Pope's Visit to Uganda will not change Two Major Issues: Poverty and Homophobia!!

I was reading in the Philadelphia Inquirer today about the Pope's visit to Uganda.  I wonder what the security precautions were before the Pontiff visited.  In Philadelphia, we had the FBI, CIA, Secret Service agents, Homeland Security and numerous other agencies in addition to our local police force to protect this world leader.  Thankfully, there were no major incidents to mar his visit.  The after effects of the visit are gone.  The murder rate is up over last year and the pilgrims have returned to their points of origin.  I don't know if we (City of Philadelphia) have been paid for the city services expended but we will probably find out after the new Mayor is installed.

Uganda is a country of almost 37 million people.  It is a multi-party Democratic Republic whose President is Yoweri Kaguti Museveni.  I remember him for the professed hatred for gays and the passage of virulent anti-gay laws.  Strangely, these laws were supported by the religious organizations in the country.  International pressure and the loss of financial support caused the legislature to repeal most of the restrictive legislation but I can imagine the horror and persecution of anyone that was perceived to be, or is really gay.  Jail terms, physical beatings and death were punishments for the DNA makeup of these individuals.

In my research, I found out about the life of David Kato.  David was an activist who was beaten to death with a hammer in one of the slums of his home country.  He was an advocacy officer for the Sexual Minorities Uganda.  His and other supposed gay citizens' names were published by a magazine called Rolling Stones in the country.  Mr. Kato was a twin but no word is mentioned pf what has happened to his sibling.  One issue that the Pope has been silent on is the treatment of gays in this country.  The focus has been on the martyrdom of Christians in this fledgling country back in the 1880's.  These individuals, on the orders od Mwanga II, king of Burundi, were burned alive for their belief in Jesus Christ.  I attended church this morning and I am truly thankful that it was not a life or death decision.

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Another issue that the Pope's visit will not rectify is poverty.  Souls will be saved but the people living in Kangemi will not see true change in their lifetimes.  The article stated that this was one of 11 slums in Nairobi, which is East Africa's largest city.  It is home to 50,000 people.  I am just imagining living in a tin roof shack with no running water and minimal job opportunities.  Hoping for a miracle based on the pope's visit would be my only motivation to try to make a change.  HIV has ravaged this country.  Over one million children have been orphaned by this disease.  The economies of Uganda and Kenya are closely linked.  The overarching result is still the disparity in wealth distribution.  The Pope's visit did not help that reality here.  Evangelism will still not help that situation in theas countries.

The Pope will finish his visit in the Central African Republic.  This country has been the site of vicious conflicts between Christians and Muslims.  I will give the Pope credit for visiting with Muslim leaders.  This visit would not happen in countries like Syria or Saudi Arabia.  They persecute Christians and have minimal room for religious differences.  I hope the visit of the Pope will temper some of the anti-gay rhetoric.  He hasn't addressed this issue but it needs to be a focus of international pressure.  I also hope that the powers that be will do more to address economic inequality.  Our dwindling natural resources should not be the province of only those with means.  I do appreciate the fact that he advocates for the poor and displaced residents of the world.  He is a tireless advocate for regular citizens who would be accepted by Jesus Christ when he returns.  God Bless the Pope and the people of the African countries that he is visiting.

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