Thursday December 10 2009

Church leaders back govt on anti-gay Bill

By Risdel Kasasira


At least 200 senior religious leaders in Uganda have thrown their weight behind the government backing it not to “yield to pressure” from donor countries that are demanding the withdrawal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill before Parliament.

Under their umbrella organisation of the Inter-religious Council of Uganda (IRC), the clerics have recommended that the government should think of cutting diplomatic ties with countries that are bent on forcing homosexuality on Ugandans.

The Bill proposes that a person convicted of homosexuality in Uganda is liable to life imprisonment,
At their three-day meeting in Entebbe this week, the spiritual leaders came up with several recommendations that are opposed to homosexuals.

“Government should cut ties with donor communities and other groups which support ungodly values such as homosexuality and abortion,” one of the resolutions reads.

Some donor countries including, Canada, UK and Sweden have been pressuring Uganda to discard the proposed law intended to severely punish homosexuals.

Not understood
The Secretary General of the Inter-religious Council of Uganda, Mr Joshua Kitakule, told Daily Monitor yesterday that development partners should not interfere in the process of legislation in Uganda.

“Those countries should respect our spiritual values. They shouldn’t interfere,” he said. “All senior religious leaders have been given copies of the Bill to read and educate people in the churches and mosques,” he added. Mr Kitakule said the Bill, which was tabled last month by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, has not been understood by human rights activists and homosexuals.

“The Bill is ok. But it has been misunderstood. We need to educate people on this proposed law,” he said.
Bishops from the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Seventh Day Adventist churches as well as Muslim kadhis agreed to defend the Bill in their centres of worship.

Foreign influence
Speaking at the conference, Mr Bahati dismissed arguments that homosexuality is natural.
“It is a learned behaviour and can be unlearned. You can’t tell me that people are born gays. It is foreign influence that is on work,” he said.

The divine leaders also decried the increasing power tariffs and environmental degradation in the country.
“Government should reduce electricity tariffs in order to encourage use of clean energy and mobilise people to plant trees,” they resolved.