“God Loves Uganda” film and discussion with Rev. Mark Kiyimba

May 31, 2014 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

The feature-length documentary God Loves Uganda is a powerful exploration of the evangelical campaign to change African culture with values imported from America’s Christian Right. The film follows American and Ugandan religious leaders fighting “sexual immorality” and missionaries trying to convince Ugandans to follow Biblical law. God Loves Uganda premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18th, 2013 and has screened at over 50 American and international film festivals, winning numerous awards. The film serves as a catalyst for change, through our upcoming international screening tour and social action campaign.
“Roger Ross Williams’ forceful polemic succeeds to a startling degree, rightly decrying the use of the gospel to incite homophobia, and allowing the most fervent interviewees to damn themselves with their own proselytizing words. It’s strong, head-shaking stuff…” – Variety

Rev. Mark Kiyimba is a minister of a little church of 150 souls with very large hearts. Together they run a school for 650 children who have lost parents to HIV and AIDS, and an orphanage for 22 children infected with the virus.  Kiyimba is the founder and senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda, which preaches the acceptance of all people. And that makes the 38-year-old minister and the members of his Kampala congregation outlaws.

In February, Uganda’s parliament passed a law making homosexuality punishable by up to life imprisonment. It also proposed years in prison for anyone who counsels or reaches out to gays and lesbians — that includes renting a home to a known gay man or lesbian, or providing medical assistance. The law also seeks punishment for those who know someone is gay and fails to report it. Parents face imprisonment for sheltering their own gay child. On April 28, Uganda moved to extend its grip on LGBT people by drafting a new law that would bar foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from promoting homosexuality. The draft also bans NGOs from meddling in the country’s politics, Reuters reported.

This hatred of LGBT people isn’t African in its roots, says Kiyimba, who will begin a Central New York speaking tour on May 25. The fault lies with American evangelical ministers who — failing to stop the advances in civil rights for gays and lesbians in the U.S. — have exported their hatred to Africa, says Kiyimba (KEY em ba). “You as Westerners have the power to help us quench this terrible fire,” he says. “We need you to speak to your evangelical ministers who have been spreading this hate speech.” Kiyimba is not gay. His crime in Uganda is welcoming LGBT people into his congregation, which continues to meet illegally. And despite his charitable work with children, he has received hundreds of death threats in his home country.  A National Education Association award winner for his leadership in human rights, Kiyimba will be the guest speaker at CNY venues in late May and early June. The public is welcome at all events. Free to the Public.

For more information on the Rev. Kiyimba, or to arrange an interview, contact Toni Guidice at 315-373-7571 or toniguidice@icloud.com.

Scheduled speaking engagements 7 p.m. May 27 — Scholar Series, Temple Concord, 910 Madison St., Syracuse.
12:30 p.m., May 28 — SAGE (Seniors Aging in a Gay Environment) 60+ Circle of Friends Lunch Group, Drumlins Country Club, 800 Nottingham Road, Syracuse.
7 p.m. May 31 — Sundance Festival Film “God Loves Uganda” with a discussion on the situation in Uganda to follow. ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave., Syracuse.
10 a.m. June 1 — Guest preacher, Plymouth Congregational Church.
7 p.m. June 3 — Presentation with questions and answers at All Saints Catholic Church, 1340 Lancaster Ave., Syracuse.
5 p.m., June 8 — SAGE Upstate potluck dinner, 4 p.m. socializing, 5 p.m. program,  6 p.m. potluck; 431 E. Fayette St., Syracuse.