The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has written to the Ugandan leader of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Steven Kazimba expressing dismay and grief at the Church of Uganda’s support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
President Museveni last month signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law, sparking condemnation and criticism from Western powers who called it a shameful and tragic violation of human rights.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Kazimba hailed President Museveni for standing firm amid pressure from Western countries.
“The LGBTQ- affirming countries have shown us negative consequences. We thank the president for not surrendering to their threats and for protecting Uganda from their paths of self-destruction,” Kazimba said.
“Homosexuality is currently a challenge in Uganda because it is being forced on us by outside, foreign actors against our will, against our culture, and against our religious beliefs. They disguise themselves as “human rights activists,” but are corrupting real human rights by adding LGBTQ to their agenda,” he added.
However, in a statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said he is dismayed and has written to Archbishop Kazimba in sorrow.
“ I am deeply aware of the history of colonial rule in Uganda, so heroically resisted by its people. But this is not about imposing Western values on our Ugandan Anglican sisters and brothers. It is about reminding them of the commitments we have made as Anglicans to treat every person with the care and respect they deserve as children of God,” Welby noted.
Welby sent a reminder to Kazimba that Anglicans around the world have long been united in our opposition to the criminalisation of homosexuality and LGBTQ people.
He cautioned that supporting legislation like the Anti-Homosexuality law is a fundamental departure from the Anglican church’s commitment to upholding the freedom and dignity of all people.
“There is no justification for any province of the Anglican Communion to support such laws: not in our resolutions, not in our teachings, and not in the Gospel we share,” Welby said.
“The Church of Uganda, like many Anglican provinces, holds to the traditional Christian teaching on sexuality and marriage set out in Resolution i.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That resolution also expressed a commitment to minister pastorally and sensitively to all – regardless of sexual orientation – and to condemn homophobia. I have said to Archbishop Kaziimba that I am unable to see how the Church of Uganda’s support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act is consistent with its many statements in support of Resolution i.10,” Welby added.
Welby goes on to contend that in the 2016 primates meeting in Canterbury, they condemned the homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation.
” We affirmed that this conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. We also “reaffirmed our rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people” – and stated that “God’s love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the church should never by its actions give any other impression,” he said.
I therefore urge Archbishop Kaziimba and the Church of Uganda – a country and church I love dearly, and to which I owe so much – to reconsider their support for this legislation and reject the criminalisation of LGBTQ people. I also call on my brothers in Christ, the leadership of GAFCON and the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), to make explicitly and publicly clear that the criminalisation of LGBTQ people is something that no Anglican province can support: that must be stated unequivocally,” he added.
Welby argues that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to honour the image of God in every person and wants all Anglicans to be united in this calling.
The second time he disagrees with Ugandan Anglican Church
This is the second time that Welby has disagreed with the Anglican Church in Uganda over the same issue.
In 2014, Welby wrote a letter to Archbishop Stanley Ntagali warning that gays and lesbians should not be victimized.
In his response, Ntagali said that homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture and urged the Church of England to step back from the path it had set itself on so that Ugandan Anglican Church would be able to maintain communication with it.