Six Reasons Why Americans Should Care About What is Happening in Uganda
1. Although this could mean life or death to some gay Ugandans, this issue is not limited to gay and lesbian citizens nor is it limited to Ugandans.
As seen in the Transformations movies, an ideology is being taught in which mini-utopias can be achieved in communities around the world through a process of identifying literal demons to be purged. Some may mistake this as spiritualizing a battle against societal ills, but it is not. In Uganda this spiritual warfare has advanced from the abstract (spiritual warfare against demons) to the concrete (targeting the people who are believed to harbor the demons). Once this worldview is embraced, it can be used to demonize any group which is viewed as an obstructing the "Kingdom on earth." These demons/individuals are described as an obstacle to achieving Christian dominion. They therefore become the reason that illness, poverty, corruption, environmental degradation and other societal ills, can not be miraculous defeated. In plain English, this means that gays and other demonized groups are claimed as the cause of the misfortune of others.
2. Uganda is viewed as a prototype for merging church and state.
The journalist in Missionaries of Hate remarks, "Church and state have become virtually inseparable." This is the clearly stated goal of Christian dominionists, as can be seen in the Transformations movies and Transformation entities such as Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network, which has branches in numerous American cities.
3. The religious/political onslaught in Uganda is a multi-faceted effort by several groups that promote Christian dominionism over society.
The movement is global, and dominionist groups involved in Uganda are also active in the U.S. Jeff Sharlet has written about involvement of The Family in Uganda and their efforts for more than two decades to impact both the economic and religious trajectory of that nation's development. Kapya Kaoma has documented the exportation of homophobia by American evangelists in his report at The Public Eye, including Americans partnering with vocally anti-gay Anglican Archbishops in Africa. Bruce Wilson's Transforming Uganda shows the role played by charismatic dominionists associated with networks of apostles and prophets of the New Apostolic Reformation, and their promotional media and organizations including: the Transformations movie series; Transformation organizations, such as Ed Silvoso's International Transformation Network (ITN); and the Seven Mountains campaign. However, the latter group overlaps considerably with the former.
Charismatics involved in the schism of Mainline Protestant denominations have been embracing the Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare techniques promoted in the Transformations movies and Transformation organizations over the last decade. Charismatic Presbyterian groups have used spiritual mapping to claim that gay and lesbians are a source of demons inside Presbyterian USA. Anglican charismatic groups have embraced this brand of spiritual warfare, including SOMA, which dedicated an entire convention in South Africa in 2000 to studying the Transformations prototypes with the producer, George Otis, Jr., and several stars of the first Transformations movie. (The American Anglican leader who recommended the Transformations for the conference is now the bishop heading American Anglican churches under Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi.)
The first Transformations movie which so intrigued these Anglicans is the one that featured Kenyan Thomas Muthee, now better known for anointing Sarah Palin at Wasilla Assembly of God before she ran for governor. The Anglican Archbishop who preceded Henry Luke Orombi, is featured in Transformations II, in a segment on Uganda with numerous political and religious leaders, including President Yoweri and First Lady Janet Museveni. Another Transformations movie production titled An Unconventional War, featured Julius Oyet in the starring role and includes Sen. Sam Brownback. Julius Oyet was recognized by the Parliament when the anti-gay bill was first introduced. (The scenes of Museveni, Brownback and other leaders are clearly live interviews, not taken from other sources.) It could be argued that Brownback's brief comments about Uganda in the movie are totally benign, but he has numerous other associations with the apostles and has participated in other New Apostolic events. According to Jeff Sharlet, both Brownback and Museveni are members of The Family.
For more about the global interconnectivity of the movement, see the bios of American and Ugandan religious and political leaders seen in Bruce Wilson's 20-minute video compilation "Transforming Uganda."
4. Dominionism is packaged in progressive terminology that sounds almost like liberation theology or social gospel, but has a very different agenda.
Transformation entities and the related "prayer warrior" networks are marketed to communities with terms like love, unity, charity and reconciliation. On the surface they are charitable organizations and prayer networks with the goal of fighting racism, crime, poverty and corruption. They do indeed provide charitable services including involvement in faith-based programming, but this is packaged with very literal demonization of those things/people which they believe are obstructing the "Kingdom on earth." They attack secular democracy and religious pluralism as an obstacle to the supernatural eradication of societal ills which they believe will take place when Christian dominion is achieved.
It is difficult to criticize groups that are loudly advertising their charitable deeds, including fighting AIDS, poverty and corruption. They promote their work with testimonials and movies of happy and smiling people who are supposedly benefitting from their efforts. However, as can be seen in Bruce Wilson's "Transforming Uganda, all of this charity and happiness masks a more sinister agenda - that of merging church and state and of expelling "demons" from society as part of taking Christian dominion.
In Uganda this can be seen in the war on AIDS which has provided services to many Ugandans, but has also included a war by Christian dominionists on sex education and birth control, the demonization of gays, and claims of miraculously healings once Christians began taking dominion over communities. Tranformations II> features smiling Ugandans who are some of the thousands claimed to have been miraculously cured of HIV/AIDS. In the Transformations movies and testimonials, leaders state that their prayers result in the deaths of witches and warlocks, who appear to symbolize those in society who are demonic and must be purged for Christian dominion to take place. Vignettes filmed in the U.S. show Transformation movement leaders spiritually mapping communities to locate demons, and claim, for example, that their prayers resulted in spontaneous burning of a transcendental meditation center.
The apostles and prophets of the movement travel around the world on spiritual warfare missions then announce the damage supposedly done supernaturally to the icons of Catholic churches and other religions as a result of their spiritual warfare Transforming Melbourne, a related entity, still features the testimony from one of these warfare excursions in 1997 against what they call the demonic "Queen of Heaven." The apostles claim that their prayer warfare against this territorial demon may have resulted in numerous positive results, including fires in Indonesia, destruction of a basilica, and the death of... Mother Teresa! This excursion was covered extensively in Confronting the Queen of Heaven, written by C. Peter Wagner, founding apostle of the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA).
5. "Reconciliation" events promoted by the movement are about conversion, not acceptance or religious pluralism.
Reconciliation activities and ceremonies are featured throughout Transformation media and other New Apostolic Reformation campaigns, including The Call events led by Apostle Lou Engle. The purpose of reconciliation events is described in detail by the leadership in numerous books and media, including those of C. Peter Wagner and John Dawson, who are among the developers of this demon warfare methodology. They explain that territorial demons and generational curses control ethnic and religious groups who resist conversion, and that the demons must be driven out in order for these populations to be converted to charismatic evangelicalism. This was the purpose of the spiritual warfare excursion against the "Queen of Heaven" described above.
'Reconciliation' ceremonies are required for both sides to repent of their past sins and generational curses, a prerequisite to driving out territorial demons. The ceremonies are advertised as fighting racism and promoting unity, and appear to have played a role in congressional proclamations apologizing for the treatment of Native Americans. Sen. Sam Brownback participated in a reconciliation ceremony with Native Americans at The Call Nashville in 2007, claiming authority as a U.S. senator to make the apologies, and Brownback also introduced a resolution in the 109th Congress apologizing to Tribal governments and Native Americans. Regardless of Sen. Brownback's intentions, this type of 'reconciliation' event is done for the purpose of conversion, not coexistence or religious pluralism, as clearly and repeatedly stated by the movement's leadership. It is based on the belief that these ethnic groups previously worshipped demons and were under the control of territorial demons because of both their own sins and those done to them. The apologies from both sides are required to remove the demons and curses, which, they believe, then allows the mass conversion of these populations to charismatic evangelical belief.
A few Native American and African Amercian apostles in the movement accept the apologies on behalf of the ethnic groups they represent at ceremonies across the country. For instance, ICA Apostle Jay Swallow accepted the apology from Sen. Brownback on behalf of Native Americans at The Call Nashville 2007. The ceremonies include numerous symbolic actions. For instance, in some ceremonies the New Apostolic leaders perform rituals showing the release of the land from the clutches of the demonic Baal, Queen of Heaven, and Leviathan, supposedly worshipped by Native Americans. In a ceremony in Georgia, Apostle Jay Swallow also represented Native Americans and repented "for the iniquities of the ancient Cherokee people." They claim that the results of these ceremonies have included miracles, like the end of droughts.
Many Transformation ceremonies, as depicted in the Transformation movies include claims of destruction of artifacts of the group - the apostles say they harbor demons. In another ceremony Apostle Jay Swallow led the smashing of vessels described as Native American pottery with graphics of the demons Baal and Leviathan. They reported that the artifacts were place in trash bags and smashed with a dogwood rod presented to Jay by Chuck Pierce. Apostle Chuck Pierce is one of the top tier leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation. The apostles have targeted numerous artifacts as demonic, including historic Indian mounds as well as other artwork, sculpture, and architecture throughout the country, such as historic monuments and buildings associated with Freemasonry.
At The Call Jerusalem, hosted by Lou Engle, reconciliation between Jews and Christians was symbolically demonstrated on stage. See this video of the ceremony at The Call Jerusalem, held simultaneously with the Global day of Prayer which is also a Transformation-sponsored event. As in the other examples, this reconciliation was with Messianic Jews who have converted to evangelical Christianity, not an acceptance of Jews or of religious pluralism. Similar 'reconciliation' events, including one organized by C. Peter Wagner and Ted Haggard, have taken place in Muslim nations, which are described as being controlled by the same demon the "Queen of Heaven," which they claim holds power over Roman Catholics. Lou Engle held The Call in Uganda in May 2010, advertised as "a gathering of fasting and prayer to confess our personal and national sins, to pray for God's blessing on the nation, and for a great spiritual awakening among her youth. However, it was actually cheerleading for support of the anti-gay bill led by several religious leaders, much like The Call events held in the U.S. At The Call San Diego, held in support of California's Proposition Eight on the Saturday before the 2008 election, Engle shouted from the stage for martyrs to the cause.
6. The Transformation movement is not just about religious supremacism but about taking dominion over all aspects of society.
In addition to the Transformations movies series, another tool of charismatic dominionists is the Reclaiming the Seven Mountains campaign, which has the stated goal of taking dominion over arts and entertainment, business, education, family, government, media, and religion.
The six points described above refer to the threat posed to separation of church and state and religious pluralism by Christian dominionists. The ideology of dominionism is spreading across the globe and is not limited to the New Apostolic Reformation or its campaigns - the Transformations movies, Transformation organizations and the Seven Mountains campaign. However, this movement is the source of Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare ideologies and of much of the demon warfare that is attracting interest in denominations across the spectrum. This includes some Pentecostal denominations as well as charismatic groups from Mainline Protestant denominations and Roman Catholicism.
For these Christian dominionists, Uganda is a prototype, and we should be paying attention.
[This article was written as a preface for the bios of American and Ugandan politicians and religious leaders seen in “Transforming Uganda,” a 20-minute video compilation by Bruce Wilson demonstrating the significance of the Transformations series of movies and the work of International Transformation Network in Uganda.]
Six Reasons Why Americans Should Care About What is Happening in Uganda | 27 comments (27 topical, 0 hidden)
Six Reasons Why Americans Should Care About What is Happening in Uganda | 27 comments (27 topical, 0 hidden)