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World News

Archbishop of Uganda speaks out against Welby’s criticism of anti-homosexuality policy

by Kelly Valencia

The Archbishop of Uganda has criticised Most Rev Justin Welby’s recent condemnation of the country's new anti-homosexuality law.

On Friday, Most Rev Stephen Kaziimba hit out at Archbishop Justin for expressing opinions on global matters that he “knows little about firsthand”.

He wrote on Twitter: “Archbishop Justin Welby, Primate of All England, has every right to form his opinions about matters around the world that he knows little about firsthand, which he has done in his recent statement about Church of Uganda’s widely held support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023.”

Last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury called on the Anglican church in Uganda to “reject the criminalisation of LGBTQ people” as the new strict anti-homosexuality legislation condemns the “promotion of homosexuality” and introduces the death penalty for so-called “aggravated cases”, which include sex with a minor, incest and having sex while HIV positive.

In his letter, Archbishop Justin expressed his “grief and dismay” at the policy and described the support for the law as a “fundamental departure” from the Anglican Church’s 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,” the 67-year-old continued.

Homosexuality has been illegal in Uganda since the British colonial era, and it is one of 66 countries which criminalise same-sex intimacy between adults, according to Statista.

Archbishop Stephen continued: “He and many other Western leaders seem to think that the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 criminalises homosexuality. It does not. Homosexuality was already criminalised; it 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).

“Even if the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023 was not signed into law, homosexuality would remain criminalised in Uganda, as it is in more than one-third of the world’s countries. Even if it is overturned by the Supreme Court, homosexuality will continue to be criminalised in Uganda. What is new is specifically outlawing the promotion of homosexuality and same-sex relationships as a moral alternative to God’s natural design for marriage between one man and one woman.”

“We wonder if Archbishop Welby has written to encourage the Anglican Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf to publicly advocate for decriminalising homosexuality in the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East? Why are African countries like Ghana and Uganda singled out for such virtue signaling?,” he wrote.

Archbishop Stephen concluded his Twitter threat by reaffirming that the Church of Uganda no longer recognises Archbishop Justin as “the first among equals of the Primates” and prayed for him and other leaders in the Church of England to repent.

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