According to The Monitor (Uganda edition), “Amidst minor in-House opposition, Parliament on Tuesday swiftly passed a legislation with stricter penalties for people engaged in same-sex activities in Uganda.” Speaker Anita Among claimed that the action was a bold move to “recognize and protect” the “morals and culture of [the] country.”
Penalties under the new legislation include a 10 year+ jail term for anyone who engages in same-sex relationships or even identifies as LGBTQ+.
Human Rights activists, of course, have called the legislation a violation of human rights. The bill now waits presidential consent.
10-year incarceration for consensual relationships or even for identifying as LGBTQ+ is a reprehensible burden to place on the Queer communities of Uganda. Homophobia, Homohatred, and Transphobia are dehumanizing and to codify and legislate them is cruel and oppressive.
Homophobia and Transphobia are on the rise globally. To ignore the attacks on LGBTQ people anywhere is to give tacit consent to such attacks.
The Global Justice Institute unequivocally denounces legislation in any country, province, or region that seeks to deny protection, equal opportunity, or freedom of expression to LGBTQ+ people.
It is the moral and theological position of the Global Justice Institute that LGBTQ+ people are children of God, loved, as they are, by God, and are entitled to live their lives openly with joy and without fear of censure by their governments.
The Global Justice Institute calls upon the government of Uganda to repeal this terrifying legislation. A nation’s sovereignty does not give it the right to dehumanize and demoralize its own citizens. We would hope that every country would value all of its citizens, including LGBTQ+ members of society.
The Global Justice Institute also calls upon all people of faith and goodwill to hold the LGBGTQ+ communities of Uganda in loving prayer during this difficult time.
Finally, to avoid noticing a speck of sawdust in our neighbor’s eye while ignoring a plank in our own, the GJI also acknowledges that to varying degrees in various regions of the United States, LGBTQ rights and dignity are under attack. Literally hundreds of bills are being debated in U.S. state legislatures that are meant to erase, silence, or limit the liberties of LGBTQ people. We call upon the people of the United States to resist and reject codifying homophobia and transphobia into laws and ordinances as well.
May LGBTQ+ people all over the world be safe, and may our affirmation of the innate goodness of the LGBTQ+ children of God be heard and heeded the world over.
This statement prepared by The Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Senior Minister of Sunshine Cathedral, Fort Lauderdale, FL USA, on behalf of Bishop Pat Bumgardner, Executive Director of the Global Justice Institute.
Sunshine Cathedral is The World’s Largest Progressive Queer Church with both a local and global congregation of over 30,000. Celebrating 51 years, the Church is physically located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We are a progressive spiritual community with deep roots in Christian worship as well as the Gay Rights movement. While Jesus is our primary faith symbol we are non-dogmatic and are open to the truths expressed in various religions, philosophies, poetry, art, and science. We at Sunshine Cathedral affirm that all people have sacred value (“You are God’s miracle and not God’s mistake”), that God is omnipresent Love, and while we love the bible we tend to interpret it allegorically rather than literally. We resist weaponizing scripture and we believe religion is wrongly used when it is used to demonize, dehumanize, and demoralize people. Learn more at SunshineCathedral.org