More commentary to come. For now, go read another eyewitness report from Michael Wilkerson.
The title of Wilkerson’s article seems to be an accurate description of the eyewitness accounts coming from Kampala and The Call Uganda. According Michael Wilkerson’s report, Engle did not directly mention the bill. However, to support it, he didn’t need to. He spoke in the middle of several others who did vocally supported the bill. He also provided implicit support by lauding the Ugandans in their fight against homosexuality. According to Wilkerson’s account, Engle said
I felt like The Call was to come and join with the church of Uganda to encourage you that in the nation who are showing courage to take a stand for righteousness in the earth.
Just how is the church of Uganda showing courage? Just before Engle spoke Apostle Julius Oyet told the crowd that
We call on parliament not to debate heaven. We call on them to pass the bill and say no to homosexuality…
Oyet and the organizers (i.e., the church in Uganda) preached and prayed for the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as an aspect of showing courage and taking a stand. What else would any person in the audience understand but that Mr. Engle supported the opinions of his fellow presenters?
Prior to his trip to Uganda, Engle issued a statement, first published here, which stated in part:
Therefore TheCall, though continuing to be held in Uganda, will not promote this bill. In fact, we challenge the Church of Uganda to join with Christians around the world, to first examine our own moral failures, confess our own lack of love, and from that heart seek to establish true biblical standards, reflecting compassion for those struggling with same-sex attraction and equal justice for criminal offenses committed by heterosexuals or homosexuals. We believe this also reflects the heart and intent of the Christian leaders of Uganda.
Assuming the accuracy of the eyewitness accounts, it appears that the promise not to promote the bill was broken. While careful to avoid an endorsement of the bill, he encouraged the Ugandan supporters to continue their fight and provided a platform for the bill to be promoted. The Call is Engle’s brand and it was used to do what he said it would not do.
Engle could have said that the laws of man will not bring the righteousness of God. He could stood against the bill and supported the Ugandan impulse for personal righteousness. An observation about solemn assemblies in this tradition: The people who attend are repenting for sins they believe others are committing. How many practitioners of witchcraft were there repenting? How many people were there repenting of heterosexual sins? How many people were there repenting of government corruption? Calling people together to repent of personal sins seems like an appropriate aspect of Christian worship. However, this assembly called on the government to take care of the perceived sins of others.