February 11, 2011
Pastor Lou Engle
International House of Prayer/The Call
Dear Mr. Engle,
We at Soulforce and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) are saddened and distraught at the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans. The social climate in Uganda has become so toxic that LGBT people are not safe in their homes or on the street. And, we believe that the untruths and misrepresentations that you and other U.S. based Christian evangelical leaders continue to proclaim regarding the goodness and wholeness of LGBT people is at the root of this climate of fear and violence. These misrepresentations and untruths must stop now.
The safety of LGBT people, as well as their friends and their families, has been put at risk because of the proposed “anti-homosexual bill.” You have claimed to oppose this bill, but you have not taken a clear and public position in Uganda where your opposition could make a difference. Instead, after fueling the flames of anti-LGBT sentiments in Uganda, you have stood beside the bill’s supporters and referred to their work as righteous. You cannot preach that “homosexuals have demons” or say to LGBT people, “let the Bible kill you?” and then ignore the results of speaking such words. Words have power. And, your words create fear and hatred toward LGBT people. This fear and hatred puts the lives of LGBT people at risk and perpetuates a climate of terror and violence.
The purpose of this letter is to introduce ourselves and let you know that it is our intention to continue to pursue dialog with you until you stop your vitriolic rhetoric against LGBT people. We ask you to formally renounce the “anti-homosexuality bill” in Uganda. We ask you to call on MP David Bahati, MP James Nsaba Buturo and Pastor Julius Oyet to cease and desist their persecution of LGBT people. And, we ask you to call for a fair and impartial investigation into the murder of David Kato. Informed by the principles of nonviolence as demonstrated by Mohandas Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we at Soulforce and HRC will not give up on our call to end this outrage.
As a beginning point in this dialog, members of a Soulforce and HRC delegation will be traveling to Kansas City on Sunday, February 20th to meet with you and to deliver a petition signed by over 36,000 Americans who are deeply saddened by the murder of human rights defender, David Kato, and horrified by the role U.S. religious leaders have played in perpetuating a climate of misunderstanding and violence against LGBT people. Our intent is to work with you in an honest effort to find what Gandhi called “the third way,” a way that recognizes the dangers of continuing on the current path. As people of faith, we respect your profound commitment to prayer and to making the world a better place, yet we cannot stand by while your rhetoric wreaks havoc on an entire community of people.
Member of our delegation would welcome the opportunity to worship in your congregation on Sunday and we will be in respectful vigil outside the IHOP facilities on East Red Bridge Road on Sunday morning throughout services – ready, willing, and able to join you in this dialog toward truth. Please advise us whether you will welcome us into this dialog and where and when you would like to meet on Feb. 20th. You may direct your response to Rev. Dr. Cindi Love’s email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 972 358 5907. We look forward to our time together.
Rev. Dr. Cindi Love
Human Rights Campaign Religion Council Member
Dr. Sharon Groves
Religion and Faith Program
Human Rights Campaign