the enlightenment)

Not only health, but education standards have risen, living standards, wages, and the economy have all increased in the past century. Sure we have a depression here and a recession there, but over all those catastrophic events become small jots on a power point graph when spaced over a 100 year term. From policing, to basic hygiene nearly everything has improved in the western world.  Not only is Engle’s claim false, but it might be why his gospel seems to have less air time in the west yet resonate so powerfully in Africa. A continent, through no fault of its own, that is hard-pressed to find a full village of humans who can spell their own names, or complete basic mathematical tasks.

One cannot be too lax when explaining the things we take for granted, like knowing how rain falls, or the health risks of bad sanitation. Our continent uses terms like scapegoat so often, most have forgotten the drastic and idiotic beginnings of such a term – whereas Africans in many cases still place all of their sins onto a village’s goat and either kill him or cast him out to starve as to rid the clan of said sins. It pains me to acknowledge such ignorance and sheer stupidity, especially when Africa is the cradle of our civilisation – our real home.

One positive that can be taken from this, is that the folks at IHOP (International House of Prayer) clearly see they are fighting a losing battle in the west & need to look to more uneducated people to gain a substantial following.

I am often genuinely shocked at the apparent ignorance from Christians who completely believe they preach peace & love, when all that leaves their lips is hate and vitriol. Visit any Christian’s twitter or facebook and you will find post after post of things they stand against with a passion, but not much of what they stand for: Anti gay, anti abortion, anti female rights, anti blacks, anti science, anti vaccination, anti public education, anti big and small government, anti taxes, anti guns laws … anti any laws.

The only time I see a Christian say “love” in their bio, is when referring to Jesus or the troops. Never “love” for the homeless, or love for all humans. Can any of us name one right-wing preacher who has preached for loving everyone? Or spoke passionately for the end of all wars? I can’t think of a peace loving right-wing Christian. The only ones who come close are those who use passive aggressive and backhanded statements like. “I love gays … that’s why I want them to stop being evil sinners.” Or “I love homos that’s why I don’t want them to die and burn in hell.” Then stop putting a target on their backs!

One young female missionary says when regarding her upcoming trip to Uganda, “orphans will keep us there.” An off-hand comment that I feel highlights their despicable intent.

Another stated “seeing orphans with the desire and knowledge of how to pray is my mission.” – Not actually clothing, feeding, educating or finding them new loving parents. She couldn’t care less if these children survive the week after she leaves, as long as they accept Jesus in their heart, as to fulfil some cruel score card the missionaries keep in their heads.

The sad thing is that these strangers, with strict and disgusting values are sitting around a table not only discussing ideas, but setting out the ultimate path for the undereducated and malnourished that they will come into contact with. They are building someone else’s life, without their consent or want. When you have a young child, their vulnerable mental and physical state gives you the power to inflict any such beliefs as you please. In the end the success of any child is based on the upbringing they obtain. To retrieve hundreds of millions (which they have) in donations and then to sit and ponder how best to teach starving children how to pray is outrageous and frankly makes me want to choke the missionaries to death as I type. If I had that money the first thing I would wonder is – How best can we spend this to save as many lives as possible? Or how many meals can we buy for them?

But what do I know? Humanist values from the mouth of an atheist simply cannot be more moral than a believer’s can they?

Again, to firstly address how they will search for children with no parents or guardians and then teach them how to worship, instead of feeding them and giving them medicine, shows the true nature of a “Christian missionary.”

One scene I found disturbing looks to be a less packed event than their usual crowded sermons, nonetheless as many as fifty Ugandans on the property of the country’s largest church all begin to talk to themselves. Both walking inside and outside the building, most prominently in a large white room with nothing save for a few plastic garden chairs. They are completely robotic, screaming to themselves, talking in tongues, crying, not acknowledging the camera or each other, some whimpering, others grabbing at the ceiling; some sat on chairs having full length conversations with the walls – the worst of it seems to be that the wall to human conversations are not one way, according to the Ugandans present. Also strange is the outside view of a beautiful garden, with Christians unaware of the rolling camera, they’re doing the same thing – this crazy show of self conversing is not for the cameras. This is a regular activity for them.

This is not religious worship, this is one flew over the cuckoo’s nest. Every single person continuing this activity suffers from a serious mental illness and needs help. That is not an idle or ad hominem statement, it is a fact that any healthcare specialist can diagnose from a three second viewing that this type of “worship” shows patent signs of mental illness. When one speaks out loud to oneself, they have either stubbed their toe or have issues, when someone invisible or a wall for example begins to speak back – you have lost your sanity.

These sad figures look like mental patients. If anyone has seen ‘The last Disgrace’ short film by Geraldo Rivera, which documents the appalling conditions of the Willow brook mental asylum, you will notice a lucid pattern in the actions and movements of both the child patients in Willow brook and the Ugandan church goers – who look a few months away from total mental incapacity.

In the church, a preacher stands in a stunningly fitted new suit and speaks in his home tongue. I would usually be at a loss for his native words, but his followers, wearing drastically less fashionable attire, begin to walk to the front and drop money into a large basket. Probably for the preachers new set of cufflinks. I had to chuckle, it seems the Americans also taught these preachers how to make money off of fools also – next will be the tax exile status.

Against my wishes it must be mentioned that Africa, for its many beauties, has a drastic drought in educational standards. Uganda being one of the more educated nations has an average I.Q. of between 70-84 points depending on which statistics you accept. For fairness let us take the middle figure of 77. Now for context let me tell you that a score of 70 is known as ‘borderline mental retardation, and is only a stone’s throw away from 69 points; which is ‘below mental retardation’ and used to be referred to medically as ‘dullness’ or ‘idiotic’.

Recent studies have shown even dogs can have an I.Q. equal to that of a 2 year old child of western standards, being able to learn 165 words and gestures and even complete mathematical tasks like counting to four or five – a luxury not known in many corners of Uganda. On top of that shocking statement, it is also well known for many decades (and a scientific fact) that the lower your I.Q. the more susceptible  you are to being : Religious, racist or have prejudice or conservative views.

It’s no shock that hundreds of years ago Christians looked to spread their religion to the indigenous and uneducated around the globe, and again no shock the tactic has reoccurred. Never a billion dollar campaign to debate the scholars of biology in Oxford or the historians in Cambridge, rather preach to the ones who have the mental capacity that can be matched by a Border Collie dog in a Glaswegian suburb.

Mike Pence, a Republican governor (go figure) of Indiana claims the best way to tackle aids in Uganda is abstinence and U.S. values – not condoms. Scientifically speaking, condoms can give a successful outcome, whereas asking humans to go against their nature and not want to fornicate is simply not possible. Worse still, it creates in my opinion a mental imbalance that turns a human into a perverse being: From priests who vow not to touch themselves or engage in any sexual activity, only to be tried for raping hundreds of children over decades – which is such a common occurrence that is it accepted as an offence in the Catholic Church worthy of a papal apology. I think back over my childhood as a Roman Catholic and wonder if I was too ugly for their advances?

Then we could examine the endless list of Christians and most notably American preachers who have been found to engage in incest, rape, prostitution, orgies to name a few – again, very commonplace. There must be a scientific explanation – I can’t wait to read the peer reviewed papers titled ‘Hyacintho Sphericals and their effect on the human psyche’ or Blue balls to you and me.

The evidence that abstinence simply does not work can be found in Mike Pence’s own state of Indiana, which is joint 22nd with Illinois for highest teen pregnancy rates. In fact teen birth rates are drastically higher in all majorly religious states of the U.S. As the saying goes, you can’t cure stupid.

Most notably and just for my own satisfaction I must include Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol – who for reasons of faith was taught only abstinence and given zero sexual health education as a child. Bristol hilariously went on to have two children out of wedlock. Her mother still attacks gays and non-Christians for wrecking the sanctity of marriage and not following the bible. Maybe one day Sarah will dare to finally read a book, say, her own bible, and notice her daughter should be stoned to death for her sexual mishaps pre-marriage – google the many verses which call death upon Palin’s child simply for wanting what is natural.

Christians like Pence or Palin can believe in whatever values they see fit for purpose, but they cannot create facts and will not change the evidence that shows their values are completely unsuccessful. The most Christian states in the U.S. are simply the worst in nearly every known category.

Bill Clinton, to his credit offered millions of condoms to Uganda and paid for advertisements with the slogan “The bible will save your soul but a condom will save your life.” whilst he was in office. The millions of Ugandans saved is a testament to the power of great leadership – if ever Clinton was held accountable for his many mistakes, I’m sure this fact will put him in good stead. Sadly all his work and saved lives were practically gone once George bush JR came to power. Instead of continuing the programme he became friends with the right-wing religious leaders and government officials– he said if they do not adopt abstinence only programmes he will refuse to fund the Ugandan people. He blackmailed them with his religious belief, an act that has led to the deaths of maybe hundreds of thousands from a revolting disease that incurs much suffering and pain. How can he sleep at night? A quick death with a bullet to an Iraqi civilian is nothing compared to the slow deaths of Ugandans due to his incompetence.

At one point in the film, an American preacher claimed “Gays were behind Nazi Germany,” to a class full of Ugandans taking notes and believing every word. At this point I can hardly be shocked.

I’m struck by how so many Christians both in Uganda and globally find their biggest fight is with homosexuality, an act only mentioned in the bible four times. Many books, thousands of pages and only 4 mentions of homosexuality. God mentions giving your items and wealth to the poor more than three hundred times, yet four mentions of homosexuality is more important. Christian preachers are more known for their stupendous wealth than their charity giving or poverty stricken lives.

Another American preacher claims the bible speaks against pornography, what a claim, I must find his source!

Maybe it is the lesser known John 3:17 which might have stated “and go now, not to watch Debbie does Dallas but to give food to Debbie, so that she hast no need, for fucking all of Dallas.”

Doubt it.

This same man, in a backhanded and patronising tone said he “Prays thousands of gays have an encounter with Jesus,” I guess he doesn’t mean a sexual encounter with Jesus the gardener who wears tight white shorts.

Strangely enough, each preacher in this film admits to have at one point been gay or accepted some separate mental condition. Self guilt and self hate is the crux of it.

The young female missionary of whom I spoke of at the start of this piece that mentioned teaching orphans how to pray instead of giving medicine or food. She and her companions travel to a remote village – basically three mud huts and a group of humans who most likely wonder where the sun goes at night. She asks her translator to tell a young African man, who holds a malnourished child “If you die today without believing in Jesus Christ, you won’t be with him in heaven …” referring to his own dying baby. After a long pause with no reaction she asks “does this scare you?!”

That is the basic aim of her whole mission, fear. Scare people without the brainpower to know better into selling what is left of their mental faculty, and what could be, if they were given an education and option to think freely. She offers the hope of eternal life, for the low, low price of your dignity and intellectualism – all with persuasion of a mafia mentality. Are you scared yet? How about now … And now? But your child will die!  And you will never see him again! Ah yes now you believe! God is love isn’t he?

She doesn’t give him food, or care for his child. In fact the whole time in this remote camp all the Americans do is place their hands on heads and pray with Africans who say nothing in return. Only to look quizzically at the HD cameras wondering what the hell is going on. Gladly for them, they do not know of the term hell or what it supposedly means, but if they don’t pledge allegiance to the U.S. Christian way of thinking, they are surely about to learn all of it – if the Christian has enough time to bully them into submission.

Here are a few important quotes from the film:

“American evangelicals are all powerful in Uganda. And that power is being used to persecute those who are trying to question them.”

-Rev. Kapya Kaoma

 

“I have known these people who are LGBT. I respect them for what they are. And I believe they are going to heaven. Like you others, they are going to heaven. Please don’t be discouraged. God created you; god is on your side.”

-Bishop Christopher Senyonjo (at the funeral of his close friend David Kato, who was bludgeoned to death for being a gay rights activist and homosexual man)

 

I can’t agree with his afterlife predictions, but one can’t fault the beauty in his language, or the undeniable love in his words. In my eyes, he will forever be the standard bearer for a loving Christian, a minority that Uganda will one day look back on with sorrowful recollections and hopefully remember him as the hero they chose to cast away.

Through United States lobbying, on the 20th of December 2013, the Anti-Homosexuality Act or the “kill the gays bill” as it is known locally was passed.

Thankfully the initial death penalty has been dropped for a term of life imprisonment. Anyone even suspected to be gay, or who sympathises with gays can be detained for life. National newspapers have printed pictures, names and addresses of their top known homosexuals – most of whom have been attacked physically or fled the country. Since the law has passed, homophobic hate crimes have increased 1,900% from previous years – all with full backing of the Ugandan government and not possible without the purse of the American tax payer and a bible.

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