Uganda pastors task force video response to Rick Warren

In case the letter did not get across the message, here is the video from the Uganda National Pastors Task Force Against Homosexuality. According to Pastor Ssempa, Rick Warren’s encyclical is having some effect there, prompting this response.

First, the brief introduction and then I will embed the videos.


Task-force Chair: Martin Ssempa PhD

[email protected]

The Islamiic Office of Social Welfare in Uganda
The Roman Catholic Church in Uganda
Dear Pr. Rick,
Warm New Years Greetings. Further to our letter, kindly find the link to the video version of  our response to your letter.
Uganda Pastors’ response Letter to Rick Warren 1 (
Uganda Pastors’ response Letter to Rick Warren 2 (
We await your response at your earliest.
Martin Ssempa, PhD
The taskforce represents
The National Fellowship of Born again Churches
The Seventh Adventists Church
The Uganda Joint Christian Council which also represents:
The Orthodox Church in Uganda.
Part One

Part two

35 thoughts on “Uganda pastors task force video response to Rick Warren”

  1. gayuganda: Exactly! That “rape a virgin/kid to cure HIV” thing is prescribed by witchdoctors in South Africa. I’ve never heard of such a thing happening in Uganda. And all the reports I heard in South Africa were of heterosexual rape. And even if it were a problem in Uganda… this bill would not help solve that problem at all. Ssempa does this sort of thing deliberately… he does it all the time to excite the public into homophobic hysteria… he tricks people into believing that he has expertise or special knowledge on the subject, then asserts the following:

    homosexuality = anal sex (taboo) = male rape = infections = evil = ungodly = unAfrican = western perversion = “recruitment” of kids into homosexuality = male prostitution

    I hope he gets all the exposure he craves, that way people will see through his lies.

  2. There is method to his lies. Sylvia Tamale, the law prof has been consistent in her challenge of this contention. I researched what she was saying, and got the facts. He is in contact with Tamale. And, if he wasnt, he would at least have asked a lawyer to research the facts. He has continued, persisted in saying the same thing.

    But, it is not only this. For many of the things he says, Ssempa takes a bit of truth, and then magnifies it as a lie.

    For example, when he talks about virgin rape as a cure for HIV, that has been reported. BUT it is reported in South Africa. Not in Uganda. He knows what he is talking about, but he twists the facts to fit his fantasies. And, he is charismatic, and tends to overwhelm a debate with his voice and his emotional appeal.

    He lies. Consistently, constantly. I have come to expect it of him. But, many people believe the half truths that he sells as gospel.

  3. Personally, I think he’s lying. It’s a feeling I get. There’s method to it.

  4. gayuganda,

    Thanks. Will check out the link in the morning. It’s just after official ‘New Years’ here and I just got home.

    My current guess is that the amendments (one of which I quoted earlier) are common knowledge but that Ssempa is slipping past the truth by referring to–and quoting from–the old Penal Code and ignoring the amendments.

    I’ve known people to play such games and then convince themselves that they aren’t really lying but, as Christians so often say, God sees the heart. If his intent is to deceive then he is deserving of God’s judgement AND that of his fellow believers. I detest ‘spin’ no matter which side is playing it.

    Thanks for the link. Happy New Year to you and to all who visit here.

  5. Eddy,

    I started off writing that I dont have any references, then checked what I have and found, oh yes, I do have them, and, there is the sections 140 and 140something that you are talking about.

    The Penal Code Act is here

    Now, I am given to understand by Dr Tamale, a law prof at the University here, that this is the old Penal Code Act, and that there were ammendments to it. But, at least you can go through it and see what was before.

  6. Michael, I agree, they are not just opposed to child abuse, they are also opposed to any expression of homosexual behavior.

    That’s my point. That’s what opponents of this Bill are opposed to, not punishing child molestors. It would not make any sense at all for nations, religious leaders and human rights organizations to oppose it so strongly if that were the case.

    There are many other reasons to oppose the Bill, but I won’t repeat them here. Doctor Throckmorton and others have done a fine job of pointing out why this law is so onerous and why so many people from around are calling for it to be withdrawn.

  7. Interesting. Brings into question what is healing and what is not, which touches on an entirely different subject, related to native american healing etc. My main concern is that if it is true indeed that there are shaman-like persons who tell HIV positive people to rape children to get healed, that they find those people who are telling people to do so, and put them in prison for life. Anyone who encourages child rape, and who is viewed as an authority and respected as such, is very dangerous indeed, and their free speech and freedom of practicing their religion end where the children’s safety begins.

    About the age 18 cutoff:

    Somewhere I read about a discussion of a scenario where both persons are under 18, say in highschool, then would they prosecute the “perpetrator” as an adult? Or even ages 19 and 17? Very messy, trying to discern the lines between consensual and manipulative and adolescence and experimentation between teenagers etc, as opposed to an adult abuser.

    Michael, I agree, they are not just opposed to child abuse, they are also opposed to any expression of homosexual behavior. I am less for the death penalty than I used to be. John 8 “let him who is without sin cast the first stone” is sinking deeper into my mind.

  8. PianoMan–

    Your comment led me to some googling. No hard results yet but I think if you google ‘Witchcraft act of 1957’ it will eventually lead to existing laws re witchcraft. At one time, it appears there was an appeal to modify that act to separate actual practitioners of witchcraft from those simply engaged in ‘the healing arts’.

  9. If that was truly all it was, I doubt that Rick Warren, Warren Throckmorton, The US State Department, US religious leaders, human rights groups, Australia, the European Union, Sweden, France and thousands of Christians and non-Christians around the globe would be upset about it.

  10. The bill goes way beyond child abuse or child abuse reporting. If that were the real intent of the law, it would not be necessary to mention the gender or orientation of the victim or perpetrator.

    Ssempa quotes California statutes in an attempt to equate the two laws. I agree with the “elastic with the truth” and “misdirection at best” comments. It’s an anti-homosexuality bill, not a child abuse bill.

  11. Dr. Ssempa mentions about how we have mandated reporters (teachers, etc.) who must report any suspected abuse when a child confides in them, etc., and he likes that, but he doesn’t like the fact that we don’t have the death penalty for child rapists. I sympathize with him being frustrated with the witch doctors telling people to go rape children, but then why don’t they go after the witch doctor’s also? I suspect the reason why not is that something political is going on relative to that. Obviously the actual child rape is a worse crime than a witch doctor telling someone to go commit a child rape, but if they pass the law and if they apply it fairly, I suppose there will be some witch doctors put to death also. At least if they are going to be consistent. A fine line to walk, balancing the redemptive message of the church against the authority of the State to protect children. It appears that they do not want to separate mandated reporting from the death penalty, they want both.

  12. I will attempt to reply only to comments that actually go to my inquiries to gayuganda (or anyone else with any insight) to those different penal code numbers and references.

  13. What Ssempa is saying is not truthful. I think he’s lying. I think he undertands perfectly well what the bill says. Hazemyth calls it “misdirection at best”. Gayugnada calls it being “elastic with the truth”. I can’t recall what Warren called it.

  14. Michael and Eddy:

    I do enjoy comments about issues, but I tire of your never ending dispute with each other. Would the two of you please take that somewhere else besides this blog?

  15. Michael–

    Months ago, you promised that you’d try to refrain from ‘debate style’ point-winning tactics. Yet, you delivered the following two comments–that don’t jive with each other–within 10 minutes of each other. I maintain that at least one of the statements is untrue (I believe it’s the second.) and I further maintain that if it isn’t untrue then it must be sarcasm.

    I firmly believe that Ssempa knows that what he is saying is not true.

    Maybe Ssempa isn’t lying. Maybe he just misunderstands it.

    Let’s see now. Did my one sentence repeating of the fact that I was researching move you from firm belief to a maybe? Wow! You also claimed once or twice that you no longer engage me… not sure, but I think it was a very noble sounding thing like ‘the spirit spoke to you’ or somesuch. In this particular instance, I was replying to gayuganda who was replying to me (we actually engaged each other respectfully and I had hopes of finally getting some answers) and yet you felt the need to engage…and that I was worthy of a sarcastic rebuttal. Am I getting this right?

  16. Hazemyth: Thanks for the BTB link. If I recall, Warren recently posted the full text of the Bill — with commentary — In response to many claims being made that Westerners were “mis-representing” or “lying” about the BIll and that its only real purpose was to protect children and the handicapped (claims Ssempa reiterated in this video).

  17. As you should. You should not take anyone’s word for it. I came to the conclusion by comparing what he says the bill says with what it actually says. I believe that Dr. Throckmorton and many others have reached the same conclusion in somewhat the same manner. Maybe Ssempa isn’t lying. Maybe he just misunderstands it.

  18. Isn’t a liar someone who lies?

    Not necessarily.

    Is Obama a liar? Are you? I can recall statements, that when researched, turned out to be untrue. Was it a pattern? Was it ongoing? Was it intentional or accidental? Those are the questions I ask before characterizing a person by any behavior.

    A spinner, though, is someone who spins…continually. I purposely said ‘characterized him as a liar’ and gave some of the background of what I needed to check out that gayuganda never addressed after I inquired and you purposely reduced it to suit your spin and to engage me further in pointless, circuitous dialogue.

  19. Boxturtle Bulletin covers some of Ssempa’s inaccurate/dishonest arguments in a reasonably detailed and non-editorial way in this entry, including an excerpt of the Ugandan law that already criminalizes child rape.

    These video responses make it apparent that it is not possible to engage Ssempa in dialogue — as he would rather American pastors do, in private. He still does not acknowledge the specific arguments levied against the law, nor even those aspects of the law that are so offensive to liberty and humanity. He continues to practice what is, at best, misdirection. That is non-conducive to dialogue.

  20. gayuganda–

    Thanks for your recent reply. It makes sense especially in light of the discoveries from my google search. I have followed ‘Ssempa lies’ via google since the time of your original statement and have read several of your posts and followed any appropriate links within them.

    Any reservations I had or have go towards the bias that you, admittedly, wear on your sleeve. (That’s a good thing! There’s certainly no doubt where you’re coming from!) So, I could see your conclusion that Ssempa lies but wasn’t sure if the characterization ‘Ssempa is a liar’ was justified. Needed to go beyond your conclusions and see some specifics. I think this morning’s search put me on the right track.

    BTW: Do you have any clarifying info re Penal Code Section 140 and Penal Code Section 145. Admittedly, I don’t even have familiarity with our own Penal Codes so I’m not even sure what I’m asking…other than the two sections seem to be referenced interchangeably with reference to this proposed bill.

  21. Hi Eddy,

    I didnt respond because I was actually feeling very frustrated. To me the lies seem out there open and clear. Maybe to others they are not.

    In the posts which I referenced to, him and Bahati are continuously referring to the ‘old’ penal code, which was revised in 2007. Ironically, Bahati was a sitting member of parliament at that particular time. That was the code which didnt protect the ‘boy child’ as Ssempa refers to it. Maybe the newest post here makes it more clear. Read that one, and reference it with what I wrote here.

    And, if you are interested, just go ahead and search for Ssempa lies on the gayuganda blog.

    He is elastic with the truth. Maybe that is the politically correct thing to say.

  22. To my knowledge, only gayuganda actually painted Ssempa as a liar…and when I asked him to back up his assertions, he didn’t respond. (The first thread re a response to Rick Warren, I believe.)

    Sorry, I’m taking such statements much like I took or take “Clinton Lies”, “Bush Lies”, “Obama Lies”…

  23. Are people (including Ssempa) toying with the truth…

    Yes. That is what folks who oppose this Bill have been pointing out for weeks now.

  24. gayugandas post set me off on another google adventure. I puzzled over why we’ve had some reports of the penal code that are quite gender specific referring primarily to female victims and then others (as in his link) that are gender neutral (as Michael has recommended they should be). I’ll admit that I’m a bit stymied.

    The following quote seems to suggest that the Penal Code was amended to incorporate gender neutral language back in 1990. (see itlalics)

    On August 18, 1990, the Penal Code of Uganda was amended to increase the number of sexual offenses punishable by law. This action was taken to protect the institution of the family, to safeguard women and young people from sexual abuse, and to curb the spread of disease. Under the new code, conviction for rape may be punishable by death, conviction for forcing a person into detention against their will with the intent that that person marry or have sexual intercourse or for unlawfully taking custody of a person under 18 years old will result in 7 years of imprisonment. The penalty for indecent assault on a girl is increased to 18 years. Unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 18 years old is punishable by death and attempts at such intercourse are punishable by 18 years imprisonment. It is unlawful to detain a person for the purpose of sexual intercourse through inducements and threats. No one escaping from a brothel will be charged for taking away any clothing necessary to effectuate the escape. Further amendments in the code change the words “woman or girl” to “person” when a victim is referred to and change the words “male person” to “person” when a person profiting from the earnings of a prostitute is referred to. Further amendments increase the penalty for unnatural offenses from 14 years to possible life imprisonment and extend the illegality of indecent assault on boys from protection for those under age 14 years to protection for those under 18 years old. Incestuous relationships are defined, and a prison sentence of 7 years is mandated, with life imprisonment for those who commit incest with children under age 18 years.

    About the ‘stymied’ business. In my googling, I’d find references both to Penal Code 140 and to Penal Code 145. The references I’ve found seem to be referring to the same provisions. I’m wondering what the distinctions are between 140 and 145…also wondering if sections 141 through 144 are also related by theme. (Seems weird that they’d address sexual offenses in 140 then jump to something like property rights or bad checks before resuming sexual offenses in 145. Possible but weird.)

    One mention that I stumbled across indicated that the law once referred to homosexuality as ‘conduct against nature’ and suggested a need to lose the euphemistic language and get specific–calling it ‘homosexual’. (Sorry, this mention of ‘conduct against nature’ did not cite where in the Penal Code this language existed. 140? 145? elsewhere?)

    I have no conclusions. IMHO, Ssempa ought to be aware of any revisions or amendments currently in existence. Are people (including Ssempa) toying with the truth…taking advantage of the non-informed by providing them with incomplete or dated information? Perhaps my musings are meaningless in the long run but when an accusation of lying is laid out, it often provokes me to check out the charge.

    BTW: I provide this primarily as background ‘further search’ info that was inspired by gayugandas link. In truth, it goes to ‘legalese’ and isn’t entirely pertinent to the discussion of “Ssempas response to Rick Warren”.

  25. I have not watched the video. My connection, (despite the billions promised by homosexual international,) is too slow. But I do know what he says, because he has been going on and on about it here.

    And, I will continue hammering in the fact, that Ssempa lies. Consistently, Colourfully, with a very loud voice. Yes, he does lie. Here is where I debunk that lie about the law in Uganda not covering the precious boy child.

    He knows it, but still he lies.

    He is a very, very powerful preacher. His charisma is the one thing that you shouldnt doubt. Despite the lies, his charisma sways crowds.

    So, I, poor me, I only have to point at the lie and say, wonder of wonders, another lie…!!!!

  26. Boy! Is he hopping mad at Rick Warren! And he is still going on about how this law is needed to protect children from child abuse.

    If that is really the case, why is it necessary to include the gender or sexual orientation of victim or perpetrator? If it’s really about “raping virgin girls and raping virgin boys”, why not just outlaw that? Isn’t that illegal already?

    I sure hope that Rick Warren has the courage to stick to his guns on this.

  27. So much for my dial-up connection. Is it just the one pastor, who I suspect is Ssempa, who talks?

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