US Christian Reconstructionist In Ugandan Jail Over Illegal Guns
Richard Bartholomew printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 11:17:36 PM EST
Strange news from Uganda. Peter E Waldron, a long-time Christian Reconstructionist activist and businessman, is currently in jail facing possible terror charges after police allegedly found illegal guns and ammunition in his house. Police think he may be planning to form a new Christian political party in Uganda, and that he may have links to an as-yet unknown group in DR Congo.
The Kampala Monitor reported two days ago that
police in Kampala are holding an American national who was allegedly found with four illegal guns and 184 rounds of live ammunition. Police Spokesman Assuman Mugenyi told journalists at a press conference at Kibuli Police headquarters yesterday that Dr Peter E Waldron was arrested at about 8pm on Monday.a

Waldron, 59, works as an Information Technology consultant for the Ministry of Health and has been living in Uganda since 2002. He was arrested at his home in Kisugu near International Hospital after a tip off.

Documents found on him indicate that Waldron is also an advisor to the President of Rocky Mountain Technology Group, Contact America Group Inc and Founder of City of Faith Ministries in Kampala.

(Actually, according Waldron's website that should be "Cities of Faith Ministries")

Apparently three men were seen near Waldron's home dropping a bag; when a passer-by asked them what they were up to, he had a gun waved at him for his trouble. This rather unfortunate move led to an alarm being raised, and a hostile crowd forming:

They pleaded with the mob not to lynch them saying they would show them where more guns were hidden. "The suspects led the police to Waldron's house in Kisugu and on conducting a search, two more SMG rifles were recovered with 94 rounds of ammunition in a wardrobe in his bedroom and copies of The Africa Dispatch newsletter," he said. One of the men who were arrested was a Congolese national.

The Monitor also reports that

...Some of the pictures in the magazine show Waldron with diplomats in the High Court during the trial of [Dr Kizza] Besigye.

This raised the spectre of terrorism at the high court; however, a Reuters report says that this was incorrect:

Police mistakenly identified Waldron on Tuesday as being in a picture taken at the trial of opposition candidate Kizza Besigye and this, they said, was proof of a terrorist threat.

But on Wednesday they said they had been mistaken and the man in the picture was a senior diplomat, not the suspect.

This is a bit curious, given that Waldron's appearance is somewhat distinctive (he has a large moustache). Reuters also provides some extra information:

An American evangelical and IT consultant, arrested in Uganda with assault rifles this week, planned to set up a political party, police said on Wednesday.

... Major-General Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Police, told a news conference Waldron was suspected of links to a group in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and "planned to set up a political party here based on Christian principles."...

The Monitor also refers to an article from the New Republic in 2004 entitled "Evangelicals v. Muslims in Africa: Enemy's Enemy". Here's the relevant section of that piece, by Andrew Rice:

The Sunday I attended [Pastor Martin] Ssempa's church, after he finished his sermon, the pastor told his audience that he had a special guest to introduce, a visitor from the United States. All eyes fixed on a stocky white man with a thick moustache who wore a gray safari suit. He introduced himself as Dr. Peter Waldron of Wyoming. Waldron told the congregation that he had once been a military man and that he used to travel around Africa a lot in the 1960s. He was vague about the nature of his work. ("I'm not at liberty to say," he later told me.) But he claimed that, on one occasion, it resulted in some good people getting executed by a firing squad. After that, he contemplated suicide, he told the audience. Then he found Jesus... When Waldron launched into a story about how he'd recently been invited to the real White House in the company of religious rapper MC Hammer, the audience was wowed.

Several days later, I met Waldron at a Kampala hotel. He told me more of his story. At different times in his career, he said, he'd been a syndicated talk-radio host, a lobbyist, and a Republican political consultant. More recently, he had run sports programs for underprivileged youths in Tampa, Florida. Now, he was in Uganda, trying to sell computer software to government ministries while preaching on the weekends. "They embrace Americans here," he said enthusiastically. Indeed, as we sat together, a steady stream of young admirers who had seen Waldron in church came up to greet him. They made complicated handshakes, the way Ugandans do, and Waldron boasted to me that he had met privately with President Museveni and his born-again wife.

A short bio of Waldron on Contact America (currently down - Google cache only) fills in a bit more detail (link added):

Dr. Waldron has worked on several campaigns for candidates seeking to be the President of the United States as well as a great number of U.S. Senate and House races since his first Reagan/Bush campaign of 1979/80. His organization of the faith-based community was, at the time, the beginning of a trend to involve thinking people of faith in the political process.

Dr. Waldron has traveled around the world several times on assignment for clients desiring to either pioneer work or maintain relationships with foreign countries. Dr. Waldron worked throughout the African continent and the Middle East during the period when African colonies were transitioning into independent, sovereign nations. One nation with whom Dr. Waldron has had a relationship dating back to the 70's is Uganda.

Dr. Waldron accompanied a Member of Congress, Rep. William Dannemeyer to Pakistan on a fact-finding trip. During that visit Dr. Waldron met with the leadership of the Afghani Mujahadeen who, at the time, were engaged in a war with the Soviet Union. Throughout the 80's Dr. Waldron was involved in the public policy debate to dismantle the Soviet Empire.

On Capitol Hill
Dr. Waldron makes frequent visits to Capitol Hill on behalf of advocacy groups, private sector businesses and non-profit groups on a myriad of issues.

A long list of distinguished clients follows.

Waldron's website lays out his theology, which draws explicitly on Rousas Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism. Hence libertarian rhetoric is put at the service of a theocratic agenda:

Families reigned supreme on earth from Adam until Nimrod (Genesis 10:9) and the gathering of families at Babel (Genesis 11).  Until that time, families gave birth to clans and nations but there was no central government.  All the people and their families spoke the same language, (Genesis 11:6), and dwelt in their own lands (Genesis 10: 31).  God, the Creator, was recognized as the Supreme Ruler and Sovereign Lord over the earth.

This changed, however, when it was determined by those families and nations on earth to unite in an overt effort to rebel against the Lord's prophetic command given to their forefathers, Adam (Genesis 1:28) and Noah (Genesis 9:1-17).  

... A totalitarian form of governance arises when the Word of God is compromised, ignored or denied.  A person will self-destruct from abuse of spirit, soul and body.  A nation will collapse under a "hard" or "soft" form of dictatorship, abuse of public or elected office, and a general denial of human freedom - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - arises.  The source of one's belief system dictates the conduct whether it be personal or national.   The same goes for the end result.

The Bible represents the absolute source for the guiding principles and precepts for all governments in man (self-government), of families (family government), churches (church government), and for nations (civil government).

... Laws and statues are added by local, state, and federal state governments to control human behavior that is contrary to the Word of God.  One wishes that it were not so but man rebels against God's authority hence civil governments must construct laws to protect the civil society as a whole.

"Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil.  Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.  He is God's minister to you for good.  But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil." (Romans 13:3, 4)

Waldron is also the author of several Christian books; one of these, Rebuilding the Walls: A Biblical Strategy for Restoring America's Greatness, is available to read. This book, written in 1987, makes the case that "traditional conservatism has led evangelicals astray", and bemoans that

...It was during the conservative administration of Ronald Reagan that trade was normalized with the Soviet dictatorship, that sanctions were imposed on South Africa.

Rebuilding the Walls was co-written with George Grant, a high-profile Reconstructionist. Waldron also publishes a newsletter, African Dispatch:

The Africa Dispatch is a newsletter that will alert Congress, U.S. and foreign funding agencies , governmental and non-governmental decision-makers, investors, journalists and opinion leaders in the United States and abroad  about news concerning hopeful developments in Africa.

...Waldron said the publication, edited and produced in Washington by veteran newspaper and magazine journalist Bob Selle, intends to fill a perceived gap in information available on the positive aspects of a continent that, though still struggling, is in many way making extraordinary progress.

Oddly, however, the only "Bob Selle" (or "Robert Selle") I could find who is associated with journalism is the editor of World and I, a Unification Church publication (the same Selle also works for Moon's "Family Federation for World Peace and Unification"). Judging from the pdf issue of Africa Dispatch available on-line, the newsletter really exists mainly to puff the Rocky Mountain Technology Group.

Waldron is also reportedly a sometime member of the Council for National Policy, although his name does not appear on all lists. He has also been associated with Dennis Peacocke's Anatole Fellowship, a one-time Christian Right lobby-group within the Republican Party.

So, just why were all those guns found in Waldron's house? What are his plans for Ugandan politics? How does this fit in with popular Christian support for the increasingly autocratic President Museveni? And just who is Waldron associated with in Congo?

(Hat tip: Christianity Today Weblog)

(Cross-posted from my blog)

This guy reminds me of Peter Hammond at Front Line Fellowship. Another Reconstructionist/colonialist type. In an interview shortly before his death, Rushdoony said, "We have today a country in Africa that is Christian Reconstructionist. Now here are blacks running a country trying to reorder everything according to the Word of God." I wonder what country he was talking about.

by Max Blumenthal on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 01:21:10 AM EST
Hammond in the 90s made annual speaking and fundraising tours in the U.S., making stops at key reconstructionist institutions.  

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:10:54 AM EST

...but unfortunately, it's not just in the US that dominionists interfere with politics like this.

Probably the most infamous example I know of in regards to deliberate support of dominionist movements (as in the kind with guns) is the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International; the FGBMFI in particular has a long history of deliberate interference with international politics, up to and including blatant funding and support of the Contras in Nicaragua.  I've documented this in part in a history of dominion theology in the pentecostal movement and the Peace Corps in particular wonderful job of documenting this misbehaviour.

Other examples I am aware of:

The AoG church I walked away from actually actively supported the Contras in Nicaragua (yes, as in the Irangate Contras), funneling aid to them under the guise of "care packages" to an indigenous group that was actually at the core of the Contra movement (see this link for info on the Miskitu and their role in the Contras).  This even literally extended to Oliver North going to the church and claiming Irangate was in fact biblically mandated.  (This actually led to the Miskitu people being targeted by the Sandanistas; the Miskitu largely wished both the AoG-associated "missionaries" AND the government would just leave them in peace.)

The same group (now using the name WORD Broadcasting and High Adventure Ministries) later went to Liberia during its civil war (when the country nearly fell to chaos), funding dominionist-friendly groups and even going to the point of setting up "clandestine" radio and television stations (operating under the name "Voice of Liberty") for one of the warlords in the area:
Shortwave listeners log detailing clandestine stations
Another listen'er's log (notes probable association with High Adventure Ministries, which has operated pro-dominionist stations targeted towards Lebanon and is one of the groups that Israel has specifically noted as having targeted Jews for conversion; see here for High Adventure Ministries' links with other dominionist groups; High Adventure Ministries is now based from the very AoG church I am a walkaway from)
Third shortwave listener's log
Fourth shortwave listener's log (all include news releases from the dominionist church I am a walkaway from)
Fifth shortwave listener's log including news release (also notes that they are working with other dominionist stations to set up "godcasting" networks on shortwave--no matter that ALL broadcasters on shortwave in the US besides the US government are dominionist groups at best and some are flat out Christian Identity/"Christian Militia")

(Apparently according to latest info the stations may be off air; Liberia has recently re-established government to the point they can hold elections again.)

Incidentially, yes, dominionist groups as well as even nastier groups like Christian Identity orgs often take names resembling the US government's shortwave broadcasters:
this report from the SPLC
details examples.

In a Dark Christianity post detailing how dominionist groups often come into countries as illegal aliens (in that they come in under tourist visas--including to democratic countries such as Belgium--and use this to prosyletise instead of obtaining a missionary visa) there is discussion on how even countries such as Israel are restricting missionary activity because of the bad behaviour of dominionist groups.  (Israel has had to deport at least one dominionist group because the group plotted to blow up the Dome of the Rock--one of the holiest sites in Islam, and also the reputed site of the High Temple in Jerusalem--and the Knesset has proposed severe restrictions on missionary activity due to "Messianic Jew" groups like High Adventure Ministries and International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem targeting Jewish people for conversion, often harassing them.)

Another group--New Tribes Mission--which is also dominionist (and specialises in conversion of indigenous people, including uncontacted indigenous nations) has literally been the cause of "Indian Wars" in South America due to its extremely coercive methods of conversion (including literally rounding up indigenous people at gunpoint and corraling them in missions, and literal conversions at gunpoint; some countries, such as Venezuela, have expelled them in past (even pre-Chavez dating as far back as the 1950's; in 1978, several members of New Tribes Missions were actually arrested for espionage).  It's also fairly well documented that New Tribes Missions actively assisted an extremely repressive government in Paraguay and in particular the government's campaign against indigenous peoples.  

This link details more:

These elements make for a militant fundamentalist missionary campaign. One that we would expect to cause harm to the natives. And we would be right. Below are some examples of the evil committed in the name of Christian evangelism.

The contact work, done in conjunction with the "manhunt" are sometimes done by Christianized natives who are trained by the missionaries to carry guns. The "newly contacted" natives are then rounded off to the mission camp. One American organization, Cultural Survival, reported in 1986 that natives in the NTM camp in Paraguay were held there against will. In short, they had been kidnapped.

In another such "manhunt" in 1979, also in Paraguay, one of the frightened natives fell down from a tree and broke her leg. (Her right breast had already been shot off by a previous encounter with the missionaries.) She was compelled, with her broken leg, to walk back to the mission camp. She subsequently died. [32]

If the process of rounding up the natives to be converted were bad, their lives within the mission camp were even worse. Some examples.

Once in the mission camp, many of the natives either die from starvation or from diseases transmitted by the missionaries with which the former had no immunity against. In one such mission camp in Paraguay, the German anthropologist, Dr. Mark Munzel, reported that food and medicine were deliberately withheld by the missionaries. From a total of 277 natives in April 1972 only 202 survivors were left three months later. A US congressional report confirmed that 49% of the camp population had vanished! [33]

Surely the (uninformed) believer may assert: these natives would be allowed to leave if they do not accept the preachings of the missionaries. Surely that would be the Christian thing to do. But that is not the case. Take the following eyewitness account by Norman Lewis in a missionary camp in Paraguay:

I followed him [Donald McCullin-the photographer from The Sunday Times] into the hut and saw two old ladies lying on some rags on the ground in the last stages of emaciation and clearly on the verge of death. One was unconscious; the second in what was evidently a state of catalepsy...In the second hut lay another woman, also in a desperate condition and with untreated wounds on her legs. A small, naked, tearful boy, sat at her side...The three women and the boy had been taken in a recent forest roundup, the third woman having being shot in the side while attempting to escape[34]

Of course Paraguay is not the only place where the defenseless natives were subjected to Christian genocide. In Bolivia, William Pencille, of the South American Missionary Society, was called in to help when white ranchers moving into the tribal areas came upon the Ayoreos. Pencille persuaded these natives to stop resisting the encroachment of the cattlemen and to settle on a patch of barren land beside a railroad tract. The natives, having no resistance to common diseases of the "modern" man, began to die. Throughout all this Pencille had the means to save the lives of these people. He had access to many modes of transport, including an airplane, and to funds which could easily have been used to buy medicines for them. Yet this is what he said: "It's better they should die. Then I baptize them (on the point of death) and they go straight to heaven." [Extract from a conversation between William Pencille and Father Elmar Klinger, OFM , quoted by Luis A. Pereira in The Bolivian Instance] A total of three hundred natives died in his "care" within a matter of weeks.[35]

  1. Norman Lewis, The Missionaries: God against the Indians (1988), p117-118
  2. ibid: p126
  3. ibid: p159
  4. ibid: p114)

In several cases, this lead to the complete genocide of entire tribes including nations with several thousand members.

New Tribes Missions' activities in the Phillipines have been so controversial that the group is at real risk of being thrown out of that country as well, and the group has asked its members to basically practice "stealth evangelism" as a result.

This link also details how much of the "missionary" activity in Africa is being led by dominionist groups.

by dogemperor on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 10:10:06 AM EST

For the record, yes, this is occuring not only in "third world" countries but in democratic governments, including in Europe.  The State Department's report on Belgium details how the Assemblies of God has tried to sneak in people to teach in religious schools without going through the proper channels:
In February 2002, police detained five American volunteer workers at an Assemblies of God school and media center for working without employment permits; four were deported shortly thereafter. Assemblies of God teachers for years had obtained missionary visas, which do not require work permits. The Government now says that the teachers do not qualify for that status and must have work permits but have not identified a permit for which volunteer workers could apply. The Assemblies of God leaders closed the school in the wake of the deportations. At the end of the period covered by this report, the school remained closed, and Assemblies of God officials had still not been able to find an acceptable way for foreign volunteers to teach at the school.

(One expects they tried to go through the backdoor way because much of the Assemblies' curriculum in these schools--usually relying heavily on the A Beka curruculum, a hard-dominionist teaching program better described as an indoctrination manual--is considered below minimum educational standards by some American state university programs, much less by European standards (which in general are more rigorous than in the US); Europe in general also has stricter requirements for teacher education.  Some Assemblies schools allow people who have merely gotten a degree from a Bible college to teach.)

One factor in the Belgian case as well is that Belgium--like many other European countries--has a specific government panel on coercive religious groups.  

The fact they bothered to get missionary visas is unusual (possibly because in Belgium it is easier to get a missionary visa than a working visa as a teacher); generally the abuse goes the other way round.

Most countries--including, notably, countries like the United Kingdom, Japan, and even the US require missionary visas for people coming in to prosyletise.  In fact, the US's missionary visa program is detailed here: (notes a special exemption program for nuns and assistant groups, but also notes that for missionary activity a missionary visa IS required to enter the US) (testimony from Catholic leader re the "nonminister" missionary visas) (info from BICE itself on the B-1 visa, which is the visa that missionaries must apply for--work visas are H-1 series).

Yes, even if you're coming in as a non-minister you have to get a B-1 visa to prosyletise here.  If you come in on a tourist visa and begin stumping, they can technically throw you out for being an illegal alien.

It does not help that dominionist groups actively encourage their members to enter countries under non-missionary visas: (this one is especially interesting as it flat out admits part of its reason is to convert countries to theocracies--rare that dominionist groups are that frank about it)

That first link, for those curious, is from none other than the International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  (Yes, the same one that got hijacked by dominionists.)  They actively encourage their members to enter foreign countries as essentially illegal aliens:

Another related development that significantly has modified the missionary's wineskin has been the development of creative access platforms for supporting ministry among people groups. What's a platform? you might ask. Well, a platform is what you stand on. In a foreign country it is the reason granted by the government for you to be in their country. A platform may be a tourist visa, a business visa or a missionary visa.

Over the past several decades, much of our missionary activity has been conducted with some sort of missionary visa or identity. As we began venturing into countries that would not tolerate an overt missionary identity, however, we had to explore other avenues for service. In some cases, we simply rotated in and out of the country on a tourist visa. Over time, we came to see that every country opens its doors to some types of foreign residents, the question was what type of foreigner is acceptable to them.

This approach is being promoted not just for countries  like China (that do repress Christian populations and severely restrict missionary activity) but even in countries where missionary visas are widely available and possibly easier to get than a work visa:
Though the multi-platform approach has its origins in restricted countries, we've been pleased to see that it is useful in traditionally open countries as well. Increasingly missionaries working in countries that long have allowed a missionary presence are finding that they may have exhausted the limits of their current missionary platform. In some cases, they have identified sectors of society that are unlikely to be reached by persons with a missionary label attached to them. In several countries where Baptist missionaries have worked for many years, missionaries have discovered that the Baptist name has become so identified with a certain socio-economic sector of society that it is virtually unacceptable to some other unreached sectors of the country. Rather than give up on this unreached sector, missionaries are diversifying their presence in the country by using different platforms and adopting roles in society that are more approachable and amenable to the unreached people groups they are trying to touch with the gospel.

(Yes, you're reading this right.  Because people are starting to shy away from Southern Baptist missionaries, they're encouraging preachers to come in on tourist and regular work visas and practice bait-and-switch evangelism.  Not to places like China.  Places like the UK and Belgium where they could damn well get a missionary visa if they wanted.)

by dogemperor on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 11:01:53 AM EST

This incident strikes me as a mashup between Zevon's cult classic hits "Lawyers, guns, and money" and "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner"

I don't know if the ugly underbelly of colonialism ever has been covered so well, and the reconstructionist element here seems to me to fit right in.

"Waldron, the Reconstructionist Thompson Gunner" ?

"Send Lawyers, money, Bibles" ?

Ok, enough.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:26:46 PM EST

Actually, that should have been :

"Waldron, the reconstructionist machine gun runner" !

If I don't flee this thread now, I'll waste my morning generating lyrics for the entire song.

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 09:25:19 AM EST

Good to see that this person got jailed because of doing illegal stuff. I have heard stories from the eVisa Arabie Saoudite company that people in the US don't normally get the sentence or punishment they deserve.

by IsaiahJosiah on Sun Jun 28, 2020 at 07:15:59 AM EST

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