US Evangelist Leads “Prosperity for All” Crusade in Uganda

Back to Uganda, and more on the visit by US prosperity preacher Creflo Dollar, via the New Vision:

Hundreds of Christians, some from as far as Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Sudan, thronged the Namboole Stadium last evening for a crusade against poverty by American evangelist Dr. Creflo Dollar.

The Prosperity For All (Bonna Bagaggawale) crusade also attracted delegations from Kenya, Rwanda and the DR Congo.

Dr. Dollar and his wife Taffi arrived on Tuesday at the invitation of Pastor Robert Kayanja of Miracle Centre Cathedral. Dollar is expected to meet pastors and government leaders.

…Choirs and gospel musicians from South Africa performed at the crusade. They were joined by God’s Fire Band, which is made up of born-again UPDF soldiers.

A second piece in the same paper adds that:

A number who brandished crutches said they had received healing as Dollar and Pastor Robert Kayanja preached.

(I blogged on Kayanja here, and on his religious experience during the recent Benny Hinn visit here.) The Daily Monitor, meanwhile, gives us some quotes:

“We have been made to believe that prosperity is bad, evil; and un-Godly,” Pastor Dollar said. Quoting the book of 3John chapter 2, he said prosperity is a package which includes money, health, good relationships, peace and so much more.

…”Prosperity isn’t only about having a huge chunk of money on your bank account. You can have that money and yet be sick in the body so you would be a poor man because you lack a healthy body. Money is never a problem but the problem is who possesses it.”

Pastor Dollar revealed a different process of becoming prosperous God’s way. “You first have to be born again; the love of God in this nation is the key to prosperity,” he said, adding that one needs to renew their mind with the word of God because it is God’s gateway to an abundant life.

With reference to various scriptures in the Bible, Pastor Dollar said Jesus preached the gospel to the poor and never gave them money.

Although often characterised as simply a magical way of making money through giving “tithes” to the pastor, prosperity evangelists like Dollar do also offer their audiences some practical Micawberian financial advice:

Dollar also advised the congregation on observing intelligent debt management and said it takes time and commitment to accumulate wealth.

The Monitor also notes some of those in attendance:

The crowd consisted of people from all walks of life including…First daughter Patience Rwabogo [and] Gen. Elly Tumwine and various pastors.

Gen Tumwine is a close Museveni ally: before the last election, when opposition leader Kizza Besigye faced a conveniently-timed rape charge, Tumwine sought to have Besigye brought before a military court on terrorism charges, and he had Besigye’s defence lawyers charged with contempt of court. Tumwine and Museveni have also been accused of illegally acquiring land near oil wells.

As well as the main crusade, Dollar held some more exclusive meetings, as noted by the Monitor’s “24-seven” gossip column:

24-Seven bumped into Simba Telecom and Dembe FM proprietor, Patrick Bitature…dishing out world-renowned evangelist Creflo Dollar…invites last Sunday at Rubaga Miracle Centre Cathedral. We wondered if this businessman was at last letting his godly and humbled side to the surface and has now become a church volunteer.

24-seven has since learnt that Bitature is the man (and the money) behind the first Creflo Dollar dinner that was held last night at Serena hotel. Reliable sources reveal that as of last Sunday, 560 of the 1,185 seats had been booked at “a little fee” of $100 each seat.

The Second Creflo Dollar dinner will be at held Speke Resort Munyonyo and has been organised by the Honourable minister of Ethics and Integrity Nsaba Butoro for ministers and MPs. “For God and My Country” indeed!

For some, Bitature is a “renowned businessman” who has had a significant impact on the improvement of information and communication technology in Uganda. Others (in particular, the muckraking Radio Katwe) have called him “Museveni’s front man in the theft of Uganda”.

Nsaba Butoro (var. “Nsaba Buturo”), meanwhile, has been a strong supporter of the persecution of homosexuals. In 2004, when a radio station was fined for allowing homosexuals to take part in a talk show, he defended this as upholding “God’s moral values”, and last year, when it was announced that gay Christians were planning to open a church, he warned that “the police will be taking action”. In 2005 he predictably approved the banning of The Vagina Monologues:

[He] claimed the play’s title was part of a larger international conspiracy to corrupt the moral fabric of Uganda and other countries. He dismissed the play as indecent and tasteless and argued that the idea was to promote lesbianism and glorify the vagina – even elevating it to god-like status.

When Dollar’s crusade was announced, one sceptical African commentator suggested that

God is bringing these men to Africa to shame them because their prosperity gospel does not work there.

However, Dollar’s host, Robert Kayanja, has a get-out clause for those whose material position does not improve:

Yes, you are guaranteed prosperity at the Creflo Dollar crusade. Why? Everybody who gives his life to Jesus automatically becomes the child of God. There is no greater prosperity than that. That is prosperous in itself.