The Devil exists! It showed up last week through one of its Apostles, or more accurately, its servant – Grace Lubega – and misled God’s unsuspecting children, as was the case in Eden.
Through its forked tongue, while belching brimstone, eyes bloodshot with malice, it prowled about looking for a victim and found a willing accomplice in one of the incumbent regime’s high priests.
There was nothing Christ-like, much less Godly about the mindless tirade in which Lubega derided, insulted, ridiculed and laid bare his hatred and envy for the youthful legislator, lyrical genius, entrepreneur and leader, Honourable Kyagulanyi Ssentamu.
The only thing that is more bloodcurdling about the absurd spectacle is that a significant number among the congregation nodded or otherwise gestured in approval of the tonnes of sanctimonious garbage that was spewed from the pulpit.
More so considering the fact that a cursory glance through the congregation shows that it was comprised of—at least by our Ugandan standards—the middle class.
That they could unquestioningly imbibe—lock, stock, and barrel—the unfortunate verbiage (to say the least) of the “pastor” is disturbing in more ways than one.
It doesn’t require any mastery of the Bible or Judeo-Christian doctrine to see through “Apostle’s” vitriol.
Through music and dance, my Sunday School instructors imprinted indelible lessons in my memory and I find three songs relevant in this instant case.
“The fruits of the (Holy) Spirit are love, joy, peace, friendship, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control and that for such there is no law.”
Another song talked about how wonderful Jesus’s love was; how high it was that one cannot get over it; how low that you can’t get under it and how wide (broad) that one cannot get their arms around it… The third song was another testimony to the profundity and infinite extents of God’s love and I think it is still popular today: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…Jesus loves me when I’m good when I do the things I should…Jesus loves me when I’m bad, though it makes him very sad…yes, Jesus loves me (x3) …the Bible tells me so.”
The depth of these songs is remarkable. Yet it is self-evident that Grace (what an abuse of such a good name!) Lubega’s interaction and closeness to Uganda’s ruling family and the attendant cabal of militant oligarchs makes it impossible for him to appreciate the theological foundations of Christianity.
Notably, the diversity of choice that Jesus displayed in choosing his twelve Disciples: Matthew, a tax collector; two brothers, Simon (Peter) and Andrew were fishermen, to mention a few should say something to Lubega and those of his ilk but the mind chooses what it wants to see.
By Lubega’s flawed reasoning, Jesus should have exclusively recruited his Disciples from the equivalent of today’s Ivy League universities, Galilee’s aristocrats and Jerusalem’s royalty. He didn’t. He valued diversity and did not discriminate or judge, like the Devil’s Apostle has done.
As a result of Jesus’s ingenious experiment and tremendous capacity for mobilization and organization, Christianity remains and will very likely remain a major belief (and value system) across time and space.
As such, it is in the enlightened self-interest of every genuine believer to resolutely pushback against and take unequivocal exception to Lubega’s misleading and deliberate misconstruction of the Gospel.
Can Lubega tell us what the Bible says about Yoweri Museveni, the living embodiment of King Nebuchadnezzar and the state-inspired violence, grand larceny and misrule he and his Lot have subjected our beautiful country and her Peoples to? Or his proximity to the political establishment makes that impossible?
The abiding effect of religion (not faith), as aptly described by philosopher Karl Marx as the “opium of the people” is abundantly on display. Its numbing effect on civic consciousness more so.
Our colonizers used education to specifically get us to hate ourselves in much the same way the Museveni Hegemony wants Ugandans to believe that our political and economic challenges are God-ordained and not connected to corruption and dictatorship—the easiest and most convenient way to transmit such a message is through feckless religious institutions.
This is why corruption is fought with the impotent Archbishop Ntagali’s ‘national prayer breakfasts’ (which are attended and presided over by those who steal our money and other resources) while peaceful and unarmed protestors are detained, tortured or altogether summarily executed.
Those defending Lubega are deliberately blind to this reality and I will not be surprised if I lose some friends because of this article. Fortunately, the truth is the truth even if no one says it; wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it.
We must consistently rededicate ourselves to pushing back against repression even when it hides behind the venerable name of God the Creator of all that there is.
Long after Lubega’s odium has been blown away by the liberating winds of change that are gusting all over Uganda, the message of citizen voice and agency, as eloquently and consistently presented by Honourable Bobi Kyagulanyi and millions of citizens, will stand tall and deliver Uganda to its rightful place among the global community of nations.
In the meantime, I would like to donate a copy of our embattled 1995 Constitution to Lubega and will specifically highlight the Preamble and Articles 1, 3, 7, 17, 21 and 29 of the same document for his benefit. He did not look good when he ignorantly claimed that Uganda is a theocracy. His appreciation of civil and political rights is manifestly wanting for a man of such stature.
Also, at his earliest convenience, I am offering to give him a tour of the ghettos of Kamwokya to help him see the incredible socio-economic transformation and an opportunity to hear first hand, the life-stories of those young people who are not only inspired by Bobi and Barbie’s example but have tangibly been given a leg-up (not a hand-out) by their selfless investment and philanthropy in the areas of education, public health, talent development and commercial enterprise.
He could borrow a leaf and—beyond false piety and deceit—demonstrably live up to the meaning of the Greek word Phaneroo: “make manifest” just as the Kyagulanyis have made manifest in the ghetto, Uganda and increasingly, in the world.