DOCUMENTARY

‘God Loves Uganda’: Evangelism gone wrong | 3 stars

Updated: 2013-11-13T21:48:34Z

Not rated | Time: 1:23

“God Loves Uganda,” a documentary about American evangelism gone awry in Africa, contains some terrifying moments that are anything but love.

A firebrand Ugandan pastor (well-paid, of course) displays gay pornography to his congregation, whipping them into a frenzy against the evil threat of homosexuals. The churchgoers, presumably there to celebrate God’s mercy, look like they’re ready to mete out biblical “justice.”

Roger Ross Williams’ eye-opening film examines how Uganda has become an American evangelical Bible project — complete with better schools, improved medicine and plenty of bigotry. Ross makes a compelling case that the Americans’ anti-gay rhetoric has fueled the African country’s decision to consider the death penalty for homosexuality.

In a brilliant move, Williams tells the story pretty much from the viewpoint of the American evangelicals — members of Kansas City-based International House of Prayer — and their Ugandan proteges. We see giddy, mostly white Midwesterners on the trail in Africa, having the time of their lives as they spread the Good (and Bad) Word. These missionaries appear to be sincere and well-meaning, which is all the more chilling.

Putting the proceedings in context is the Rev. Kapya Kaoma, a Zambian priest who was forced to flee Uganda while researching the plight of LGBT folks there. The Massachusetts-based Episcopalian, who has an intimate knowledge of both Africa and the United States, comes off as highly credible.

Watching this film will leave you with dispiriting questions about America and its values.

(At the Tivoli.)

| David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle

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