God Loves Uganda (2013)
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God Loves Uganda charts the rise in persecution and intolerance in the African nation as America's Christian right takes its anti-gay fight to new territory.
Watching this film will leave you with some dispiriting questions about America and its values.
You'd never guess the subject matter of "God Loves Uganda" from its innocuous-sounding title.
Williams' alarm is balanced by his measured observation of a group of twentysomethings from the Kansas City-based International House of Prayer.
Those who demand pure objectivity from their documentaries may stumble on God Loves Uganda, which never pretends to be impartial, probably because it's next to impossible to do so when tackling this topic.
"God Loves Uganda" approaches this intersection of faith and politics with some fairness and a good deal of outrage.
Audience Reviews for God Loves Uganda
For awhile, I was having a hard time tracking this film down because I had convinced myself that it was called God Hates Uganda. Here we have the story of local and foreign evangelists competing for the hearts and minds of Ugandan citizens with little regard for the hatred that they brew.
An extremely well done documentary that shines a light on just how immoral it is to try and convert an entire nation on the basis of compassion.
Williams gets out of the way of his subjects and lets them speak for themselves. Evangelical Christians (mostly from the International House of Prayer) are given plenty of screen time to describe their mission. Possibly even more screen time than those describing the harm they see resulting from Christian colonialism. There are also some interesting contrasts in how American policies change the way aid is provided from administration to administration and how the recipients adjust to keep aid coming. I found particularly intriguing the segments of earnest young evangelicals proselytizing to bemused Ugandans who don't seem to have any idea what these white kids are about and appear to just want them to be done and go away. When engaging street vendors, it's pretty obvious that the Ugandans are kept in the engagement economically because the kids are buying things from them and may buy more. We don't see what keeps the Ugandans engaged with the young missionaries when they are visited at their homes but I imagine that they are probably putting up with these kids because they also bring some sort of actual benefit in the form of goods or services. The one disappointing flaw in the movie is the manner in which the International House of Prayer is introduced; beginning with a series of shots of run down or abandoned Kansas City storefronts bearing signs likely to elicit negative reactions in the movie's target audience and then moving directly from those disgust-inducing images, directly to IHOP, carrying over the elicited response to the new target. It's the same sort of disgust-induced morality ploy displayed later in the movie when a Ugandan politician uses images of gay men engaged in unusual and messy acts to elicit a visceral response against homosexuality from his audience. Williams isn't nearly as heavy handed, but it's the same technique. Other than that, though, very well done.
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