Sunday, November 15, 2009

Integrity Condemns Anti-Gay Legislation Proposed To Ugandan Parliament

The Board of Directors of Integrity USA expresses grave concern over the anti-gay bill currently under debate in the Ugandan Parliament. If passed, it will make the very important ministry of inclusion of the gay and lesbian baptized in the Anglican Communion something punishable by fines and imprisonment. Organizations that teach reconciliation and the inclusive love of God could be faced with a blanket ban to cease all operations, including our partnership with Bishop Christopher Senyonjo and Integrity Uganda.   

The new bill would outlaw Integrity Uganda and would put clergy, physicians and relatives who support their gay and lesbian neighbors and family members at risk for severe fines and possible imprisonment. The proposed law may mean neighbors who do not inform on each other for supporting LGBT civil rights are subject to punishment. We have not seen such a draconian system of isolation and institutional rejection of a minority community in Uganda since the anti Jewish laws passed by the Third Reich.

The 20-year-old Yowero Musevene regime, in power in Uganda and supported by the United States and many European governments, is about to disconnect itself from many international treaties on human rights. This proposed law would allow for extradition of homosexuals living in other countries back to Uganda--violating current international norms. It is estimated that half of Uganda’s annual budget comes through international aid. Integrity calls upon the United States Government through the office of the Secretary of State to investigate the abuses of human rights and to re-evaluate the United States support of the Yowero Musevene regime.

The Reverend Canon Albert Ogle, Integrity’s Vice President for National and International Affairs, spent six years working with AIDS and cancer programs in Uganda. He believes that the introduction of AIDS programs in Uganda and saved millions of Ugandan lives and that Uganda would have lost many, many more people were it not for the courage and dedication of LGBT people and our friends. Ogle reports that local LGBT Ugandans helped us promote this work. It is time the true story of the contribution of the LGBT community to this country was uncovered.

Integrity also calls upon Ugandan international relief agencies and human rights organizations to monitor the situation in Uganda and with as many religious organizations as possible, so as to speak with one loud and clear voice on behalf of the international democratic family against this proposed act. The international community through business, religious and aid organizations cannot be a party to the extermination of LGBT people and we believe there is enough support within Uganda to oppose the passage of this bill.

Dr. George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, was the architect of Lambeth 1:10--the resolution widely quoted in the Church of Uganda’s official response to this legislation last week; legislation which it largely supports. Canon Ogle wrote to Dr. Carey in 1998.*  Ogle predicted that the anti-homosexuality resolutions would be used by church and state alike to inflict violence and death against LGBT Anglicans. Eleven years later those predictions are coming true.

Integrity challenges every bishop who voted for Lambeth 1:10 to clarify to their local dioceses what the Lambeth resolution on homosexuality meant to them in 1998 and what their position on the Church of Uganda’s use of this resolution to oppress and marginalize its LGBT citizens is now. We remind those bishops who may feel drawn to retract their association with this resolution--now that they see how damaging it really was to the international LGBT community--that is it never too late to do the right thing.

Integrity also challenges Anglican leaders whose actions at Lambeth 1998 helped create the incubator for this new level of terror and civil persecution in places like Uganda to condemn this violation of civil rights under the veil of Anglican sanction.  Further, Integrity calls upon religious leader around the world to use their influence as respected persons of faith to denounce the persecution of any minority, particularly the LGBT community in Uganda.

*"Diversity of Disunity" by James Solheim, pages 223-225

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