Sign On Statement on Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Law
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Our Christian faith recognizes that all human beings have been created in the image and likeness of God, and Christ teaches that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. All acts of bigotry and hatred betray these foundational truths.
Many of us previously expressed our profound dismay at the Parliament of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, which would have enforced lifetime prison sentences and in some cases the death penalty for homosexual behavior, as well as punish citizens for not reporting their gay and lesbian neighbors to the authorities. Now the bill is back, albeit with some of the harshest provisions likely to be removed, and we are alarmed at recent calls by our Ugandan brothers and sisters in Christ for the speedy passage of this legislation.
As Christians we wish to bear witness to the fact that Jesus spoke up for the marginalized in his society. But even in its revised form, the bill in Uganda would forcefully push lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people further into the margins, and it would criminalize anyone, including clergy, who speak up and provide support for their LGBT brothers and sisters rather than reporting them to law enforcement. Persecution of this kind has no place in any community guided by the commandment to love one’s neighbor.
Regardless of the diverse theological views of our religious traditions regarding the morality of homosexuality, the criminalization of homosexuality, along with the violence and discrimination against LGBT people that inevitably follows, is incompatible with the teachings of our faith.
As Americans Christians we recognize that groups and leaders within our own country have been implicated in efforts to spread prejudice and discrimination in Uganda. We condemn misguided actions that have led to increased bigotry and hatred of LGBT people in Uganda that debases the inherent dignity of all humans created in the image of our Maker. We urge our Christian brothers and sisters in Uganda to resist the false argument, debunked long ago, that LGBT people are a threat to our children and families and somehow “foreign” to our societies. We recognize that such treatment degrades the human family, threatens the common good and defies the teachings of our Lord – wherever it occurs.