Progressive website Change.org has created a petition targeting Oral Roberts University due to the presence of Martin Ssempa on the ORU Board of Reference. In a January post, I noted that Ssempa was on this advisory board and ask ORU for comment. Here is what I wrote then:
Oral Roberts University – Martin Ssempa is on the Board of Reference for ORU. Public Relations Director, Jeremy Burton explained the Board of Reference duties:
- This Board of Reference is to provide for effective communication an informative exchange and service among the public, ORU’s stakeholders, and the University.
- A board of reference is for the purpose of credibility, for reputation, and for influence.
- As a member of the Board of Reference, your name and your circle of influence lends reputation to the credibility of Oral Roberts University.
- A board of reference has no voting privileges and does not have any regularly scheduled meetings.
Mr. Burton declined to issue any other statement regarding the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
The background article supporting the petition asks: Does Oral Roberts University Support Killing Gays in Uganda? I honestly doubt that those running the school do support the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. However, given the role of a person on the Board of Reference, I think the concern of Change.org is warranted. Martin Ssempa is not simply expressing doctrinal differences or taking a different point of view on a controversial issue. For quite some time, he has actively promoted a harsh governmental response to living bearers of the image of God. Most recently, he gave an interview and published an article in the shocking “hang the gays” tabloid, knowing full well what the paper is trying to accomplish.