Ugandan Anglican leaders support president's speech on gay issue

Some Ugandan Anglican church leaders have expressed support for a statement by President Yoweri Museveni in which he commended the denomination's bishops for resisting homosexuality.

"It was great of the president to speak about the issue," Anglican Bishop Stanley Ntagali of Masindi-Katara told Ecumenical News International on 20 August. "We have been inspired by the president's positive comments."

Uganda's New Vision newspaper on 17 August quoted Museveni as saying he saluted the bishops of Africa for resisting "disorientation" and a "decadent culture". The newspaper said the bishop had made his remarks when he spoke at the consecration of Canon Patrick Gidudu as the Anglican Bishop of Mbale in eastern Uganda. During his address, Museveni said homosexuality was a result of "Western influence".

"Don't fear; resist and do not compromise on that. It is a danger not only to the believers but to the whole of Africa. It is bad if our children become complacent and think that people who are not in order are alright," Museveni was quoted as saying.

This is the first time an African national leader has spoken out in the recent Anglican debate over homosexuality.

"When he speaks in this manner to the bishops, it will energise the resolve against homosexuality," said the secretary of Uganda's Anglican church, the Rev Aaron Mwesigye, in an interview with ENI. "The Uganda church has been very bold against homosexuality."

Ugandan Anglican Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi presided over the Mbale consecration. Orombi had boycotted the once-every-decade Lambeth Conference of primates from the Anglican Communion in July 2008, along with leaders of Anglican churches in Nigeria, Rwanda and Kenya, due to differences over homosexuality within the communion.

"The Anglican church is facing significant challenges but I would like to assure you that the church is steady," Orombi told his congregation. The archbishop's church along with some Anglican provinces in the Global South and Australia recently formed the Global Anglican Future Conference, known as GAFCON, that is seen as a counter to the Lambeth Conference.

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