(RNS) A Ugandan cleric who ministers to homosexuals has criticized the passage of a controversial law that imposes life imprisonment for homosexual acts.

Christopher Ssenyonjo, the former Anglican Bishop of West Buganda, said gay men have done nothing wrong and should not be punished.

He spoke in a telephone interview Friday (Dec. 20), hours after legislators passed the law known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009.

Lawmakers rejected an alternative proposal for a 14-year-sentence for those convicted of homosexual acts.

“People here don’t understand what homosexuality is,” Ssenyonjo said. “If they did, I don’t think they would have allowed this law.”

Ssenyonjo was defrocked 2002 for his ministry to gay men.

According to the cleric, homosexuality is not a sin, but actions against it were being justified through Scriptures and culture.

“I think people need education on the issue,” said Ssenyonjo.

The bill was first proposed in 2009, but had been shelved due to international pressure. President Barack Obama described the bill as “odious.” It initially proposed death sentences for certain homosexual acts in cases where one of the sexual partners is a minor or is infected with the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

“I will still continue to have dialogue over the issue with clergy and government officials,” Ssenyonjo said. “I have a lot of hope this will end one day.”

In 2012, Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of Uganda’s parliament, promised the law to Ugandans as a Christmas gift.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda under colonial-era laws.

YS/AMB END NZWILI

21 Comments

  1. As the indignant brats cry bigotry over Phil Robertson’s truthful words, real tragedies and injustice are occurring in Uganda. Homosexual behavior may be a sin but it shouldn’t be criminalized and most certainly shouldn’t be punishable. Living sinfully is punishment enough.

  2. charles e. killeen

    It’s interesting to me that of all the comments I’ve seen or heard about this issue no one has said a word about what I see as the real issue. I don’t care if Robertson is on or off the air. I’ve never seen the show but I think the media are too quick to fire people for their opinions. This prevents writers and broadcasters from expressing honest viewpoints and therefore prevents honest discourse. As for Robertson’s comments they are grossly unintelligent. To bring logic into whether a man should prefer another man over a woman is stunningly dumb. An individual’s preference for his/her own gender over the opposite is not a matter of a calculated decision and logic has nothing to do with it. The truth is that nobody knows how a person here and there is compelled to embrace his own sex and there is no thought process involved. This is obvious. There was never a time in my life when I said, “let’s see, do I want to be straight or homosexual?” I looked t the girls and wanted them. No thinking — just seeing and acting. An honest person will admit that this is the way it was for him or her. As for Robertson saying he never saw mistreatment of blacks in the deep south this points to his obvious obtuseness. I grew up in Philadelphia and I saw it there. Some people live such detached lives that a couple of eighteen wheelers could collide head-on beside them and they’d say, “crash? I’nt see no crash.” Of course Robertson wasn’t put on TV as a sociologist to do in depth analysis of our culture. He was, as I gather, an exhibit to amuse the intelligentsia — give them a glimpse of life in the backwoods. ————- Charles Edward Brendan Killeen

        • Not at all, Larry. I understood clearly. What I don’t understand is liberals’ m.o. which involves abandoning dialog as soon as they find themselves unable to respond. Not to mention their utter inability to admit mistakes or fault, a condition indicated by their permanently holding their noses high in the air.

    • He wasn’t fired. Just suspended. It is a publicity ploy just in time for Christmas.

      Its interesting how everyone glosses over Robertson’s raging racism in the same interview. Including A&E’s staff.

  3. Mere Christian

    The reality is that Ugandans and other Africans understand what is homosexuality all too well. A disgusting sin against God and the natural law.

    • Mere, review Mr. Killeen’s piece posted in the early afternoon today.

      Perhaps one day science will unlock the secrets to orientation, likely found in the brain’s chemistry. It seems that there has not been found a “gay” gene.

      How, too, do we explain a-sexuality, bisexuality, or “hypersexuality”? How, too, do we explain homosexual behavior among heterosexual prisoners?

    • So you support mass imprisonment and execution of gays. I would say you are like the nazis with such a stance, but it would be silly. There is nothing “like” about it. They did the exact same thing.

  4. With Uganda, we get to see what American Evangelicals work for, but can’t do here because of the pesky Constitution. When Christian fundamentalists are not constrained by civil liberties, they are no better than the Taliban.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/world/africa/04uganda.html?_r=0

    http://www.thewire.com/global/2013/12/uganda-passes-law-punishes-homosexuality-life-imprisonment/356365/

    • Vic Christian

      Larry – I am an American “evangelical fundamentalist”. Saying that, I know of no real Christian that would want jail time for homosexuals, unless they physically force their relationships on others, or youth. However, I do not support gay marriage and agree with God that homosexuality is a sin. Also – please give me an example of Mr. Robertson’s racist remarks. Thank you.

      • No True Scotsman Fallacy. Those American Christians mentioned in the articles I linked to are as real as any other people professing to be followers of Christ aka Christian. If you supported those groups, you supported people who wanted to see gays murdered by the Uganda government.

        Robertson said that blacks were happier back in the day when they were segregated. Even the NAACP found them offensive.
        http://www.ibtimes.com/naacp-blasts-phil-robertson-over-racist-remarks-new-duck-dynasty-row-1516178

          • I read what he said and I agree with the black civil rights group on this one. It was racist and silly on Robertson’s part.

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