Gay advocacy may split Church of England from Ugandan church

The Church of Uganda is prepared to walk apart from the Church of England if the Church of England does not respect the African church’s views on sin and sexuality.

Kampala’s Daily Monitor newspaper has reported that in a sermon delivered at St Andrew’s Church in Bokoto on 2 March 2014, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of Uganda, told the congregation that the Ugandan-born Archbishop of York, the Most Rev John Sentamu, had written to him expressing concern over the Ugandan church’s views on homosexuality.

On 29 January Archbishop Sentamu and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, released a public letter to African church leaders and the government of Nigeria and Uganda critical of recent legislation that would impose criminal sanctions for sodomy. The archbishops wrote that while “we wish to make it quite clear that in our discussion and assessment of moral appropriateness of specific human behaviours, we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people.”

Laws that criminalize homosexuality were unjust, they wrote.  “The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us.”

Archbishop Ntagali responded on 30 Jan 2014 criticizing the English archbishops’ political and moral naiveté, noting the broad brush statements about the political debates over the country’s sodomy laws were ill-informed. There was also a whiff of hypocrisy and a hint of mendacity in the English sodomy statement as the archbishops saw no problem in waxing lyrical on select subordinate clauses of past primates’ statements on homosexuality, but remained silent over the major issues including the on-going contumacy of the American church.

Archbishop Ntagali told the congregation he had “written back to Archbishop Sentamu. I told him it does not matter even if we do not work with them because the Church of England is a product of repentance and USA is founded on Christian values but they seem to have become spiritually blind,” the Monitor reported.

He added the Western church appeared unaware of their double mindedness. “Many people have spiritual blindness but let us not mix issues. One hundred and thirty six years ago, the Church of England sent graduates from Oxford University to Africa to evangelise. America is a super power built on Christian principles… but in all this money is involved,” he said.

Last week the Church of Nigeria congratulated the Church of Uganda for standing strong against overseas pressure for it to accomodate Western cultural practices to its preaching of the Gospel. In a letter dated 21 Feb 2014, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, Primate of All Nigeria, commended the Church of Uganda for “uphold the authentic Gospel and the historic heritage of our Church, by rejecting the erroneous teaching and practice of homosexuality.”

After the service the archbishop told the AFP news service “The issue here is respect for our views on homosexuality, same sex marriage as a country and church. If they are not willing to listen to us. We shall consider being on our own.”

“Homosexual practice is incompatible with scripture, and no one in the leadership of the church can say legitimise same sex unions or homosexuality,” he said, urging the “governing bodies of the Church of England to not take the path advocated by the West”.

“If they do we shall have no choice but to be on our own,” he told AFP.

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