Brainwashing the People of Uganda, One Prayer at a Time

Alex LaFosta


In the documentary God Loves Uganda, director Roger Ross Williams and crew peer into the evangelical crusade to infuse African culture with values of the Christian Right. The film focuses on the works of the International House of Prayer – an evangelical, Christian mission organization based in Kansas City. The International House of Prayer, or (oddly enough, IHOP), is one of the many conservative, American missions organizations working in the African continent. The organization has thousands of churches across the world, and though they send missionary groups around the globe, IHOP believes that Uganda is special.


“One of my greatest hopes [in Uganda] is to deposit what I have learned at IHOP. That DNA of prayer and worship,” one IHOP volunteer says while describing her missionary work in Uganda. “I think everyone wants to replicate their values and the core parts of who they are.” Some of the volunteers seem to have their heart in the right place, but it is unclear whether they realize that the drastic consequences of their missionary efforts have been anything but positive to the Ugandan community.


Representative Mike Pence is quoted in the film as saying, “It’s not enough that we send them money, but we must send them values.” Everyone has the right to their own religion, but there is a difference between sharing the values of one’s faith with others, and telling blatant lies in order to fight values that some consider to immoral.”


In the documentary, evangelicals like Pastor Scott Lively and Pastor Martin Ssempa also tell large groups of Ugandans fictitious statements about homosexuality. In a seminar at a hotel in Kampala, Pastor Lively – President of Abiding Truth Ministries— tells a group of people that homosexuals had taken over America and the United Nations, and now they are coming to take over Uganda by brainwashing their children.


What is more alarming is the response from Ugandans. Whether it comes from a place of deifying American Christians for saving the region from financial ruin or simple naivety, the people of Uganda take this message to heart. This sentiment has led to extreme discrimination and governmental retaliation against homosexuals. Uganda, essentially, became the testing place to preach the ideologies that extreme American conservatives may not be able to fully preach at home.


God Loves Uganda is a stunning divulgence of the missionary work in Africa. Despite what their intentions may be, IHOP and other evangelical missionary organizations have helped only in bringing hatred and prejudice to an already suffering nation.


Author Bio:

Alex LaFosta is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.

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