Christianity Today report: Ugandan Bishop tells American Christians to be quiet

Christianity Today just now came out with an article and interview series which examines the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

One interview is with the Church of Uganda assistant bishop of Kampala, David Zac Niringiye. In the interview, he says to American Christians, in essence, be quiet:

When Western Christians talk about Ugandan legislation, does that create tension?

I would say to Western Christian leaders, Don’t make public pronouncements about legislation in Uganda. If you have relationships, speak to those relationships. Talk to them privately. Ask them, what do you understand this to mean? Do not make any public pronouncements. Any time a Westerner makes a pronouncement in Africa, it seems to imply we don’t know what we want. Trust us, engage with us. Don’t begin to preach at us. I engage with you, I talk with you, and I leave it to you.

All I can say is that such an approach has been applied and is still being applied. I have been in dialogue with several of the pastors in Uganda who favor the bill and I suspect I will continue to be. However, the assistant bishop does not seem to understand that what they do in Uganda has an impact on Christianity as a whole everywhere. In my view, this bill is a significant black eye on the church as a whole and is a stumbling block to the gospel. We must speak or violate our conscience and compromise our witness. I am ready to listen but that goes both ways.

The article by Sarah Pulliam Bailey covers lots of ground and includes interviews with Martin Ssempa and Scott Lively. Ssempa replies to Rick Warren directly and Lively accuses critics of racism (!?).

Ssempa says the bill is to be modified as follows:

Ssempa wrote that the Uganda Joint Christian Council task force will support the bill with the amendments, including a less harsh sentence of 20 years instead of the death penalty for pedophilia or “aggravated homosexuality.” The task force also recommends that counseling and rehabilitation be offered to offenders and victims.

The rehabilitation clause will be a real test of the coalition formed to oppose the bill here. I do not favor any such clause as it still is a violation of free exercise of conscience and based on a false premise that behavioral counseling has been shown to be effect under conditions of coercion. I was glad to see Alan Chambers, Exodus President, come on the Facebook group recently and forcefully assert that Exodus does not support forced treatment.

There is much more to unpack here and it is time to turn it over to readers to do just that.