IHOP and the fueling of Anti-Gay Legislation in Uganda

IHOP and the fueling of Anti-Gay Legislation in Uganda January 18, 2013

I was intrigued when I saw the announcement today that the documentary God Loves Uganda would be featured at the Sundance Film Festival.  I have been deeply saddened by the violence surrounding issued of sexuality in Uganda, and was startled to hear Roger Ross Williams, the director of this new documentary, reveal that his research into the forces energizing this violence can be tracked back to American evangelicals.  Watch this short clip of Williams introducing the film…

Ever curious, I was eager to know who what part(s) of American evangelicalism were being identified as fomenting the Ugandan violence around sexuality?  A tour through the documentary’s website provided the answer to my questions, the movie identifies the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (henceforth IHOP) as the primary driving American force in the Ugandan struggle. (see God Loves Uganda: The Main Subjects).  Specifically identified are Lou Engle (who is part of the IHOP leadership team), Rev. Joanna Watson (a missionary of IHOP in Uganda), and a handful of others…

IHOP has recently been in the news for its connection to the bizarre and tragic sexual assault/murder case of Bethany Deaton here in the US.

I have charismatically-inclined friends who have participated in IHOP conferences and events, and at one time I was really intrigued by their practice of 24-hour prayer, but supporting and fueling violence against any human (and especially in the name of Christ) must be denounced. A big part of our Slow Church project is shedding light on the shortcuts we take as Christians and emphatically stating that the only way that God’s shalom can come in Christ is through the non-violent way of Jesus that prefers to take on suffering rather than to inflict violence on another human. Resorting to (or stirring up) violence is one clear example of such a shortcut. Any Christians who fuel anti-gay violence in Uganda (or anywhere else for that matter) are not following in the way of Jesus.

It is my hope that this documentary will spur further investigation into the American evangelical role in inciting anti-Gay violence in Uganda, and a journey that I pray will lead to repentance on the part of these parties.  Regardless of our theological position on sexuality, we must be adamant that violence is NOT the way of Christ.   Ours means to the shalom of Christ can only be through following in the violence-renouncing, self-denying way of Christ!

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