Catholic Doublespeak In Uganda – Did The Bishop Tacitly Support Anti-Gay Bill During Christmas Mass?

Jim Burroway

December 26th, 2009

On Wednesday, Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga of the archdiocese of Uganda appeared on national television to denounce the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Today’s issue of the independent Daily Monitor has a round-up of Christmas sermons which reveals that the archbishop may support some aspects of the bill:

Bishop of Kampala Archdiocese Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, who led celebrations at Rubaga Cathedral, told hundreds of Christians that homosexuality is immoral and forbidden.

“The Catholic bishops of Uganda applaud the government\’s effort to protect families and the church teachings remain clear. Homosexuality acts are immoral and evil and are against the divine laws of nature,” he said.

He added: “The church condemns homosexuality because we were created in God\’s image and we must remain that.” The archbishop attacked donors whom he accused of forcing their harsh positions onto Ugandans desperate for aid. “We shall not allow acts of homosexuality to be promoted in the country and we shall not accept the donors\’ positions,” he said.

He, however, said MP David Bahati\’s Bill that seeks to criminalise homosexuality is unnecessary since there are already laws that outlaw the practice.

The clause in the Bill that calls for the death penalty in cases of “aggravated homosexuality” is uncalled for, Dr Lwanga said, adding that it does not allow for rehabilitation.

Combined with his Wednesday statement, it’s hard to know exactly what the Archbishop supports. He says that the Bahati bill isn’t needed because “there are already laws that outlaw the practice,” which is a very positive statement. If there is any hope for this bill being dropped, it will be for that reason alone and not out of a sudden awakening to the fact that criminalizing LGBT people goes against all principals of human rights.

But if the death penalty were dropped, as many of the bill’s supporters have hinted, would it then past muster with the Archbishop despite all the other draconian penalties that the bill would provide for gay people and straight people as well?

That ambiguity however doesn’t extend to his Anglican counterparts:

At St. Paul Cathedral, Namirembe, Bishop Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira urged the faithful to oppose all external forces seeking to promote homosexuality in the country, adding that it is against the order of nature. “We know what we want as Ugandans and we shall not be intimidated to accept homosexuality because it is against the order of nature,” he said, drawing a standing ovation from the congregation that included Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi.

Rev. John Bosco Sendagala, of Christ the King Church, Kampala, said everyone should fight homosexuality. The same call was made by the Bishop of Ankole Diocese, the Rt. Rev Dr. George Tibesigwa.

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

John B. Chilton

December 26th, 2009

When I read the Monitor story earlier today I wondered if the Monitor simply chose not to give the full story. BTB has of course printed the full text of his remarks the other day. He takes a while to get to the news, that he opposes the bill on theological ground, first giving the usual boilerplate of saying the government has a duty to protect morals, and then giving the standard RC policy on homosexuality (rather reactionary) — but he did eventually get to the news.

My guess is he would have said the same thing in a sermon.

What I find disturbing is that priests would be so obsessed that the issue of homosexuality would the theme of a Christmas sermon.

Don

December 26th, 2009

Ha, the Google Ads for this serious article are for a hetero Catholic Dating Service with the Banner “tis the season to grow in faith and fall in love”.

Apparently I’m not as mature as I thought I was, because I giggled out loud seeing the bride and groom pic on a gay blog site.

As for calling themselves the “Leading Catholic Singles Community” what are Jesuit Priests? Chopped Liver?

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