Some church leaders join battle against Uganda’s gay bill

[Ecumenical News International] Following the re-introduction in Uganda of a bill that would harshly punish homosexuality, gay rights activists, including some church leaders, are uniting through Twitter and Facebook to oppose it.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 was revived on Jan. 7 in parliament by David Bahati, the legislator who is its architect, prompting fresh protests worldwide, similar to those that led to its shelving in 2011.

“I am very disappointed with the return of the bill,” former Anglican Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo of West Buganda told ENInews in a telephone interview on Feb. 8 from Kampala, Uganda’s capital.

A significant change is the removal of the provision for the death penalty, but the new bill still increases to life imprisonment the punishment for homosexual activity, which is illegal in Uganda, with many faith leaders rejecting it as sinful and contrary to Scripture.

But Ssenyonjo criticized politicians for seeking popularity through the bill. He cautioned that it will not work in the long run. “As you can see, a lot needs to be done and we have to use all methods such as Twitter and Facebook,” said the bishop who ministers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people (LGBTs).

Action against the bill has been mounting on social networks including Twitter and Facebook. A petition seeking 5,000 signatures to urge President Yoweri Museveni and the Ugandan Parliament to reject the law is currently being signed by linking through the networks. It warns Uganda of isolation by the west over the bill.

In Kenya, Anglican priest Michael Kimindu, the African president of the Other Sheep, a gay rights group, said he will post tweets against it.

“It is un-African to suggest killing, whether it is because of sexual orientation or any other reason. We think this bill is very unfair. We are lobbying for its removal,” said Kimindu.

According to Jane Wochaya, communications official at Gay Trust Kenya, the social networks were being used to unite calls for protection of homosexual rights in Uganda.

“The bill goes against the U.N. declaration of human rights and against fundamental basic human rights,” she said.

LBGTs will not start new churches or mosques, according to her, but hoped for acceptance in the existing ones since the faiths stress love, acceptance and inclusion.

Comments

  1. David Kamau says:

    No Book sanctions blood spilling like the Bible. I am afraid, it is not the most helpful in this regard.

  2. Except for the Koran.

  3. James Pirrung says:

    David Kamau,

    In the Old Testament, God allowed only the Israelites to spill blood in order to judge its society via the Mosaic Law. However, the New Testament forbids the spilling of blood as punishment for sin. In fact, it claims that Jesus Christ spilled his own blood so that sinners do not have to!

    Bible literacy is something that is greatly lacking in today’s churches. What poverty do we as Christians have when we don’t understand God’s revelation to us!

    James

  4. Likely long term consequences of laws targeting minority groups.
    Several punishments have been proposed in the Homosexual and anti-gay bill including;
    Life imprisonment. Our concern here is appealing to the legislators to apply more logic than emotions and also to be more rational than emotional. One is wondering if Hon. Bahati thinks that LGBT people are not fit to life in the community because they have contracted a “virus or an evil spirit” called homosexual or gay, and therefore they are supposed to be thrown in jail. Does he put in consideration the lives of the Ugandans who are in those prisons? Don’t they deserve protection from the state against the said “virus”? or he wants to convince the public that, the 500,000 people once arrest will be confined in isolated rooms while in prison! And if not, aren’t they going to spread the “virus” to the rest of prisoners who will soon come out after serving their punishments and join they community of which the bill is claimant to protect? And aren’t we going to have more homosexuals and gay than the ones thrown in jails?.
    The above statements projects the vicious cycle of the behavior or life style which the bill is claiming to control! And the multiplier effect of the proposed punishments. On the contrarily, the LGBT community are not criminals though that is what the bill seeks to achieve!. May be the worst name one can give to these people based on his/her background and belief, is sinners. But again, sinners are not supposed to die or deserve such punishments if not then the legislators must start with themselves. The Bible says; no one is perfect, we have all sinned and we need God’s saving grace. And also that ‘God does not delight in the death of any sinner but to repent and inherit eternal life’. So even from the Biblical point of view, still the bill leads us to destruction.
    Death sentence. Given the fact that there are approximately five hundred thousand people in Uganda who belong to the LGBT community, it becomes a legalized genocide to condemn them to death. To day Uganda may be at peace with maximum freedom at the leadership of NRM Administration but no one knows what tomorrow may bring. In Africa today, ruling out the possibility of moving from freedom to oppression, democracy to dictatorship is not being realistic and therefore today’s freedom and democracy should not blind us especially when it comes to legislative acts.
    Definition of the Genocide; according to the 1948 convention, genocide refers to the deliberate acts of destroying a group of people, racial, ethnic, religious, national in part or as a whole. Therefore, any legislative act by the government targeting a particular minority group, sinners or Holy with the aim of isolating, dehumanizing, criminalizing or destroying them in part or as a whole, amounts to Acts of Genocide or “mentalcide” only on paper awaiting its execution at a given period of time. And of course, the master minder of the genocide can not be the executor but rather the one who enacted the law.

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