The whole Kony-video thing seems to be over. Most of the
millions of viewers watched the half-hour film about Joseph
Kony right after Invisible Children released it. The group's action
kits are sold out. Lots of thoughtful criticism has been written and widely shared.
Yet I keep coming back to it, because these
conversations have revolved around questions I wrestle with regularly as a
missionary in Nicaragua.
Christianity has a long tradition of encouraging people to meditate on the lives of the saints. That tradition has foundered somewhat in this egalitarian age, in which we resist the notion that some lives are worthy of emulation. We have also been schooled by modern journalism and psychology to suspect that virtue is never unblemished.
What has Seoul to do with Kampala? In the 1980s, the term “Global South” gained currency as a means of describing those parts of the planet outside the advanced regions of Europe, North America and Japan. Various writers, including myself, noted the dramatic rise of Christian numbers in that vast region.
The Anglican Church of Uganda says it now prefers to see some changes to existing antihomosexuality laws rather than passage of a totally new bill that many international church and secular leaders have condemned.
President Obama chided conservative religious and political leaders at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, condemning an antigay bill in Uganda and challenging them not to question his faith or his citizenship.
“You can’t understand Africa without understanding religion,” said Emmanuel Katongole, a Catholic priest from Uganda. As he led a tour of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, it was soon clear what he meant. Slogans such as “Jesus cares” and “Try Jesus” adorn taxicabs. Ads for a Catholic bank named Centenary print the letter T as a cross.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).