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Anglican Church of Uganda, Kill or Jail Gays just not Priests

So yesterday the Anglican Church of Uganda, which is part of the word wide Anglican Communion, (which includes the Episcopal Church of the United States) has made it's official press release on the Uganda "kill gays" bill.  It uses es some pretty ambiguous wording, that has cause some debate to exactly what its ultimate stance is on the death sentence part of the bill is, but what is clear is that they want to be sure that the bill is changed to insure that priests are protected from jail time. As they don't want their priest being jailed for caring for, or not truing in, against pastoral ethic, gay members of the church that they may be or have counseled in the past, as could currently happen to priests with the current wording of the bill.

Their suggestions for fixing current legislation where as fallows,

1.Ensure that the law protects the confidentiality of medical, pastoral and counseling relationships, including those that disclose homosexual practice in accordance with the relevant professional codes of ethics.



2.Language that strengthens the existing Penal Code to protect the boy child, especially from homosexual exploitation; to prohibit lesbianism, bestiality, and other sexual perversions; and to prohibit procurement of material and promotion of homosexuality as normal or as an alternative lifestyle, be adopted.



3.Ensure that homosexual practice or the promotion of homosexual relations is not adopted as a human right.



4.Existing and future Educational materials and programmes on gender identity and sex education are in compliance with the values and the laws of Uganda.



5.The involvement of additional stakeholders in the evaluation of the gaps in the existing legislation, including, but not limited to, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, its Department of Immigration and other relevant departments.



6.The undertaking of a comprehensive legislative and literature review of all the laws and literature related to the subject at hand in order to identify the actual gaps in the existing legislations.
 
So to summarise what they want to insure is that fist and foremost medical, pastoral and counseling relationships with gays are kept confidential and that the professionals are not subject to jail time for not braking their professional confidences. They then want to prevent the ability of people or groups to gather or distribute material that portrays being gay as natural and as one of many natural lifestyles.  They then want to be sure that it is illegal for gay rights to be recognised as human rights in Uganda!! Then of course then want to be sure that all current and future educational material and programs are in compliance with the above laws, and that all government agencies are also brought on bored to help to close any loop holes that might still exist to allow any human rights to gay citizens in Uganda. 
 
Unfortunately this should not be surprising coming from a branch of the Church that still refers to the gays as "homosexually disoriented" (it makes it sound as if we got lost on the way to grandmas house or something) as well as calling it "sexual confusion" and "brokenness" and claiming to be part of the "healing" process.  It makes it clear that the leaders of the Anglican Church of Uganda believe that homosexuality is a choice and thus is something that can be fixed, one would assume most likely threw some kind of "reparative" therapy. sadly they are not alone in that belief when it comes to many of the branches in the "developing world" (what is the politically correct term now, IE Africa, Asia, South America)
 
Sadly yet luckily this stance flies directly in the face of the stance of the mainstream/western branches of the Church especially the American branch other wise know as the Episcopal Church, but we will get back to that in a minute.  last month, December 17th to be exact the Archbishop of Canterbury very quietly came out against Uganda's anti gay bill, saying  "as drafted is entirely unacceptable from a pastoral, moral and legal point of view"  and then had his press office go on to say the he was working hard behind the sense "to ensure that there is clarity on how the proposed bill is contrary to Anglican teaching.” which obviously did not work out much at all, or was ignored almost totally when it came to the Anglican Church of Uganda as their position on it is plan as day still "contrary to Anglican teachings" and values. 
 
 
Sattle Pride 09 taken by Matthew s.
 
OK now we will get back to the branch of the Church that I am quite a bit more familiar with (even thought I have not actively gone in 7 years) we will focus back onto the American branch which even thought it is a little more left of the rest of the mainline is still pretty not that far off.  It is hard to imagine that 34 years after the Episcopal church affirmed at its 1976 generation convention that homosexuals are "children of god" and that they not only deserved acceptance and pastoral care from the church but also to have equal protection under the law (Link) something they again reaffirmed in 1982. yet the Anglican Church of Uganda wants to use the law to insure unequal protection of its homosexual children of god!  They have also ignored there bothers and sisters in America who in their 2006 general convention called for legislates to provider protections such as bereavement and family leave, as well as opposed any federal or state constitutional amendment to block civil same sex marriage or civil unions. (let along the fact that the Church voted in 2009 to allow bishops to decided whether or not to bless same sex marriages)
 
This whole thing serves almost perfectly to highlight the tensions with in the world wide Anglican Communion and why for years now there has been talk of a schism, which with in the Episcopal Church (the US branch for those that have gotten a little lost) has already happened on a small scale with some Churches  having split off and are aligning with conservative African or South American branches of the church. Some would say that this is a good thing, and on the face of it, it might appear to be so.  It might appear that a permanent split would allow the mainline (western) branches of the church to move more quickly and freely in their liberal progressive direction, with out being held back by the concerns of having to have restraint out of concern for overly stressing the conservative branches of the Church (those in the developing world which also tend to have the most people but not the most money)  However if you look at it the other way it has the possibility of being extremely devastating for those, in the developing world that are LGBT, as if the church dose split there is no longer a force there to nudge and force those conservative fractions forward on the issue of human rights for LGBT people.  I think that like many things what sounds like it something good is quite often a double edged sword and it winds up cutting both ways, it might start out good but then once the social destruction it unleashes starts to set in that is when things truly have to be judged. I think that in this case more good can be done by preventing a split then by forcing one, because if you can stay joining in a common bond it is easier to move people towards progress then if you shove them aside as wrong headed.  I do truly hope that progress can be made much sooner then latter, and I mean before this bill makes it any closer to law then it already is, that something can be done, that threw pressure and persuasion the Anglican Church of Uganda can be convinced to change its stance on this law to something fare more humane, to something that truly recognises LBGT people as the "children of god" that they are.
 
I would like to leave off by thanking you all for reading, and inviting you like always to comment, message me if you would like as well.
 
 
 

Comments

  1. Thank you for such a clearly written post on this matter. I have been following this subject for a while, and out of all the articles I have read, by far and away, your was the clearest. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you,it is something that I do have an honest interst in. And as a side not I just did some editing for grammar (its amazing what not being ready to go to bed can do to help find the errors)

    ReplyDelete

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