LONG before the Lambeth 2 and the divisive marriage of the American gay bishop Gene Robinson broke the Anglican Communion, Ugandaâ€™s infant Christian community had to deal with todayâ€™s hot potato.
Ugandan converts were thrown headlong into â€œthe issue of the 21st centuryâ€. How do Christians respond to state-sanctioned homosexuality in light of its apparent contradictions with culture, faith and nature? For the early church, it was a literal â€œbaptism by fireâ€ experience.
Mwangaâ€™s homosexuality is an issue we tip-toed about for fear of offending the Buganda monarchy which abhors homosexuality. But all historical accounts of the martyrs agree that Mwanga was a deviant homosexual who used his demigod status to appease his voracious appetite for sodomy by engaging in these unmentionable acts with his pages at court.
â€œIn the 1880s, Charles Lwanga and his companions had met their brutal deaths, burnt and speared to death, at the hands of Mwanga, head of the Buganda state. Their only offence was to practise the Christian faith and refuse to take part in the homosexual activities of the court of Mwangaâ€, Joanna Bogle writes in her book, The Martyrs of Uganda.
Mwanga was â€œintolerantâ€ once his pages became Christians and their new faith told them not to bend over one more time! The passion for his â€œloversâ€ became the flames on which these very young ones were beheaded, and burned at Namugongo. It was a genocide, and one the entire gay community should remorsefully reflect not unlike Hitlerâ€™s murders of the Jews.
If another Mwanga were to rise again, how would the Christians in Uganda react today?
Even more pressingly, how are we reacting to the gradual global Mwanga who daily increases his legal machinery over the whole world. Using the agencies of media, education and global state; out-of-control judges, homosexual activists Trojan horsing as human rights, women rights, stigma and AIDS/HIV rights? What does this mean for the people whose faith and culture is maliciously denigrated and labelled â€œhatefulâ€ homophobic, heterosexist and unsophisticated?
How will this pan out when our economy is increasingly dependent on nations such as Canada, Spain, France, the United States and more closely South Africa, where laws advancing the â€œrightsâ€ of homosexuals are already codified with an army of homosexual activists?
The first lesson is how non-discriminative Mwanga was when he martyred these rebels who were ignorant that â€œhe was the sexiest man aliveâ€. He killed both Catholics and Anglicans alike. Joseph Mukasa, a Catholic and Robert Munyagabyangu, an Anglican, all burned! The problem will affect all. It is a burning issue on which we cannot sit on the fences. Canadianâ€™s who were opposed to homosexual marriages did not wake up until it was too late.
Any faith that opposes the man who uses state machinery to â€œram same sex agenda down our throatsâ€ will not escape the fire. We need a united front of the major faiths, Christians and Muslims alike.
Second, are we ready for peaceful civil disobedience? Just like Dr Martin Luther Kingâ€™s civil rights march, the martyrs were peaceful even as they were marched off to be torched.
Joseph Balikudembe was not in the slightest state of fear when he faced the executioner. He talked of a higher court in which Mwanga would face Gods justice. Martyrs like Balikuddembe loved God more than the present world. I am worried that the church locally and globally is fat and inebriated on the materialistic doctrine of prosperity. Only God-focused men and women who are willing to lay it all down are needed for this job.
Here are some facts: On February 9, 2005, Martin Amogor-Locain, Commissioner for Special Needs Education, Counselling and Guidance in the Education ministry made a stunning revelation that â€œthe spread of homosexuality and lesbianism in secondary boarding schools is worrying the Governmentâ€. He blamed head teachers for failing to tackle the alarming trend.The head teachers in turn blamed the education ministry for â€œnot arresting the situation early enoughâ€.
Fourth observation is the redemption for Mwanga! He fell out with the Muslim caucus who were bent on grooming Kalema as the new king. Mwanga found â€œfaithâ€ through his fall from kingship. He begged for forgiveness from the Christians he had so brutally murdered just recently. On an island in southern Nyasa or Lake Victoria, Mwanga wrote one of historyâ€™s greatest letter of repentance and redemption.
He turned away from his evil and embraced Christianity, giving freedom of worship, land and his family over to Christianity. That is why todate, Bugandaâ€™s monarch is Anglican. We should never underestimate how God can answer prayer by pruning Nebuchadnezzar and Mwanga of state power for a while until they recognise that it is He in charge.
Finally, martyrdom planted the seed for incredible following and growth.
Today the Ugandan church has refused offerings of American homosexual groups leading to budget cuts. However, it is also stunning that the entire Anglican parishes from as far as California have chosen to put themselves under the leadership of the â€œunsophisticatedâ€ Ugandan bishops. They have had it with the Bishop Mwangaâ€™s of America. Churches who have sold out to the new homosexual lifestyle are dying as can be seen in the most northern hemisphere in Canada and England. Yet churches that have stood firm against Mwanga are thriving.
My personal Mwanga experience is with a famous Ugandan who wanted me to do a â€œcarpetâ€ interview with him at a beach in Lutembe so I could get a job at a television station.
I was a 17-year-old break dancer desparately looking for a job. However, I refused to bend over and missed out on the â€œjobâ€. He is dead now, from HIV/AIDS; he single-handedly infected many boys. Others like me survived, largely due to the fear of God and an unsophisticated African culture. I will not stop advocating for more young men and women who will refuse to bend over one more time to the Mwangaâ€™s of this generation.
The writer is a pastor