We Demand That Christian Leaders Act Immediately To Condemn the Ugandan "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" !

  • by: Yale Divinity School LGBTQIA Coalition
  • recipient: All religious leaders, especially: Pope Benedict XVI; Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan; Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams; Rt. Rev. Justin Welby; Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori; Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit; Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe; Kathryn Mary Lohre; Le

Future leaders in the Church and their friends urge religious leaders to speak out against this attack upon human and civil rights.

This bill includes:

          • A provision for life imprisonment 
          • Penalties for not reporting LGBT people to the authorities
          • And may still include the death penalty, just for being gay

No religious leader should remain silent in the face of such oppression. NOW is the time to speak up!

Please sign and include your religious institution of affiliation if applicable!

We are future leaders of the Church, we are future educators and scholars in religious studies, and we are other concerned individuals who stand in solidarity to call upon you, our religious leaders, to publicly denounce the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” which is scheduled to be debated by the Ugandan Parliament, and which some Ugandan leaders have even vowed to pass as a “Christmas gift.”[1],[2] We emphatically call on you, regardless of your distinct theological views on homosexuality, to demand of your counterparts in Uganda that they oppose this nefarious legislation with all their effort and by all reasonable means available to them.

This proposal saw a former incarnation as the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill, which attempted to legislate death as a possible legal consequence for consensual sexual acts.[3] Although there are reports that the capital punishment provision has been removed, the new bill provides for extreme prison sentences for consensual sexual acts, even life imprisonment. Moreover, failing to “report knowledge” of LGBT people may still be criminalized[4][5] Doing so would destroy the trust placed in your Ugandan counterparts, as they could not minister to LGBT faithful without turning them in. Such a law could also easily lead to blackmail, not to mention denying countless people the opportunity to live their lives honestly and free from fear.

The impetus for the bill is a claim that homosexuality/ LGBT people will somehow destroy marriage or society more broadly. [6] These assertions are bred from an environment of fear and ignorance, in part created and encouraged, sadly, by American religious figures. [7],[8],[9] Such false claims have devastated reputations and led to violence in the United States. Please do not allow them to work the same horror in Uganda with your imprimatur of silence or approval.

We urge you to call on your Ugandan counterparts to resist coopting Christian language in support of such a hateful cause. Claiming defense of religious values can never be an adequate justification for the degradation of human life. As we all know, faith in a loving God is wholly inconsistent with support for such cruel and malicious policies: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20 ESV).

Please do not disappoint those who look to you for clear moral guidance and courage by shrinking from your duty as a Christian leader to take a stand against unjust discrimination and violence. Regardless of your place on the spectrum of theological opinion regarding homosexuality, please reject the unconscionable measures proposed in this bill which are antithetical to any conception of Christian morality. Taking the gospel call to love one another as ourselves seriously (Mk 12.31, Mt 22.39, Lk 10.27), please fulfill your prophetic duty as a Christian leader by making a public statement against this legislation, and by contacting your fellow religious leaders in Uganda and urging them in the strongest terms possible to oppose this bill with all of their strength. 

We call upon any and all religious leaders, especially those with influence in Uganda, but most especially the leaders and figures named: 

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop of Rome, Catholic Church

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Rev. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Anglican Communion

Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, Archbishop-Designate of Canterbury, Anglican Communion

Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church

Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of Churches

Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, CEO/Secretary General, World Evangelical Alliance

Kathryn Mary Lohre, President, National Council of Churches (USA)

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals (USA)

Frank S. Page, President/ CEO, Southern Baptist Convention

Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church

Scott Lively

Caleb Lee Brundidge

Don Schmierer

[1] http://www.parliament.go.ug/new/index.php/parliamentary-business/order-paper

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