This week the Ugandan government is considering introducing a bill which will make homosexuality punishable by death. Human right campaigners and faith groups around the world are urging President Museveni of Uganda, politicians and donor governments, to withdraw the Anti-Homosexual Bill,and to protect the universal human rights embodied in the Ugandan constitution.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said in a statement on Tuesday, that he was very concerned at the news that the proposed Bill has been re-introduced, and reiterated views that he first expressed in December 2009.
Dr Williams said: "Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can't see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible - it seeks to turn pastors into informers."
In January, the Catholic Bishops of Uganda also spoke out about against the Bill. On behalf of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Cyprian K Lwanga of Kampala wrote that they supported the government in its effort to uphold the natural family and traditional values, but opposed the harsher provisions in the bill.
“The Catholic Church is clear in its teaching on homosexuality,” the letter reads. The Church's teaching “remains that homosexual acts are immoral and are violations of divine and natural law. ” But they emphasize, that “the Church equally teaches the Christian message of respect, compassion, and sensitivity. ... Homosexuals have the need of conversion and repentance. They also need support, understanding and love as all strive to be members of the Kingdom of God.”
“The introduction of the death penalty and imprisonment for homosexual acts targets people rather than seeking to counsel and to reach out in compassion to those who need conversion, repentance, support and hope."
They also point out the danger inherent in the clause of the bill that allows prosecution for failing to disclose information about homosexual acts. This clause, they write, “puts at risk of the breach of confidentiality and professional ethics of persons such as Parents, Priests, Counselors, Teachers, Doctors and Leaders, at a time when they offer support and advise for rehabilitation of homosexuals.”
“The criminalizing of such reaching out is at odds with the core values of the Christian faith,” they said.
For more information and to sign a petition see: www.avaaz.org/en/uganda_stop_homophobia_petition/?rc=fb
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