Rt. Rev. Macleord Baker Ochola II speaks during an event in children born in LRA captivity on 4 April 2017 at Kaunda grounds in Gulu. Photo credit: Oryem Nyeko
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The homily on children born in LRA captivity

5 April 2017 - 13:04

On 4 April 2017 at Kaunda grounds in Gulu an event was held in honour of children born in LRA captivity. During the event, Rt. Rev. Macleord Baker Ochola II, a retired Bishop of the Diocese of Kitgum, delivered a powerful speech urging the acceptance and love of children born of war to the interfaith audience, drawing on the customs of the Lwo people of northern Uganda and scripture.

Lwo culture

A child born outside wedlock.

A child born outside wedlock is called a bastard (Latin luk). He or she is regarded as indisciplined child. He or she has no manner whatsoever. He or she is regarded as a spoiled child simply because he or she lacks parental love, care and concern. That is why marriage is so important in the Lwo culture.

Rape or sexual gender-based violence.

There was no such a thing like rape or sexual gender-based violence among the Lwo community. However, there was rape of married women by the ogre, as a challenge to the husbands of these women and their sons. The ogre wanted to know who is with the largest testicles. 

Who had the largest testicles, the husbands of those women being raped by the ogre or the ogre?

In this context, the ogre wanted to test the manliness, courage and strength of the husbands of those women who were being raped by the ogre.

The ogre (Obibi)

The ogre has no respect for human life of anybody in the world. The ogre eats every human being he or she finds in the open fields. However, the ogre does not eat people who have taken refuge inside a house because the ogre respects the sanctity and the purity of a house, as a sanctuary for security, safety and peace for every human being who takes safety inside a house.

The ogre also respects the virginity of young girls who are not yet married. However, the ogre does not respect the virginity of a girl with extra promiscuity like Akello Lakelekele. However, the ogre does not negotiate with a girl for marriage, but he violates the human rights of a girl, by taking her by force, as a wife like in the case of Lawino.

Children born in LRA captivity.

According to Lwo culture, what happened during the war of insurgency has no comparison in the Lwo’s past history, especially sexual enslavement of the girl-child mothers, that led to sex with them in the bush resulting in bearing children in the bush. Lwo norms do not allow a woman or a girl to have sex in the bush because otherwise she would be cursed by the jogi who guide the environment.

However, when nature calls one has all the freedom and the liberty to expose his or her nakedness, in the eyes of the jogi who guide the environment, without any problem.

Human beings created in the image of God

Image of God

Every human being from generation to generation is a child of God, created in the image of God. This does not mean that God has a physical body like any of us human beings, because God is spiritual. 

God's glory

Every human being is a reflection of God's glory. Some theologians feel that our reason, creativity, speech or self-determination, is the image of God. In this way, we do have the ability to reflect God's character in our love, patience, forgiveness, and faithfulness. 

Self-worth

Human worth is not based on possessions, achievements, physical attractiveness or public acclaim, but on the image of God in each one of us, as human beings. Thus, both man and woman are placed at the pinnacle of God's creation with equality, equity and freedom and liberty. 

Therefore, all human beings, throughout the world, share many characteristics of God, because our entire self, as humanity, reflects the image of God.

Therefore, a child born in LRA captivity is a child of God created in the image of God, regardless of the circumstances in which he or she was born.

Accept me as your own child

Every child born in the LRA captivity, therefore, must be accepted, as our own child, because he or she is a child of God, created in the image of God. He or she is completely innocent of any sin committed in the bush, by his or her biological father. 

On the other hand, his or her mother must be considered as a victim of circumstance, simply because her parents, community, government of Uganda, and international community, all have failed miserably to protect her from the LRA abduction into captivity. All these circumstances were absolutely beyond her own control. Thus, her human rights, human dignity, and human freedom and liberty, were all violently violated on our watch.

The lost son

The parable of the lost son reveals the true love of God for all sinners who have repented, by turning back to God on their own free will. This is because God's love is constant and consistent, patient and welcoming at all times. God, like, the father of the lost son, waits patiently for us to come back to our senses, on our own free will. The father of the lost son, like, God, forgave the younger son because he was full of love. However, the elder son refused to forgive his younger brother because he was full of bitterness and hatred. The younger son left home due to selfish interests. However, God's great love reaches out and finds sinners no matter why or how they got lost, in the first place.

In conclusion, let us all know the fact that God's thoughts and God's ways are completely too far away from our own thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55. 8 - 9).

The challenge is, we must accept God's ways about the children who are born in the LRA captivity without any question, simply because they are all children of God, created in the image of God.

May the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight! O, Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen! (Palm 19. 14).

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