The adoption of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill on December 20, 2013, by Parliament is a reflection of the voice of the citizens as widely expressed by religious, cultural and civic leaders in the media.
There might be demerits of the law, as I suppose there is no law under the sun that can be described as non-restrictive in some form. But the spirit of the Bill is constructed on protection of the traditional family values as understood from the unadulterated African cultural, Islamic and Christian heritage.
The Bill seeks to address gaps in the Penal Code Act cap 120 which was crafted during colonial times before a liberal and licentious mass media was birthed and pro-homosexual lobby groups and networks developed. Any attempt to recognise and promote homosexuality as another form of sexual orientation will be anachronistic to the Ugandan cultural and religious norms. The attempts by mainly Western European and American analysts to brand conservative Ugandans as homophobic bigots is misplaced.
Ugandans are renowned in the whole world for their genial, hospitable and magnanimous character. There is need for Ugandans to be given the benefit of doubt on a matter they consider critical to their well-being, cognizant of their social values as a sovereign country.
Interestingly, it is on record that 83 countries in the world, mainly from Africa, the Arab world, India and Americas have anti-homosexuality laws and 32 out of 50 states in the USA still prohibit same sex marriage.
Recently, Nigeria, a country with the biggest Anglican population in the world, witnessed its parliamentarians endorsing a revised Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Now Uganda, with the second biggest Anglican population in the world has followed suit. This is in part a mirror of the Anglican church crisis period where some provinces have stood for biblically sound teaching as opposed to liberal theology.
The bold step taken by Ugandan parliamentarians, instead of succumbing to arm-twisting tactics of Western powers, is a plus for the laity who, in crisis moments, have witnessed for Christ.
During Jesus’ time, He chose to work with ordinary fishermen and tax collectors instead of religious leaders of the time, the Pharisees and scribes. The Ugandan martyrs were in the main ordinary folk and not church teachers or missionaries.
The beginning of the East African Revival Movement, which has come to define Ugandan Anglican Christianity, was first a lay movement and was first opposed by priests, before they joined it. It is therefore pertinent that Ugandans stand firm on a position that best reflects their understanding of what is morally and ethically correct in the context of their culture and religious heritage.
The sexual revolution in the West began long ago and homosexuality in Uganda is the harbinger. Other versions like nudism, sex change, sadomasochism, bestiality, which is legal in some European countries, will also soon be on the cards.
The decision of Ugandan parliamentarians to endorse the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is an assertion of the sovereignty and independence of the nation and the determination to chart a course for the destiny of Uganda’s children and great grandchildren.
The author is the bishop of Ankole Diocese of the Church of Uganda.firstname.lastname@example.org