Church of England evangelicals condemn anti-gay law in Uganda


The enactment of an anti-LGBT+ law by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in late May sparked outrage in the West. The evangelical part of the Church of England also denounces the criminalization of homosexual behavior.

On May 29, President Museveni signed into law a law that heavily penalizes same-sex relations and the promotion of homosexuality. The text had been voted by 528 of the 529 members of parliament on March 21, it was the second version. Under international pressure, Museveni had asked parliamentarians to modify the first version which did not distinguish between being homosexual and homosexual relations.

The final version states that “a person who is presumed or suspected of being homosexual, who has not committed a sexual act with another person of the same sex, does not commit the offense of homosexuality.”

On the other hand, the law provides for imprisonment for people caught in homosexual relations and requires citizens to denounce homosexual people or those they suspect of having homosexual practices, which can lead to blackmail in addition to each a social supervisor.

Moreover, while the president had asked not to make “aggravated homosexuality”, that is to say recidivism, a capital crime, the parliamentarians maintained this provision. Repeat offenders therefore risk the death penalty, which is no longer applied in practice.

Criticisms of Church of England evangelicals
Le Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC), the conservative evangelical part of the Church of England, published a statement on June 13 in which he denounces the Ugandan law without naming it.

The communiqué first recalls CEEC's attachment to Section I.10 of the Anglican Communion's 1998 Lambeth Resolution which declares homosexual practices unscriptural while calling for benevolence towards homosexual persons:

“We believe that the Primates of the Communion were right in 2016 to declare their “rejection of criminal sanctions against persons attracted to the same sex”. We oppose the criminalization of consensual same-sex behavior, especially when coupled with harsh penalties and the requirement to report people for their behavior.”

Criticizing the consequences of the law, the CEEC believes that it hinders the Church's desire to welcome homosexual people:

“We believe that such laws encourage the victimization of gay, lesbian, bisexual or same-sex attracted people and make it much more difficult to manifest the Church's commitment to listen, care for and train all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Jean Sarpedon

Image: Salma Bashir Motiwala/ Shutterstock

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