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God Loves Uganda: A chilling portrait of anti-gay religious zealotry run amok

A scene from God Loves Uganda.

3 out of 4 stars

Written by
Benjamin Gray, Richard Hankin, Roger Ross Williams
Directed by
Roger Ross Williams

Director Roger Ross Williams's emotionally charged polemic, God Loves Uganda, chronicles how an American evangelical Christian group has fostered virulent anti-gay hatred in contemporary Uganda. Bouncing between talking-head interviews and fervent church services, it's a chilling portrait of religious zealotry run amok.

Lou Engle, one of the founders of the 15-year-old Missouri ministry International House of Prayer, describes Uganda – where Christianity is the dominant religion and 50 per cent of the population is under 15 – as a first battleground in a war against secular liberalism and homosexuality.

On the other side, Zambian-born clergyman Kapya Kaoma (an Anglican minister and postdoc researcher at Boston University) and excommunicated Ugandan Anglican bishop Christopher Senyonjo, discuss how American evangelists jumped into the post-Idi Amin ideological vacuum to influence Ugandan politics and religion.

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Williams's documentary would be a more balanced piece of journalism if he had provided perspective about where the International House of Prayer stands in the evangelical spectrum (other Christian groups have described it as a cult). Or, perhaps, focused a little less on the missionaries' absurd tales of rescue from sexual sin.

But there's no doubt that the impact of this under-reported hate campaign is real and devastating: the beating death of Ugandan gay activist David Kato in 2011, during the filming; a rise in HIV rates with the promotion of abstinence instead of condoms; and most alarming, a bill before the Ugandan parliament that could put homosexuals to death.

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About the Author
Film critic

Liam Lacey is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. More


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