Ugandan Born-Again Christians and the Moral Politics of Gender Equality

In: Journal of Religion in Africa
Lydia Boyd Dept. of African, African American and Diaspora Studies University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Campus Box 3395, Chapel Hill, nc 27599

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In recent years Ugandan born-again Christians have regularly engaged in forms of social protest—against homosexuality, in support of youth sexual abstinence—that they characterize as acts in defense of the African family. At the center of these protests was an overriding concern with the effects of a global discourse of rights-based gender equality on Ugandan cultural norms. Drawing on long-term fieldwork in a born-again church in Kampala, this article examines the underlying moral conflict that shapes born-again women’s and men’s rejections of gender equality. At the center of such conflicts were concerns about the ways rights-based equality undermined other models for moral personhood and gendered interdependence that existed in Uganda, models that were characterized as essential for social stability and personal well-being. This conflict is analyzed in relation to a broader sense of moral insecurity that pervaded discussion of gender and family life in Kampala.

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