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EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Uganda’s Catholic Archbishop Opposes Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Jim Burroway

December 24th, 2009
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Uganda, Cyprian Lwanga

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Uganda, Cyprian Lwanga

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Uganda, Cyprian Lwanga, has denounced the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill in his annual Christmas message from Rubaga Cathedral.

In a report from Uganda’s independent NTV, Archbishop Lwanga is shown denouncing “the introduction of the death penalty and imprisonment for homosexual acts.” While maintaining the Catholic Church’s condemnation of homosexual acts, the Archbishop condemned the bill, saying it “targets people, rather than seeking to counsel and reach out in compassion to those who need conversion, repentance, support and hope.”

Approximately 42% of Ugandans are Roman Catholic, making Catholicism the country’s largest Christian denomination.

A BTB reader in Uganda provided this cell-phone capture of the Archbishop’s remarks from last night’s broadcast of NTV Eleven.

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Update: We now have the full text of the Archbishop’s remarks.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Transcript of the NTV Eleven Broadcast.

I’m Morris Mugisha, good evening and thank you for joining us. Tonight, lobbyists against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill have been boosted with the backing from the head of the Catholic Church in Uganda.

While delivering his Christmas message today, at Rubaga Cathedral, the Archbishop of the Kampala Diocese, Dr. Cyprian Lwanga said, much as homosexuality is sin, the practice should be condemned but not those who practice it. He also opposed the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality and life imprisonment for gay acts. Since it was tabled in Parliament, the bill has caused an international furore, with some donors threatening to cut aid to Uganda if it’s passed into law. As Emma Mutayizibwa(?) reports, Archbishop Lwanga also spoke out against the Land Bill.

One of the leading clerics in the country, Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, has punched holes in the anti-gay bill, saying it does not conform to certain biblical teachings. Although Archbishop Lwanga says homosexuality epitomizes moral decadence, he denounced the proposed death sentence and life imprisonment penalties which the David Bahati bill… which the David Bahati Bill prescribes.

Archbishop Lwanga: “The introduction of the death penalty and imprisonment for homosexual acts targets people, rather than seeking to counsel and reach out in compassion to those who need conversion, repentance, support and hope.”

Many conservative religious leaders in Uganda have blown a moral trumpet against homosexuality, and support the proposed harsh punishments. But Archbishop Lwanga says, targeting the sinner and not the sin is a flaw.

Archbishop Lwanga: “The bible says in Luke 6:36-37, ‘be merciful as your Father is merciful. Do not judge and you’ll not be judged. Do not condemn and …not be condemned’.”

The bill has ruffled feathers of western powers, like the United States and Britain, as well as human rights activists. Bahati’s Bill. which proposes death for aggravated homosexuality and life imprisonment, was tabled in Parliament on 14th October, eliciting uproar in the west with donors threatening to cut aid if the bill is passed the way it is.

Archbishop Lwanga also says Parliament hurriedly passed the controversial Land Amendment Bill into law. He says the law fundamentally errors by placing a landlord and a tenant on equal footing.

Comments

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Timothy Kincaid
December 24th, 2009 | LINK

Taken together with the Anglican and opposition party opposition, this is a most welcome Christmas surprise

anteros
December 24th, 2009 | LINK

That was Sentamu’s opposition to the bill. Sadly, the Anglican Church of Uganda supports this bill. Some Anglican church leaders in Uganda warned members of parliament that they would lose Anglican votes if they blocked the bill. Homophobia is causing the global Anglican Church to split.

gayuganda
December 24th, 2009 | LINK

Yeah, yeah, yeah it is very welcome!

volpi
December 25th, 2009 | LINK

we must all thank the box turtle bulletin.For months this blog has followed all the situation . probably Rachel Maddow was interested because all the informations you collected and shared

Steve
December 25th, 2009 | LINK

I suppose it is a mixed blessing. This Catholic archbishop is finally admitting that persecuting a particular group of people is wrong. It’s interesting to note how long it took the Catholic Church to actually say something in support of gay people. On the other hand, the Church’s teaching is still unacceptable to me—-i.e. there is something intrinsically wrong with being gay and that one needs to be treated for this “illness”. The usual mantra of condemn the sin and not the sinner has worn thin.

AfroGay
October 30th, 2011 | LINK

Sounds like a transformation on the road to Damascus. And what a timely one, too!

Uganda (& Africa) Caught in the gay rights headlights « sebaspace
November 28th, 2012 | LINK

[...] stir up the masses. That said, the head of Uganda’s Catholics was about the only prelate who seemed to condemn that anti-gay bill in 2009 but he had few friends anywhere else in the religious hierarchy in [...]

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