Lou Engle issues statement regarding The Call Uganda and Anti-Homosexuality Bill

The Call Uganda will proceed as planned but Lou Engle just now released a statement which addresses the controversy over the upcoming assembly in Kampala. About Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, Engle says, “…we do not see the character of Christ reflected in some key aspects of the language of the current bill.” The statement also addresses issues from the California Prop 8 campaign.

TheCall Uganda Press Release: 

When TheCall was invited to come to Uganda our intent was to join with the leaders and the people of the great Ugandan Church in a gathering of fasting and prayer to confess our personal and national sins, to pray for God’s blessing on the nation, and for a great spiritual awakening among her youth. Personal and national repentance among Christians and prayer for spiritual awakening has been the core focus of TheCall since her inception. 

TheCall had no knowledge at the time, of the Uganda homosexual bill and the controversy surrounding it. TheCall was unaware that our genuine intent to encourage the Ugandan church in prayer would thrust us into an international controversy.

TheCall, in 2008, mobilized thousands to pray and fast in California that marriage would be upheld between a man and a woman, believing this to be God’s design for the good of society, family, and children. TheCall belief and intent has never been about promoting hatred toward the homosexual community as a whole or towards individuals who identify as LGBT. We have always sought to offer a message of love and redemption to those with same-sex attractions, though at times our communication could have been expressed more effectively and graciously. In this aspect, we humbly seek your forgiveness if we had not communicated God’s righteousness and mercy adequately.

Now recently, TheCall has been wrongfully marked and vilified as an organization promoting hatred and violence against homosexuals and as one that supports the Uganda bill as currently written. To the contrary, we have never made a private or a public statement of support for that bill. Though we honor the courage and stand with the stated purpose of the many Church leaders in Uganda who are seeking to protect the traditional and biblical family foundations of the nation, we have serious concerns with the bill as presently written, especially in terms of some of the harsh penalties for certain homosexual behaviors or offenses. Sadly, many around the world are identifying TheCall with these aspects of the bill. Our concern is not to avoid the controversy the bill is stirring up, but to give an accurate representation of biblical values and the heart of Christ for all humanity. Though TheCall is not afraid to take a clear stand on biblical truth on matters of sexuality, we are deeply concerned that TheCall ministry would not wrongfully reflect the character of Christ, and we do not see the character of Christ reflected in some key aspects of the language of the current bill. 

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.

In releasing this statement, we want to take this opportunity to reiterate our deep love for the homosexual community and, as followers of Jesus, our commitment to oppose all hatred and violence directed towards that community. 

For TheCall,

Lou Engle

///

I appreciate the ideals expressed here in broad conceptual terms. However, to me, it seems that the application of those ideals would lead to a rejection of criminalization altogether. I do hope that the opposition to hatred and violence expressed here will be made clear to rally-goers on Sunday.

Update: This statement has been added to The Call website…

The Call removes link to Uganda campaign from website; KC protest planned today?

According to The Call Uganda website, a meeting calling for national repentance is slated for May 2, 2010. However, Sunday night the reference to Uganda disappeared from The Call website (see Google cache for the previous reference). I do not know what the disappearance means. Previous references to plans for The Call Uganda were accidentally released based on incorrect information.

Late last week, a coalition of gay advocacy groups expressed hopes that The Call would not come to Uganda with the intention of stirring up more animosity toward gay people.

In another case of disappearing information, an press release regarding a Kansas City protest of The Call, planned for today, has gone missing from the Kansas City Star.

Here is what shows up on Google news:

KC Faith Leaders To Hold Tuesday Anti-Homophobia Vigil Kansas City Star – Gretchen Renfro – 15 hours ago…Now, anti-abortion extremist Lou Engle of TheCall Ministries, is slated to go to Uganda on May 2 for The Call Uganda, a mass evangelical stadium rally in

Prior posts on The Call:

Ugandan activist group denounces The Call Uganda

The Call Uganda: Can a nation be changed in a day?

The Call Uganda and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Note:

Ugandan activist group denounces The Call Uganda

Clearly, homosexual advocates in Uganda are nervous about the upcoming event planned by Lou Engle’s The Call Uganda. This statement was released yesterday by a coalition of groups in Uganda and calls for US opponents of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to speak out against The Call Uganda, planned for May 2 in Kampala. Here is their statement:

**THECALL MINISTRIES FROM USA INTENDS TO FUEL HOMOPHOBIA IN UGANDA**

URGENT CALL TO ACTION:

STOP THECALL MINISTRIES FROM FUELING HOMOPHOBIA IN UGANDA THROUGH THEIR MAY 2, 2010, CRUSADE 

 22.04.2010

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) condemns Lou Engle’s upcoming crusade scheduled for May 2, 2010.  The crusade could cause incalculable damage, as it is designed to label homosexuality as a “vice” in Uganda and to incite people to “fight” against this “vice” in society.  In the context of an already inflamed extremist religious movement against homosexuality in Uganda sparked off by American evangelicals, the inflammatory preaching of Lou Engle and his associates is likely to incite further violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda.

Sexual Minorities Uganda calls on all human rights defenders, organizations, religious communities and leaders, governments, and civil society, globally to take action to ensure that Lou Engle and his associates do not set foot in Uganda and that the Call Uganda does not proceed with this inflammatory and hate-inducing plan.  While Sexual Minorities Uganda supports freedom of worship, we recognize the need for restriction on any speech that incites hatred and violence against a minority group.  If a prayer event is to be held in Uganda, it should be done in a manner which encourages Christ-like love and acceptance and does not incite hatred and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.

Background

Lou Engle’s extremist and violence-laden preaching is often laced with references to gay people as being possessed by demons.  During a rally for Proposition 8 in California, he called for Christian martyrs.  His inflammatory speech and focus on martyrdom can easily incite people in Uganda to disregard people’s human rights and go to extreme measures to eliminate whatever they characterize as “evil” or a “vice”.  For example, Lou Engle preaches, “The most ‘dangerous terrorist’ is not Islam but God. One of God’s names is the avenger of blood. Have you worshiped that God yet?”

The crusade is organized by TheCall Uganda and ten Ugandan Pentecostal pastors. According to www.thecalluganda.com, the crusade is ‘intended to awaken and revive the young and the old, men and women, church and family, government and the public to fight vices eating away our society’. TheCall intends to address homosexuality in Uganda as a what they label a “vice”.  The crusade is preceded by a 21 day fast. 

Lou Engle is a core founder of TheCALL in the U.S. but has expanded chapters to different countries.  Last year, TheCALL sent an American Evangelical, JoAnna Watson of Touching Hearts International, to be based in Uganda full-time to orchestrate this crusade to fight vices like homosexuality.

This crusade could have the same kind of impact that the March 2009 anti-gay conference had in Uganda. Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer reinforced the desire of some religious leaders to persuade the government to create laws which would eliminate homosexuality from the nation. Eventually, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced in the Parliament of Uganda by MP’s David Bahati and Benson Obua.

Lou Engle’s crusade will be the second major American evangelist event with an anti-homosexuality agenda after the trio to set foot in Uganda and will definitely incite our people into more hatred of homosexuals that may lead to further violence. This is very evident with the nature of preaching that he does in the US. He claims that homosexuals have demons and has mobilized Americans on several occasions for anti –gay rallies. Since the Bill was tabled, the rate of violence and homophobia has increased drastically in Uganda. Lou Engle’s inflammatory preaching is likely to exacerbate an already worrying situation.

Actions:

  • Call and/or write Letters of Protest to TheCall Ministries and ask them stop exporting homophobia to Uganda. The event they are organizing is dangerous to LGBTI people in Uganda.
  • Contact:

JoAnna Watson, Coordinator of The Call Uganda

Email: Joannawatsonthint@yahoo.com

Phone: +256 779 864 985

Lou Engle

Email: response@thecall.com

Phone: +1 816 285 9351

  • Hold demonstrations and/or marches in Kansas City where Lou Engle’s church is located and protest against TheCALL Uganda

ASK LOU ENGLE AND THECALL MINISTRY TO:

  1. STOP THECALL UGANDA CRUSADE IN THE FORM THAT IT IS PLANNED
  2. PROMOTE RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS RATHER THAN INCITING VIOLENCE
  3. STOP EXPORTING HOMOPHOBIA TO AFRICA

For further information, contact;

Valentine Kalende Email: kalendenator@gmail.com Tel: +256752324249

Frank Mugisha Email:frankmugisha@gmail.com Tel:+256772616062

One does not need to agree with every aspect of this statement to understand the fear these folks experience. One does not need to affirm homosexual behavior to see the potential for renewed stigmatization of homosexuals in light of an event which places the blame for societal decline on them.

The Call Uganda: Can a nation be changed in a day?

In December, 2009 I did a series of posts on the relationship between supporters of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality bill and the teaching that Christians should control governments by reclaiming the “seven mountains of culture.” Examining the teachings of Extreme Prophetic (Caleb Brundidge), Uganda’s Julius Oyet, C. Peter Wagner and Johnny Enlow, I proposed that Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is consistent with the seven mountains teaching as one way to take back the culture for Christ.

The first thing one reads upon opening the website for The Call Uganda is the question, “Can a nation be changed in a day?” Although I have not found where Lou Engle uses the phrase “seven mountains of culture,” the objective of Christian nation-building seems to be high on his list of priorities. The “About Us” page promises, “prayer, fasting and repentence changes nations.” On the “Solemn Assembly” page, various Old Testament scriptures directed to Israel are offered as evidence that any nation can claim covenant with God and gain favor via national change.

There was always a promise of great blessing if the nation returned to the Lord with wholehearted devotion and the renewal of their covenant vows of love to the Lord. [Leviticus 23:36, Numbers 29:35, Deuteronomy 16:8, 2 Chronicles 7:9, 2 Chronicles 20:3-4, Joel 1:14, 2:15]

I personally believe this is a misguided teaching which seems to assume that covenants with God can be made by Christians in a nation declaring it so. As I understand it, the covenant God made with Israel was at His initiative and with His participation. My view is that God has not made such covenants with nations in the modern era and in fact seeks a relationship with individuals. Although I see nothing inherently wrong with people corporately asking for repentence in the Church, I do not see that the promises in Chronicles can be claimed in this manner.

Lou Engle has expressed that the rule and reign of Jesus is for the present day. This has given rise to the criticism that the The Call teaches a theology that seeks for Christians to rule in government via Christian principles. The criticism apparently led to a disclaimer on The Call’s website which reads:

Dominion Theology

WE AFFIRM that God’s purpose is for Jesus to come back to fully establish His kingdom rule over all the earth. After the second coming, the saints will rule the earth under the leadership of Jesus Christ when He sets up His government on earth in the millennial kingdom (1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 5:10; 20:3–6). We believe that believers in this age are called to serve Jesus in politics and to help establish righteousness and justice in legislation. We do not have the assurance that all laws and governments will be changed until after the second coming of Jesus to establish His millennial kingdom.

WE REFUTE that the Church will take over all the governments of the earth before the return of Christ.

Explanation: Some believe and teach that all governments on earth will be transformed by the Church before the second coming of Jesus.

All this statement says is that there is no assurance that “all governments on earth will be transformed by the Church before the second coming of Jesus” but does not rule out the possibility. The teaching is that all governments may not be transformed by the Church before the second coming of Christ, but the implication seems clear that some will be.

Is Uganda such a government?

As an evangelical, I am sympathetic to Engles’ calls for righteousness and the protection of unborn life.  And I do believe that laws should protect such life. My votes will go to people who pledge to protect life. And I think young people should care more about issues other than the material. For the Church, however, I believe my faith teaches a different role than direct efforts at statecraft. I believe the Church has a message of individual redemption that is life-giving. Sadly, in my view, the Church here is having a hard time getting that message out.

I feel sure we are not called to bring in Mosaic law as a way to prevent God’s judgment on a nation. The Call’s regular appeal to Old Testament references and promises to Israel raises real concerns about any government that takes those calls seriously. The results will surely be dramatic limitations of individual freedom, as fallible humans put their interpretations of righteousness in place. As the New Testament books of Colossians and Galatians, in particular, stress, the Mosaic law was a means to make us aware of our natures and need for redemption. As history teaches, implementing it by fiat in a culture is no guarantee of righteousness, and most likely a path to self-righteousness.

Iranian cleric: Promiscuous women cause quakes; Dutch Sheets has the answer

Well, everybody knows that. Read to the end for the rest of the endtimes news…

By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI (AP) – 1 hour ago

BEIRUT — A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear immodest clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes.

Iran is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, and the cleric’s unusual explanation for why the earth shakes follows a prediction by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that a quake is certain to hit Tehran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate.

“Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes,” Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media. Sedighi is Tehran’s acting Friday prayer leader.

Women in the Islamic Republic are required by law to cover from head to toe, but many, especially the young, ignore some of the more strict codes and wear tight coats and scarves pulled back that show much of the hair.

“What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble?” Sedighi asked during a prayer sermon Friday. “There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam’s moral codes.”

Seismologists have warned for at least two decades that it is likely the sprawling capital will be struck by a catastrophic quake in the near future.

Some experts have even suggested Iran should move its capital to a less seismically active location. Tehran straddles scores of fault lines, including one more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) long, though it has not suffered a major quake since 1830.

In 2003, a powerful earthquake hit the southern city of Bam, killing 31,000 people — about a quarter of that city’s population — and destroying its ancient mud-built citadel.

“A divine authority told me to tell the people to make a general repentance. Why? Because calamities threaten us,” Sedighi said.

Referring to the violence that followed last June’s disputed presidential election, he said, “The political earthquake that occurred was a reaction to some of the actions (that took place). And now, if a natural earthquake hits Tehran, no one will be able to confront such a calamity but God’s power, only God’s power. … So let’s not disappoint God.”

The Iranian government and its security forces have been locked in a bloody battle with a large opposition movement that accuses Ahmadinejad of winning last year’s vote by fraud.

Ahmadinejad made his quake prediction two weeks ago but said he could not give an exact date. He acknowledged that he could not order all of Tehran’s 12 million people to evacuate. “But provisions have to be made. … At least 5 million should leave Tehran so it is less crowded,” the president said.

Minister of Welfare and Social Security Sadeq Mahsooli said prayers and pleas for forgiveness were the best “formulas to repel earthquakes.”

“We cannot invent a system that prevents earthquakes, but God has created this system and that is to avoid sins, to pray, to seek forgiveness, pay alms and self-sacrifice,” Mahsooli said.

In other news presaging the apocalypse, Dutch Sheets is calling for a big Joel’s army gathering (Joel 2 Gathering) in Poplar Bluffs, MO for June 14-18, 2010. Called the Wilderness Outcry, the  event is necessary to prevent coming hard times. Sheets says unless we act,

The stock market will go well below where it went a few months back—a crash is coming, and soon. More terrorism and violence will occur in our land, perhaps even war. In my spirit I’ve seen buildings crumbling and cities burning. Devastating natural disasters will take place. In general, hard times will be prevalent. Why is this so? Because we have turned from God and His ways. Consider the true condition of America. This assessment is bleak but accurate.

Now he tells us.

Want to cover your bases? Pack up your promiscuous women and head to Poplar Bluffs.

The Call Uganda – May 1, 2010

Bruce Wilson noted back in December that Lou Engle’s The Call might be in Uganda sometime in May of 2010. According to The Call Uganda’s website, the event will be held in Kampala on May 1.

The purposes of the organizers are spelled out on the site:

It is intended to awaken and revive the young and the old, men and women, church and family, government and the public and to fight vices eating away at our society.  We shall all join our hearts across tribal, political, denominational, and generational boundaries, to cry to God to help us with the challenges in our country such as:

* The heightened political tensions and wrangles in the country, especially as we go towards the 2011 general elections

* The increasing level of social evils in our society, some which are threatening our values and lifestyles e.g.

o Witchcraft and human sacrifice

o Homosexuality and increased immorality

o Disasters and the resultant suffering of the people

o The decay of morals and infrastructure of our city Kampala

* The sins and shortcomings that have been happening in the body of Christ, shaming the name of the Lord and discouraging God’s people (REV. 3: 1 – 3)

* The evil practices being committed with impunity by those in public offices especially the widespread corruption and misappropriation of funds

* The destiny of our youth and children who are confused by our deteriorating value system

This post is informational at this point. I hope to add additional commentary either here or in another post.