The Ugandan Anglican Church has been an avid supporter of the recently passed “anti-gay bill” in Uganda.
The Church has supported the bill since it’s conception, yet many individuals oppose it for its harsh attacks on homosexuals including life in prison for anyone caught in a homosexual act. While the Ugandan subset of the Anglican Church has strong views, it is receiving harsh criticism from their mother church in England.
The Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury and York have expressed disapproval of the actions of their Ugandan counterparts, urging all the Church leaders to adopt policies of acceptance and care for all. But the Ugandan Church is set in their ways and they have threatened to break away from England and the rest of the Anglican Church.
“If they are not willing to listen to us. We shall consider being on our own,” was said by Uganda’s lead Bishop, Stanley Ntagali. This action may be the first break in the Anglican Church if it does come to fruition, since the Anglican Church was formed as a break off of the Catholic Church nearly 400 years ago.
The Anglican Church is not the only church speaking out in relation to the bill. Cardinal Peter Turkson of the Catholic Church in Ghana has expressed his unrest about the bill, and has said that homosexuals are not criminals and should not be imprisoned for their actions and lifestyle. While the Cardinal has not specifically condoned homosexuality, he has simply expressed his sympathy for the homosexuals who are being abused in Uganda.
Cardinal Turkson is not the only member of the Catholic Church with an opinion on the matter. Pope Francis recently said that he is considering civil unions among homosexuals on civil rights basis and pertaining to those laws given to legally married couples. But he also clarified that marriage is still between only a man and a woman. This shows, yet again, how the Catholic Church is opening up, adapting to an ever changing world, and following their beliefs of respect for all.
This bill is not only causing religions to react against it, as a rather surprising court ruling recently came out of Lebanon. This ruling strikes down the country’s law which bans unnatural sexual acts. This came out after a homosexual act was brought up in court as a violation of the law. It has been hailed by many of the country’s activists as a victory on one side, but there is still the problem of dealing with abuse from the public and police.
Many governments and organizations have reacted to the passing of the bill in Uganda by removing or threatening to remove aid to Uganda. But taking away the aid in some cases may not be the best decision. As the Coalition on Human Rights & Constitutional Law states: “We do not support general aid cuts to Uganda.”. Further stating how the people of Uganda should not suffer over the actions and views of their government.
Rather than completely cut aid to Uganda, many nations such as, Norway and The Netherlands have taken their aid money meant for government programs and are bringing those funds to private organizations, particularly those in the health field.
Although many groups are merely relocating their funds, to prevent from the money from going to those in the government, several groups, most notably the World Bank have taken such actions. The World Bank has delayed the aid they planned to give Uganda, in hopes of angering the Ugandan government. What first seemed like a wise political choice is now turning out to be a big PR problem as the Ugandan government is now accusing the bank of blackmail.
All of this is happening just days after the UN launched their annual Zero Discrimination Day, on March 1st. This day, which was kicked off in China, serves as a day to encourage everyone to put aside any judgement and treat everyone, as the UNAIDS website says, “no matter what they look like, where they come from or whom they love”. This is mirroring the statements made by the UN Secretary General, who has disapproved of the Ugandan government’s decision and has called for equal treatment of everyone.