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Posts for December, 2012

Homosexuality Again A Topic As Uganda Gets New Anglican Archbishop

Jim Burroway

December 18th, 2012

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali

Rt. Rev. Stanley Ntagali was installed as Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda this weekend, and the topic that seems to be on everybody’s mind there continues to be the debate over the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In this clip from NTV, Uganda’s largest independent television network, we hear President Yoweri Museveni addressing the crowd at Namirembe Cathedral:

(@1:47) We’re not going to kill them. (unintelligible) because we didn’t kill them in the past. We are not going to persecute them. We are not going to marginalize them. But there should be no promotion, and sex here is confidential.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill which is currently before Parliament however would, in its current form, bring the death penalty or life imprisonment for gay people, and would endanger everyone else with lengthy prison terms for either knowing, providing services, or defending them.

The new Archbishop also addressed homosexuality and corruption as two areas that he would address as the Church’s new leader. And speaking of corruption, Ntagali accepted a brand new Toyota SUV from the President. Museveni routinely furnishes them to select religious leaders who he favors.

According to the anti-gay web site Anglican Mainstream,  Rev. Robert W. Duncan, who heads an American breakaway Anglican movement which recognizes the Archbishop of Uganda as its spiritual leader (he is incorrectly identified as “Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America”), was in attendance and spoke at the ceremony. It is not clear however whether he addressed either directly or indirectly the controversy over the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Ntagali succeeds retired Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, who as recently as last June called for the Parliament to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. When asked whether the Anglican Communion has reached a point of full schism during the 2010 All Africa Bishops Conference (which Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams attended as head of the worldwide Anglican Communion), Orombi announced that “there is already a break.” Orombi has published invitations to American parishes to break from their own bishops to seek “spiritual guidance” from Orombi instead of the established Episcopal Church.

Dr Semugoma (a.k.a. GayUganda) on LGBT Invisibility in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Jim Burroway

August 9th, 2012

Yesterday, I posted a video interview of Dr. Paul Semugoma (many of you know him as GayUganda) talking about the challenges of confronting HIV/AIDS in a country with such rampant homophobia that it is dangerous for LGBT people to disclose themselves to their doctors. Dr. Semugoma also spoke at a plenary session at the International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C. on July 27, discussing “The Dynamics of the Epidemic in Context,” the particular context being that in many governments around the world are unwilling to address the reality that gay men exist in their countries.

In addition to the video above, you can find an error-laden transcript of his talk here(PDF: 160KB/55 pages). While Dr. Semoguma had come out in Facebook and other social media, this was his coming-out moment, quite literally, on the world stage (at about the 3:15 mark):

Men who have sex exist with men, everywhere. You know, it’s kind of interesting to start like that. When we talk about men who have sex with men, actually I am also a man who has sex with men. [applause.] It’s a major and important point to point out that men who have sex with men exist everywhere. If we say that they don’t exist then we don’t know how to deal with them, we don’t know how to get to the challenges that we have in HIV prevention with them.

He then described a pivotal moment in his life which showed him that the epidemic would never be dealt with successfully unless gay and bisexual men are included in HIV-prevention messages (at about the 4:35 mark):

I want to tell you a story about the patient who changed my life. This was in 2004. I was by then a medical doctor. I had studied in two medical schools, that is at Muhimbili Medical Center in the University of Dar es Salaam and I had also studied at Makerere University. I had a bit of work up country, and then I’d gone back to Kampala, which is the capital city of Uganda, to start work in private practice.

As I said, I’m a gay man. I had been dealing with HIV amongst Ugandans and I knew it was a disease that is spread by sex, but I had not been confronted by then by the fact that HIV is also spread by gay sex. I didn’t have that link. So I was faced by this guy. He was gay. I knew him. He had bisexual practices meaning he used to sleep with men and at some point in time he had slept with women. And He had been recently diagnosed with HIV.

One of the things that he told me was, “One of my lovers must have slept with a woman.” I was like, “You didn’t sleep with a woman at this particular point, you must have got it from your lover.” But his point was since I’ve been seeing all these nice photos of men and women and the government telling us, “Be careful, love carefully.” These are the ones who spread HIV; it is the women who give it to us. But he also asked me a question: how do I protect my lovers? And that was the question that changed my life. I knew at that particular moment that I didn’t know how to protect him, how to give him the information, how to tell him to protect his lovers, and that was the changing point because I then discovered that because I didn’t know, I was ignorant. I was in sort of denial because I was a gay man and I am still a gay man. I just needed to know.

I had access to the internet and I quickly educated myself, something which we all have to do. It is important that we leave from being just friendly to MSM, to men who have sex with men, to being competent in care. [applause]

This ignorance and denial it didn’t happen just with me. It is also with everybody. Just a few months ago, about three months ago in Uganda the first LGBT clinic was opened by one of the groups, one of the LGBT groups. They were saying that, well, we do not have a clinic, the doctors don’t really know the problems that we have and we need a clinic. They got funding (very good) put the clinic in Kampala (very good) and then made sure that the government
didn’t know.

Then, what touched me was that three doctors were asked in Uganda. “What do you think about this?” They were saying, “We do not discriminate because we are doctors,” which is fantastic. Then, they said, “We do not discriminate because we do not ask about sexual orientation.” Now, if you do not ask about sexual orientation then that means that you are not aware that men who
have sex with men actually come and sit with you in the consultation room, and that men who have sex with men actually have a higher risk of HIV. [ applause]

This ignorance is part of what is there. We have to ask ourselves the question. Are we going to an AIDS-free generation without including MSM? Actually the answer from the science that we have is that no, we are not going to do that.

Dr. Semugoma then gave an overview of the populations most at risk, including not only gay men, but also within the gay community, black gay men. And he also discussed the general problems of reaching “pariah” communities in different countries, including here in the U.S., Canada, and Britain. He then returned his attention back to Africa and the structural barrier that those of us who have been following events in Uganda are all too aware of: criminalization (at about the 15:00 mark):

Criminalization. I have heard this over and over again. You are dealing with a criminal population and the criminal population somehow seems to not be citizens, somehow seem not to fit to have intervention, somehow they just don’t seem to deserve the attention that others get even in HIV prevention.

This is the relationship between criminalization and sex practices. Untargeted expenditure. This is for HIV programming. We saw that HIV burden is actually higher amongst MSM but what actually happens when the monies for HIV
prevention go to the countries there’s attenuation. Less and less gets to the MSM because of the stigma, because they are criminals.

…This case study is of Senegal. Senegal is a country in West Africa has an epidemic which is concentrated amongst MSM. They actually were one of the first African countries to do an MSM-targeted HIV prevention effort. They did a study, which I was very happy to come across in 2004. They saw that they have a concentrated epidemic with HIV 20 times higher amongst the MSM than in the general population. They did comprehensive outreach in place for MSM.

In 2008, we had this ICASA, ICASA is the equivalent of AIDS meeting for Africa. During that ICASA, they actually came to tell the rest of the country about what was happening that they are doing some HIV prevention amongst the highest risk population in Senegal. After ICASA, nine outreach workers were arrested and prosecuted. They were released April 2009. They had been convicted of spreading homosexuality most likely. The issue was that happening actually almost destroyed the HIV outreach amongst the highest risk population in Senegal.

Now, let’s talk about my country, Uganda. Uganda had a study done in 2008, a study done in Kampala. The HIV rate was almost 14 percent, but it’s 13.7 percent amongst MSM in Kampala, compared to a rate of 4.4-percent amongst other men in Kampala, which actually means that this was a high-risk population. During the time of the study the Director General of Uganda AIDS, the national program, said that for the first time he actually admitted that MSM exists in Uganda — which was a positive — but he said we are not going to deal with them.

Now, what happened is that some of us decided that no, this was a bit too much and we had the Implementers’ Meeting happening in Uganda, and we decided to come and storm the meeting and held a five minute protest. What happened after that was that some of us were arrested and they continued to be prosecuted for demanding for HIV prevention program amongst MSM in Uganda. For demanding for an HIV prevention program amongst a vulnerable population in Uganda. That’s why there were prosecuted.

Now, this had an effect on the study which was happening in Kampala at that time. Those people were studying the respondents, that MSM were not coming to the study, the respondents who are not coming. The recruitment dipped, it recovered sometime later, but then dipped again, because Uganda unfortunately is a very highly homophobic country. They got about 300 respondents, which in six months was very few homosexuals, compared to Kenya, compared to Tanzania, compared to Zanzibar. In two months they’ll get 500 people. In the first study in Kenya they actually had to stop the study, because in Nairobi they were getting more than 500 gay people.

Now, Uganda has definitely been one of the worst offenders in HIV prevention for MSM. They want to ban the agencies which work for gay rights. That was about last month I think. And the LGBT clinic, it needs to be shut. All this homophobia is actually happening when we have a study done with folks that we have a vulnerable population, which actually is responding to the homophobia in the country. Okay, HIV prevalence amongst the MSM was related to external homophobia.

Dr. Semugoma ended his talk with a stirring call to action, which hinged on increased visibility of gay men and the elimination of homophobia, anti-AIDS stigma, and ignorance about HIB/AIDS. He also remembered that the advocacy fights to achieve those aims are not without cost (at the 26:30 mark):

Now, I wanted to acknowledge the fact that a lot of people have helped me to prepare this speech, but I remembered that I can acknowledge also those people who have lost this fight, I mean who have been killed, the price of advocacy. Advocates are beaten, they are arrested, they are killed. I just wanted to remember these few, Alim Mongoche in Cameroon; Steve Harvey in Jamaica, David Kato in Uganda, Thapelo Makutle in South Africa [applause].

One of my most enduring memories of David Kato is of him when we went into the Implementers’ Meeting when he wanted to engage the speakers, and then running very fast on this big road with the police behind him. They wanted to arrest him because we had barnstormed the Implementers’ Meeting.

Many stories are untold and unreported. It is tough to achieve comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment in this context, but it has been done. It has been done before. It is being done now. It is going to be done again. We have tried and they continue to try.

At the end of his talk, he acknowledged his partner, whose name I did not catch. But it was very heartwarming to see him lean into the microphone and say, out loud, “I love you.”

Bishop Senyonjo on Marginalization and Death Threats as an LGBT Ally in Uganda

Jim Burroway

May 25th, 2010

L-R: Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, Jim Burroway

Yesterday I  introduced you to the Rt. Rev. Christopher Senyonjo, who I had the pleasure of meeting a little more than a week ago. The retired Church of Uganda Bishop of the West Buganda diocese is a tireless straight ally and LGBT advocate, and he is now in his third week of a six-week speaking tour in the U.S.

Uganda’s LGBT community has paid a heavy price in its battle for equality. They have endured threats to their personal safety, some have been forcibly outed in the news media, many have lost their jobs and have been disowned by their families. We’ve covered much of that ground before. Today, you will come to know the heavy price that awaits straight allies like Bishop Christopher when they come to the defense of LGBT people.

About thirty of us had gathered in the home of Ed and Scott for a private fundraiser and question-and-answer session for Bishop Christopher. Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, who is facilitating Bishop Christopher’s tour, led the Q&A session. Yesterday, I recounted how Bishop Christopher happened to become an advocate for LGBT people. Unsurprisingly, when his superiors in the Church of Uganda discovered the nature of Bishop Christopher’s new found ministry, they made their displeasure known. Bishop Christopher said:

So I’ve come to this [becoming an advocate] since 2001 when some young people came and we formed what we call Integrity Uganda. But my church didn’t like this. In fact, they said, “No, no, no, no… You shouldn’t support such a group. What you should be is just ask these people to be converted. And if they are not converted, well you are just leading them nowhere.”

But I said, “I know these people and what they are. In spite of not being converted, they should be accepted.”

And I was told, “If you don’t change that attitude and you don’t condemn them, you are no longer going to work with us as a church in the service.”

I accepted, because I knew the truth and I felt I couldn’t compromise on this truth, which I am sure is right and I’ve remained convinced in spite of a lot of suffering which I may not enumerate one by one.

Well, we wouldn’t let him get by without enumerating just a little of what he experienced, so he indulged us.

In the Anglican Church (as is the case with all lower-case “episcopal” churches such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian churches, etc.), a retired bishop is still a bishop. He just no longer carries the responsibility of the day-to-day administration and care of a diocese. Retired bishops however are often called upon to conduct services, co-consecrate fellow bishops, conduct confirmations, and so forth. But because Bishop Christopher’s refusal to condemn his LGBT clients, he was barred from performing any official function inside of an Anglican Church in Uganda or on behalf of the Church. (Which explains why Bishop Christopher was beaming so broadly when I met him after having participated as a co-consecrating bishop for the Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool just a few hours earlier.)

What’s more, after thirty-four years of service in the Church of Uganda,

My pension was stopped, and of course, I will say I was marginalized as they marginalize the homosexuals, the LGBT people. I’m regarded as the same way as a marginalized person, not respected. It is not easy.

But that was just the beginning of his problems:

In 2001, I was here in the United States, and really that’s when my church knew [learned] that I was counseling the LGBT people and they said they would no longer work with me. There were so many threats – If you read the papers at that time, Monitor, the other paper… I think it’s New Vision, Bukedde Uganda… if you read, you will find a lot of things said against me. Actually my wife was not with me and I was advised by many people that there were so many threats, it was not safe for me to go back to Uganda. So I had to find friends to stay with in Washington, D.C. for six months…

But after pondering on this matter – should I file for asylum, seek for asylum here? — I felt my family is in Uganda, my wife is in Uganda [and each time he says "Uganda," he draws it out the way people who love their homeland do]. I didn’t think that I should ask them to come over, and I didn’t really see what I had done. Of course the law was not as clear as it might be if [the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill] is passed. Because if it was as it is [proposed], secondly, when I went back to Uganda I might have been arrested or something. But apart from people and what they were saying and the threats, there was no such law. It is there, but a bit mild against homosexuality. I hadn’t done really anything.

After six months, Bishop Christopher felt it was safe enough to his home in Uganda. But the harassment continued:

I remember one time I was talking with a gentleman and I said why these people should be respected and recognized as human beings. He said, “How can you recognize these people? God doesn’t love them.”

I said, “I believe also these people are created by God.”

But that man – he knew me and I knew him – he give me a slap. And I wondered… but I couldn’t return anything. What I do when such things happen, I neglect what happens. I just walk away. Because that’s what I think is the best way, not just to return a kind of angry reaction. If you do it, it can make things worse.

It has also taken a toll on his family, but they have remained supportive:

They’re worried. There was a time of course when I didn’t go back, my wife was saying, “Don’t come back, it is too dangerous.” So I stayed here for about six months. God willing, one day, Albert was saying I should come along with my wife and so she sees [America]… I’ve been here before but … she has been a wonderful help to me. It hasn’t been easy for her. But she said, “If this is really your call, I cannot stop you.”

I have a daughter too. One day I was in Colorado, Denver… And I was speaking to her. It was hard. She said, “Dad, if you really believe that’s what God wants you to do, then do it.” I sometimes talk as though she’s there. “Dad, your voice was a voice from God.”

So, these people have been supporting me in the way I have explained. They love me. I love them. But serving humanity surpasses other things.

Because of the backlash that the Bishop suffered, it allowed him to walk in the shoes of those who were marginalized. In the eyes of Ugandan society, Bishop Christopher became one of “them,” which only spurred him to greater efforts to try to improve the lives of LGBT people there:

Well what it is like [for LGBT people], many have lost their jobs because if someone discovers you are an LGBT person, you couldn’t keep you’re job. And many find it difficult to tell the parents. The parents, many of them, for whatever reason many of them are not happy with the children who come out as LGBT people. So it is really hard for these people.

And because of this, we’ve been trying in our group to start what we call self-help United Uganda, to sort of start their own employment, to have their own employment. They can employ themselves. For instance, there is one young man who grows sugar cane and sells it. Some start restaurants or become cobblers (shoe repair) so they can survive. In fact, this has been a great help.

Until recently, when we were just starting, we had this, what we call “financial recession.” Some of the help we were getting to start this was curtailed. But I believe that if we could do this, many people who have lost their jobs, who cannot be employed because of their coming out and because of this orientation, could be able to survive and get some kind of employment.

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo (center) meeting with a group in his office near Kampala (From the video, "Voices of Witness Africa")

Bishop Christopher’s group also works to provide rooms or shelter for those who were kicked out of their homes, either by their landlords or their families. But providing these services in such a difficult climate for LGBT people calls for great care and discernment. Bishop Christopher offered this parable to describe how he navigates the roiling homophobia in Uganda:

We have been what we call, “Be wise as a serpent.” You see, one person talked to me about the serpent. The serpent, there is a time for the serpent is very quiet. There may be a some time a serpent in the corner there. [He points to a corner of the room.] But if you don’t disturb it, it may just be quiet. You may not know it is there. Right? And so there is a time of keeping quiet.  Then the serpent, you may find another time, it [he gestures forcefully] — running out, just to rushing out. “Oh! There has been a serpent, a snake here!” Eh? It rushes out!

There’s a time of running away. Then there’s a time when the serpent may attack. But, it’s so hard to know what to do at different times. You need the Grace of God to help you.

Through his work, Bishop Christopher remains both determined and optimistic:

Well I think this is what we should really discuss, because I think we shouldn’t despair. When you despair, you are already defeated. But we can do something. One think I say is solidarity. When your friend is suffering, say “what can I do to help?” Right? For instance, there are times when it will be necessary to be helped out. Supposing the bill passed. There will be many refugees. But this will not be forever. You know, even if we don’t, they are what we call martyrs. People are killed because of what they believe. But some run away, others are killed. Those who run away live to fight another day. So I think we shouldn’t despair.

Things are changing. The world is becoming one. One thing we share, it gives me hope, is the Internet. The Internet! You know what goes on in Uganda, you know it just at that moment and you can respond. The influence is there.

Several days later on May 21, Bishop Christoper spoke at a Harvey Milk Day breakfast in San Diego before approximately a thousand people. I wasn’t there, but I understand that his talk was a huge success. I talked to him by phone later that morning, and he returned to the theme of sacrifice and why he remained optimistic:

Even in the history of the Church or of the world, some people run away and live to fight. Others become martyrs and die for their beliefs. Even today, I’ve been thinking of Harvey Milk. He stood for what he knew was right. The truth for which he died will never die.

Tomorrow, I will cover Bishop Christopher’s observations of the March 2009 conference by three American anti-gay activists which set the stage for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

(See also part 1 and part 3 of our talk with Bishop Senyonjo.)

Anglican Church of Uganda endorses a milder evil – do local Anglican Churches?

Timothy Kincaid

February 10th, 2010
Anglican Church of Uganda Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi

Anglican Church of Uganda Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi

The Episcopal Cafe has posted a copy of the press release issued by The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi , the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda (Anglican) which clarifies the church’s stance on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (the Kill Gays bill) currently under consideration in that nation.

The Church of Uganda does not endorse the bill and believes that this particular piece of legislation is not needed. However, they do call for a piecemeal approach which would serve much the same purpose: increase official harassment and incarceration of gay Ugandans and deny basic civil rights. They are not clear as to whether they support life sentences.

Here are the four goals which the Anglicans in Uganda wish achieved:

We particularly appreciate the objectives of the Bill which seek to:

a) provide for marriage in Uganda as contracted only between a man and woman;

b) prohibit and penalize homosexual behavior and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family;

c) prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with the provisions of the Act;

d) prohibit the licensing of organizations which promote homosexuality.

The order of this list is interesting. One could imagine it as a scale by which intolerance and disrespect for human dignity could be measured in a society.

The first point could simply be a reflection of tradition, misunderstanding, and unnecessary fears. Prohibition and punishment of private sexual expression is an indication of animus, heterosexism, and religious hegemony. The rejection of international treaties and protocols is a sign of arrogance and a hostility to gay persons that verges on hatred.

But the Church of Uganda goes all the way to their fourth point – the rejection of freedoms of speech, assembly, or political diversity. They endorse totalitarianism and reject basic human rights and democratic ideals. This is an attitude that has been shared by every society that is held up as an example of excess, inhumanity, and abuse.

And it is “loopholes” which allow the sort of freedoms that a modern state values that Orambi finds in need of correcting.

We affirm the need for a Bill in light of the existing loopholes in the current legislation, specifically sections 145-148 of the Penal Code Act (Cap 120), which do not explicitly address the other issues associated with homosexual practice such as procurement, recruitment and dissemination of literature.

As Parliament considers streamlining the existing legislation, we recommend that the following issues be taken into consideration:

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.

Let us be clear. Anyone who believes in human rights, anyone who believes in freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of thought, anyone who believes in freedom of religion, all will find the position of the Church of Uganda to be abhorrent.

Yet many Americans have attached their very religious identity to Archbishop Orambi and his anti-gay campaign. The congregations that broke away from the Episcopal Church over the place of gay people within the body of the church have formed the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the only two bodies with which they have full communion are the Church of Nigeria and the Church of Uganda. Several of these congregations have declared that they are under the direct authority of Archbishop Orombi.

I doubt that these American churches endorse the abolition of the freedom of speech in America and I suspect that if cornered many would refuse to publicly endorse recriminalization of homosexuality. Yet, to date, neither the ACNA nor a single member church has spoken against the efforts of the Church of Uganda. None has expressed even the slightest discomfort about being publicly aligned with those who endorse human rights abuses.

While it is likely that this is because they are hesitant to appear in any way that can be construed to be tolerant of the “sinful act of homosexual behavior”, it is also possible that they simply have not been asked. It is likely that the local newspaper reporters in the cities in which these Anglican churches reside are unaware of the Orombi’s stance. And even if so, they are not likely to know that the Church of Uganda is only one of two churches which are in full communion with the Anglican Church in North America.

Perhaps it is time that they become informed. And perhaps it is time that these individual churches come face to face with what they have endorsed.

I invite our readers to go to the ACNA web site and find churches in their area. Then they can contact the reporter on the Religion beat for their local paper and inform them of the issue.

Please, please, do not editorialize in your contact. You don’t need to call the church names or point out hypocrisy or quote the Bible or denounce all religion or anything else which would cause the reporter to dismiss you as a crank. Nor should you start by writing a letter to the editor as this is far less effective than having a reporter cover the story.

Feel free to email them some variation of the following letter:

Dear Religion Reporter,

I wish to bring to your attention an international issue which has a strong local link. This matter is of great importance to many in the community and I hope that you would find this story to be worthy of your efforts.

As you may be aware, there is a bill in the legislature in Uganda which would call for the death penalty for some gay Ugandans and demand life imprisonment for the rest. The Church of Uganda, an Anglican church, does not support this bill (usually referred to as the “Kill the Gays Bill”), but has instead called for separate legislation that would do the following:

  • prohibit and penalize homosexual behavior (along with “lesbianism, bestiality, and other sexual perversions”)
  • ban any organizations that “promote homosexuality” as normal or as an alternative lifestyle
  • make it illegal to advocate for gay people
  • make it illegal to disseminate any material or literature that advocates for gay people
  • declare that homosexual behavior is not a human right
  • declare that advocating for gay people is not a human right

A copy of the press release can be found here.

You may also be aware that XXX Anglican Church on Main Street is a member of the Anglican Church in North America. This congregation was part of the Episcopal Church until they broke away from that denomination in part because of disagreement over the Episcopal Church’s level of acceptance of gay people in the body of the church.

The Church of Uganda is one of only two Anglican Churches in the world which are in full communion with the Anglican Church in North America (the other is the Church of Nigeria which has made similar statements.) The efforts of break-away Episcopal churches was supported by and influenced by the Ugandan and Nigerian archbishops.

I have not yet heard XXX Anglican Church’s position on these actions in Uganda. Neither they nor the Anglican Church in North American have issued a statement suggesting that their ecclesiastical partner is in any way in error. And as they broke from the Episcopal Church (Anglican Church in Canada) over the issue of homosexuality, I wonder whether their position may be the same as that of the Church of Uganda.

As a member of the Local City community, I have an interest in the religious beliefs of the local churches, one that I’m sure I share with many other residents.

I would very much like to know whether XXX Anglican Church supports the criminalization of homosexuality and the incarceration of gay men and women either in the United States (Canada) or Uganda. Do they share the Church of Uganda’s desire to ban the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, or freedom of religion on issues of homosexuality? And finally, is XXX Anglican Church in any way troubled that their only ecclesiastical partners oppose human rights and other freedoms? Will they make a statement of disagreement or use their affiliation to work against any religious advocacy in foreign nations which they think is excessive or unChristian; or, alternately, are they content with the goals of the Church of Uganda?

I certainly don’t wish to tell you how to write a story, but for perspective and contrast I would find it interesting to hear the position of other local church leaders, including those who did not leave the Episcopal Church.

I do hope that you share my interest in this issue and consider this story to be worth inquiry and reporting.

Sincerely,

Box Turtle Reader

Please let us know who you contacted and whether they expressed interest in the story.

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