Bishop Julius Oyet, Uganda's Anti Homosexuality Bill, the Antigay Crusade, and the NAR
Along with Martin Ssempa and Stephen Langa, Oyet was one of three leaders specifically recognized in conjunction with the Anti Homosexuality Bill by Uganda's Deputy Speaker of Parliament when the initial draft of the bill was brought before parliament on April 29, 2009. But Oyet's role has been even more central than that would suggest.
Julius Oyet has also stated, in a March 2010 interview, that he served on a committee which originally conceived the Anti Homosexuality Bill and also chose MP David Bahati to introduce and advance the bill in Parliament:
"The gay bill was tabled in Parliament the 14th of November 2009*. I was there. But before it was tabled in parliament. I have been part of the brains behind it. We had sat down before, we had worked on it, we had planned who should bring it on." (note: Oyet misspoke about the month the Anti Homosexuality Bill was activated in parliament. The bill was tabled in October 2009, not November 2009.
[video, below: in March 2010 interview, Julius Oyet describes serving on a committee that conceived the Anti Homosexuality Bill and chose who would introduce it in parliament]
Two weeks after Bahati tabled (activated in the legislative process) the bill in parliament on October 14, 2009, he extended an official parliamentary invitation to Oyet to serve with the National Task Force on the Anti Homosexuality Bill. As a leader in the Task Force, Oyet is charged with the following responsibilities (text, below, is from official parliamentary letter from Bahati to Oyet. See images of that letter below):
1. Speak for the bill, educating people about the objective of the bill.
[below: images of Bishop Jullius Oyet's official government commission from MP David Bahati and parliament, to agitate and raise support for the Anti Homosexuality Bill]
In early April 2011 Oyet and Martin Ssempa, who chairs the National Task Force on the Anti Homosexuality Bill, presented to the speaker of Uganda's parliament a petition, said to have been signed by two million Ugandan citizens, calling on Parliament to pass the bill.
"We are able to mobilize a demonstration and a march of over one million"
While Ssempa now enjoys international recognition, he heads a small (by Ugandan standards) church at Makerere University. By contrast, Oyet can bring substantial institutional resources to the government-backed anti-homosexuality campaign.
Julius Oyet, who enjoys personal ties to Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni, has held top leadership positions in Uganda's two main born-again umbrella associations, the Born Again Faith Federation and the older National Fellowship of Born Again Churches (see footnote #1) - which both claim to represent millions of Ugandan born-again Christians.
These umbrella associations, and the born-again community in Uganda that they represent, have a deep political symbiosis with the Museveni regime, a fact noted by Ugandan media.
In a March 2010 interview (see transcript towards end of article) with Western journalist Dominic Mesmin, Oyet emphasized the massive public support he could martial in favor of the bill, and the pressure that support could exert on legislators:
"I have an official appointment from Honorable Bahati, to work with him on this. And I work with at least, with thousands and - hundreds of thousands - of pastors. We are able to mobilize a demonstration and a march, like, of over one million. Today, I have seen on one of the newspapers, four hundred and fifty people are signing to stop the bill - that is a peanut. Because if only four hundred, and four hundred and fifty people [that] are not Ugandans, the homosexuals from around there in the Western world, those who love watching your TV's and your pornographic movies are the ones signing to stop the bill.
Oyet went on to state that the Born Again Faith Federation, in which he currently serves as vice president, has its own radio and television stations and even runs a media school that trains journalists.
(image, below: printed brochures from Julius Oyet's Life Line Ministries titled the "Ten Deadly Sins of Homosexuals)
Examples of Oyet's participation in Uganda's government-backed antigay agitation can be seen in two video documentaries, from Current TV and the BBC, on Uganda's anti homosexuality crusade.
Martin Ssempa's activities as a leader of the National Task Force on the Anti Homosexuality Bill came to widespread American public notice through footage, taken for the 2010 Current TV documentary Missionaries of Hate, that showed Ssempa giving public screenings of fringe gay pornography with the claim that coprophagia is a common homosexual practice. Seated next to Ssempa during his National Task Force presentation shown in the Current TV footage was Julius Oyet.
In footage taken for the 2010 BBC documentary Africa's Taboo - Homosexuality, by West African journalist Sorious Samura, Julius Oyet can be seen at a Spring 2010 Kampala, Uganda rally at which Oyet tells his audience,
"It is not Uganda putting a death penalty on homosexuals, it is God and his word!... Now, listen to me - the sodomy people, the homosexuals, are even more foolish than dogs. There's no female dog that mates with a female dog, there's no male dog that lusts after a male dog. Even animals are wiser than homosexuals! - Do you hear me?... We do not condemn homosexuality just because we are Africans. We condemn homosexuality because it is written in this holy book - the Bible tells us, according to Leviticus, chapter 18, verse 22, "You shall not lie with a man as a man lies with a woman. It is an abomination."... I want to invite you to declare 'no to sodomy', every one of you. Uganda says 'no to sodomy! No to sodomy! No to sodomy! No to sodomy!"
The Call Uganda
Other footage from the Africa's Last Taboo documentary shows Oyet speaking at New Apostolic Reformation prophet Lou Engle's May 2010 The Call Uganda rally. Engle's The Call ministry organization played a substantial role in the 2008 election push to pass California's anti-same sex marriage ballot initiative Proposition Eight - in the months before the November 2008 election, The Call maintained eight field offices across CA to help mobilize evangelical voters.
From onstage at Engle's The Call Uganda rally, Julius Oyet called for passage of the Anti Homosexuality Bill and repeated what may be the most endemic antigay trope in Uganda, the claim - which Ugandan LGBT rights groups suggest was coined by American evangelist Scott lively - that rich homosexuals from the West are bribing young Ugandans to become gay:
"We call upon our parliament not to waste time. Uganda says no to homosexuality... Our children today are being deceived by the West - to buy them, to give them school fees so that they can be homosexuals.
Oyet's and Lively's claim has also been broadcast from the highest reaches of Uganda's government, by President Yoweri Museveni and Janet Museveni themselves.
A number of Julius Oyet's American counterparts, leading apostles and prophets in the New Apostolic Reformation such as C. Peter Wagner and Lance Wallnau, and even Oyet's friend and colleague Os Hillman, have spoken out against the Anti Homosexuality Bill or at least stated, more mildly, that they do not support it.
Even Lou Engle, who in a speech at the May 2010 The Call rally praised Uganda's stand against forces of immorality said to be besieging Ugandan society and Ugandan families, nonetheless assured BBC journalist Sorious Samura that he did not support the bill either.
But Julius Oyet told Samura, "Lou Engle is a strong ally" and, when Samura countered that Engle and American evangelicals had said they were withdrawing their support for the bill, Oyet responded,
"To the media they may say that... what did he [Engle] say [at the rally]? He said, 'Uganda, you are key, you are standing now as a leader, for righteousness.' That is support."
Julius Oyet and the College of Prayer
Julius Oyet also heads the Uganda branch of an international, United States-based ministry called the College of Prayer. Atlanta area-based College of Prayer head Fred Hartley III has described his ministry as "mentoring" members of parliament, and COP's "servant leadership team" in Parliament includes MP David Bahati.
(image, below: Julius Oyet and Fred Hartley III at April 29, 2009 College of Prayer rally sponsored by the Parliamentary Prayer Fellowship, a part of the Ugandan branch of The Family/The Fellowship - the international neo-fundamentalist Washington-based network credited by journalist Jeff Sharlet with inspiring the Anti Homosexuality Bill)
Eleven days before the Anti Homosexuality Bill was introduced in parliament on April 29, 2009, the College of Prayer held a massive Kampala rally said to have been attended by over 50 members of parliament. Speakers included MP Nsaba Buturo, then head of the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity, which since its inception has been a leading governmental ministry fighting gay right in Uganda, and MP Benson Obua Ogwal, who along with MP David Bahati is also a member of the COP "servant leadership team" in parliament, and who entered supporting comments when Bahati first introduced the bill in April.
The COP report on the April rally described American COP leaders praying over the Ugandan legislators, and stated that Julius Oyet "gave an eloquent exhortation rallying the participants to seize the moment and forcefully pray for the advancing of Christ's kingdom throughout the nation."
Several weeks after MP David Bahati tabled the Anti Homosexuality Bill in Parliament, on October 14, Fred Hartley III was on hand for another massive COP rally, that Hartley claimed was attended by 50 members of parliament. As Hartley stated on a November 27, 2009 U.S. radio show broadcast on Sirius FM,
"just two weeks ago I was with the members of parliament and had a marvelous time, these are dear brothers and sisters in Christ and they are in earnest about righteousness and the cause of Christ and the amazing thing is they are standing for righteousness in areas that where we have long ago sold ourselves down the river but they're looking to us for spiritual mentoring"
The Seven Mountains Mandate
Julius Oyet is in the apostolic networks of C. Peter Wagner (see footnote #2), one of the leading figures in the controversial charismatic evangelical movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation, which promotes the "7M Mandate", or the "Seven Mountains" mandate, under which believers are urged to gain control of key sectors of society (in this video, Lance Wallnau explains the 7M Mandate.)
Julius Oyet has also starred in one of George Otis Jr.'s Transformations videos, which serve as one of the main channels for distributing the NAR's utopian, demon-haunted, and eliminationist ideology worldwide (see footnote #4).
Perhaps the biggest international apostolic network in the New Apostolic Reformation has been the International Coalition of Apostles, headed for its first decade, into 2010, by C. Peter Wagner. Like Julius Oyet, who has spoken at numerous U.S. events held by ICA members, Fred Hartley III has worked closely with ICA apostles, including Jacquie Tyre, who has served as the worship leader in Hartley's Atlanta-area church and has served in various leadership position in Wagner's apostolic networks, including as head of the Wagner Leadership Institute Southeast, which Julius Oyet has been listed as teaching a course for.
(image, below: "Seven Mountains" graphic from C. Peter Wagner's Global Harvest Ministries
In the March 2010 interview with Dominic Mesmin, Julius Oyet described the anti-homosexuality campaign within the context of taking the "seven mountains" of society - government, business, religion, the family, media, education, and arts and entertainment.
One example of the "seven mountains" approach is the May 2011 appointment of Dr. Christine Ondoa, who serves as a pastor in Julius Oyet's Life Line Ministries, to head Uganda's Ministry of Health.
Ondoa received the appointment only two months after Julius Oyet, who had publicly prophesied that God would give Ondoa a ministerial post, had, together with National Task Force on the Anti Homosexuality Bill chair Martin Ssempa, delivered to the speaker of parliament the petition, signed by two million Ugandans, calling for speedy passage of the bill.
In August 2011, as reported in Ugandan media, Christine Ondoa provoked controversy with her claim that prayer could cure HIV/AIDS. The claim that faith healing can cure HIV/AIDS is accepted doctrine within the New Apostolic Reformation but some medical authorities have warned that the belief is impeding Uganda's struggle to contain the AIDS pandemic.
LGBT rights activists and journalists have identified, as dramatically escalating Uganda's persecution of LGBT citizens, a March 2009 anti-gay conference organized by Ugandan Stephen Langa that starred Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively - who claims that Hitler and top Nazis were gay and authored the 2002 book The Pink Swastika - Homosexuality in The Nazi Party. A photo taken during the conference appears to show Christine Ondoa meeting with Lively, Langa, and other American speakers at the conference.
[images, below: 1) detail of Christine Ondoa with Scott Lively, at meeting with Lively, Caleb Brundidge, Don Schmierer, and Stephen Langa. 2) official photo of Ugandan Minister of Health Christine Ondoa]
Some Ugandan have speculated that First Lady Janet Museveni played a part in Ondoa's unexpected appointment to head the Health Ministry, and Janet Museveni's presence at the side of Ondoa at her recent wedding suggests the First Lady's personal investment in Ondoa.
One of the seldom-remarked aspects of the anti-gay crusade in Uganda is its close relationship to Ugandan government social and health policy and its sponsorship by the highest reaches of Ugandan government.
In 2004, Martin Ssempa and Stephen Langa were co-authors (along with Harvard's Edward C. Green") of Uganda's revised HIV/AIDS policy, the "Uganda National Abstinence and Being Faithful Policy on Prevention of Transmission of HIV: Draft Policy and Strategy" that shifted emphasis from the successful "ABC" approach which emphasized abstinence, being faithful in marriage, and using condoms, to a new approach that neglected condom use. Uganda's HIV/AIDS rate has risen since the new policy was implemented.
Stephen Langa and Martin Ssempa have served in government appointed commissions and organizations created by First Lady Janet Museveni. While Ssempa has served as a Special Representative for Janet Museveni's Task Force on AIDS and testified before U.S. Congress in that capacity, Stephen Langa is Director of the Ugandan Youth Forum, founded by Janet Museveni in 2001.
Both Janet Museveni and Yoweri Museveni (see footnote #3) have echoed Scott Lively's conspiracy theory that rich Western homosexuals are aggressively recruiting children, in Uganda and Africa, to become gay. In an August 2010 speech before Uganda's National Youth Forum, First Lady Janet Museveni told thousands of students assembled at Makerere University,
"In God's word, homosexuality attracts a curse, but now people are engaging in it and saying they are created that way. It is for money... The devil is stoking fires to destroy our nation and those taking advantage are doing so because our people are poor."
On September 11, 2011, Uganda's biggest independent newspaper, the Sunday Monitor, reported on leaked comments by Senior Presidential adviser John Nagenda to U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Jerry Lanier. Nagenda was alleged to have told Lanier that Janet Museveni is "a very extreme woman" who "is ultimately behind the [Anti Homosexuality Bill]."
Extensive, even overwhelming evidence supports the charge, and I will be outlining that case in future installments of this series.
transcript: In March 2010, Bishop Julius Oyet gave an extended interview with Western journalist Dominic Mesmin. The following is a partial transcript of the interview - from which the embedded video footage in this story was excerpted.
[Interviewer: "So we are talking about the seven mountains, and you are mentioning all the different subject places - like business, family, media. So, what about that? So it means you've got to use the seven mountains to spread the word, take control. Tell me"
footnote #1: As I will describe in future installments, the leadership of both the Born Again Faith Federation and the older National Fellowship of Born Again Churches has been dominated by the leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation, especially apostles in the International Coalition of Apostles.
The NAR influence in Uganda extends up to Uganda's First Lady Janet Museveni, who in 2006 traveled to evangelist Ed Silvoso's International Institute on Nation Transformation conference, held each year up through 2008 in Argentina (subsequent IINT conferences have been held in Hawaii.) IINT's 2007 conference brochure advertised Janet Museveni and President Yoweri Museveni as featured speakers, but I have not been able to confirm their presence at the 2007 conference.
In 2008, unable to attend Silvoso's IITN Argentina conference, Janet Museveni sent Uganda Revenue Authority Head Allen Kagina as her official representative. Also attending was Janet Museveni's nephew Joseph Okia, who told attendees that Uganda was important for "world conquest".
At the same conference, Ed Silvoso ministry member Adele Swart described her personal friendship with Janet Museveni, and her husband Werner Swart described the Silvoso ministry project of training thousands of pastors of born-again churches throughout Uganda (for full Adele Swart testimony, see this video segment, starting at 4:30, in which Adele Swart describes extensively coaching Janet Museveni on "Nation Transformation" and getting drunk with the First Lady.)
(image, below: First lady Janet Museveni holds hands with top NAR leaders, apostles Ed Silvoso and Cindy Jacobs, at IINT 2006 in Argentina. Jacobs is flanked, right, by Alex Mitala, General Overseer of the National Fellowship of Born-Again Churches in Uganda. Silvoso, Jacobs, and Mitala have all been listed as Apostles in C. Peter Wagner's International Coalition of Apostles)
For more information on NAR involvement in Uganda see, especially, my 20-minute video "Transforming Uganda"
footnote #2: Technically speaking, C. Peter Wagner has passed leadership of most of the apostolic networks and organizations he headed from the late 1990s onward to younger figures in the New Apostolic Reformation movement - John P. Kelly took over leadership of the International Coalition of Apostles, Cindy Jacobs now heads the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (whose members included Lou Engle and Bishop Harry Jackson), and Che Ahn is now chancellor of the Wagner Leadership Institute. But Wagner remains a preeminent presence in the evolving NAR.
footnote #3: In a February 2012 interview with the BBC (see statement at 1:30) Yoweri Museveni blamed rich Westerns for promoting homosexuality in Uganda, a charge Museveni also made in 2009 (see November 29, 2009 story in The Guardian). As far back as 1999 President Museveni told Uganda's government-controlled New Vision news service,
" 'I have told the Criminal Investigations Department to look for homosexuals, lock them up and charge them.' The Ugandan president added, 'God created Adam and Eve...I did not see God creating man and man.' "
footnote #4: Julius Oyet starred in one of the globally distributed Transformations videos, the 2005 An Unconventional War, by Sentinel Group founder George Otis, Jr., which have spread the Transformation movement's eliminationalist, witch and demon-haunted ideology. See this article, by researcher Rachel Tabachnick, for background on the video.
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