Last Thursday, I reported a statement from Martin Ssempa regarding his views of the Hang Them campaign initiated by the Ugandan tabloid, Rolling Stone. Ssempa said he
…spent three hours with leaders of homosexuals along with Bishop Ssenyonjo-explaining to them his position as a father.
I understood the statement to refer to a meeting specifically set up to meet with gay leaders. However, there is more to this statement according to others who were involved. First, here again is Ssempa’s statement in full:
STATEMENT ON THE ROLLING STONE ARTICLE.
Dr. Martin Ssempa would like to disassociate himself from the “Hang Them” article which appeared in the ‘Rolling Stone’ Newspaper October 02-092010 issue. While he has been opposed to homosexuality as a sin, a cultural taboo, and an act that breaks the laws of Uganda, he does not support violent efforts of “hang them” as indicated in the Rolling Stone-a new sensational tabloid. Being an outspoken preacher on the subject, he was interviewed by a writer from the paper but his language and tone of message was unfortunately not portrayed.
Pastor Ssempa does not believe that outings in Newspapers is an appropriate method. Pastor Ssempa is counselling homosexuals and victims of homosexuality whose confidence he has kept until they have been willing to go public.
At a meeting last week, Dr. Ssempa spent three hours with leaders of homosexuals along with Bishop Ssenyonjo-explaining to them his position as a father. Homosexuality is a sin and God’s grace is there for all who need redemption. He shared how he counsels university boys and girls who are suicidal because they were raped in single sex boarding schools and no one was there to defend them. It is this that drives his passion for educational and legislative reforms to protect Africa’s Youths. The meeting ended on a pleasant note with Pastor Ssempa taking a group photo with the team.
I called Bishop Ssenyonjo to get his perspective on the meeting and he told me that the “meeting” was a series of speeches given by people of various points of view regarding homosexuality sponsored by a research group from Makerere University School of Law. The sessions were held over several days from September 29 through October 2nd. Bishop Ssenyonjo said he spoke about “The God who does not discriminate.” According to the Bishop, there were few gay people in attendance, with most being people invited to speak by those organizing the sessions. Bishop Ssenyonjo heard Martin Ssempa’s session which he said lasted about an hour. In it, Ssempa said he favored the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill but did not want the dealth penalty included. According to the Bishop, Ssempa called for restrictions on free speech, via bans on what he called “promotion” of homosexuality.
In short, the meeting with homosexual leaders turns out to be a series of sessions where many people spoke, many of whom were not homosexual. Apparently, the series of meetings was organized by unnamed researchers from Makerere University.