Righteous Crusades? Imperialism, homophobia and the danger of simplification in God Loves Uganda

McGuirk, Siobhan. 2013. Righteous Crusades? Imperialism, homophobia and the danger of simplification in God Loves Uganda. The Postcolonialist, 1(1), [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

In his new documentary, God Loves Uganda (2013), director Rodger Ross Williams trains a sharply focused lens on the Evangelical missionaries travelling from Missouri to “The Pearl of Africa” to spread a deeply conservative reading of the Gospel. Splitting scenes between the U.S. and Uganda, Williams presents a convincing polemic: U.S.-backed campaigns for “sexual morality” are directly responsible for soaring HIV infection rates and rapidly growing anti-homosexual sentiment in one of the world’s poorest nations.

Carefully structured and well edited, God Loves Uganda is also timely. The film tackles the topical issue of gay rights in Uganda and amplifies long-standing critiques of conservative Christian organizations’ approaches to HIV prevention, which emphasize abstinence and monogamy over condom-use. The film has been praised on the festival circuit and a nationwide release is forthcoming.

While God Loves Uganda raises pertinent questions, it frequently offers reductive and shortsighted answers. By depicting Ugandans as easily led and oversimplifying the impact of colonial, neocolonial and neoliberal interventions on Ugandan society, Williams betrays an imperial gaze that echoes the perspectives he seeks to critique. A more discerning analysis is needed, if audiences are to understand longstanding debates over sexuality in Uganda.

Item Type:



Imperialism, homophobia, Uganda

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



18 November 2013Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

18 May 2018 11:49

Last Modified:

18 May 2018 11:49

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



Edit Record Edit Record (login required)