God Loves Uganda

You may detect some sarcasm in its title, which paraphrases and inverts an old familiar hateful slur, but by and large the salient trait of God Loves Uganda is its evenness of temper. Director Roger Ross Williams’ documentary backgrounder on Uganda’s legislation to make homosexuality a crime punishable by life imprisonment — or, for “reoffenders,” death — calmly traces the origins of that so-called “Kill the Gays” bill back to a Missouri megachurch, the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Neither IHOP honcho and one-time Prop. 8 cheerleader Lou Engle nor any of his bright-eyed proselytizers will quite cop to that, but one affable young missionary pronounces the whole situation overblown by Western media and figures that in any case the law itself is godly. These folks seem unaware of or untroubled by a Ugandan LGBT activist being beaten to death in the street, or a progressive Ugandan clergyman running for his life all the way to Boston, never to return, and so Williams methodically makes his case that such is the unfortunate fallout of American AIDS relief with the attached strings of right-wing evangelism. It is also mentioned, almost in passing, that Uganda’s HIV infection rates have in fact risen since abstinence-only education began there.