Gay City News recently reported:
High Rise, the Every Nation, which characterizes itself as a student religious group at North Carolina State University, has invited the Reverend Martin Ssempa, a champion of proposed draconian anti-gay legislation before the Uganda Parliament, to its weekly meeting on April 2.
On a Facebook page advertising the meeting, the group referred to Ssempa as a “Passionate Voice in the Global Fight against HIV/AIDS,” citing statistics that “the HIV/AIDS rate has dropped from 22 percent to a staggering 8 percent” in the East African nation.
The article is not quite accurate: the Facebook page where the event is advertised shows that it took place on 2 April 2009, rather than yesterday. At that time, Ssempa was not yet quite so notorious for his anti-gay activism, and he enjoyed links to pastors such as Rick Warren – although his views were on record, as I first blogged in 2007.
However, the report does draw attention to Every Nation, a controversial neo-Pentecostal grouping – “High Rise” is a student outreach of a particular Every Nation Church called King’s Park International Church; I blogged on this particular church in 2005. Ssempa was also a prominent speaker at the Every Nation World Conference in Manila in 2007, and in the same year King’s Park pastor Ron Lewis commended him as
a vigilant worker in combating the plague of HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Pastor Martin has been working closely with Her Highness Janet Museveni, the First Lady of the Republic of Uganda in educating Ugandans on the truth about HIV/AIDS. Their efforts have contributed to a huge drop in the disease rate, which in recent years has fallen from 30% to 6.5% in Uganda.
(HIV/AIDS in Uganda is a subject I blogged on here)
Every Nation (formerly Morningstar International) emerged from the wreckage of the 1980s student movement “Maranatha”, which collapsed amid claims of authoritarian behaviour. I blogged on the controversy around the grouping in 2005.
Incidentally, Lewis’ predecessor as King’s Park pastor was a certain Wayne Mitchell, whose son Jason “Molotov” Mitchell - whom I previously blogged here – is one of Ssempa’s most vocal supporter in the USA, using videos at WorldNetDaily to praise Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill: if gay Ugandans don’t like the bill, they are welcome to leave the country; Western liberals should not criticise the culture of a foreign country. Molotov has also left a message of support on Ssempa’s Facebook page, and in one video he tells us that he has spoken with Ssempa by telephone. Molotov has been actively involved with Lewis’s Campus Harvest organisation, as can be seen here.
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