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COMMENTARY: A presiding bishop in U.S., who is a convicted felon, exports more homophobia to Uganda

AOL News carried a disturbing story during Thanksgiving week about how American churches continue to fuel the fires of hatred and misinformation against the Ugandan LGBT community and its allies.

The most recent example of this abuse comes from Carl Jenkins, founder and presiding bishop of Christ Central Christian Ministries Worldwide in Albany, Ga. He is linking up with church leaders in Uganda and neighboring countries to discourage homosexuality in the African region, according to AOL News.

“Overall, we’re not seeing the moral change and economic change that Christ can give if you are obedient and dedicated to the word of God,” Jenkins told AOL News.

Jenkins is spending much of November in east Africa to finalize Christ Central’s organizational structure. On a recent Sunday, the organization consecrated 16 bishops from Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Jenkins’ movement is based in Teso, Uganda, where a Christ Central Academy and Health Center will be opened. It claims about 30 branch affiliates in Uganda alone and hopes to double that number by next year. Another 55 are being planned for Kenya. All of the newly ordained bishops have no formal theological education and hope to attend Jenkins’s Bishop Academy next year.

In this cloud of moral righteousness, Presiding Bishop Jenkins forgot to tell his new congregations about his own sinful past.

How can a convicted felon who poses as a Christian leader rise as a mega-missionary to Uganda?

According to The Associated Press, Presiding Bishop Carl Jenkins, founder of Dale City Christian Church in Virginia, was convicted in 2002 of arson and sentenced to five years in jail and fined $100,000.

Details of the case can be read in Firehouse Forums and the Fredericksburg Star.

“Stafford Circuit Judge James Haley Jr. chastised Carl Ellis Jenkins Sr. for lying in July 2002 when he denied pouring gasoline on the front stoop of his former lover and church employee, Sandra Cager's North Stafford home and then lighting a match.

"Twelve jurors believed you were bearing false witness in violation of the Ten Commandments," Haley told Jenkins. "There was no doubt you were lying."

A jury found Jenkins, 55, guilty of arson but innocent of three counts of attempted capital murder during a five-day trial that summer. Haley imposed the maximum fine of $100,000 and minimum sentence of five years.”

Responding to this latest outrage is retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda, who is in San Diego and who will receive a Senate Resolution in his honor at Eden at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2.

“The last thing Uganda needs is more religious fundamentalism from the United States to fuel the fires of hatred and violence against gay and transgender Ugandans," Bishop Christopher said.

"Just weeks ago, a tabloid paper published a front page death threat with names and photos of gay and transgender advocates as well as my photo on the cover. They called for our hanging. People have been attacked and are running into hiding for fear of their lives.”

Jenkins denied being homophobic in the AOL article but went on to say, “But I can glean from the Bible that God is not pleased with homosexuality.”

The point person for the ministry in Uganda, Bernard Ebiau, said that homosexuality should not be legal: “That would be the same as promoting it.”

The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle is president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, based in San Diego. He has recently returned from Uganda and is coordinating the tour of human rights advocate, Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, to the USA this month. For more information, call (949) 338-8830 [email protected]