He tabernacled among us too


Petition of Christian Leaders on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

The Christian Think Tank Ekklesia has launched an online Petition against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This follows the World Day of Prayer on 17th November to pray against the proposed Bill.

Please seriously consider adding your name to the Petition here.

Sadly, the Archbishop of York, Rev John Sentamu has made it clear he refuses to comment – or condemn – the Bill. There is silence from the Palace of Lambeth. Meanwhile, on the 15th November, the Executive Council of the Anglican Church of Canada unanimously condemned the Bill. The number of Christian voices raised against the Bill is growing. Evangelical Anglican group Fulcrum has voiced concern, regarding the proposed legislation as “fatally flawed from a Christian perspective” Given the place of the Anglican Church in Uganda, it is essential that Anglicans across the world make clear they do not support the proposed legislation. Rowan Williams can not afford to maintain silence against the proposed – and indeed, existing – discrimination and persecution of human rights in Uganda.

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An Open Letter to the Anglican Primates

My good friend Davis Mac-Iyalla is an Anglican Christian from Nigeria. He had to flee Nigeria for his life and has come to the UK. Why? Because he is Gay.

When we sent an Open Letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in May, Davis joined in on behalf of Changing Attitudes Nigeria.

The Guardian Newspaper published an Open Letter from Davis to the Primates of the Anglican Community in reference to the action of some in Uganda and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The Anglican Primates in the West have been spectacularly, shockingly and inexcusably silent. It isn’t surprising that the African Primates have been silent – but that in and of itself should highlight the true cost of the ‘gay debate’ within the Church.

The letter follows:

To the Archbishop of Canterbury and primates of the Anglican Communion,

I am writing to you to call on the Church of England and the wider Anglican community to condemn Uganda’s proposed anti-homosexuality bill, which will make gay relations between disabled people and those under 18 a capital offence. “Carnal knowledge against the order of nature” – as homosexuality is termed in Ugandan law – is already punishable with life imprisonment. However, if passed, the new bill will widen the scope, including promoting homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality and keeping a house “for purposes of homosexuality”. This means that the relatives and friends of gay couples could face execution if they allow them to stay in their homes.

The anti-homosexuality legislation proposed and enacted in Uganda and many other former British colonies has caused misery for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, many of whom are forced to flee their countries due to this persecution. Religion is often cited as a justification for state and non-state violence against LGBT people. As a gay refugee from Nigeria who has faced this persecution, I am well aware of the misery LGBT people can go through in Africa. As a practising Anglican Christian, I believe it is crucial that the Anglican Communion unites to prevent the killing of people on the grounds of sexuality.

I would like to remind you that the Lambeth Resolution 10 in 1978 recognised the need for pastoral concern for those who are homosexual. Resolution I.10 from 1998 commits the communion “to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.” It also condemned the “irrational fear” of homosexuality and called on the communion to assure homosexual people that “they are loved by God.”

Legislation of the kind proposed in Uganda is based on irrational hatred and a desire to entrench the stigmatisation of LGBT people. There is no place for love, understanding or acceptance in such laws. As such, the Church of England has a duty to condemn the anti-homosexuality legislation and put pressure on those MPs who support such laws. Whatever the divisions within the communion about homosexuality as a moral issue, Anglicans should unite in condemnation of violent persecution and discrimination of LGBT people whoever and wherever they are, particularly when it is carried out in the name of Jesus Christ.

Davis Mac-Iyalla


Uganda and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

uganda-flag

A storm is brewing in the African nation of Uganda. On the 14th of October 2009 a Bill was tabled in the Ugandan Parliament and seeks not only to strengthen current legislation against the LGBT Community in Uganda, but to extend it even further.

The British Empire era left Uganda with Penal Code 145 which criminalises “unnatural acts” between men of the same sex. This can lead to 7 years in prison etc. Such a Code is fairly common amongst ex-Colonies of the British Empire (see the repeal of such a Code in the State of Delhi by the Supreme Court). Of course, it was only 40 years ago that an equivalent law was repealed in Great Britain. However, this Bill proposes not only that LGBT people can be arrested and imprisoned, in some circumstances (particularly if they have HIV/AIDS) they can be executed for same sex acts. But the Bill targets not only those who are LGBT, it targets any who know or suspect someone is Gay!

A Coalition of NGOs who oppose the Bill released a Statement condemning the proposed legislation. They have sumarised the extent of the impact the Bill would make on many sections of society:

– any parent who does not denounce their lesbian daughter or gay son to the authorities: Failure to do so s/he will be fined Ush 5,000,000/= or put away for three years;

– any teacher who does not report a lesbian or gay pupil to the authorities within 24 hours: Failure to do so s/he will be fined Ush 5,000,000/= or put away for three years in prison;

– any landlord or landlady who happens to give housing to a suspected homosexual risks seven years of imprisonment;

– any Local Council I – V Chairperson or Executive member who does not denounce somebody accused of same-sex attraction or activity risks imprisonment or a heavy fine;

– any medical doctor who seeks to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS through working with what are known as most at risk populations, risks her or his career;

– all civil society leaders, whether in a Community Based Organisation, NGO, or academic institution; if their organisations seek to have a comprehensive position on sexual and reproductive health, they risk seeing their organisations closed down;

– any human rights activist who seeks to promote an understanding of the indivisibility and inalienability of human rights would be judged to be promoting homosexuals and homosexuality, and be punished accordingly;

– any religious leader who seeks to provide guidance and counselling to people who are unsure of their sexuality, would be regarded as promoting homosexuality and punished accordingly;

– any Member of Parliament or other public figure who is sent a pornographic article, picture or video will become vulnerable to blackmail and witch-hunts;

– any media house that publishes ‘pornographic’ materials risks losing its certificate of registration and the editor will be liable to seven years in jail;

– any internet café operator who fails to prevent a customer from accessing a pornographic website, or a dating site, could be accused of ‘participating in the production, procuring, marketing, broadcasting, disseminating and publishing of pornographic materials for purposes of promoting homosexuality’; their business licence could be revoked and they themselves could land in prison.

– any Person alleged to be a homosexual is at risk of LIFE IMPRISONMENT and, in some circumstances, the DEATH PENALTY.

The full text, including the list of organisations who have signed the Statement and a list of the Articles of the Ugandan Constitution they believe such legislation would violate can be read here.

What has caused this Bill to be proposed? The argument has been put forward that the liberalising of Ugandan culture and the growing LGBT community has meant the Bill is necessary to ‘protect’ Ugandan Christian, family and African values.
The Church of England traditionalist group, Fulcrum, has a very fair, balanced and informed posting on their website regarding the proposed Bill. I highly recommend you read it here

A coalition of NGOs in Uganda have published a statement against the