Last night I had an opportunity to sit down and watch a recently release documentary entitled, "God Love Uganda." The documentary featured the work of conservative evangelical Christians who have used a version of the good news about Jesus Christ to this nation in order to promote and incite homophobia and hate in this African nation.
It was a painful video for me to watch as these self proclaimed missionaries, serving the good news about Jesus worked to brainwash an entire nation of people. This ideology has spread and been twisted to the point where Uganda has now passed an Anti-gay bill into law in the country where known (or even suspected) homosexuals can be jailed for life. For repeat offenders, the bill allows the death penalty.
A link to the website, complete with access to the video is here:
One of the men in this film, Scott Lively, is currently on trial in the US courts for inciting the murder and torture of homosexuals in that nation. He is accused of violating human rights in this African nation with the spread of hate couched in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Is this the pastorate that God calls us into? How is it that the desire to serve Christ can so easily be turned into a campaign of hate and intolerance?
The actions of this IHOP community seem to border on the edge of criminal in its activity and scope. It concerns me greatly that a community that is supposedly concerned with sharing the good news about Jesus Christ has become de-railed by this attempt to build a homogenous community of like minded people. It appalls me that this community might be grounded not in the love for all of creation but instead of in hate for those they perceive as sinners.
What can we do to call this community, and others that share these sentiments into a sense of responsibility for the message of love that Jesus calls us to share? How can we avoid the judgment and condemnation that I so quickly want to cast upon these efforts so that we can engage this community in a healthy, authentic manner where growth and understanding can blossom?