Friday, November 27, 2009

A Gay Witch Hunt in Uganda

Why are the English archbishops silent over Uganda's grotesque anti-homosexuality bill?
UK Guardian reports:
A bill currently before the Ugandan parliament proposes seven year prison sentences for discussing homosexuality; life imprisonment for homosexual acts; and death for a second offence. Sober observers believe it will be passed. The Anglican church in Uganda appears to support it, and the Church of England in this country is absolutely silent. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Winchester solemnly denounce violence in the Congo, where they have no influence at all, but on Uganda they maintain a resolute post-colonial silence.

The position of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is more complicated, and his silence more eloquent. He is himself Ugandan by birth. One of his younger half-brothers, pastor Robert Kayanja, is a highly successful pentecostal preacher in Kampala, running a church called the Rubaga Miracle Centre. Such people are highly rewarded, and the business is extremely competitive. A rival preacher, the gloriously named Solomon Male of the The Arising Church was accused this spring of kidnapping Kayanga's assistant and torturing him for five days to get him to confess that his boss was gay and partial to young men.

The admission would have been social death. Come to think of it, under the new law, it would be physical death as well.

Sentamu's office say that he has not spoken to his brother for some months and was unaware of the story. So the suggestion on some websites that this was the cause of his silence can't be right. On the other hand, his office is quite clear that he has "no plans" to speak out on the proposed bill.

Perhaps the English Archbishops feel their position is already clear. Sentamu, Williams, and Archbishop Henry Orombe of Uganda along with all the other primates of the Anglican Communion all signed up to a communique in 2004 in which they stated that:

We continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people. The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship.
Compare and contrast the language of the Ugandan bill:
A person who aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years.

A person who purports to contract a marriage with another person of the same sex commits the offence of homosexuality and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.

A person who … who acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or in any way abets homosexuality and related practices; commits an offence and is liable on conviction to … imprisonment of a minimum of five years and a maximum of seven years or both fine and imprisonment.
One reasons why the church might be reluctant to oppose, let alone anathematise, this monstrous law is that any NGO or body which does so might be prosecuted for "promoting homosexuality" can be dissolved and its leaders jailed for seven years. Failure to report homosexuality or its incitement gets you three years.

This is a witch craze, pure and simple. It takes the perfectly genuine prejudices of the ignorant, inflames them, and enshrines them in law. I do not expect any bishop of the Church of England to have the courage to speak against it. Give them a hundred years, though, and they will turn up at a memorial service to weep for the victims.

How did we get there? READ MORE