“God Loves Uganda,” but Its Director Doesn’t Love Me

Oh, boy, does he not.

HERE is the Christianity Today version of the remarks I made at Vancouver’s DOXA film festival.

HERE is Roger Ross Williams’s response to it via the Huffington Post (about half-way down).

HERE is my reply, RRW’s riposte, and my rejoinder. (I have now written an e-mail to the DOXA executive who, RRW says, complained to CT about me. At this point, I’m checking to see if the remarks attributed to her are in fact what she wrote. Thus I’m keeping that part of the conversation private, at least for now.)

I put this out here because this poorly made film is being shown by institutions that ought to know what they are in for: propaganda, not serious, disciplined documentary. In fact, RRW has made a point of citing the warm reception he has received at certain notable evangelical schools as if that proves my criticisms are wildly off the mark. Well, I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about here, and he may well be mistaking Christian hospitality for endorsement of his work. I hope that’s what has happened at these schools, and not instead a soft-pedaling of disagreement when what he does in this film is actually egregious.

So caveat emptor: This film doesn’t do what it ought to do, and not what you think it might be doing if you’re considering booking it. Show it, sure, but be prepared to have a long, searching conversation about what it says and how it says it. The sober truth it certainly ain’t.

 

2 Responses to ““God Loves Uganda,” but Its Director Doesn’t Love Me”

  1. Jeff Kimble

    Thank you for drawing attention to this “documentary” and your critique of it (which, by the way, I not only found instructive and honest, but also civil). What strikes me as profoundly unhelpful in the general public discourse on the topic of homosexuality is the inflammatory response that results from honest disagreement–much of which boils down to name-calling. No doubt some Christians stand equally guilty of this, but I’ve never read or heard any such rhetoric from you. In fact, one of the reasons I pay close attention to what you write is the generous and careful way you endeavor to nuance these issues without either diminishing their social importance or their implications. Your candor, compassion, and reasoned critique provides both a model and a service to those of us who share these concerns. You also offer to your detractors an alternate perspective they should welcome (especially if they laud the virtues of pluralism and tolerance), even if they disagree. The problem, so it seems, is that genuine disagreement is often taken as a personal affront rather than as a constructive criticism. Once they perceive a “disagreement” all real conversation stops and takes on the character of a verbal brawl. Reasoned discourse turns sour and personal. Nevertheless, dear brother, press on. Thank you for exemplifying in the written word how to love our neighbors, tell the truth, and offer what help we can. Keep up the good work. There is a whole contingent of us standing with you.

  2. Jon

    I second brother Jeff’s comments. I have long found the way you address potentially hostile issues with candor, honesty, and humility, in a way that is striving to not be inflammatory but in a way that is trying to address a difference of opinion with another person’s stance. I commend you for your work John. We need more people like you. Too often though, people take such comments personally. We are standing with you in your excellence analysis. You often say what many of us strive or struggle to put into clear concise words.

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