Lou Engle issues statement regarding The Call Uganda and Anti-Homosexuality Bill

The Call Uganda will proceed as planned but Lou Engle just now released a statement which addresses the controversy over the upcoming assembly in Kampala. About Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Engle says, “…we do not see the character of Christ reflected in some key aspects of the language of the current bill.” The statement also addresses issues from the California Prop 8 campaign.

TheCall Uganda Press Release: 

When TheCall was invited to come to Uganda our intent was to join with the leaders and the people of the great Ugandan Church in a gathering of fasting and prayer to confess our personal and national sins, to pray for God’s blessing on the nation, and for a great spiritual awakening among her youth. Personal and national repentance among Christians and prayer for spiritual awakening has been the core focus of TheCall since her inception. 

TheCall had no knowledge at the time, of the Uganda homosexual bill and the controversy surrounding it. TheCall was unaware that our genuine intent to encourage the Ugandan church in prayer would thrust us into an international controversy.

TheCall, in 2008, mobilized thousands to pray and fast in California that marriage would be upheld between a man and a woman, believing this to be God’s design for the good of society, family, and children. TheCall belief and intent has never been about promoting hatred toward the homosexual community as a whole or towards individuals who identify as LGBT. We have always sought to offer a message of love and redemption to those with same-sex attractions, though at times our communication could have been expressed more effectively and graciously. In this aspect, we humbly seek your forgiveness if we had not communicated God’s righteousness and mercy adequately.

Now recently, TheCall has been wrongfully marked and vilified as an organization promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals and as one that supports the Uganda bill as currently written. To the contrary, we have never made a private or a public statement of support for that bill. Though we honor the courage and stand with the stated purpose of the many Church leaders in Uganda who are seeking to protect the traditional and biblical family foundations of the nation, we have serious concerns with the bill as presently written, especially in terms of some of the harsh penalties for certain homosexual behaviors or offenses. Sadly, many around the world are identifying TheCall with these aspects of the bill. Our concern is not to avoid the controversy the bill is stirring up, but to give an accurate representation of biblical values and the heart of Christ for all humanity. Though TheCall is not afraid to take a clear stand on biblical truth on matters of sexuality, we are deeply concerned that TheCall ministry would not wrongfully reflect the character of Christ, and we do not see the character of Christ reflected in some key aspects of the language of the current bill. 

Therefore TheCall, though continuing to be held in Uganda, will not promote this bill. 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.

In releasing this statement, we want to take this opportunity to reiterate our deep love for the homosexual community and, as followers of Jesus, our commitment to oppose all hatred and violence directed towards that community. 

For TheCall,

Lou Engle

///

I appreciate the ideals expressed here in broad conceptual terms. However, to me, it seems that the application of those ideals would lead to a rejection of criminalization altogether. I do hope that the opposition to hatred and violence expressed here will be made clear to rally-goers on Sunday.

Update: This statement has been added to The Call website…

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  • Tim

    “. . . 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. ”

    You need to read these statements carefully. Note that compassion extends to those “struggling” with same sex “attraction”, not to all who experience same sex attraction and certainly not to anyone who is in a same-sex relationship. This is the exact wording that Exodus used. I doubt that is a coincidence.

    The second part of the sentence affirms support for criminalization of unspecified sex acts. That Engle couldn’t bring himself to clarify that he does not support criminalization of consensual acts by adults, it is reasonable to conclude that he does. Finally, the reference to heterosexuals or homosexuals is meaningless, since Engle would not criminalize heterosexual sex in marriage. Accordingly, what he is likely saying is that he supports criminalization of hetero sex crimes (rape, adultery, prostitution) and homosexual sex crimes (all homosexual acts by anyone in any context).

    Good rule of thumb: Whenever a Christian tells you he loves you, grab your wallet and run for the hills.

  • Lynn David

    So… Engle didn’t want involved for his image, but doesn’t care if home-grown Ugandans incited anti-gay feeling. Or did I get it wrong?

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    I think he is going to Uganda but he promises not to incite violence. There are US observers there now and will be attending so we shall see….

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    TheCall had no knowledge at the time, of the Uganda homosexual bill and the controversy surrounding it.

    I find this difficult to believe. To put it mildly. Now he says he won’t deliberately incite violence.

    Pardon me if in light of this statement, I take that with a grain of salt.

  • Maazi N.C.O

    I am bemused by the fuss raised by you all. Whether Lou Engle comes to Uganda or not, Bahati’s bill will eventually become law in one form or another as soon as parliament is ready. Please do not work yourselves into a frenzy whenever any bible-bashing US christian fundamentalist announces a visit to Uganda. We have the cognitive abilities required to address challenges faced by our society without a need to access the brain power of a white man.

  • David Farrell

    I’m sorry, but how can you say that you don’t believe in hating homosexuals or intend on inciting violence but then turn around and categorize an entire group of people as demon possessed and evil. Even if the medical community and a vast majority of your own Christian community.

    When you vilify the homosexual community and even those who view the bible differently than you, you’re not promoting love and justice. It’s something else.

  • http://www.askdrbrown.org Dr Michael L Brown

    Zoe,

    No need to take the statement with a grain of salt. Lou is a close friend of mine, and when he accepted the invitation to bring TheCall to Uganda, the anti-homosexuality bill was not in the news and was completely unknown to him. I have been part of many of these events in the States and participated with Lou overseas as well, and these are times of all day prayer (12 hours) and fasting, with much personal contrition and confession. I’m confident that those expecting the worst from this event will be pleasantly surprised when it’s completed, whether they agree with Lou’s beliefs or not.

  • http://www.askdrbrown.org Dr Michael L Brown

    David,

    I’m sure you have a basis for your statement, so I’m curious to know when you believe that Lou Engle characterized the homosexual community as demon possessed and evil. If you can direct me to a source for that quote (or concept), then I can more adequately respond as a friend and co-worker of Lou.

    Thanks!

  • Lynn David

    Engle said his son went to San Francisco to “cast out homosexual spirits out of our new converts.” Specifically, his son went to the “the Castro district, where the homosexuals boast the dominion of darkness.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7iNftDaIjc

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Rachel Maddow has a clip of Lou Engle saying the following (at 2:27 into the segment):

    LOU ENGLE, CALL TO CONSCIENCE: Have the whole world pray for this is going on today in California, because what happened in California will release a spirit that is more demonic than Islam, a spirit of lawlessness and anarchy and a sexual insanity will be unleashed unto the earth. We beg you, pray for California elections! Pray that God would break in with Yes on 8.

    I assumed that this kind of thing is what Lou Engle was apologizing for in his statement on Uganda. Michael, if he doesn’t believe homosexuals are demonic then why say these things? I hope you can understand why critics of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill are worried about The Call Uganda with rhetoric like that.

  • http://www.askdrbrown.org Dr Michael L Brown

    Warren,

    As I’ve shared with you privately, I do understand why they’re worried, and I’m quite confident that when the event is over, they will find their fears to be false in this case. But as I also shared with you privately, since I have been falsely accused of potentially fomenting violence — which has as much as truth in it as does the fact the notion that you are the secret Muslim Imam — and when factual, undeniable evidence is presented to refute the false charges, activists opposing me bring up the same libel all the time. I’m still waiting for those who falsely accused me and others to say, “We’ve watched you carefully for years now and listened to your words, and we apologize for misrepresenting you.” To the contrary, the libels continue. I expect Lou will receive the same treatment as well.

    As for saying that “homosexuals are demonic,” you are far from accurate. Lou and some other Christians believe that there are many areas where demonic powers can gain access into people’s live — and sexual immorality is one of them — and hence, when these people come to faith, they need deliverance. This would be in keeping with Jesus’ ministry in the New Testament, where He spent much of His time driving demons out of people — sick people and people oppressed or bound in other ways.

    So, Lou is not saying that the people are demonic but rather that homosexual practice is sinful and that there are demonic spirits that gain strongholds in people’s lives — including gays — through immorality, etc.

    My question to you would be this: Do you take seriously the biblical accounts that speak so frequently of demonic and Satanic activity? If so, where have all the demons gone? What has become of Satan? And doesn’t Paul tell us that all of us battle with Satanic powers in Ephesians 6:12? And doesn’t Jesus commission His followers to walk in His footsteps and drive out demons? (See also John 14:12)

    Your thoughts?

  • http://www.askdrbrown.org Dr Michael L Brown

    Lynn David,

    Thanks so much for providing the link. I’ll look at it ASAP and then respond. Much appreciated.

  • Lynn David

    Dr Brown… So, Lou is not saying that the people are demonic but rather that homosexual practice is sinful and that there are demonic spirits that gain strongholds in people’s lives — including gays — through immorality, etc.

    It would seem that you are ‘splitting-hairs’ with an aswer that would disinguously further set the goal posts beyond what you first demanded. That isn’t what you asked. That was:

    ….so I’m curious to know when you believe that Lou Engle characterized the homosexual community as demon possessed and evil.

    And I believe that is what has been pointed out to you.

  • Jayhuck

    Lou and some other Christians believe that there are many areas where demonic powers can gain access into people’s live — and sexual immorality is one of them

    You can’t really argue, debate or have a reasoned conversation with people like this – when somebody or some religious group, Christian, Muslim, etc, claims that another group is possessed by demons, all you can do is pray that they don’t come to power

  • http://www.askdrbrown.org Dr Michael L Brown

    Lynn David,

    In no way am I trying to split hairs, but since the “demon” talk is coming from Christians like Lou and me, then it’s important to explain what we mean. In listening to the clip (and in knowing Jesse Engle), Jesse went to San Francisco to serve (hence the reference to a “towel,” which was missed in the transliteration, along with the reference to his weeping for the LGBT community), and he opens the group home where he lived to people who were hurting and in need. And as some of them came to faith in Jesus, he came against demonic powers in their lives — just as I mentioned in my post to Warren that we believe sexual immorality of any kind, heterosexual or homosexual, opens a person up to demonic powers. But to say that the person himself or herself is demonic is another thing entirely and goes beyond what Lou said in his statement.

    That being said, I don’t expect you to agree with me on this for a moment — it sounds far out and wacky unless you believe in these kinds of things — but I’m quite sure about the spirit and intent of Jesse’s work in San Francisco, and those that got to know him would find him to be a compassionate and caring young man.

  • http://www.askdrbrown.org Dr Michael L Brown

    Jayhuck,

    We don’t believe that any one group of people is possessed by demons, and I’m quite sure that what we’re speaking about is different than you what you understand when you hear the same words, but as I said to Lynn David, I don’t expect you to take talk about demons (or angels, for that matter) seriously unless it’s part of your own belief system or spiritual understanding.

  • Jayhuck

    Dr Brown,

    I believe in angels and demons, but not in the way you do – I am also a Christian but you and I obviously differ in our beliefs regarding the faith – fyi :)

  • Lynn David

    Dr Brown….. I don’t expect you to agree with me on this for a moment — it sounds far out and wacky unless you believe in these kinds of things — but I’m quite sure about the spirit and intent of Jesse’s work in San Francisco, and those that got to know him would find him to be a compassionate and caring young man.

    Yes, you are definitely right about that; I don’t believe in fairy tales about demons or demonic powers.

    .

    But more to the point I don’t think that those you imbue with this rhetoric necessarily discern any difference between a person being ‘demon possessed’ as Engle claims and a person being demonic. Being demonic – of or relating to a demon – doesn’t seem to be much of a distinction from Engle’s (demonic) ‘homosexual spirits.’ Especially whenn Engle says “the homosexuals boast the dominion of darkness” in the Castro. Most of them likely haven’t had class one in theology or even mythology.

    .

    So you likely end up doing exactly what you seek to do, demonize a class of people whose ‘sin’ or ‘possessing spirit/demon’ is seen to be one which completely sets them aside from you and your followers. It all adds up to an act of degradation, to a consideration of us as less than human in most minds. So it comes back to you being absolutely right, I and many like me don”t believe in your fairy tales.

  • Lynn David

    Evangelist is criticized for attending rally in Uganda, which is considering death penalty for homosexuals

    A group of clergy in Kansas City this week criticized a local evangelist for attending a church rally this weekend in Uganda.

    .

    The country is considering legislation that would allow the death penalty for homosexuals.

    .

    The clergy group, called the Kansas City Coalition of Welcoming Congregations, urged Lou Engle, a co-founder of TheCall ministry based in Kansas City, not to spread a homophobic message.

    .

    Engle is known for his message of God’s wrath and has a track record of referring to gay people as having demons,” according to a statement by the coalition.

    .

    Engle did not respond to requests for an interview, but in a statement posted on TheCall’s website he said he was unaware of the legislation when the rally was planned and “will not promote this bill.”

    .

    He said his ministry supported Christian church leaders in Uganda who sought to protect “traditional and Biblical family foundations” but it does not promote hatred toward homosexuals.

    Read more:

    http://www.kansascity.com/2010/04/30/1915317/local-evangelist-is-criticized.html

  • Lynn David

    In Uganda, Push to Curb Gays Draws U.S. Guest

    As storm clouds brewed in the near distance, about 1,300 people gathered at the grassy Makerere University sports grounds here for a special Sunday afternoon rally and prayer service that, its organizers said, was to discuss homosexuality, witchcraft, corruption and the fear of violence leading up to the country’s pres…idential election next year.

    .

    The guest of honor, Lou Engle, an American evangelical from Kansas City, bowed up and down from his knees at the front of the stage. Mr. Engle, who helped found TheCall Ministries, a prayer group that focuses on moral issues, arrived last week in Uganda, where TheCall has opened a new chapter. His trip comes amid a heated debate throughout the country over a bill that would ban advocacy of gay rights and suggests the death penalty for homosexuals who have AIDS and engage in sexual relations.

    .

    For much of Sunday’s service, the topic of homosexuality was slipped in between mentions of corruption and witchcraft; evils that Ugandans were told they should wish away. Unlike at other rallies, gay activists did not picket or protest. Instead they roamed the grounds quietly, watching from a distance. Though not originally linked to the Ugandan legislation, Mr. Engle has long been a controversial figure in the United States for his views on homosexuality. During California’s referendum on same-sex marriage in 2008, he called homosexuality a “spirit of lawlessness.”

    .

    Before arriving here last week, Mr. Engle came out with a statement condemning the harsh penalties proposed in the bill, and said that his ministry could not support it. But when he took the stage late on Sunday afternoon, with Ugandan politicians and pastors looking on, he praised the country’s “courage” and “righteousness” in promoting the bill.

    .

    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.”

    .

    The bill’s sponsor, David Bahati, who attended Sunday’s service, said in an interview that it was likely that some of its harsher provisions, including the death penalty, would be taken out before its passage, which he said he expected soon. But, he said, the goal of the bill would remain the same. The turnout for the free prayer service, and the support from Mr. Engle, were a good sign, Mr. Bahati said.

    .

    Moments after Mr. Engle and his entourage filed off of the athletic grounds, Uganda’s minister of ethics, James Buturo, another of the bill’s supporters, came on stage and told those assembled: “These are desperate times, but we will not accept intimidation. It is our business to do what God wants. Pray for Bahati, and pray for the bill.” And then the rains came.

    Read More Here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/03/world/africa/03uganda.html

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