According to this report, religious leaders in Uganda want the death penalty removed from the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but life in prison is still ok with them.
Homosexuals should not be killed but instead imprisoned for life, religious leaders have suggested.
Making their input in the Anti-homosexuality Bill 2009 yesterday, the clergy said the clause on death as a penalty for homosexuality be scrapped.
“If you kill the people, to whom will the message go? We need to have imprisonment for life if the person is still alive,” said Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, the provincial secretary of the Church of Uganda.
The group, which also comprised Dr Joseph Kakembo of the Seventh Day Adventist church, Dr Joseph Sserwadda, the head of Pentecostal churches, Prof. Peter Matovu, the Orthodox vicar general of the Orthodox and Sheikh Ali Mohammed, representing the mufti, however, made it clear that they support the Bill, because “homosexuality is an evil and is anti-godly”.
The Bill tabled before Parliament on October 15, by Mr David Bahati [Ndorwa East], and Mr Obua Benson [Moroto], seeks to prohibit any form of sexual relations between same sex people.
Parliament yesterday begun public debates on the Bill, conducted by the committee on presidential affairs.
While it may not alter the outcome, I hope leaders in these religious groups from around the world will weigh in on the situation.
Other religious leaders in Uganda have also spoken against the death penalty. However, jail time is still ok with them as well.
A proposed law that seeks to penalize homosexuality activities in Uganda may have to go back to the drawing board following rejections of some of its sections by religious leaders, especially Catholics, protestants and born again Christians.
The leaders, who met MPs on the Presidential Affairs committee today morning in Kampala notes that some of the clauses in the bill that call for the death penalty are unfair and against the laws of Christianity.
According to the bill, anyone found guilty of aggravated homosexuality against a person below 18 years or infecting them with HIV/AIDS faces death as a penalty.
The Provincial Secretary in the Church of Uganda, Rev. Aaron Mwesigye says that much as homosexuality is an inhumane act against people, Parliament has to follow the natural law of justice.
Rev. Mwesigye says President Museveni’s refusal to assent to the death sentence for prisoners is proof that the penalty is not needed in Uganda.
Join this Facebook group to speak out in opposition to this bill.
8 thoughts on “Ugandan Parliament begins public debate on Anti-Homosexuality Bill”
Mwanga II may very well have raped some underage Christian girls in his time, but it’s his rape of underage Christian boys that became infamous in Ugandan history, and it was the boy victims who became Uganda’s first canonized saints.
P.S. I’m aware of the possibility that the “homosexual rape” element of the Ugandan Martyrs story has been significantly exaggerated in the retelling, and that in reality, only a few of the victims had actually been former members of Mwanga’s male harem. The important thing is that Ugandans believe that ALL of the male martyrs had been victims of homosexual predation.
Warren, I just noticed that on the Facebook information page, you posted this:
This is also good news. When did this happen, Warren? I will write today to thank them.
This is good news. It seems that Christian voices, in and outside Uganda, can make a difference. Ask your pastors and friends to add theirs.
I have been surfing the Web some more, too. Had not yet seen the figures on the number of inmates in Uganda who are imprisoned for defilement. Did pick up on a lot of different sites, however, that a bill seeking harsher punishment for adultery was killed in April 2007 because it was too sexist, tacitly approving of men’s dalliances while going after women with a vengeance. That says something.
Also, I have seen references to increased problems with sex trafficking of children in Uganda.
Also wanted to mention this note from an e-mail I received (Warren probably got it, too) from Chad Thompson, author of “Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would.” Chad’s got an interesting story of his own. At any rate, he made this statement, while calling for Christians and ex-gay ministry leaders to speak out against Uganda’s bill:
Good catch. On the Ugandan thread that begins “Ugandan Blogger”, I had found a number of references that said the penalty for ‘aggravated defilement’ (which included heterosexual pedophilia) was death. This source from above, suggests the penalty wasn’t death but life imprisonment.
Re the death penalty for heterosexual ‘aggravated defilement’, I had found several sources that all cited ‘the death penalty’; I’m inclined to believe either that this reference from above missed it or, scarily, that suspicion is enough to get you life!
So defilement of underage girls (pedophilia) or what should necessarily be termed “aggravated heterosexuality” in Uganda only gets life, but they want to call pedophilia against boys “aggravated homosexuality” and give the person a death sentence? And Ssempa calls that equalizing the law?
Found it. on a site called TopNews.In, from November 2008:
Most disturbing (to me) is in the last quoted paragraph where it says ‘having been arrested on suspicion of….’. But it does raise another question, a number of Uganda spokespersons have alleged that there has been a rise, an insurgence, a corruption creeping into their country brought on chiefly by those who make money pandering sex, sexual imagery, pornography, etc. I do wonder if it’s perhaps a bigger wave than we can picture and if it isn’t that huge wave that’s prompting the huge efforts to thwart it.
From a website called “Hands Off Cain” with a byline ‘Against the death penalty around the world’:
The quote is from January 2009. I’m assuming they’d treat the death penalty for aggravated homosexuality with the discretionary sentence. But my prayers are with these pastoral voices cited in the topic comments who wish to see the death penalty removed from consideration.
And it’s no real consolation, but another site indicated that in Uganda, the typical ‘life sentence’ is 20 years.(Yeah, that doesn’t compute in my English speaking brain either.) With eligibility for parole before that. Again, though, the sentences are harsh…even if 20 years isn’t life, it sure is a sizable chunk of one.
And, if I remember correctly, it would seem that some 47% percent of those incarcerated are there for heterosexual sex with minors. (I’m still clumsy at navigating websites…this seems an outrageously high percentage but I will try to find my way back to that site.) Well, except that they do have the mandatory death penalty for many…and the dead don’t factor into the prison population numbers.)
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