Salon on Canyon Ridge response

Salon published my news article on the Canyon Ridge Christian Church response this morning.

Feel free to carry the discussion over there….

In his sermon, Pastor Odor mentioned his church’s involvement in the April AIDS walk in Las Vegas. If readers were involved in that event or live in Las Vegas, I would be interested in talking to you. Please email [email protected].

Southern Nevada Health District severs ties with Canyon Ridge Christian Church

Short on time, but thought this was important to post. Southern Nevada Health District severed ties with Canyon Ridge Christian Church over their support for Martin Ssempa. Here is the letter:

July 9, 2010

Pastor Kevin Odor

6200 W. Lone Mountain Road

Las Vegas, NV 89130

Dear Pastor Odor:

It has been brought to the attention of the Southern Nevada Health District that Canyon Ridge Christian Church has an ongoing partnership with Pastor Martin Ssempa, the controversial Ugandan pastor. Pastor Ssempa’s support of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would criminally penalize homosexuals, is in direct conflict with the overarching public health goals of the health district. It is with regret that I feel compelled to dissolve the health district’s relationship with your church as long as you continue this partnership.

One of the central tenets of public health is to provide services without judgment. We also apply this principle in working with our various partners. However, we are profoundly concerned about your partnership with Pastor Ssempa as it contradicts this central tenet in that it amounts to tacit approval of activities that violate the basic human rights that should be afforded to all Ugandans.

It is my understanding that your church has been a valuable partner and it is unfortunate that we will be unable to continue to work together as community partners. Please be assured our staff will be available to offer testing when requested by one of the independent groups that use your facility for meetings, such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.

In closing, I would urge you and your congregation to revisit your continued support of Pastor Ssempa. I believe both of our mission’s will be better accomplished through the support of programs and activities that promote tolerance and acceptance.

I would be happy to discuss our decision with you further if you have additional questions.


Lawrence Sands, DO, MPH

Chief Health Officer

Related posts:

February 1 – Canyon Ridge Christian Church issues statement on support for Martin Ssempa

June 10 – Canyon Ridge Christian Church in conversation with Martin Ssempa

June 20 – Canyon Ridge Christian Church hosts National HIV Testing Day

June 23 – Southern Nevada Health District to evaluate relationship with Canyon Ridge Christian Church

July 1 – Las Vegas newspaper covers Canyon Ridge controversy

July 2 – Salon article: Canyon Ridge, Willow Creek Association and Martin Ssempa

Also see this article on

Church loses partnership over “kill the gay” bill