“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.
The decision by 17 Danish newspapers to reprint a controversial cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad that caused rioting worldwide in early 2006 was condemned by the Washington-based Institute on Religion and Public Policy. Demonstrators in Amman, Jordan, reportedly burned Danish flags outside the Copenhagen embassy February 25 in a protest against the cartoon reprints.
Last November I traveled to a restful location outside of Kampala, Uganda, to spend three days with African Christian leaders who are trying to address the destructive conflicts in their countries. They represented a “United Nations” of Christian denominations and traditions—Baptist, Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian, Pentecostal and Mennonite.
The worst place on earth to be a child today is northern Uganda. The suffering is far worse than in Darfur in duration, magnitude and long-term consequences. Genocide is being carried out by the government against the Acholi people.
The Japan-based Niwano Peace Foundation says it will for the first time award its annual prize to an African group—the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative, which seeks social justice and the end to a bloody conflict in Uganda.