Should a president lead citizens in a national prayer of repentance?
Uganda’s Christian president believes so.
The Ugandan newssite New Vision reports President Yoweri Museveni celebrated Uganda’s 50th anniversary of independence from Britain at the National Jubilee Prayers event by publicly repenting of his personal sin and the sins of the nation.
“I stand here today to close the evil past, and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent. We ask for your forgiveness,” Museveni prayed.
“We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation. We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal,” Museveni said.
“Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict,” Museveni prayed.
Next, the president dedicated Uganda to God.
“We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own,” Museveni prayed.
Uganda won its independence from Britain Oct. 8, 1962. Resistance leader Milton Obote was the country’s first prime minister.
Massachusetts pastor and activist Rev. Scott Lively believes Museveni is a model for other national leaders.
“The Museveni prayer is a model for all Christian leaders in the world. The leaders of the West have declined in proportion to their degree of rejection of God,” Lively said.
Lively also believes Uganda will rise as a major African power as America continues to decline. He uses Britain as an example.
“Britain was at its height as a world power when it honored God as the Ugandan president has just done. America’s greatness has similarly diminished as we have shifted from a Christian to a secular-humanist country. But watch now for Uganda to be blessed by God for their desire to be His,” Lively said.
Lively added that Museveni is definitely drawing a contrast between Uganda and the West.
“This incident is also important as a contrast to the picture being painted of Uganda by the godless left of a backwards, violent and savage culture intent on murdering homosexuals,” Lively said.
“On the contrary, Museveni is calmly and confidently setting the course of his nation by the guidance of the Bible, in a way that also shows great courage and resolve,” Lively said.
Homosexual activist groups have criticized the government of Uganda and Museveni for passing laws criminalizing homosexual behavior. A current bill before the Ugandan Parliament increases the jail sentences for homosexual acts and includes criminal penalties for those who encourage or promote homosexuality.
The bill had included the death penalty for those who commit multiple acts of homosexual behavior, but the provision has been removed, BBC News reports.
The government of Uganda could not be reached for comment on this story.
Lively said he didn’t agree with the death penalty provision but supports the nation’s strong stance against homosexual behavior.
While Museveni is being held as a model for Christian leaders, Dave Daubenmire, PT Salt Ministries’ president and founder and social commentator, said the problem for Western nations goes deeper than the political leaders.
The problem in the United States, he said, is the pastors.
“Sadly, I think our lack of repentance is the fault of the pulpit. Individual Christians are so awash in sin that they think politicians are merely better at sin than they are,” Daubenmire said.
“There is no fear of the Lord and we are getting essentially a two-kingdom message. We hear that the devil is the god of this world and that Jesus will even the score later,” Daubenmire said. “The problem is that most Christians are convinced that this world is in control of Satan and therefore are not interested in applying the kingdom principles for which Christ died.”
Daubenmire quoted Matthew 28:18, in which Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
Christians, Daubenmire said, are exhorted later in the same chapter to go and make disciples of all nations.
“We are to teach them and baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “All power in heaven and in earth belongs to Jesus. Unfortunately, most Christians don’t have the foggiest idea that He rules and reigns here and now, and that the kingdom principles that He taught us bring victory over evil wherever they are applied.”
He added that Christians too often play with sin.
“Since we do not hate sin anymore, we don’t demand repentance,” Daubenmire said.
He quoted British 17th century statesman Edmund Burke, who said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Daubenmire said that in America, “good men have yielded power to evil men.”
“Evil rules when evil men make the rules,” he said.