Amid belated media recognition that the apostles of church-growth guru C. Peter Wagner’s New Apostolic Reformation dominated presidential hopeful Rick Perry‘s August 6th “The Response” prayer event, some pundits are rushing to dismiss the political influence of dominionist factions within evangelical Christianity. But Wagner’s movement now exerts influence over the health policy of an entire African nation, with a population bigger than Texas: Uganda.
As reported in Ugandan media, in May 2011 Dr. Christine Ondoa was chosen as the new head of Uganda‘s Ministry of Health. The position will give Ondoa authority over a significant portion of Uganda‘s foreign HIV/AIDS mitigation funding, which in the year 2010 included over $270 million dollars from the United States.
Along with her role as a medical professional, Christine Ondoa also serves as pastor in the Life Line Ministries of apostle Julius Peter Oyet, one of the most powerful clerics leading Uganda‘s ongoing crusade against gay rights.
Julius Oyet’s Life Line Ministries runs a Uganda branch of an international faith healing ministry under Wagner apostle Cal Pierce, head of the International Association of Healing Rooms. Cal Pierce’s Healing Room Ministries lists almost 400 healing room branches in cities and towns across the United States, and well over 1,000 internationally.
Since her appointment as Health Ministry head, Ondoa has promoted the claim, an established tenet of Peter Wagner’s apostolic movement, also advanced by Oyet’s Life Line Ministries, that HIV/AIDS can be cured through prayer. According to a story published September 2008 in the Uganda Daily Monitor, “Unverified faith healing is posing a threat to adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) by persons living with HIV/AIDS.”
Apostle Julius Oyet has stated that “even animals are wiser than homosexuals”, forthrightly declared that homosexuality should be a capital crime, and claimed to have co-authored the internationally condemned, so-called “kill the gays” bill–submitted in 2009 by a member of Oyet’s elite “College of Prayer” group in Parliament.
As reported by evangelical psychologist Warren Throckmorton, who has closely tracked Uganda‘s anti-homosexuality campaign, Julius Oyet was one of two religious leaders who in April 2011 presented to Uganda‘s parliament a petition, reportedly signed by 2 million citizens, calling for passage of the Anti Homosexuality Bill. Oyet has an official commission from the Ugandan government, through parliament, to rally public support for the bill.
The College of Prayer and eliminationist legislation
According a 2008-2009 annual report from the Alberta, Canada Spruce Grove Alliance Church (PDF file of report), both Christine Ondoa and Julius Oyet have visited the church under the auspices of the Atlanta-area based College of Prayer International, which is currently soliciting funds for Julius Oyet’s branch of the ministry, College of Prayer Uganda. The College of Prayer International’s 2007 990 tax form shows payments of over $11,000 to Oyet, for travel expenses.
A team from the Spruce Grove Church helped to launch The College of Prayer Uganda, which officially began with an April 18th, 2009 inaugural “Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast” reportedly broadcast on Ugandan national television and attended by over 50 members of parliament. The ceremony was officiated by MP Benson Obua Ogwal, who along with MP David Bahati is a member of Julius Oyet’s elite COP “servant leadership team” in parliament.
According to the official web site of Uganda‘s parliament, the Anti Homosexuality Bill was originally introduced on April 29, 2009, by MP David Bahati, with supporting comments from MP Benson Obua Ogwal, described in Ugandan media as a longtime personal friend of Christine Ondoa.
Recognized by the Deputy Speaker of the parliament in conjunction with the bill’s introduction was Christine Ondoa’s church head Julius Oyet, then serving as Vice President of Uganda‘s Born Again Faith Federation, and pastor Martin Ssempa. Oyet works closely with Ssempa, formerly a close ally of Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren. Pastor Ssempa has been noted internationally for his work against gay rights in Uganda.
According to an account originally posted on the College of Prayer International web site, describing COP’s April 18, 2009 inaugural prayer breakfast, speakers included Nsaba Buturo, then-head of Uganda‘s Office of Ethics and Integrity and a leading backer of Bahati’s bill, Julius Oyet, who “gave an eloquent exhortation rallying the participants to seize the moment and forcefully pray for the advancing of Christ’s kingdom throughout the nation”, and College of Prayer International head Fred Hartley, III.
Hartley’s keynote address was based in Biblical scripture from I Kings 18, which describes a confrontation, between the prophets of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, that ends with the wholesale slaughter of the Baal prophets. C. Peter Wagner’s apostles often depict homosexuality as a manifestation of Baal worship.
Wagner apostle Lou Engle, cofounder of The Call who serves on Wagner’s Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders along with other apostles known for their work against LGBT right such as Cindy Jacobs and Bishop Harry Jackson, traces the moral decline of Israel’s King Ahab to his marriage to Jezebel, a member of the Sidonian tribe who, according to Engle, “worshiped Baal and Ashteroth… Their religion was essentially a fertility cult that involved child sacrifice, lewd and licentious worship, and fertility rites that were both heterosexual and homosexual in nature” (page 84, Elijah’s Revolution: Power, Passion and Commitment to Radical Change, by Lou Engle and Jim W. Goll, Treasure House, 2002)
On June 1, 2009, six weeks after Fred Hartley’s Elijah/Baal keynote sermon, Julius Oyet’s ministry launched a 42-day long prayer and fasting event which included the following exhortation to Life Line Ministries members:
“Pray for a fresh anointing and God’s wisdom, discernment upon Apostle Julius as he leads the fight against Human sacrifice and all evil battles in the Land, may the mantle of Elijah be upon him as he dealt with Baal dominion (I Kings 18:39-40, Psalms 45-7; Deuteronomy 4:6; 1 kings 4: 29)”
Two weeks after MP David Bahati “tabled” (put on the table) the Anti Homosexuality Bill in October 2009, activating the bill within the legislative process, College of Prayer International head Fred Hartley, III led a two-day COP training session to “mentor” Bahati and 50 other members of parliament.
He warned them to stay away from witchcraft, “told the MPs that if they prayed in line with the Kingdom of God they would be able to cast out demons,” and picked out eight parliament members, including David Bahati, to personally mentor for three years as part of College of Prayer Uganda‘s “servant leadership team,” according to the Ugandan news service New Vision. “You have to confront the enemy, Satan, using God’s authority,” Fred Hartley told his Ugandan pupils.
On November 27, back in the United States, Hartley made a radio show appearance in which he stated:
“just two weeks ago I was with the members of parliament and had a marvelous time, these are dear brothers and sisters in Christ and they are in earnest about righteousness and the cause of Christ and the amazing thing is they are standing for righteousness in areas that where we have long ago sold ourselves down the river but they’re looking to us for spiritual mentoring”
As shown in video from “Missionaries of Hate”, a Current TV documentary expose’ on American involvement in Uganda‘s deteriorating LGBT rights situation originally aired in May 2010, Julius Oyet has accompanied Martin Ssempa, under the auspices the “Inter Religious Task Force Against Homosexuality”, at meetings (made internationally notorious by the Current TV footage) during which Ssempa has screened fringe gay pornography in an attempt to portray homosexuals as unusually prone to coprophilia. Ssempa has also been accused of orchestrating the publication, in a Ugandan tabloid, of lists of suspected homosexuals.