In my review of information about American evangelicals in Africa, I have learned at least one thing — writing about the US ministries that do not have a connection with Uganda might be easier than disclosing those that do. Many groups have been there, invested there and worked with those who seem most responsible for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
This post briefly looks at one household name in Uganda – Joyce Meyer. At least I am told by some Ugandans that she is well known and a review of her activities there make this assessment believable.
Joyce Meyer is one of several high profile preachers with bestselling books and a massive empire based on the success of those books. Meyer’s Christianity seems to be Pentecostal with a heaping dose of prosperity tossed in. Meyer is on television every day in Uganda via LTV – Uganda’s affiliate of Paul Crouch’s TBN. When she held meetings in Uganda in 2008, hundreds of thousands of Ugandans turned out to see her and listen to Christian bands, delirious and Hillsong. She had meetings with Uganda’s first lady, Janet Museveni.
Nothing wrong with any of this or her current work there. Meyer is partnering with a Ugandan church to provide care for orphans which is after all one of the hallmarks of true religion according to the New Testament. I am writing about Joyce Meyer is due to the church with which she works in Uganda – Watoto Community Church. WCC is home to Stephen Langa, who is an elder there and one of the chief cheerleaders for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
So in partnership with Marilyn and Gary Skinner and their ministry we are helping to build a Watoto children’s village there. They have also planted a great church, and we have plans to build a babies’ home, too.
The highlight came when over 200,000 people, in 2 nights, came to see Joyce and the Hillsong worship band.
Joyce preached with an incredible boldness, breaking down many walls of fear, brokenness and helplessness that the years of war had left. We have a long-term commitment to this area and believe through God’s power and your prayers, we can turn an impossible situation around.
It appears that Joyce Meyer Ministries is truly doing a good work at the Watoto Church. No doubt Watoto Church elder Stephen Langa is doing good things to support children there. However, he also supports a bill that in the current form would make some private, consensual adult behaviors punishable by death or life in prison. His proposal also criminalizes confidential professional relationships with same-sex attracted people now taken for granted by all pastoral and health care professionals. The harshness of the current bill rivals that of Muslim regimes where homosexuality is criminalized. So faced with a collaborator who is engaged in such an effort, Joyce Meyer could use her influence to denounce the bill on Ugandan television without denouncing the child related work there. She could do what Rick Warren has done and declare opposition to what Warren calls an “unchristian” proposal. However, when asked via email and phone, Joyce Meyer Ministries told me this instead:
While we both understand and appreciate your interest in contacting us, unfortunately, we have no comment to offer.
Joyce Meyer Ministries
While I can both understand and appreciate Joyce Meyer’s interest in staying neutral, I am disappointed that she is not using her influence both to help children and stand up for those image-bearers of God who are the target of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.