Lou Engle regrets the promotion of Anti-Homosexuality Bill during TheCall Uganda; urges bill supporters not to give in to Western opposition

A little while ago, this statement appeared on Lou Engle’s blog:

TheCall Uganda Press Release: Part 2

Posted on June 10th, 2010

June 2010

Three weeks ago I returned from Uganda where I participated in TheCall Uganda. Prior to going I released a statement declaring the intent and purposes of my going there and holding TheCall. In that statement I clearly declared that TheCall was not going to Uganda to promote the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (”Bill”). Instead, the purpose of the event was to pray and fast for this nation in crisis.

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.

That being said, I am grateful that I had the privilege of going to Uganda and meeting Christian leaders who explained their heart concerning the Bill. Not one was carrying even an ounce of hatred for homosexuals. They actually desired to influence the lawmakers in Uganda to lessen the penalties. However, they were committed to raise up a principled stand to protect their people and their children from an unwelcome intrusion of homosexual ideology into an 83% Christian nation, an intrusion that is being pressed upon them by the UN, UNICEF, and other NGOs and Western colonialist powers.

These powers are threatening to withdraw funding from Uganda if they do not open their doors to these ideologies. They shared with me with broken hearts some of the painful stories of the effect of this worldwide pressure, as it is being pushed and promoted into their educational system. I appealed to them that in all their labor and their stand they express the mercy of Christ to broken people, but I also stood with them in their desire to not succumb to the political ideological pressures of the West and many of the voices of the Western Church that have come strongly against them.

These brothers in Uganda will give an account to the Lord on how sternly they stood as a prophetic community in their nation and we, the Church of the West, will give an account for our response when homosexual ideology swept into our nations.

For TheCall,

Lou Engle

I am confused by this statement. He apologizes for The Call being used for promotion of the bill and identifies the promotion as taking place after he left the meeting. And indeed, Minister of Ethics and Integrity Nsaba Buturo spoke directly about the bill after Engle spoke. However, Apostle Julius Oyet spoke just before Engle and also promoted the bill. According to the Religion Dispatches account (which matches other on-the-scene accounts which I am not at liberty to identify), Oyet spoke directly about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill:

“We call on parliament not to debate heaven. We call on them to pass the bill and say no to homosexuality,” preached Julius Oyet, a pastor with Life Line Ministries in Uganda who titles himself Apostle. 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.

When Engle himself finally took the microphone at about 5 p.m., he dug almost immediately into the controversy, saying he hadn’t known about the bill and nearly canceled his trip over questions raised by his presence. But at no point did he contest Oyet’s support for the bill.

Why apologize for what happened in your absence if you don’t apologize for what happened in your presence? By not saying anything about Oyet’s call on Parliament “to pass the bill,” he dilutes the impact of his acknowledgement that the bill was in fact promoted.

Further confusing the impact of this statement is the statement about the intent of the bill promoters. It appears that Engle favors criminalization in that he commends those involved with The Call Uganda for seeking to lessen, but not eliminate the penalties. I am reading between the lines but it appears that he thinks they are correct to pursue a specific law relating to homosexuality but advises the Ugandan supporters to be stand less “sternly” as a “prophetic community” and “lessen the penalties.” In essence, since he views them as pursuing a reasonable goal with reduced penalties, he supports what the Ugandan bill supporters are doing. I suspect that is exactly what they believe.

I have altered the title of this post to reflect that his apology seems to be directed to The Call Uganda and not the bill itself. If he opposes the actual bill, it is not clear at all from this statement and actually seems to make it more clear that if the bill has lesser penalties, he is fine with it.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    With apologies like that, who needs condemnation? What a weasel.

  • Eddy

    Dave–

    I think it’s clear that YOU think that Engle did something weasly. However, a number of us who visit here don’t know you any or much better that we know him. So we really don’t learn anything from your comment other than that you think he’s a weasle.

    I’ve read through his comment and have guessed at points where he may have weasled or you think he may have weasled but we don’t travel the same paths or have direct links to the same sources. And, as I suggested in the previous paragraph, I don’t know him any better than I know you…actually I know him less. Can you elaborate?

    I’m used to being dismissed (and also ‘characterised’) and I really do want to hear what you’re reacting to. I note that Engle’s statement is 5 paragraphs long. Perhaps if you could address it as such i.e.” paragraph 1–no significant issues. Paragraph 2..I thought this statement was weasly given this reality….etc.

    I actually have no intent on debating your conclusions; I really just need to see where they are coming from. I do apologize. LIke many who visit here, this blogsite is my major source of exposure to these issues so I don’t know all the background into Engle’s character. I even recall his name from previous threads but must admit that I have no recall to rely on. Your comment was the leading response to the topic and I need to understand it more fully to keep up with whatever may follow in response.

    I’m not being facetious. I’ve known many a Christian to be a game-player and/or a hypocrite. But I try not to base my conclusions on another persons opinions. Can you steer me to some links that expound on the ‘weasle’ part or can you share what you know that reveals the ‘weasel’?

  • http://gayuganda.blogspot.com gayuganda

    I am kind of puzzled….

    Granted. I am not that good at English, but I see an apology which is less than apologetic. Clearly for some other purpose than to apologize.

    Ugh!

  • Dave

    Well…. I don’t see much of an apology either. … What should have been seen was outrage at being used to promote an awful bill. What should have been heard from him when he was down there was his direction to them to oppose such a bill. Instead there are weak excuses and a call to recognize the courage of the brothers in Uganda. I’m not impressed.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    See the post now for my take on this added at the end of the post.

    The apology is for breaking a technicality – the bill was promoted at the event – however, he implicitly supports the bill with lesser penalties.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Hi Warren .. thanks for the update … that certainly makes things clearer. The unfortunate trend I am seeing here is that opposition to homosexuality (or more specifically: same sex sex) is so strong that Christian leaders and groups (such as Canyon Ridge Christian Church and Exodus .. both mentioned in earlier blogs) will support that opposition even if it includes showing porn in church, criminilazation, or vilifying an entire group of people. (Yes I see Exodus’ policy change but only long after the damage was done. One has to wonder what .. if anything ..they are actually doing in Uganda to counter the damage they were party to.) Sorry for the comments concerning multiple blog entries .. but I see a common theme / problem here.

    I have to wonder why the same criminizalation and smear campaign is not also directed at adultery, divorce, and remarriage .. all of which Jesus spoke heavily against.

  • hazemyth

    a principled stand to protect their people and their children from an unwelcome intrusion of homosexual ideology … pressed upon them by the UN, UNICEF, and other NGOs and Western colonialist powers. … threatening to withdraw funding from Uganda if they do not open their doors to these ideologies.

    This, in my eyes, deserves special mention. Even in his apology, he’s reproducing the essential rationale of the bill as a response to colonialist efforts and a necessary measure to protect children. It disregards the existence of a domestic movement advocating on the behalf of gay Ugandans. Like a great deal of similar dissembling, it juxtaposes a disavowal of hatred with an insinuation approaching hate speech — the disparaging stereotype that gay people and gay rights advocates somehow threaten children.

    Lastly, what is meant by “open their doors to these ideologies? His opposition to this might be read as agreement with the bill’s opposition to the freedoms of expression and association.

  • Eddy

    I realize that the statement contains an apology but that does not seem to be the primary purpose of the statement. It is titled a ‘press release’ and references a previous and related press release. My guess is that if it were intended to be a ‘public apology’, it would have been called that.

    I wish that we had access to the content of Engle’ 5 PM speech. It is indeed puzzling that he claims to have not heard even ‘an ounce of hatred’ towards homosexuals when the speaker who immediately preceded him openly decried the homosexual idealogy of the West. My sense is that he sees the hatred directed against the idealogy and he sees the homosexuals as victims of the idealogy. This is difficult for us to envision. The Western take is that homosexuals are that way by orientation and that the impact of idealogy is acceptance of that fact. The Ugandan take is that although people may have homosexual urges, that is not who they are; they see the idealogy as an attempt to lead more people to have those urges. It’s a huge difference in perspective. If we talk without addressing or acknowledging that difference, the communications will continually misfire.

    The response to the Ugandan Bill from the West was fueled primarily by the extreme of the death penalty (along with some other extremes). Some of these extremes already exist in their laws. Now, the Western cry is for no penalties whatsoever. But we’ve got a complicated apples and oranges scenario going on. We speak of death penalty vs no penalty and don’t address some of those specific offenses that Ugandans felt warranted the death penalty…not private, consensual, adult homosexual behavior.

    I don’t have the answers. Politics has so many entanglements to contend with; foreign politics even moreso. I keep trying to see where it is that we are misfiring…not just ‘The West’ in it’s pronouncements and influences but also ‘the Church’.

  • Eddy

    David/Warren–

    I must apologize for my first comment. Had some family stuff going on last night. Checked in here…saw David’s comments before reading the post…then read Engle’s statement (with David’s comment in mind) and went over to his blogsite to read part one. In the process, I failed to read Warren’s statements and questions that followed Engle’s statement. Had I done so, most of my questions to David would have been unnecessary. Warren DID convey what led to the statement looking a bit weasley.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Not one was carrying even an ounce of hatred for homosexuals.

    I, for one, am sick of Christians claiming that they don’t have hatred towards homosexuals. Just what do they think hatred is? What do they think it looks like?

    When you vilify a group of people for the purpose of stirring up animus towards them, that’s hatred. When you lie about them, claiming that they are a threat to children, that’s hatred. When you are so hostile to this group of people that you publicly condemn those who don’t share your hostility – even those who have been associated with your ministry – that’s hatred.

    It seems some Christians think that because “Christians love everyone” that this means that anything they do, no matter how vile, is by definition out of love. I’m saying evil things about you, out of love. I’m making your life more difficult, out of love. I’m taking away your children, out of love. I’m denying you housing and employment, out of love. I’m treating you abominably in ways that I would never ever let anyone treat me, out of love.

    This is not only a perversion of the very ideas of love and hate, but it is heretical, offensive to God, and a smear on the name of Christ.

  • http://gayuganda.blogspot.com gayuganda

    I was not at that function but my partner was.

    He told me that the rally proceeded according to the usual script of the anti-homosexuality rallies which had been ongoing before Engel came to the country. The same speakers, the same rhetoric, the same lies, demonisation and vilification.

    Maybe the only thing that he can claim would be that he [Engel] didnt seem to dwell on it, but, certainly, it was more of the same.

    And yes, it is true that, soon as he finished his talk [and presumably left for the airport, which was his stated reason], gay bashing and rallying for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was the only thing on the agenda. Maybe the only thing that was missed was Ssempa showing his porn… But, my partner did leave before the whole rally was concluded!

  • Maazi N.C.O

    Who cares what American christian fundamentalist has to say. I don’t need any white man to tell me that our penal code on sexual depravity needs to be updated to meet the new challenges that the emergent western-controlled pro-gay advocacy groups in Uganda are presenting. If I were you guys I will concentrate on the body language of the Ugandan masses and the Kampala government rather than on the words of foreigners. What Mr. Engels says (or does not say) is of no consequence.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    What Mr. Engels says (or does not say) is of no consequence.

    Then why do Ugandans keep bringing them over to support that dastardly bill? Their opinions are apparently valuable to you when they agree.

    Human rights are not something one can give and take in a vacuum — they exist in spite of any laws created to frustrate them. When one nation-state seeks to deprive those rights, we are all affected. If you are looking to be ignored on this, that just isn’t going to happen, nor should it.

    Go ahead and couch this garbage under the banner of “protecting the children” if it makes you feel better, but the rest of the world — with no significant exceptions — understands otherwise.

  • http://gayuganda.blogspot.com gayuganda

    Then why do Ugandans keep bringing them over to support that dastardly bill?

    The selective logic is kind of interesting. Gay Ugandans dont exist because homosexuality is a ‘foreign’ import. The bill has no ‘foreign’ input, but Scott Lively and Richard Cohen are heavily quoted in the promotion the Bill, and of course Lou Engel is called over, in part to negate the international Christian revulsion…. and when he fails to deliver to expectation, why, what he says does not matter…

    Ugh, just the usual hypocrisy of selective, self serving logic. Very able to see the stick in your eye, but not the log in mine.

  • Eddy

    …and, although our focus here has been on the ‘anti-homosexuality bill’, this recent meeting was intended to be the summit of a time of prayer and fasting re a number of issues of concern: political corruption and misappropriation of funds and ‘witchcraft and human sacrifice’ among them. These two issues, not gay in any way, were also a part of the stated agenda for ‘The Call Uganda’.

    According to the BBC, Uganda saw a serious rise in human sacrifice in 2009. They had 26 murders that appeared to be ritualistic as opposed to 4 the previous year. The BBC hints that the 26 don’t include other deaths that weren’t reported or went unnoticed or ‘missing persons’ who have yet to be accounted for.