The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Stanly Ntagali has responded to a letter written by two senior Anglican Church leaders on recent passing of anti-gay laws in Uganda and Nigeria.
On Thursday, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who is the head of the Anglican Church together Dr John Ssentamu, the Archbishop of York, wrote to the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda over the laws criminalizing homosexuality.
The two prelates say in their letter that homosexual people are loved and valued by God and should not be victimised or diminished.
Uganda and Nigeria have both passed legislation criminalizing same-sex attraction relationships. On December 30, the Ugandan Parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, allowing for greater punishments for gay people, and those who fail to report them to police. President Yoweri Museveni has however declined to assent to it.
Early this month, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law a similar bill which bans same-sex marriages, gay groups and shows of same-sex public affection.
But just hours after the letter became public, Archbishop Ntagali, a known critic of gay unions and supporter the anti-homosexual legislation, has responded to Church of England’s report saying the church leaders in Uganda are encouraged by the work of the country’s parliament to pass the law.
Archbishops Welby and Ssentamu addressed their letter to all primates who are heads of national Churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The authors said the letter was a result of questions about the Church of England’s attitude to new legislation in several countries that penalizes people with same-sex attraction.
In their letter, the archbishops reiterated their support for the Dromantine Communique that was published in 2005 by the primates of the Anglican Communion. The communique noted that they continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people and that the victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to them.
But Ntagali, in his response made yesterday, says the law is necessary. He says the Church of Uganda is encouraged by Parliament’s decision to amend the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and remove the death penalty among other changes.
He noted that this frees the clergy and church leaders to fulfill the 2008 resolution of the House of Bishops to “offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual orientation, especially in schools and other institutions of learning.
Ntagali said that the Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing.
He noted that the Church of Uganda is grateful for the reminder of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to fulfill such commitments as stated in the 2005 Communique of the Primates Meeting held in Dromantine, Northern Ireland.
He insists that as per the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference of 1998, homosexual practice is incompatible with the Scripture, and the conference cannot advise the legitimizing or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions.
Ntagali noted that it was the Episcopal Church of USA and the Anglican Church of Canada’s violations of Lambeth 1.10 resolution which caused the Church of Uganda to break communion with those Provinces more than ten years ago.
He hoped that the Archbishops and governing bodies of the Church of England will step back from the path they have set themselves on so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with its own Mother Church.