Uganda: Archbishop of Canterbury must repent for LGBTQ+ support


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, must repent says the Archbishop of Uganda, Stephen Kaziimba

The Archbishop of Uganda, Stephen Kaziimba, says that the Church of England must repent for not supporting the criminalisation of LGBTQ+ people.

This comes in response to a statement issued by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressing his disappointment and sorrow that the Ugandan church has backed the recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act.

In May, Kaziimba welcomed the signing of the law and claimed that homosexuality is “being forced on us by outside, foreign actors against our will, against our culture, and against our religious beliefs.”

Welby revealed that he’d written to Kaziimba, urging him and the Church of Uganda “to reconsider their support for this legislation and reject the criminalisation of LGBTQ people.”

The Church of England, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has historically been recognised as the “mother church” of the global Anglican Communion.

Welby insisted that his call “is not about imposing Western values on our Ugandan Anglican sisters and brothers,” but rather “about reminding them of the commitments we have made as Anglicans to treat every person with the care and respect they deserve as children of God.”

He argued that supporting legislation criminalising homosexuality “is a fundamental departure from our commitment to uphold the freedom and dignity of all people. There is no justification for any province of the Anglican Communion to support such laws: not in our resolutions, not in our teachings, and not in the Gospel we share.”

Welby emphasised that the Anglican Communion had reaffirmed in 2016 “our rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people.”

Archbishop Kaziimba responded to Welby’s comments in a statement of his own, pointing out that homosexuality was criminalised in Uganda before the new law was passed, “as it is in more than one-third of the world’s countries.”

“[The Anti-Homosexuality Bill] simply reaffirms what was already in the colonial-era penal code, including a maximum sentence of the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality (which the Church of Uganda opposed),” wrote Kaziimba.

He also reminded Welby that the Church of Uganda no longer recognises his role or authority as the Archbishop of Canterbury in leading the global Anglican Communion. “We do pray for him and other leaders in the Church of England to repent,” said Kaziimba.

In April, conservative Anglicans from around the world met in Kigali and agreed to reject Welby’s leadership role after the Church of England passed a motion in February to allow the blessing of same-sex unions.

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act imposes severe penalties, including life imprisonment for engaging in homosexual acts, the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality, and a 20-year prison term for “promoting” or advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. Landlords can face up to seven years in prison if they knowingly allow premises to be used for homosexuality, and minors engaging in homosexual acts can face three years in prison.

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