Catholic former ambassador defends LGBTs in Uganda

Second of two posts on Roman Catholic responses to issues of HIV and LGBT rights in Uganda and elsewhere.

Thomas Patrick Melady (Photo courtesy of Institute of World Politics)

Thomas Patrick Melady (Photo courtesy of Institute of World Politics)

Religious opposition to homosexuality does not justify oppression of homosexuals, Thomas Patrick Melady writes in an article for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, an association of Catholics focused on social justice.

A former U.S. ambassador  to Uganda, he urges Catholics in the U.S. to get involved in ending persecution of gays and lesbians, to live up to the call issued by the bishops to condemn such persecution “wherever it occurs.”

It is occurring in Uganda and it must stop, Melady says:

The persecution of gays in Uganda is appalling, not least because those doing the persecution often hide behind a misunderstanding of the Christian faith.

… The groups supporting the recent efforts to criminalize homosexuality in Uganda use Christian rhetoric. This is an unfortunate use of Christian terminology and does not authentically reflect the Christian traditions of Uganda. All Christians know the basic teaching that sexual activity of any kind outside of marriage is contrary to the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith.

On the other hand, it is also known that Christians are active in their prayers and thoughts about producing a positive atmosphere that will encourage Christian living.

… But the new tranquility in Uganda is being threatened by a determined effort in the legislature to criminalize homosexuality. Gay Ugandans are being demonized. A recent bill would have enforced lifetime prison sentences and even the death penalty for gay acts. Neighbors could be punished by prison sentences for not reporting gay and lesbian neighbors to the authorities.

It is unfortunate that the campaign for these actions has been inspired by American missionaries and others. As I stated in a previous article on this matter, I urge U.S. faith leaders of all denominations to speak out against the campaign to demonize gays in Uganda.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that “every sign of unjust discrimination” against gays should be avoided. As a layman I would like to observe that the legislation being advocated by a few, which emphasizes severe punishment, runs contrary to the Christian tradition.

In view of the high numbers of Christians of all denominations in Uganda, this represents and opportunity for American faith leaders, especially Christians, to urge their co-religionists to respond more correctly to Christian teachings and traditions.

For his full comments, see the article “Contemporary Challenges to the Christian Faith in Uganda.”

About Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart, a 40-year journalism veteran, is publisher and an editor of the "Erasing 76 Crimes" blog. More profile information on Google+. Colin Stewart, un vétéran du journalisme de 40 ans, est éditeur et rédacteur en chef du blog "Erasing 76 Crimes." Plus d'informations de profil sur Google+.
This entry was posted in Africa (Sub Saharan), Americas, Anti-LGBT laws and legislation, International pressure for LGBT rights and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Catholic former ambassador defends LGBTs in Uganda

  1. Pingback: Prison possible for British producer of ‘gay’ Uganda play | 76 CRIMES

  2. Pingback: Producer of ‘gay’ play still in Uganda jail | 76 CRIMES

  3. Pingback: ‘Gay’ play producer out on bail in Uganda | 76 CRIMES

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