Stuart Robert and Watoto


The Sydney Morning Herald reports…

“Turnbull government MP Stuart Robert has close ties to an African church that supports harsh anti-gay laws and is run by a preacher described as “one of the most homophobic people in the world”.

Mr Robert was a founding director of Watoto Australia, an offshoot of the Ugandan-based pentecostal Watoto Church, and has called church leader Gary Skinner one of the “great influences” on his life.

Watoto is a popular force in Uganda, preaching to 24,000 people across 11 churches and helping children orphaned by war and AIDS. Mr Skinner’s wife Marilyn also advocates for women’s rights.

It’s also behind the Watoto Choir, an acclaimed children’s choir that tours the world. It just finished a tour of Australia last week.

But the church has a darker side.

Gay and lesbian activists say Watoto and Mr Skinner are virulently anti-gay and have contributed to violent homophobia in Uganda. Mr Robert – who was also a member of Watoto’s International Board – has travelled to the Ugandan capital Kampala many times to meet Mr Skinner, who says homosexuality is “degrading” and an “inhuman sin” that brings disease and destroys families.

On at least two occasions Mr Robert charged taxpayers for the travel, with the bill totalling almost $20,000. On two other occasions he declared free travel to Africa on his register of interests, paid for by Watoto.

In 2006, Mr Robert self-published a book about the church called Hope: The Watoto Journey. Mr Robert only resigned his directorship when he became a minister in the Abbott government in 2013.

Mr Skinner’s church also advocates the “reform” and “reintegration” into society of gay people. On its website, Watoto Church says it “adheres to the biblical standard of sexuality” which means “it is a gift from God to be enjoyed only within the confines of a monogamous, heterosexual marriage relationship”.

It also says it is in favour of “pro-family legislation that reflects and preserves this biblical standard”.

This “pro-family legislation” has included Uganda’s notorious “kill the gays” bill. Gay rights campaigners say Watoto and Mr Skinner supported the harsh anti-gay bill that drew widespread international condemnation – even in its original incarnation, when it included the death penalty.

The church asked congregants to sign a petition in support of the bill, which the US has called “atrocious” and compared to the anti-Semitic laws in Nazi Germany and apartheid in South Africa.

The bill was eventually passed without the death penalty included, instead imposing a life sentence for homosexuality. The new version of the bill – which also imposes seven-year prison terms for “aiding and abetting” homosexuals – was annulled by the country’s constitutional court but only on procedural grounds. Proponents are agitating to resurrect it.

One of Uganda’s top gay rights advocates, Frank Mugisha, labelled Mr Skinner “one of the most homophobic people in the world”. But he says Mr Skinner’s charitable work makes him popular and therefore influential.

The Nobel Peace Prize nominee says while Mr Skinner has not been a public proponent of anti-gay laws his church has supported them strongly. He has also supported, endorsed and hosted anti-gay preachers from abroad who have come into Uganda to whip up homophobic sentiment.

“The church has supported anti-gay Christians like Stephen Langa, one of the key supporters of the anti-gay laws,” Dr Mugisha, a winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for his advocacy, told Fairfax Media. “Skinner was also one of the people who invited Lou Engle to Africa.”

Mr Langa is a Watoto Church elder who has been one of the driving forces behind the anti-gay legislation, publicly and behind the scenes.

He has referred to the LGBTI community as the “kingdom of Satan”, believes there is a homosexual plot to take over the world and has close ties to a range of virulently anti-gay American preachers.

He was the chief organiser of a now notorious March 2009 conference that gave a platform to three American evangelical preachers who claimed wealthy Westerners were trying to bribe Ugandan children into becoming gay.

Dr Mugisha and others say this conference was a watershed moment that whipped up anti-gay hysteria. Just one month later Ugandan MP David Bahati introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to rid the country of “homos”.

One of the speakers at the conference was Scott Lively, who reportedly also sermonised at Watoto. He is the author of Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, which seeks to blame gays for the Holocaust.

He subsequently bragged that his appearance in Uganda was like a “nuclear bomb” against the “gay agenda” in Africa.

Langa and Lively were subsequently named as co-conspirators in a lawsuit over an alleged plot to deprive Ugandan gays of their human rights, brought by Dr Mugisha’s Sexual Minorities in Uganda.

The case is ongoing in the US courts.

Mr Skinner was one of the official endorsers of New Apostolic Reformation prophet Lou Engle’s TheCall rally in Kampala in 2010.

Mr Engle says homosexuality comes from “the gates of hell” and has advice for anyone struggling with gay desires: “Let the Bible kill you”.

A spokesman for Mr Robert said he was a director of Watoto Australia for almost a decade on an “unpaid and voluntary basis”. He said Mr Robert has visited Africa more than a dozen times to work in refugee camps and AIDS treatment centres, on orphan programs and with micro-economic training companies.

“He and his family have personally funded and built a number of homes for orphaned children and spent over a decade working for the betterment of orphaned children,” the spokesman said.

“Gary Skinner’s views are a matter for him.”

The spokesman later said Mr Robert was not aware of Mr Skinner’s views and did not support them.

Mr Robert is strongly against same-sex marriage, and has used Parliamentary speeches to rail against “gay IVF” and proclaim that “homosexual relationships are far more unstable than heterosexual ones”.

“Nothing should be done by any Parliament to make it likely that more children will be raised by same-sex couples,” he said in 2008.

In media interviews, he has described Watoto as a “truly special place” and “a thing of beauty”.

Mr Skinner, who grew up in a white missionary family in Zimbabwe, is a regular visitor to Australia.

He has been a guest preacher at the pentecostal Hillsong Church in Sydney. Hillsong supports Watoto financially, donating $720,000 to Mr Skinner during a 2007 visit.

Watoto Australia raises more than $3 million a year for the church. Last year, the church raised $48 million worldwide.

In the United States, the LGBTI community has petitioned to keep Mr Skinner and the Watoto Choir out of the country.

American pastor Louie Giglio withdrew from participating in President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony following uproar from gay rights activists over his stance on homosexuality – including his ties to Watoto.

Comment was sought from both the Watoto Church and Watoto Australia.”


17 thoughts on “Stuart Robert and Watoto

  1. Nope – it won’t be Rector – Rector means ruler – and Christian leaders are supposed to be servants – not rulers – so it will be servant brother uncle Greg – or simply “Hey – Greg”


  2. Chrystal,
    No Christian I have spoken to hates LGB people.
    As for the TQIA people, you’d have to explain to them what you mean.
    But don’t hold that against them, even anything-goes liberals here didn’t know what LGBTQIA meant.
    The rainbow family. That sounds lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The odds are that there have been LGBTQIA individuals at Watoto but I am willing to bet that they have been forced into the closet and had to stay there because of the laws of that country. The so-called “Christians” hate Intersexed and Asexual individuals as well as the rest of the rainbow family.


  4. A liberal like you

    You have either no idea about me, or no idea what a liberal actually believes. Either way – you’re wrong…about everything you open your mouth about. Here’s a test for you to check if you’re wrong…If you’re talking, writing, or even just thinking – you’re wrong.


  5. “I have no desire for the church to marry anyone”

    Neither do I. But I don’t want homosexuals and polymarous lesbians insisting that if a church doesn’t marry them they are discriminatory.

    And a church school should be able to teach on their property that men marry women.


    What about the RM community and the GGTW community? Don’t we get a break?


  6. It’s ironic because people are constantly attacking the church and Christians for not being accepting and sympathetic towards the homosexual community. The it expanded to bisexuals.
    Then every year it is said to be a given that anyone not responsive to this community is on0loving and behind the times and even responsible for suicides. But the letters keep increasing.

    And now people don’t even know who were are talking about anymore. A liberal like you even has to look it up! So, it’s getting ridiculous to keep talking about how churches aren’t responsive.

    It would be okay if people belonging to altenative lifestyles lobbied the govt only -but it’s not just that. They want Christian schools to be forced to teach THEIR understanding of sexuality.

    But THEY – and it keeps changing who they are, don’t know who they are anyway.

    IA? Q? T?

    Will people only be happy when anybody is allowed to marry anyone in any number configuration legally, and schools and churches teach that LGBTQIA and whatever comes next is great?

    Okay, maybe you don’t see the irony. I think it’s hilarious. Because liberals keep implying that anyone who is modern and not hateful will be interested in the rights of a group identified by letters that even a super liberal like you can’t keep up with.

    People angrily running around saying the country, church, community has to recognize the rights of LGBTQIA when if YOU don’t know, probably only 10% of the population know – is laughable.

    Go and do a video interview of people on the street. Nobody knows what the hell they’re talking about anymore.


  7. I have no desire for the church to marry anyone – I don’t think we should be involved in sanctifying state contracts. I also wouldn’t have a problem if 10 people all wanted to get married – the reason why its best left at 2 is more about how you legally disentangle that nightmare if/when it breaks down (and each one more than one in a relationship increases the likelihood of it breaking down).

    I don’t understand why the comment is ironic just because I had to look up what the extra letters stood for. I also don’t care if the letters get longer shorter or stay the same.


  8. Greg,
    I haven’t looked at a website to find out about it.
    I once looked up Wikipedia and have forgotten.

    And I stand by it.
    It’s crazy.

    The L and G people want same sex marriage and the right to adopt.
    What do the B people want?
    Do they want the right to marry one man and one woman or have their 3person relationship civilly and/or religiously recongnized and to demonized anyone who doesn’t want to recognize legally their living relationship?
    Why and why not?
    Nobody has ever answered me here.

    What do the A people want?
    Does Chrystal expect an honest answer? Or is it a rhetorical question used as an attack against Christians who want to help orphans?

    If she’s serious I’m no representative of the choir but I could give it a go.

    If a choir member was A?
    What would happen?
    Nothing I suppose. But it’s normal for males and females to have some sexual desire at some time if their lives.
    If they don’t and have no desire to marry at all -good for them.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Watoto orphan in the future said they were G or L in the future.
    But while they are children sexual activity would be prohibited.
    If they are B?
    Well like I want to know- do you Greg or Chrystal want to change the definition of marriage to be more than two people? If not – why not?
    You might be the cause of bisexuals to become mentally ill or even suicide for the exact same reasons that those who don’t want to change marriage to be between two men are accused of.

    Is that transgender? In the case of a girl with a vagina who thinks she’s a boy? I think she should be helped to understand the obvious.
    That she is a girl. Very simple.

    And before anyone starts to say boys can be girls and girls can be boys, please read the very latest statements published by the American Pediatric Association.

    There is no scientific concensus that boys who are obviously boys but “think” or “feel” or “know” that they are girls should be encouraged to accept and nurture those feelings and be prepared for surgery.

    It’s not good.

    And if people want to call me an Fing idiot for stating the obvious remember you have to call Pope Francis and thousands of pediatricians around the world the same thing.

    I and Q …..
    Good grief!

    The fact that you had to look these letters up should show you the irony of the comment.

    Would you like to make a bet about whether these letters will increase or decrease?

    Should there be a P for polyamorists?

    What about SB – sometimes bisexual? slightly bisexual?

    And if you get your wish and every Christian church has to accept LGBTQIA and their demands for whatever marriage contract or civil arrangement they want and to be fully accepted members and leaders in churches, willthe LGBTQIA community (is there such a community??) then set its sites on the Mudlim world and force them to change their teachings – or will they get special treatment under “multi-cultural” understanding?

    I predict they’ll be harder to beat.
    But probably no liberals will have the courage with them.

    It’s also interesting that Chrystal asks “if any one”
    – it shows that if even one child who leaves the orphanage and says they aren’t heterosexual will be a victory of some sort.

    Basically many people raised in Catholic , Mormon , Buddhist orphanages receive education in accordance with the doctrines of the specific organization and then don’t continue. It doesn’t mean anything.

    What about “if any one” child of lesbian parents comes out saying they wished they had a father?
    “Any one”.

    What if “any one” daughter adopted by two homosexual men later states they wished they had a mother.

    It’s plausible.

    And …. wait for it. It’s already happened.

    Just like there are people who have had gender realignment surgery who still suffer depression and have regret.

    can they sue the doctor and psychiatrist? Or their parents who agreed to treatment pre-puberty to prepare their bodies for surgery.


    And Greg had to look it up.

    I don’t look at hate sites by they way. Except for this one! Lol


  9. Intersex and Asexual – though why asexual people need to be added to the list (I’ve never heard of anyone being pilloried for not being a sexual being) Q – there’s it’s interesting that you were motivated to mock – I was motivated to find out what the I and A stood for – perhaps it would do you more good to have a more open (you don’t have to agree) attitude -learn what people are saying about themselves – don’t try and learn about LGBTQIA from a hate web site – they truth is not there, I can assure you. You’re mocking does not do you well.


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