The Church of Uganda, a member province of the Anglican Communion has expressed its gratitude for the Anti Homosexuality Act 2023 now assented to by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni. The new act strengthens existing penalties and adds the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” which includes rape and sex by someone previously convicted for homosexuality.
The bill as introduced made “purporting to enter a same sex marriage” punishable by ten years jail, and “promotion of homosexuality” subject to a five year term of imprisonment, later amended to 20 years. During the debate in the parliament of Uganda, the penalty for homosexual sex was increased from ten years in the bill to life imprisonment. UPDATE The final text of the Act as signed by the President.
‘“The Church of Uganda welcomes the diligent work of Parliament and His Excellency, the President, in crafting the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023,” a statement released by Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, the Archbishop of Church of Uganda says. “
“We’re grateful the current Act affirms the merits of the existing provisions in the current penal code. We are also grateful that the Act builds on existing laws by offering greater protection of children through strong anti-grooming measures, strong restrictions on promotion, and protection of children by not allowing those convicted under the act to be employed in organizations that work directly with children. We also appreciate that the Act protects people from false allegations.
“As expressed in our responses to earlier versions of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill over the last fifteen years, the Church of Uganda supports life and, in principle, does not support the death penalty. As grievous as aggravated defilement and aggravated homosexuality are, we do not support the death penalty for those crimes, and continue to recommend life imprisonment instead.”
The Archbishop’s statement also speaks out against the challenge of “heterosexual immorally” spelling out opposition hypocrisy as well. “Fornication, defilement, and adultery are also attacking our families, our souls, and our country. Many of the people loudly protesting against homosexuality are quietly fornicating or betraying their spouse through Gender-Based Violence, adultery, or defiling their own children…”
“The Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 is good and we are grateful to the President for assenting to it. But, it will not solve all of our problems. We must also examine our own hearts and repent of sexual greed.”
In addition to left of centre responses some conservatives oppose the new law. Texas senator Ted Cruz called the new Uganda law “horrific and wrong.”
“Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is grotesque & an abomination,” Cruz said on Twitter. “ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse.”
The origins of the successive waves of Ugandan anti LGBT laws in activity by US-based evangelicals has been documented by retired psychology professor Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College, in a two-part series here and here. He describes the instigators who first went to Uganda in 2009: “These organizers were Christian pastors and Parliamentarians. Some were affiliated with the Fellowship Foundation in Uganda, the same group that historically ran the National Prayer Breakfast every Spring in Washington, DC. Some were affiliated with various apostolic and dominionist Christian groups in the U.S. Some were Latter Day Saint organizations, such as Sharon Slater’s group which I wrote about in part one of this short series. What united them was their desire to pin all of the evils in Uganda on one group — LGBTQ people.”
It is important to note that this original group were not members, as far as The Other Cheek is aware of mainstream evangelical groups such as the Anglicans.
Image: Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, Credit: Javiramk16/Wikimedia