I Love Idi Amin


I was reading through Luke 6 a couple of weeks ago and read two verses that I know I’ve read a thousand times before. Luke 6:35-36 says this, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

I guess I had never really seen ‘he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil‘ before. We usually look at kindness and loving others as something that has perks, or something that we do selectively. But Jesus seems to say otherwise. So what if you give cash to the guy with the sign and he looks at you with a ‘is that all?’ look. So what if someone acts entitled to your kindness or if they are outright cruel? ‘Be merciful as your Father is merciful’ even to the evil and ungrateful.

Fr. Festo Kivengere was one of the last persons to see Anglican Archbishop Luwan before Idi Amin killed him. Fr. Festo saw firsthand the brutality of the dictator. This dictator who brutally killed hundreds of thousands. Yet, when asked to talk about Amin’s regime, Fr. Festo wrote a book and called it, I Love Idi Amin. He says “When Jesus was on the cross, he said, ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ How could I do any less with Idi Amin?” Therefore he could say, ‘I love Idi Amin.’

I look at the current political wars in many of the mainline churches, especially the Episcopal Church that I am a part of. Yes, I am disappointed at the unwillingness to repent of various heresies and apostasy. And to abandon the Scriptures and the Tradition is grave indeed.

But is there another way besides schism and lawsuits and sword rattling? Do we who are doctrinally correct have the ‘right’ to sue and castigate our opponents?

If God is kind to the ungrateful and the evil and if someone can say ‘I love Idi Amin’ in the name of Jesus, can I love and pray for the leaders of TEC? Is it possible to show mercy as God shows mercy?

Is there a third way?

10 thoughts on “I Love Idi Amin

  1. The problem will be the property. Give ECUSA the property when you leave and there will be no animosity. I believe you will find that they don’t care about the church. They care about the buildings.

  2. I have not been keeping up with the EC lectionary…but this passage was our Gospel reading on Sunday. Coincidence? Or is it one of those things God is trying to tell me? You know, when you see a certain scripture in several different places all in a short time frame?

    Interesting post. I keep thinking, though, that there’s a difference between loving those who persecute you and choosing to stand there and take it? If church is the one place you are supposed to be able to go to to hear God’s truth and receive the sacraments, and the same church is the one that you struggle with, what then? Can’t we show mercy but also remove ourselves from further harm? Does love and mercy in this situation equal acquiesence? What about the children…and Jesus’ words about not harming the children/causing them to sin? Are we causing our children harm staying in such a church? If we believe the church leaders are engaging in sin unrepented, then what? Dang, this is hard.

  3. When the angel came to free Peter from prison, was he supposed to stay in chains and in prison? “No, really, thank you for the opportunity for the freedom, but I think I’ll stay and love my captors instead.” No, Peter was supposed to leave (led by an angel and all). But, when Paul was in prison and the earthquake hit, he was to stay until freedom was delivered through other means. (He was however, physically ministered to by the jailer.) In both instances, they (Peter and Paul) were freed because it was the will of God. And sometimes it is the will of God that we are martyred for our faith. (But self-imposed captivity or self-imposed martyrdom? I don’t think so.)

  4. Amy said: “Can’t we show mercy but also remove ourselves from further harm?”

    In my view, yes, absolutely, and we must!! What is the central ethic of the “Torah of the Messiah”? (Just asking rhetorically, as I know you know.) “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If a body can’t respect and love and care for themselves and those closest to them, then how can they possibly “do unto others” in the correct spirit of the “Torah of the Messiah”? How you treat yourself (and I’d say, how you view the nature of the Divine, too) is inextricably linked to how you’ll “do unto others.”

  5. I’ve been thinking a lot about mercy and loving those who persecute you lately. It’s not biblical, but it was merciful for the mouse to pull the thorn out of the lion’s paw. I believe it is merciful for me to discipline my children when they misbehave. And loving, too. Love for them and the world…because it’ll be easier for everyone if they know how to get along in this life.

    After reading your questions again, I still have the sense that like always, you have answers to the questions you ask. Of course there is another way. Just leave, don’t schism, don’t sue. That only makes one entity happy. There are life jackets available all over the Bosphorus…and you can pray for the leaders of TEC from anywhere. I do. Please post some more thoughts.

  6. “Do we who are doctrinally correct have the ‘right’ to sue and castigate our opponents?”

    Not easily, not if you want to take Jesus’ and biblical teachings seriously (ie, not if you want to be doctrinally correct.)

    How can any one of you with a case against another dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment instead of to the holy ones?…I say this to shame you. Can it be that there is not one among you wise enough to be able to settle a case between brothers? Now indeed (then) it is, in any case, a failure on your part that you have lawsuits against one another. Why not rather put up with injustice? Why not rather let yourselves be cheated?”

    I Corintians 6

  7. how could one ever say”i love idi amin”
    he created a big social genocide with my country,and with even the richest people living in africa still killl them knowing they did nothing wrong

  8. Ugh! Perhaps one can write “I love Idi Amin,” but can this statement have any practical or real meaning? I think the mere pronouncing of the words can do more damage than good to those who suffered under the regime of this man. He did after all add many more martyrs to those mentioned in Revelation as under the altar pleading with Jesus “Εος ποτε, ο δεσποτης ο αγιος και αληθινος”—How long, O Lord the Holy One the True?

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