In the News

Nigerian, Ugandan Bishops Err in Supporting Anti-Gay Legislation

February 14, 2014 |

“No legitimate Christian rationale” for persecuting gays and lesbians, says group of African, U. S. Anglicans

The steering committee of the Chicago Consultation—an organization of bishops, clergy, theologians and lay Anglicans in Africa and Episcopalians in the United States—has issued the following statement about punitive anti-gay legislation that is supported by the archbishops of the Anglican churches of Nigeria and Uganda:

Christians who read and reason from the same Bible can arrive in good faith at differing conclusions about the moral legitimacy of same-sex relationships. We believe that these differences must be honored, even as we work to gain equal rights for all of God’s children, both in the church and in civil society. But we are grieved and appalled by the support of Anglican Archbishops Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria and Stanley Ntagali of Uganda for harsh anti-gay legislation that has been passed in their countries.

In Nigeria, where this law is already in effect, gay men have been rounded up and tortured. In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni must decide within the next few days, whether to sign harsh anti-gay legislation that has already been approved by the country’s Parliament.

In the wake of widespread expressions of support for this legislation from Christian leaders in Africa and the silence of their allies in the west, we believe that several points must be made clear:

  • There is no religiously rooted justification for perpetrating violence against innocent men and women who, whatever their sexual orientation or identity, are created in the image and likeness of God.
  • There is no legitimate Christian rationale for denying lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people the human rights bestowed upon all of God’s children.
  • Christian leaders who argue otherwise demonstrate a shocking hardheartedness and an unwillingness to examine the meanings of Holy Scripture in depth and in totality.
  • Whatever their political or theological opinions, faithful Christians are called to offer sanctuary to the persecuted, not encouragement to the persecutors.

We call on the archbishops to reconsider their support for these laws, and we call on the archbishops’ allies in the United States and the United Kingdom—organizations such as Anglican Mainstream, the Anglican Church in North America and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America—to dissociate themselves from the archbishops’ positions or explain why they will not do so.