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God Loves Uganda

By REBECCA JACOBSON
[ONE NIGHT ONLY] In 1907, Winston Churchill referred to Uganda as “the Pearl of Africa.” More than a century later, the International House of Prayer—a Missouri-based megachurch that calls itself, yes, IHOP—doesn’t see Churchill’s assertion as mere praise of the country’s natural beauty. The phrase is, in the words of one pastor, “a prophetic declaration.” According to IHOP, Uganda is a pearl to be harvested. That harvesting, as depicted in Roger Ross Williams’ engrossing documentary God Loves Uganda, takes the form of fervent proselytizing, with American evangelicals traveling to the East African nation to spread the Gospel. Not only do these missionaries—many of them rosy-cheeked 20-somethings, just like the magic underwear-clad kids in The Book of Mormon—sermonize about salvation through Jesus, but also about the sin and “sexual insanity” of same-sex relationships. Williams makes the convincing argument that this imported brand of conservative Christianity has fueled homophobia in Uganda, including a bill that would have mandated the death penalty for repeat same-sex offenders (a less severe version passed last month). This is a thoroughly sobering film, and no more so than when we glimpse the funeral of LGBT rights activist David Kato, who was clubbed to death in 2011. That the funeral of a man who advocated peace and tolerance nearly became a brawl tells us all we need to know about the real crusade that must be waged.
 

Special Note

Hollywood Theatre. 7 pm Tuesday, Jan. 28
 
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Running Time: 90 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, October 11, 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Critic's Score: B
  • Directed by: Roger Williams [Director], Roger Williams [Screenwriter], Benjamin Gray [Screenwriter], Richard Hankin [Screenwriter], Julie Goldman [Producer], Roger Williams [Producer], Jake Clennell [Cinematographer], Derek Wiesehahn [Cinematographer], Benjamin Gray [Film Editor], Richard Hankin [Film Editor]
  • Watch the trailer
 

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