Despite a recent press release obviously designed to cast his ministry in a better light, Lou Engle, leader of a bizarre religious sect in the United States, has opened his latest conference in Uganda with strong support for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009. The following is from the New York Times:
Before arriving here last week, Mr. Engle came out with a statement condemning the harsh penalties proposed in the bill, and said that his ministry could not support it. But when he took the stage late on Sunday afternoon, with Ugandan politicians and pastors looking on, he praised the country’s “courage” and “righteousness” in promoting the bill.
“NGOs, the U.N., Unicef, they are all coming in here and promoting an agenda,” Mr. Engle said, referring to nongovernmental organizations. “Today, America is losing its religious freedom. We are trying to restrain an agenda that is sweeping through the education system. Uganda has become ground zero.”
According to Warren Throckmorton, video of this is forthcoming and we will provide it when we get it. Until then, we can only express our sadness and disgust over Engle’s reportedly reckless actions, and what appears to be the clear deception of his press release. We also find it hard to believe the claim that he did not know of the heated controversy when invited. Reports indicate that this trip was in the works at least by last December. The issue was hot months in either direction of that date.
We also fear that Engle’s mystical theology, heavy talk of spirits, demons, and prophets, along with his theatrical externals will provide the charismatic Ugandans in attendance with a kind of bona fides that can’t easily be dissuaded by cold, hard facts. It is not hubris to say that the US probably has a more sophisticated population in such matters, and yet even here Engle manages to fill stadiums with followers easily manipulated by the blowing of a shofar, or the rhythmic swaying of his body.
The carnival is in town, but the people of Uganda stand to lose a lot more than a few bucks.
Hat Tip: Warren Throckmorton