UK evangelicals distance themselves from Ugandan support for anti-homosexuality law

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The Church of England Evangelical Council has issued a statement rejecting the criminalisation of homosexual behaviour. 

The CEEC's statement was published this week in response to the Anglican Church of Uganda's support for strict new laws making some homosexual activity punishable by death. 

The Anglican Primate of Uganda, Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba, said he was "grateful" for the Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023, which received presidential assent last month. 

The CEEC said that while it was "fully committed to Lambeth I.10 in its entirety" and upholding biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality, it could not condone the criminalisation of homosexuality. 

The evangelical group said that such laws would "encourage victimisation" of LGBT people and hamper pastoral care and discipleship.

"We oppose the criminalisation of consensual homosexual behaviour, especially when combined with severe penalties and requirements to report people for their behaviour," the CEEC said.

"We believe such laws encourage victimisation of those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or same-sex attracted and make the church's commitment to listen to, care for, and disciple all people, regardless of sexual orientation, much more difficult to live out.

"On the basis of these convictions, we are committed to further reflection on these matters and are engaging privately, through EFAC, with GAFCON and GSFA.

"We continue to pray for Christians and non-Christians whose lives such laws impact so severely and for all of us that, in our diverse cultures, we will learn from each other and bear faithful witness to Christ in word and deed." 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has asked the Ugandan Primate to reconsider his support for the new law. 

In a letter to Archbishop Kaziimba, he expressed "grief and dismay" at the Ugandan Church's endorsement and said there was "no justification" for any province in the Anglican Communion to adopt such a stance.

Archbishop Kaziimba dismissed Welby's concerns in a tweet, saying, "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."