Saturday, March 13, 2010

Position of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Now, before you read further, I have to say I am sorry I didnt post this before.

And, why did I not post it?

  • I am a flawed human being. I heard of it, and didnt consider the depth of change of heart the signatories had had to make it.
  • They have made so many inflammatory statements against us gay Ugandans that, even when there is this little change of heart, it should be lauded. But, I think them hypocrites, the leaders of the main religions in Uganda.
  • For the greater part of five months, they have said exactly the opposite. And, me, I am irreverent, and dont consider their hypocrisy something to celebrate.
  • And, lastly of course, the statement still stinks of hypocrisy.
So, have I made you really curious, and biased about what the leaders of the 3 major religions in Uganda have to say about the Anti-Homosexuality Bill?


But, I have to rub my back too. To get them to agree to this, it took lots and lots of campaigning. On my part, on that of many other people outside the country. Thanks you guys out there.

Now, please read this, the position of the IRCU, the official position, signed by the Catholic Archbishop, the Anglican Archbishop, the Seventh Day Adventist leader, the Uganda Orthodox Church Leader, and, the Sheik of Uganda.

It leaves Bahati the Dupe, and Ssempa hanging out there, unsupported.

Here is the statement.

Tuesday, 9th March, 2010     
IRCU is an initiative that brings together different religious institutions to address issues of common concern.
Its membership comprises of the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda, the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, the Church of Uganda, the Uganda Orthodox Church and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Vision: A divinely Peaceful, prosperous and HIV/AIDS free Uganda
We the Council of Presidents of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) gathered this 10th day of February, 2010, at IRCU Secretariat;
Having read and considered carefully the provisions in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill yet to be debated by Parliament;
Aware of our mandate to nurture and protect the moral fibre of our society, guided by the Holy Scriptures of the religions we subscribe to;
Hereby state that:
1. The Bible, the Quran and other Holy Teachings treat homosexuality as a sin. Both the Bible and Qur’an are categorical in their objection to same sex relationships (Lev. 18:22; Surah Ash’shura 26:165-166). Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural divine law, and under no circumstance can be approved.
2. The IRCU Council of Presidents, therefore, condemns homosexuality as an undesirable evil that should not be allowed in our society.
3. Our religious teachings promote respect, compassion and sensitivity. We, therefore, condemn the sin but welcome the sinners to confess, repent and seek a new beginning. This is based on the belief that all people are called by God to fulfill His will in their lives; IRCU, therefore, decries the proposed death penalty and life imprisonment in the proposed Bill as unwarranted. We believe homo-sexuals need conversion, repentance, support, and understanding and love in order to abandon their practices and return to God fully.
4. Since the proposed death penalty and life imprisonment do not provide the sinner an opportunity to repent, hence falling short of compassion to those who need conversion, repentance, support and hope, they are unnecessary.
5. Even the proposal to prosecute those who fail to disclose information regarding homosexual acts is inconsistent with the trust, confidentiality and professional ethics of persons such as parents, priests, counselors, teachers, doctors and leaders, to whom the sick, troubled and repentant sinners turn in search of support and advice for rehabilitation. The proposed law does not provide for the rehabilitation of repentant homosexuals. Yet as Religious Leaders, we are mandated to reach out to all people of God in a show of love and compassion (Mt. 9:10-13). The proposed Bill also has the potential to destroy the family as it is likely to undermine the important role of parents in providing guidance to their children.
6. Additionally, in our view the proposed Bill may not be called for considering that acts of sodomy are already condemned under section 145 of the Penal Code. However, we recognize the need to improve on the Penal Code as it has gaps which can be addressed by some provisions contained in the proposed Bill.
7. We the Council of Presidents of the Inter – Religious Council of Uganda, therefore, advise government, and all well-meaning groups and individuals to take remedial measures against this evil that has crept into our society by:
a. Exposing the people and organizations funding homosexuality in the country;
b. Providing enough information on recruitment and funding to the public in the interest of transparency and accountability;
c. Establishing facts on homosexuality and gay activities in Uganda and publishing a brochure which IRCU can distribute through its structures;
d. Emphasizing our core cultural and religious values and undertaking moral education in schools; and
e. Counteracting the distortion and misrepresentation of the debate on homosexuality by the media.
His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga: Archbishop of the Uganda Orthodox Church; Chairperson, IRCU Council of Presidents
His Grace the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi: Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda/Member IRCU Council of Presidents
Pr. Dr. John Kakembo
President, Seventh-day Adventist Uganda; Union/ Member IRCU Council of Presidents
His Eminence Sheikh Shaban R. Mubaje: Mufti of Uganda/ Member IRCU Council of Presidents
His Grace Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese/ Member IRCU Council of Presidents


unused said...

The catholics must have cajoled the rest to come to that statement.

F Young said...

Catholic Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga's endorsement of this March 9, 2010 statement by the Council of Presidents of the Inter–Religious Council of Uganda is inconsistent with the position the Holy See has taken at the United Nations in 2008 and 2009:



The Archbishop's earlier official position on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was also inconsistent with the Holy See:

Ironically, the IRCU statement advocates "7. e. Counteracting the distortion and misrepresentation of the debate on homosexuality by the media."

Yet, the Archbishop himself appears to be distorting and misrepresenting the Vatican's position (or has the Vatican's position changed since December 2009?). Perhaps someone with a good understanding of the politics of the Catholic church could say whether it would be worthwhile to ask the Vatican to correct the Archbishop's repeated public apparent misstatements of the Vatican's position.

The Vatican has already done this with respect to Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan (Cardinals are at a higher level than an Archbishop; they are second only to the Pope.):

Jean-Paul, Canada said...

"The proposed Bill also has the potential to destroy the family as it is likely to undermine the important role of parents in providing guidance to their children."

That's the clincher, isn't it. And that would be the complete opposite of what Scott Lively intended, wouldn't it.

That statement alone leaves Bahati and Ssempa 'hanging out there....alone'.

Without wishing harm to anyone, I can't help but remember what measures religious fanatics have taken in the past when they were finally backed against a wall.

Again, I pity Mrs. Ssempa and the children. Humpty Dumpty is about to have a great fall.

F. Young: Excellent comments.

F Young said...

I want to clarify my earlier comment about the inconsistencies between the ICRU statement and the positions of the Vatican. See my earlier comment for the links.

Firstly, the ICRU statement fails to call for the decriminalization of adult consensual homosexual sex. This is a major element of the Vatican's official position and a life-changing/saving omission for LGBT's in Uganda. On the contrary, the ICRU statement says that homosexuality "should not be allowed in our society," and impliedly supports section 145 of the Penal Code by using its continuation as the basis for its argument that the Bill is unnecessary.

Secondly, the ICRU statement fails to call for an end to "every sign of unjust discrimination" to homosexual persons, to "all forms of violence against homosexual persons," to "all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons, such as , , , , , torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment," all elements of the Vatican's official position that are hugely relevant to Uganda.

Lastly, the ICRU statement deplores that the "proposed law does not provide for the rehabilitation of repentant homosexuals." When read with the criticism that "the proposed death penalty and life imprisonment do not provide the sinner an opportunity to repent" and the statements that the churches "welcome the sinners to confess, repent and seek a new beginning," and "believe homosexuals need conversion, repentance, support, and understanding and love," one is left to wonder whether the churches are calling for "conversion" "therapy" as a "get-out-of-jail" card for those condemned to prison.

Surely that is not the Vatican's official position, but then what does the statement mean when it deplores that the "proposed law does not provide for the rehabilitation of repentant homosexuals?" Conversion therapy, but you stay in jail anyway?

What to make of all this? Has the Catholic Church changed its mind? Does it fear the government or a reduction in tithes? Does the Ugandan Catholic church disagree with the Vatican? I don't know.

So, what do we do now? Is it best not to do anything? I don't know enough. The stakes are very high. Personally, I would appreciate input from people who are very familiar with Ugandan politics and the politics of the Catholic Church at the Vatican and Ugandan levels.

Leonard said...

One thing that I do know is Archbishop Orombi has engaged in doublespeak can he sign such a document in good faith as his Vice-Chancellor Knoll (American anti-LGBT) keeps issuing freshly minted DEMANDS on LGBT and their participation at all levels of Churchlife throughout every province on the Anglican Communion...and then, of course there is the matter of the excommunicated retired Bishop Anglican Bishop Ssenyonjo who is currently and ongoingly being PUNISHED for ministering to the Demonized, by Orombi and his House of Bishops, LGBT Anglicans.

Until Orombi starts issuing words of humility and amends for the great harm he has done to Anglicans in Uganda/beyond and apologizes for the ¨poaching¨ (aided by bigots at Church) in California, Georgia (both Supreme Courts have thrown him/accomplices out of TEC property) I have little faith in him...I believe he discredits any somewhat-well-intentioned group that have signed this other words, we´re not reading a document signed by honorable/sincere least one of them isn´t that I know of...this is another form of grandstanding to ward-off possible discrediting of their collective 1/2 assed spiritual good´s a mouse squeaking in a trap.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a disgusting statement.

Hate the ignorance but love the ignorant.

Jean-Paul, Canada said...

We can't expect religious leaders to be irreligious, can we? They live and breathe within the confines of doctrines which limit their ability to think progressively.

Nothing in this statement compares with the wisdom of Rev Desmond Tutu. Jesus did not say 'Love one another, except the gays'.

So simple.

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