Museveni Prays About “The Sins of Uganda”, Wins Praise from US Christian Right

From the Kampala New Vision:

At the National Jubilee Prayers in Namboole, President Yoweri Museveni made history when he openly repented his sins and the sins of Uganda…

Highlights:

We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal.

Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict.

…I renounce all the evil foundations and covenants that were laid in idolatry and witchcraft. I renounce all the satanic influence on this nation. And I hereby covenant Uganda to you, to walk in your ways and experience all your blessings forever.

The “National Jubilee Prayers” commemorated 50 years since Uganda became independent from Britain; Museveni has been president for slightly more than half that period of time, since early 1986. Signs of advancing “big man” syndrome have been increasingly evident in recent years (e.g. see here).

This is not the first time that Uganda has been thus “covenanted”; Museveni’s wife Janet dedicated Uganda to Jesus at an event back in 2000. Museveni’s warning that “witchcraft” is “rampant in our land” is troubling, given the fatal consequences of witchcraft accusations against women in Uganda, but Museveni’s prayer has primarily come to wider notice due to the context of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

At WorldNetDaily, Michael Carl saw the New Vision report as an opportunity to discuss Uganda with Scott Lively:

Massachusetts pastor and activist Rev. Scott Lively believes Museveni is a model for other national leaders.

“The Museveni prayer is a model for all Christian leaders in the world. The leaders of the West have declined in proportion to their degree of rejection of God,” Lively said.

“This incident is also important as a contrast to the picture being painted of Uganda by the godless left of a backwards, violent and savage culture intent on murdering homosexuals,” Lively said.

“On the contrary, Museveni is calmly and confidently setting the course of his nation by the guidance of the Bible, in a way that also shows great courage and resolve,” Lively said.

Lively is known exclusively for his anti-gay obsessions, and he visited Uganda in 2009 to whip up hysteria on the subject. WND adds:

The bill had included the death penalty for those who commit multiple acts of homosexual behavior, but the provision has been removed, BBC News reports.

Lively said he didn’t agree with the death penalty provision but supports the nation’s strong stance against homosexual behavior.

As I’ve written previously (and has been widely noted elsewhere), the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as published includes capital punishment for “Aggravated Homosexuality”. This was spun by supporters as referring to homosexual rape and the deliberate/reckless spreading of HIV,  but a close reading shows that it also covers anyone convicted twice of anything deemed a crime under the new law. This means activity between consenting adults, as well “facilitating” such activity. Anyone “in authority” (vaguely defined) also has a legal obligation to report suspects to the police.

Apparently, such “serial offenders” will now be locked up for life rather than executed, but even that’s not completely confirmed; the BBC report is based on a statement from an MP who said he “was not allowed” to go into detail, and Box Turtle Bulletin notes:

I can’t tell you how many times there have been pronouncements that the death penalty was dropped only to find out that it was still in the bill. But I’ll try.

Thirteen examples follow, and the author, Jim Burroway, writes that this is “just what I was able to find quickly this morning”.

The role of the US Christian Right in Uganda has been controversial for some time; while Lively remains a Museveni enthusiast, Rick Warren has played down his past associations with the regime.

In the UK, Scott Lively is supported by the lobby group Christian Concern, run by Andrea Minichiello Williams; a year ago the group described him as “helping people live by Christian principles”, and the group’s legal advisor, Paul Diamond, spoke alongside Lively at a “banquet” event in September 2011.

Footnote: for some unexplained reason, the WND article comes with an old library photo of Museveni standing alongside Walter Kansteiner, who was United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2001 to 2003. The photo dates from March 2003.