tagged w/ Julius Peter Oyet
The number of U.S. faith leaders with controversial connections to politicians and religious figures in Uganda working to pass a harsh anti-gay bill seems to get bigger and bigger by the month. By now, the world is familiar with the legislation. It's known as the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill," and if passed it would institute severe criminal penalties for LGBT people.
Those penalties include: the death penalty for LGBT people who are HIV-positive and who engage in sexual relations; lifetime jail sentences for anyone who is LGBT; and jail terms for straight people who don't disclose their LGBT friends, relatives and neighbors.
The bill is championed by several Ugandan religious leaders with deep U.S. ties, including Martin Ssempa and Julius Peter Oyet. Ssempa was once a celebrated partner to Pastor Rick Warren's ministries, and has close ties to a number of U.S. legislators and faith leaders. Though he's been discredited by many people in the U.S., at least one megachurch -- Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas -- continues to call Ssempa a "prophet" and financially support his work to pass this anti-gay legislation.
Julius Peter Oyet may be less well known than Ssempa, but he's also done his fair share to help move the anti-gay Ugandan legislation forward. Oyet is a leader with the Born Again Federation of Churches in Uganda, and he's a self-admitted part of the network of Ugandan leaders that helped draft the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill." Oyet has attended rallies and meetings in Uganda where gay porn was showed to people in order to whip up homophobic sentiments, and also appears in a BBC segment promising that if the bill gets passed, homosexuals will be arrested.
Oyet is also part of an international faith network known as the College of Prayer, which has a host of locations throughout the world, and trains people to be outspoken Christian leaders "who will reach a lost world through a revived church." The College of Prayer has numerous offices and ministries in the United States, stretching from Florida to Wisconsin. But it's their Atlanta, Georgia locale that is perhaps most interesting, since Julius Oyet says that the College of Prayer provides him an office at that location.
Adding yet another layer of intrigue to this onion of religiosity, the Atlanta College of Prayer office seems to share space with a fairly influential evangelical church, Lilburn Alliance Church (Web site - lilburn4jesus.com - no joke), whose pastor, Fred Hartley, is a colleague of David Bahati, the Ugandan MP that is the chief sponsor of the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill." In fact, Pastor Hartley has called David Bahati "honorable," despite the fact that Bahati would like to criminalize homosexuality with either the death penalty or life imprisonment.
For those keeping score, it looks like this: Ugandan leaders (Oyet and Bahati) who want to criminalize homosexuality + the College of Prayer + Lilburn Alliance Church = a web of political and religious mischief that would see to it that gay people are either thrown in jail or murdered, and that straight people are criminally punished for not turning in their LGBT friends, relatives and neighbors.
Warren Throckmorton is all over this story, weaving the tight web between Ugandan religious leaders like Julius Oyet, the College of Prayer and Lilburn Alliance Church. He notes that the College of Prayer has financially supported Oyet, to the tune of over $10,000, and that both the College of Prayer at Lilburn Alliance Church have hosted Oyet in Atlanta.
Throckmorton also notes that Oyet has made it crystal clear where he stands on homosexuality, and how Uganda should deal with LGBT people. Take a look at some of these nuggets:
"We do not condemn homosexuality just because we are Africans, we condemn homosexuality because it is written in this holy book."
"The sodomy people, the homosexuals, are even more foolish than dogs ... even animals are wiser than homosexuals."
"I want to invite you to declare, no to sodomy! Everyone of you! I want us to say today, Uganda says no to sodomy!" (Oyet then led a crowd of Ugandans in a chant of "No to sodomy" at decibels that would make even Lady Gaga jealous.)
"Come on! Can we kick sodomy out of Uganda? Sodomy, out of Uganda, go!"
"My real problem with homosexuality is, number one, it is destroying human nature. Number two, it is angering God. Number three, it is a sin against the community. Number four, it is a sin against their bodies."
Oyet then goes on to tell LGBT people that they should repent from their wicked ways or face the wrath of God and Uganda, and suggests that gay people don't have human rights but instead are "a human vice."
And the College of Prayer and Lilburn Alliance Church are comfortable with that kind of rhetoric? They support Oyet, they haven't condemned the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill," and as of this year, Oyet still believes he has an office space with the College of Prayer. That sure sounds like support to me. And it also sounds like both the College of Prayer and Lilburn Alliance Church will have blood on their hands if this "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" passes Uganda's legislature, and (as Oyet promises) the arrests of LGBT people start occurring.
Send a simple message to both the College of Prayer and Lilburn Alliance Church, letting them know that religious leaders around the world have condemned Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill, and that they should join suit. They should also stop supporting politicians and religious leaders who want to commit violence toward LGBT people. That's hardly Christian, let alone humane.
Outrageous. Send both the College of Prayer and Lilburn Alliance Church a message that they should be condemning the work to criminalize homosexuality in Uganda, not celebrating the leaders behind efforts to kill or imprison LGBT folks.The number of U.S. faith leaders with controversial connections to politicians and... more