VOD Review - God Loves Uganda

This could be a good companion piece for the documentary Call Me Kuchu, which was about the life and death of David Kato, a gay Uganda man who was also a political activist working for LGBT rights and more human rights in his country. This documentary by Roger Ross Williams focuses more on the American evangelicals who are working to convert the people of Uganda to Christianity and who are succeeding. This documentary follows a group of members of the International House of Prayer (IHOP). The group who comes to Uganda is mainly teenagers and college-age kids who are just regurgitating Bible quotes, but the movie also charts the rise of the sentiments that led to the creation of the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009.

Joanna Watson is a missionary who mentors Uganda people to be ministers. Watson initially talks about not being interested in getting married or being with a man. She brushes it off by saying she's married to her work. Later, she admits to being a lesbian or having a same-sex relationship herself when she was younger. Maybe Williams thought this revelation was enough to get people thinking about her motives, but it would have been better to interview her further on this contradiction or evolution and examine her life and how she got here.

At one point, Williams asks two of the other younger missionaries, Jesse and Rachelle Digges about what they thought about the new bill that made homosexuality illegal, punishable by death. The Digges claimed ignorance about the bill and that's where Williams leaves it, but it would have been better to interview them further and ask them about this death penalty. With their constant Bible-quoting, "Thou Shall Not Kill" is one that could have been pushed on them as an obvious contradiction in this bill.

Williams has a great editing moment where he shows impoverished Uganda people donating what they can to the church, then the movie cuts to a shot of the mansion where the church's pastor lives. Meanwhile, Uganda people live in squalor. Williams doesn't press further in analyzing this but this edit is a strong one.

Another great moment is when Williams goes into the AIDS/HIV issue. The movie points out how President Bill Clinton instituted a condom policy, which was reversed by President George W. Bush who pushed for an "abstinence only" policy and no condoms. Williams doesn't really provide statistics to show how reversing the condom policy resulted in the infection and death rates from AIDS/HIV increasing, but this movie really isn't about facts or statistics. It's more about the emotions and motivations of these evangelicals.

Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 23 mins.


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