Posts Tagged ‘Rev. Mark Kiyimba’

No Longer in My Name

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My name is Rev. Mark Kiyimba, and I am the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Kampala, Uganda. I also run a housing program for orphans of HIV victims, HIV+ youth and homeless LGBTI youth. I oppose the current iteration of the anti-gay law now in parliament, and have organized yearly conferences with other faith leaders calling for an end to violence and hatred against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

(Watch a video version of my message, filmed at our UU Congregation in Kampala, below.)

In the last 5 years, homophobic churches in Uganda that promote intolerance have been visited by high profile Western leaders and supported by major American Christian organizations. Western Evangelicals have been sending celebrity pastors, hundreds of missionaries and organizing major conferences in Uganda promoting intolerance and punishments for gays.

What we need is for influential high profile religious leaders who are tolerant and anti-hatred, to show solidarity with the more progressive churches of Uganda. We need to organize large religious conferences that teach a gospel of love and dignity for all. We need more Unitarian Universalists to stand on the side of love with us as we work to promote love and tolerance in Uganda.

Just this week, the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office screened the film God Loves Uganda, in conjunction with a panel discussion titled: “No Longer in My Name, A Faith-Based Response to Faith-Based Intolerance.” This documentary is a powerful exploration of the evangelical campaign to change African culture with values imported from America’s Christian Right. The film follows American and Ugandan religious leaders fighting “sexual immorality” and missionaries trying to convince Ugandans to follow their interpretation of Biblical law.

I urge you to host your own screening in your congregation or community to raise awareness about this issue. Click here for more information, including links to trailers and how to host a screening.

I believe that there are many religious leaders in Uganda who can be moved to speak out against violence and hatred towards LGBT people. But they feel too alone and afraid to speak their hearts. The support of the American Religious Right has contributed to this alienation. The success of their messaging has led to the creation of the “kill the gays bill” in parliament. Today this proposed hateful legislation has the support of over 85% of Ugandans.

Religious leaders in Uganda who are LGBT allies have been shunned by our government and largely ignored by our western allies. Bishops have been fired and made poor after promoting tolerance and love. We feel alone here.

However, if faith leaders change their tone and begin speaking out against hate and violence, then we can turn the tide of faith-based intolerance in Uganda. We will not only defeat the anti-gay bill, but change the hearts and minds of Ugandans with respect to the treatment of LGBT people.

There are many ways you can take action, from showing the film God Loves Uganda, to supporting the Unitarian Universalist Association LGBT Uganda Fund, which is one of the only funds dedicated to supporting faith based LGBT advocacy in Uganda. With your help and collaboration, we will help to educate people about what is going on in Uganda and organize religious conferences across Africa with a very different faith message.

We can tell those who promote hate and violence in the name of the God, that they no longer speak in the name of all communities of faith. The majority of communities of faith believe tolerance and peace. Please help us spread this gospel of love. Our lives are depending on it.

In faith,

Rev. Mark Kiyimba

Rev. Mark Kiyimba

The message above went out on Friday, June 14, 2013 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

Across the Nation, Unitarian Universalists Stand on the Side of Love at Pride!

3 Comments | Share On Facebook| Across the Nation, Unitarian Universalists Stand on the Side of Love at Pride! Share/Save/Bookmark Jun 30, 2011

Over the past couple of weeks, Unitarian Universalist congregations from across the country have celebrated Pride and the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in a plethora of amazing ways.  Here are some shining examples:

Capital Pride Parade in Washington, DC

UUs at Capital Pride Parade

Almost 90 UUs from a dozen local UU congregations from around the DC-area joined together to march in the Capital Pride Parade and host a UU booth at the Pride Festival.

UUs at Capital Pride Parade

Elizabeth Fogarty of the UU Church of Arlington says, “What was really wonderful was that it was a whole group of UU congregations coming together for the Pride Parade and Festival. No one congregation took the lead or did all the work. It was truly a shared effort. Not only did we Stand on the Side of Love for GLBT equality, but we reached beyond our individual congregations to do it.”

Marching on the Side of Love in Iowa

The UU Fellowship of Ames and the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines joined together to march with their Standing on the Side of Love banners at the 2011 Pride March.  Between the two congregations, they had 132 participants, wow!

Third Annual Gay Rights March in Racine, Wisconsin

Racine Gay Rights March

Olympia Brown UU Church and the LGBT Center of Southeast Wisconsin co-hosted Racine, Wisconsin’s third Gay Rights March in honor of Pride Weekend.  OBUUC minister Tony Larsen says that the congregation organized the first march in 2009 in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.  They specifically tailored it to be a “gay rights” event instead of a “pride” event to make it safe space for community members who may not be out to participate.

Mayor John Dickert gives a speech on inclusiveness and diversity.

The event had interfaith participation from a local Episcopal church and Mayor John Dickert even turned up to give a speech and issued a proclamation declaring June 26, 2011 as “Gay Rights Day” in Racine. It was also the inaugural event for the congregation’s brand new Standing on the Side of Love banner!

For more photos and video of the event, check out the local news coverage.

Standing on the Side of Love with Ugandans in Georgia

Congregations in Aiken and Augusta, Georgia celebrated Pride weekend by hosting Rev. Mark Kiyimba, head of the Unitarian Universalist Association in Uganda and outspoken opponent of the country’s recent anti-homosexuality bill.

In Aiken, the Sunday morning service featured Rev. Kiyimba and they later screened the documentary “Homosexuality: Africa’s Last Taboo.”  The congregation in Augusta held a “Walking in the Light of Love” service followed by a screening of “Missionaries of Hate.”  What a great example of standing on the side of love across oceans and continents!