Thursday, 11 February 2010

Church of Uganda statement on anti homosexuality bill

On 9 February, the Church of Uganda issued a statement on the proposed Uganda legislation. The full text of this is contained in a PDF file. It has also been copied below the fold.

According to the covering email:

The attached document is the official position of the Church of Uganda as endorsed by the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda.

Kindly ensure that it is represented in its entirety.

CHURCH OF UGANDA’S POSITION ON THE ANTI HOMOSEXUALITY BILL 2009

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Church of Uganda associates itself with the concerns expressed in the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009. However, instead of a completely new Bill, the Church recommends a Bill that amends the Penal Code Act (Cap.120) addressing loopholes, in particular:

  • protecting the vulnerabilities of the boy child; 1
  • proportionality in sentencing;
  • and, ensuring that sexual orientation is excluded as a protected human right.

Further, we recommend involvement of all stakeholders in the preparation of such a Bill in order to uphold Uganda’s values as they relate to human sexuality.

Church of Uganda’s position on Homosexuality

The Church of Uganda derives her mandate and authority from the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as the ultimate rule and standard of faith, given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary from salvation. 2 Her mission is to “fulfil Christ’s mission through holistic teaching, evangelism, discipleship and healing for healthy and godly nations 3.”

The Church’s position on human sexuality is consistent with its basis of faith and doctrine, and has been stated very clearly over the years as reflected in various documents. i ii iii

From a plain reading of Scripture, from a careful reading of Scripture, and from a critical reading of Scripture, homosexual practice has no place in God’s design of creation, the continuation of the human race through procreation, or His plan of redemption. Even natural law reveals that the very act of sexual intercourse is an experience of embracing the sexual “other”. The Church of Uganda, therefore, believes that “Homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture” (Resolution 1.10, 1998 Lambeth Conference). At the same time, the Church of Uganda is committed at all levels to offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.

The Objective of the Bill

The Church of Uganda appreciates the spirit of the Bill’s objective of protecting the family, especially in light of a growing propaganda to influence younger people to accept homosexuality as a legitimate way of expressing human sexuality.
We particularly appreciate the objectives of the Bill which seek to:

a) provide for marriage in Uganda as contracted only between a man and woman;
b) prohibit and penalize homosexual behaviour and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family;
c) prohibit ratification of any internationla treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with teh provisions of the Act;
d) prohibit the licensing of organizations which promote homosexuality.

The need for a Bill that amends existing legislation

We affirm the need for a Bill in light of the existing loopholes in the current legislation, specifically sections 145‐148 of the Penal Code Act (Cap 120), which does not explicitly address the other issues asscociated with homosexual practice such as procurement, recruitment and dissemination of literature. That notwithstanding, the ideal situation would be one where necessary amendment is made to existing legislation to also enumerate other sexual offences such as lesbianism and bestiality. This would not require a fresh bill on homosexuality per se but rather an amendment to the existing provisions which would also change the title to something like “The Penal Code Unnatural Offences Amendment Bill.”

Recommendation

As Parliament considers streamlining the existing legislation, we recommend that the following isues be taken into consideration:

1. Ensure that the law protects the confidentiality of medical, pastoral and counseling relationships, including those that disclose homosexual practice in accordance with the relevant professional codes of ethics.

2. Language that strengthens the existing Penal Code to protect the boy child, especially from homosexual exploitation; to prohibit lesbianism, bestiality, and other sexual perversions; and to prohibit procurement of material and promotion of homosexuality as normal or as an alternative lifestyle, be adopted.

3. Ensure that homosexual practice or the promotion of homosexual relations is not adopted as a human right.

4. Existing and future Educational materials and programmes on gender identity and sex education are in compliance with the values and the laws of Uganda.

5. The involvment of additional stakeholders in the evaluation of the gaps in the existing legislation, including, but not limited to, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, its Department of Immigration and other relevant departments

6. The undertaking of a comprehensive legislative and literature review of all the laws and literature related to the subject at hand in order to identify the actual gaps in the existing legislations.

Conclusion

As a Church, we affirm the necessity of appropriate amendments within the existing legislation and corresponding Penal Code sections. The Church of Uganda, being a part of the Anglican Communion, reiterates her position on human sexuality and her desire to uphold the pastoral position of providing love and care for all God’s people caught up in any sin and remaining consistent with Holy Scriptures of the Christian Church.

Footnotes
1 Cf. The discrepancy between Penal Code sections 128 and 147. Cf. also Section 129 which has no corresponding section for the boy child.
2 Article 2‐ Doctrine and Worship, Church of The Province of Uganda‐ Provincial Constitution 1972 as amended (1994).
3 Mission statement, Church of the Province of Uganda

i Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops [Anglican Communion] held in 1998
ii The Church of Uganda’s Position Paper on Scripture, Authority and Human Sexuality May 2005
iii Press Statement of February 21, 2007 by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi on the Primates’ Meeting held in Dar‐es‐ Salaam, Tanzania

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 8:55am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

So keen on the sensitivities of 'the boy child'. Heaven knows what planet they're on.

Very strange and rather sick(ening)

I am not in communion with Uganda's bishops not on yr sweet life, no.

I wonder what threat this kind of thinking poses to the rest of the world ? It is a good reminder to us in Britain of what is possible. The diabolical lurks waiting in dark places --apparently.

Heaven help the lesbian and gay citizens of Ugnada.

What responsibility will Britain take for this dire state of affairs ?


Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 1:50pm GMT

I await a strong response to this from the ABC.

No, I await some response to this from the ABC.

No, what I really expect is silence from the ABC.

That way I won't be disappointed.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 3:10pm GMT

" Ensure that homosexual practice or the promotion of homosexual relations is not adopted as a human right." Yup, this is an organization that claims it is Christian and Anglican. Amazing!

FWIW
jimB

Posted by: jimB on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 6:31pm GMT

"The Church of Uganda derives her mandate and authority from the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as the ultimate rule and standard of faith"

Presumably except for the teeny bits here and there that basically say slavery is just fine, of course.

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 10:32pm GMT

All of this hogwash by the Anglican Church of Uganda is based on an out-dated, antedeluvian and thoroughly un-Christian understanding of the Bible and its underlying ethos of truth and the requirement of human justice. How on earth the Church of Uganda can continue in its assertion that homosexuality, per se, is sinful and against the tenor of the Gospel of jesus Christ - or that it is to be placed in the same category as that of 'bestiality' is just incredible.

If being part of a Church Communion, one of whose partners is capable of making such idiotic statements on the subject of human sexuality, means one needs to take on board such crass ignorance on the real situation of the place of homosexual people within the broad spectrum of human sexuality; then count me out. This is akin to the old witch-hunting days of the Church, where anyone 'different' was assumed to be in league with the Devil, and therefore persona non grata as a Christian.

If the Ugandan Church's views on this matter were not so serious, they would be truly laughable - a disposition every LGBT person in Uganda would not care to exhibit at this time. One wonders how the Government and Church of Uganda could remain within the orbit of the United Nations' Charter, which specifically forbids member nations from exhibiting such behaviour of discrimination against LGBT persons. This is a public outrage, and hardly worthy of respect from any Christian body - let alone Anglicans.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 12 February 2010 at 4:09am GMT

I think it's amazing - nay, flabbergasting - that Changing Attitudes sees this in a positive light: http://changingattitude-england.blogspot.com/2010/02/church-of-uganda-issues-position.html

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Friday, 12 February 2010 at 1:53pm GMT

What a load of mealy-mouthed weasel words from the Church of Uganda! Love your neighbour? No, spy on your neighbour and get them executed. And they call themselves christians!
Is it ime to boycott Uganda?

Posted by: Jack Cunningham on Friday, 12 February 2010 at 5:10pm GMT

And the G Synod has opined that there is no conflict between science and religion. This 'science' and this religion are certainly incompatible.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Friday, 12 February 2010 at 7:45pm GMT

"And the G Synod has opined that there is no conflict between science and religion. This 'science' and this religion are certainly incompatible." - Rev L Roberts -

Don't knock it, Rev L. At least, the Church of England is now officially recognising something most of us have been asserting through debate on this web-site for a long time now - that the LGBT disposition and its varying expressions of human sexuality are within the orbit of both secular and religious understandings of creation.

What is now needed is a willingness to accept the modern scientific view of the diverse nature of human sexuality that will place the arguments in a more eirenic and just sphere of credibility.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 12 February 2010 at 11:02pm GMT

Incredible that ACNA and CANA ally themselves with African churches calling for the death penalty for *anyone*. I am dismayed that *any* Canadian who has grown up under the Canadian Bill of Rights could want to be a part of this.

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Saturday, 13 February 2010 at 7:19pm GMT


This is not the kind of thinking to which I ever want to be accountable, or will ever consent to be.
No Covenant, no way, no how.

Posted by: E H Culver on Sunday, 14 February 2010 at 5:31pm GMT

On the one hand the Ugandan Church decries European liberalism, conveniently forgetting that it was European sailors and European shells fired from European ships that finally ended the trade in black Africans, which trade was "sanctioned by scripture". To misquote, he that casts the first stone, make sure its a very big one! Well, that's one more country we can cross off the aid list. For those gay and transgender people trapped in that country, my prayers go to them, that they may escape.

Posted by: Paul Morrison on Saturday, 20 February 2010 at 9:27pm GMT

I agree with the comments on the perverseness of both the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the ambiguity of the Church of Uganda's official position. However, before we congratulate ourselves on our right thinking, it is worth considering how inflexibility often displayed on both sides of the homosexuality issue in Western churches has helped isolate the Church of Uganda. 'Some issues in human sexuality - a guide to the debate' is a title that still has a prominent place on the Church of England website, and invites us to keep an open mind on the issue. Had the Anglican Communion been able to say 'On this issue we are still listening to the arguments of the other side' it might have allowed the Church of Uganda to be more reflective on how the Bible relates to human rights.

Posted by: Norman Pratt on Sunday, 21 February 2010 at 8:37pm GMT

Do note the role of American evangelicals in all this. See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/world/africa/04uganda.html

Posted by: Neale Adams on Monday, 17 May 2010 at 6:37pm BST

As a Canadian Anglican and a keen Biblical scholar I see no solid evidence for the position taken by the Church of Uganda. At some point in our history we are going to have to let the African Churches separate from main line Anglicanism until they are able to enter into meaningful dialogue with 21st century Church policy and practice. It is inconceivable that Anglicans in Africa have been mislead and are suffering because of the hierarchy of bishops whose main concern is for their own welfare and not for the people in their flocks.

Posted by: Diane Voripaieff on Tuesday, 18 May 2010 at 12:00am BST

Surely the difficulty here is how to tell Ugandans that a literal reading of the OT is incorrect? I fail to understand how anyone can, on the one hand, say that the bible is the Word of God, and on the other, that it is wrong to hate and legislate against homosexuals.

Sorry, but when it comes to the CoE, you say 'tomatoes', they say 'hang them'. If Jesus were alive he'd tell everyone to stop pontificating on an unverifiable cannon of scripture and get on with loving and including everyone.

Posted by: John Angsan on Thursday, 12 May 2011 at 3:21pm BST

If Ugandan Church leaders were serious about improving morality and gave any thought about protecting women, it would lobby for the introduction of a wide-ranging bill that need not show any discrimination by outlawing all sexual acts committed outside of marriage.

We all understand fully why this will never be adopted in Uganda or anywhere else: better to scapegoat the homosexual than face the heterosexual demons within!

Posted by: Lee Labistour on Friday, 13 May 2011 at 8:41am BST

As a straight having LG friends and relatives I was rather annoyed and distressed by "American" churches supporting such an attack. Encouraging snitches to drive people to homeless and possibly death - is not Christian. It is a closer relative to Naziism. I have reserved the web urls BoycottUganda and UgandaBoycott and will make them available when: 1.The law actually become effective with or without the pres signature, 2. There is a group organized to run the website and keep it current with names of retailers carrying and a list of specific products from Uganda.

Posted by: Friend on Thursday, 2 January 2014 at 5:57pm GMT
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