The draconian anti-homosexuality bill awaiting enactment by the Ugandan government has been in the news regularly over the last few months. Several American church leaders who were initially slow to condemn the bill have rightly reversed their position (e.g., Rick Warren). However a recent story on NPR describes one megachurch, Canyon Ridge Christian Church, that continues to support Martin Ssempa, the most vocal Ugandan advocate of the bill.
George Orwell, who introduced double-speak in his novel “1984”, would immediately recognize the language of Canyon Ridge’s senior pastor, Kevin Odor. Speaking about the prevalence of AIDS in homosexuals, Odor says that “We love everybody, including people with AIDS. There are two things: how you got AIDS and that you have AIDS. That you have AIDS is a matter of compassion. The church should be compassionate for people with AIDS.”
Yet Odor supports a bill that would not only throw homosexuals in jail, but would incarcerate those who fail to report known homosexual activity. How very compassionate. As Warren Throckmorton, professor at Grove City College, Pa, notes, “What we have here is a church that wants to be viewed as moderate and outreach-minded and compassionate, and yet they’re supporting a set of values and principles elsewhere that are very harsh and deadly, frankly, to the very community you say you want to reach. If you preach compassion here, you have to support compassion elsewhere.”
Amen to that.