DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

GOD LOVES UGANDA (director/writer: Roger Ross Williams; screenwriters: Richard Hankin/Benjamin Gray; cinematographer: Derek Wiesehahn; editors:  Richard Hankin/Benjamin Gray; music:  Mark degli Antoni; cast: Lou Engle, Joanna Watson, Jono Hall, Kapya Kaoma, Christopher Senyonjo, Jesse Digges, Rachelle Digges, Robert Kayanja, Martin Ssempa, Scott Lively; Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Julie Goldman/Roger Ross Williams; Variance Films; 2013)

"A powerful polemical documentary that preaches to its secular choir."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A powerful polemical documentary that preaches to its secular choir while exposing American evangelicals from IHOP in Kansas City. Mo., who are slickly fueling a terrifying biblical law movement in Uganda through its missionary gospel preaching efforts. Since half the African country's population is under 15 and with the overthrowing of dictator Idi Amin in 1979, the zealous Christians see this as a good opportunity to make conversions.

The no-nonsense, well-crafted film repeatedly shows shots of young Ugandan men preaching in the streets of Kampala and calling for repentance. In Kansas City, the charismatic zealous Christian senior leader of the International House of Prayer, Lou Engle, who calls abortion and same-sex marriages the twin evils, is interviewed and seen rallying the young white evangelical young troops to be a religious army at home and abroad. In Uganda, the paternalistic culturally deficient white missionaries smugly and naively bring their brand of "Ugly American" Western imperialism to the impoverished Third World country, while volatile crusaders reduce Christianity to their brand of right-wing political moral views. While the film shows no examples of the outsiders providing any actual benefits to the locals, it shows plenty of hate the missionaries fuel such as calls for sexual repression, a campaign for abstinence, attacks against condom distribution despite the rise of H.I.V., and they also support a pending Ugandan bill that would call for life prison sentence for homosexual acts and would make homosexuality punishable by death for repeat offenders.

Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams ("Music by Prudence") does his job shining the light on these supposed Christian do-gooders as either monsters or dupes, who use scare tactics to preach that their G-d, Jesus Christ, backs their questionable moralistic views against sin and that all other gods should be forsaken. While proclaiming Jesus Christ as the way to be eternally with God, they at the same time demonize the non-believers.

The exposé documentary does not claim to be objective, but freely shows in startling ways how intolerant Christian right-wing American missionaries from IHOP use their skewed interpretations of the Bible to promote homophobia not only at home but abroad.

REVIEWED ON 10/22/2013       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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