Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 15th Reception to Honor Ugandan Bishop

The Diocesan Program Group on LGBT Ministry, St. James in the City, and Integrity USA are honored to welcome Bishop Christopher Senyonjo to Los Angeles, with a reception in support of his work, on Monday night, November 15, from 7:00 to 8:30, at St. James in the City (3903 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 90010).

Bishop Senyonjo retired as the Anglican bishop of Uganda in 1998 and almost immediately began a pastoral ministry to gay and lesbian people in his country. He had no idea how costly that decision would be. The political, legal and cultural climate in Uganda turned dramatically more hostile to gay and lesbian people at about the same time. The bishop was forced to flee his country for a period because of death threats for his work. He has had his pension cut off and has been shunned by most of his former colleagues in the Anglican Church in Uganda.

Efforts are under way in Uganda to pass the "kill the gays" bill, which proposes that:

• Gays and lesbians convicted of having gay sex would be sentenced, at minimum, to life in prison
• People who test positive for HIV may be executed
• Homosexuals who engage in homosexual sex more than once may also receive the death penalty
• The bill forbids the "promotion of homosexuality," which in effect bans organizations working in HIV and AIDS prevention and gay rights
• Anyone who knows of homosexual activity taking place but does not report it would risk up to three years in prison

Bishop Senyonjo has spoken out powerfully against this bill, stating that it is against the U.N.'s Declaration on Human Rights, and against the sacred bonds of the Ugandan extended family system. He calls the bill inhumane and was recently a part of a delegation to the speaker of the house to reject the bill.

Oddly (and sadly) much of the testimony used to back this bill and the funding for these efforts has come from American Christians, particularly in the "ex-gay" movement. We now have the chance to do some funding of our own. We hope at this reception to raise funds to help Bishop Senyonjo continue his courageous work.

For more information or to RSVP contact LGBT Program Group member Karl Hoaglund.

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