Monday, November 30, 2009

CTB Statement on Uganda

“Claiming the Blessing” urges TEC action on Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Claiming the Blessing joins religious and human rights leaders around the globe in condemning the “Anti-Homosexuality” bill that was introduced in the Ugandan parliament in October 2009.

One of the most homophobic pieces of legislation ever conceived, the bill in question would imprison anyone who knows of the existence of a gay or lesbian person and fails to give their names to the police within 24 hours, require a sentence of life imprisonment for anyone who “touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality,” and limit the distribution of HIV information through a provision criminalizing the “promotion of homosexuality." Beyond that, it creates a crime of “aggravated homosexuality,” punishing anyone who is HIV-positive with death for having consensual same-sex relations.

We call on the Episcopal Church to join those speaking out in opposition to this draconian and dehumanizing legislation – legislation already condemned by the resolution of General Convention (2006-D005) that declared “our opposition to the imposition of civil or criminal penalties, especially imprisonment and execution, upon gay and lesbian people and our opposition to laws anywhere in the world that specifically target and impose imprisonment for homosexual behavior, speech, or assembly of gay and lesbian people and their supporters.”
We applaud the strong statement from the Canadian Anglicans and urge our Executive Council to “go and do likewise” when they meet in special session regarding these matters on December 7. We do so remembering that we claim a baptismal covenant requiring us to “respect the dignity of every human being,” that 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10 called upon the Church to reject the irrational fear of homosexual persons and that Resolution D005 of our own 2006 General Convention declared “that efforts to criminalize homosexual behavior are incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Clearly, the proposed Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill fails to meet any of these standards.
We believe the “Year of the Lord’s Favor” our Presiding Bishop preached about at her investiture includes the liberation of those held captive by homophobia. Our Ugandan LGBT brothers and sisters need to hear the word of hope the Episcopal Church can give by joining those opposing this legislation. The time to stand up and be counted is now. We urge our elected and appointed leaders of the Episcopal Church to stand up and to speak out on behalf of the gospel.
Signed: Ms Peggy Adams, the Rev. Canon Dr. J. Edwin Bacon, the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Black, Mr. John Clinton Bradley, Dr. Louie Crew, the Reverend Michael Hopkins, Mr. Thomas Jackson, the Reverend Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton, the Reverend Joseph Lane, the Reverend Susan B.P. Norris, the Reverend Canon Susan Russell, the Reverend Jason Samuel, Ms Katie Sherrod, Mr. John Simonelli, Canon James B. White, Mr. Warren Wong

Claiming the Blessing [CTB] is an unincorporated coalition of Episcopal organizations and individuals focused on promoting wholeness in human relationships, abolishing prejudice and oppression, and healing the rift between sexuality and spirituality in the Church. Represented organizations include: All Saints Church, Pasadena; The Episcopal Women’s Caucus; Integrity USA; The Oasis (Newark): Oasis, California; and Oasis, Missouri;

For more information on Claiming the Blessing, visit our website:

For more information or comment on this statement, contact CTB Convener, Susan Russell at


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