Friday, November 6, 2009

Uganda and the Anglican Communion's moment of truth

Uganda is among the largest, if not the largest, province of the Anglican Communion. There are 8.7 million Ugandans who consider themselves Anglican, roughly four times the size of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

The government of Uganda is considering legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by death, and make it a crime to assist gay, bisexual and transgendered people in any way.

At risk are not only people in the LGBT community, but those providing care and counseling to people infected by HIV/AIDS.

So far the Anglican Communion has been strangely silent. Whatever our arguments over gay marriage and the full inclusion of all people may be, certainly we can agree that this proposed law is barbaric and as far from teachings and life of Jesus Christ as it possibly could be. Even the Lambeth Conference with its resolutions against the ordination of gays nonetheless acknowledges the human rights of gay people.

We have heard from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in recent days on the issue of global warming, and let's applaud him for that. But where is he on this? Where are all of our bishops? Where is the Anglican Church of Uganda? All of the arguments over the Roman Catholic Church relationship with the Anglican Communion are but a sideshow compared to this moment of truth.

A recent article from the UK religious journal Ekklesia provides a few details:
The Anglican Communion and its leaders have reached a critical moment of judgement in its attitude to homosexuality. It is now 23 days since the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 was tabled by David Bahati, the MP for Ndorwa West in Uganda, but the leaders of the Communion have remained silent. The only Anglican groups to have responded are those working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Let us speculate on two possible reasons for the silence. The Communion leaders might say we are focused on bigger issues – poverty, climate change, conflict zones, for example. They might say that homosexuality and a Bill proposed in Uganda are peripheral to the concerns of the Communion – homosexuality is not important to us.

This is clearly not true and might even be categorised as a lie. For over 11 years, homosexuality has been centre-stage for the Anglican Communion.

The proposed Bill legislates for capital punishment, will criminalise anyone who responds in any way to a homosexual person in Uganda and increases prejudiced attitudes towards homosexuals. American conservative Christian groups are complicit in encouraging the tabling of the Bill.

To read the full article, click HERE.

1 comment:

Velky Al said...

What is next, criminalising shrimp eating (denounced in the same terms as homosexuality in the OT)?