by Clancy McCarty
Roger Ross Williams‘ documentary feature “God Loves Uganda” discusses the nature of foreign missionary aid in the growing nation of Uganda. Williams studies the pros and cons of the American Christian Right’s religious and political influx, balancing a sharp eye on the wealth made by the groups and the harsh beliefs that undoubtedly follow. The influence is so heavy that human rights issues like homosexuality have found their way into parliament, proposed to be banned and made punishable by death. Williams presents Uganda’s own identity struggle against the puppeteering of western religious institutions, specifically IHOP, the Evangelical International House of Prayer based in Kansas City, MO, which encourages its missionaries to travel to the “Pearl of Africa” to preach their faith.
Accompanying Williams at the recent Sundance Film Festival screening were two of Uganda’s hopefuls and critics, Reverend Kapya Kaoma and Bishop Christopher Senyonjo. Both thinkers have gone under intense—and in some cases life-threatening—scrutiny. Together the panel addressed the issues that lay ahead in Uganda’s future and current situation, while also maintaining their religious beliefs. The film shows that the remnants of a modern crusade are all too evident in this seemingly progressive African country. The tragedy and shock, as expressed by Kaoma and Senyonjo, lies in how ridiculous and easy it is to corrupt an entire nation. The film’s message and theirs centers around the way in which our own cultural wars in the US are projected upon other, more malleable nations.