Friday, July 18, 2014

Streamable: Roger Ross Williams' GOD LOVES UGANDA gets "A" for content, "C" for execution

If you're GLBT-friendly, you no doubt already know about the African country of Uganda and its ultra-homophobic stance -- legislation on the brink of being passed that would criminalize homosexuality with imprisonment, and repeated acts of it with the death penalty. Of what you might not be so aware is the role that right-wing, fundamentalist Christian church groups from the USA play in bringing this despicable "purge" into practice. All these blond, blue-eyed, smiley-faced young people bringing despair and death to an already much-defiled (remember Idi Amin?) country is one of the nastiest ironies you're likely to see -- among the many of our new millennium).

What filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (shown at right) has given us in his documentary GOD LOVES UGANDA is a look at what's going on inside and outside this little African country that is dovetailing into the most extreme kind of abuse of gays. He presents a few self-styled African experts on the subject, one of whom explains that he can no longer go back to Uganda for fear of reprisals; another is a churchman who lives there, and who has for years been fighting this anti-gay government stance. Here in our own country, Williams tracks down the religious groups that are sending their "missionaries" to Uganda to preach the anti-gay gospel. Out of all of the teachings of Christ Jesus, you might imagine that these religious nuts would choose from important things such as the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount (often compared to the Old Testament's Ten Commandments). Instead, these nitwits find tiny references (in which Jesus does not even figure) in order to rabble rouse against this minority.

We meet some of these fresh-faced kids and their still-somewhat fresh-faced leaders (above and below), as well as the old cranks who still seem to rule the "Moral Majority" roost. We spend some time with one older "Christian" woman, who finally admits to having had a lesbian affair way back when -- for which, it seems clear, she's still pining a bit and doing a good deal of penance.

The movie spends about one third of its 83-minute time span pussy-footing around its real subject, while setting us up for the kill. When that finally arrives, we keep circling back and back again to the same people and the same ideas. There's too much repetition here, and not the best organiza-tion--even though the subject at hand is certainly compelling & important.

We keep moving back and forth between Uganda and the U.S., hearing from politicians and religious leaders (pro and con the homosexual-bashing), but not from those Ugandans who are being "converted" to learn what they might think of all this, and why. There are few "shadings" here; everything is pretty much black or white. Which makes God Loves Uganda one of those documentaries preaching to the already converted.

You can catch the film -- which will certainly raise your blood pressure a notch or two -- now via Netflix streaming and elsewhere.

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