The Prime Minister, Prof. Apolo Nsibambi, has commended African bishops for rejecting the practice of homosexuality in the church. “I thank the church in Africa for being exemplary by not accepting homosexuality… they see that it is not acceptable in the society where they serve,” Prof. Nsibambi said yesterday during an opening service of the second All Africa Bishops Conference in Entebbe. He, however, added: “We should not persecute them (homosexuals) but I think it is wrong and we cannot recognise them because it is wrong like ordaining a gay bishop.”
The premier also said the political leadership in Uganda welcomes the role of religious leaders in tackling the country’s challenges. “As we challenge these problems, we must not point fingers at each other but rather repent of our sins.”
Prof. Nsibambi said Africa is grappling with homosexuality, terrorism, corruption, disunity, poverty and disease, problems which he said needs faith in God. He applauded the Church of Uganda led by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi for organising the conference which has attracted about 400 bishops.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, asked the bishops to promote love so that their congregation can realise their potential. “As priests, we must learn to listen and love as well as attending to humanity in diversity. We cannot claim for doing better but to have alternative answer to peoples’ challenges,” he said.
“A good shepherd shares consequence and risk of living aside with his followers. A priest cannot separate himself from those he serves.” Archbishop Orombi, however, said, homosexuality is not compatible with God’s word. “The traditional belief of marriage is what the Anglican Communion holds. We still cherish the word of God,” he said.
The Archbishop of the Indian Ocean, Ian Ernest, said Africa is endowed with great resources but people find themselves stuck in poverty, conflict and disease because their faith is corrupted.
The Church of Uganda and the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa organised the one-week conference under the theme: “Securing our future; unlocking our potential with the aim of empowering the top leadership with the capacity to deal with African challenges.”