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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Catholics and Uganda

I wrote earlier that I'd seen little by Catholics about the upcoming lethal anti-gay legislation in Uganda, but today I saw a post at the Episcopal Cafe about a U.S. Christian Leaders' Statement on the bill and several Catholics have signed it, including Fr. Thomas Reese SJ and Fr. James Martin SJ. Here's the statement and the signatories ....


U.S. Christian Leaders' Statement on "Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009

Our Christian faith recognizes violence, harassment and unjust treatment of any human being as a betrayal of Jesus' commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. As followers of the teachings of Christ, we must express profound dismay at a bill currently before the Parliament in Uganda. The "Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009" would enforce lifetime prison sentences and in some cases the death penalty for homosexual behavior, as well as punish citizens for not reporting their gay and lesbian neighbors to the authorities.

As Americans, some may wonder why we are raising our voices to oppose a measure proposed in a nation so far away from home. We do so to bear witness to our Christian values, and to express our condemnation of an injustice in which groups and leaders within the American Christian community are being implicated. We appeal to all Christian leaders in our own country to speak out against this unjust legislation.

In our efforts to imitate the Good Samaritan, we stand in solidarity with those Ugandans beaten and left abandoned by the side of the road because of hatred, bigotry and fear. Especially during this holy season of Advent, when the global Christian community prepares in hope for the light of Christ to break through the darkness, we pray that they are comforted by God's love.

Regardless of the diverse theological views of our religious traditions regarding the morality of homosexuality, in our churches, communities and families, we seek to embrace our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as God's children worthy of respect and love. Yet we are painfully aware that in our country gays and lesbians still face hostility and violence. We recognize that such treatment degrades the human family, threatens the common good and defies the teachings of our Lord -- wherever it occurs.

Thomas P. Melady
Former U.S. Ambassador to Uganda and the Vatican

Ronald J. Sider
Evangelicals for Social Action

Jim Wallis

Rocco Puopolo, SX
Executive Director
Africa Faith and Justice Network

James E. Hug, S.J.
Center of Concern

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Institute Leadership Team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Rev. Adam Hamilton
United Methodist pastor and author

Arturo Chavez
President & CEO
Mexican American Catholic College

Dr. Sharon E. Watkins
General Minister and President
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

T. Michael McNulty, SJ
Justice and Peace Director
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Dr. David P. Gushee
Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics
Mercer University

Marie Lucey, OSF
Associate Director for Social Mission
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Bryan N. Massingale, S.T.D.
President, Catholic Theological Society of America
Associate Professor of Theological Ethics
Marquette University

Melissa Rogers
Wake Forest University Divinity School's Center for Religion and Public Affairs

Maryann Cusimano Love
Department of Politics
The Catholic University of America

The Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin
Incoming President
National Council of Churches of Christ USA

The Hon. Douglas W. Kmiec

Diana Butler Bass
Author and Educator

Jim Martin, SJ
Associate Editor
America magazine

Brian McLaren
author. speaker. Activist

Rev. Christopher P. Promis, C.S.Sp.
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Promoter
Congregation of the Holy Spirit
Province of the USA

Dr. Derrick Harkins
Senior Pastor, Nineteenth Street Baptist Church
Board Member, World Relief

Marie Dennis
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Co-President, Pax Christi International

Jim Winkler
General Secretary
United Methodist General Board of Church and Society

Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
Senior Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center
Georgetown University

The Reverend Debra W. Haffner
Executive Director
Religious Institute

Stephen F. Schneck, PhD
Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies
The Catholic University of America

Geoffrey Black
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ

David Hollenbach, S.J.
University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice
Theology Department
Boston College

Richard R. Gaillardetz
Murray/Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies
University of Toledo

Alex Mikulich
Research Fellow
Jesuit Social Research Institute
Loyola University

Christine Firer Hinze
Professor, Christian Ethics
Department of Theology
Fordham University

Rev. Dr. Ken Brooker Langston
Disciples Justice Action Network and Coordinator, Disciples Center for Public Witness

Paulette Skiba, BVM
Religious Studies
Clarke College

Paul Lakeland

Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies
Fairfield University

J. Matthew Ashley
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Theology
University of Notre Dame

Erin Lothes Biviano
Fellow- Theology, Center for the Study of Science and Religion
Columbia University

Rev. Paul de Vries, PhD
President, New York Divinity School
Board Member, National Association of Evangelicals

John Sniegocki
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics
Xavier University

Nancy Dallavalle
Chair, Department of Religious Studies
Fairfield University

M. Shawn Copeland
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology
Boston College

David DeCosse
Director of Campus Ethics Programs
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Santa Clara University

Bruce T. Morrill
Associate Professor of Theology
Boston College

Kristin Heyer
Associate Professor, Religious Studies
Santa Clara University

Chris Korzen
Executive Director
Catholic United

Jeannine Hill Fletcher
Associate Professor of Theology
Fordham University

William O'Neill, S.J.
Jesuit School of Theology of
Santa Clara University

Michael Duffy, Ed.D.
Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought
University of San Francisco

Elena Procario-Foley, Ph.D.
Driscoll Professor of Jewish-Catholic Studies
Iona College

Lisa Sowe Cahill,
Monan Professor of Theology
Boston College

Dennis M. Doyle
Religious Studies
University of Dayton

Lew Daly
author of God's Economy: Faith-based Initiatives and the Caring State

Bradford E. Hinze
Professor of Theology
Fordham University

Kirk O. Hanson
University Professor and Executive Director
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Santa Clara University

David J O'Brien
University Professor of Faith and Culture
University of Dayton

William L. Portier
University of Dayton

Terrence W. Tilley
Professor of Theology and Chair of the Department
Fordham University

Margaret A. Farley

Gilbert L. Stark Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics
Yale University Divinity School

Nicholas P. Cafardi
Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law
Duquesne University School of Law

Teresa Delgado, PhD
Director, Peace and Justice Studies Program
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Iona College

Maria Riley, OP
Center of Concern
Washington, DC

Victoria Kovari
Interim Executive Director
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Adam Tice
Associate Pastor
Hyattsville Mennonite Church

Anthony J. Godzieba
Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies
Villanova University



Blogger Liam said...

Good for them... although no matter how you feel about homosexuality, how could you not oppose a law that cruel and brutal.

Apart from that, "Rocco Puopolo, SX" is the coolest name ever.

What order is SX?

4:07 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Liam,

"Rocco Puopolo, SX" is the coolest name ever

Heh - I thought so too and looked him up (link). xs = Xaverian Missionary Fathers, named after Francis Xavier.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

My son John wrote me from Malawi about that legislation, after reading the NCR article on it. That article made the point that opposition from outside Africa was likely to entrench Uganda even more firmly in its anti-gay position. It's very true also in Malawi that homosexuality is not talked about freely and is definitely seen as moral depravity.

However bad that might be, though, the proposed legislation is worse... and will probably get approved overwhelmingly.

5:20 PM  
Blogger crystal said...


opposition from outside Africa was likely to entrench Uganda even more firmly in its anti-gay position.

I think that's the reason given for why the Archbishop of Canterbury hasn't apoken out publically against the legislation. I think that was also the reason given for why Pius XII didn't speak out publically against Germany killing the Jews. But it seems like if no one denounces it, it will be accepted as aceptable, maybe. It makes it hard to know what to do.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

It IS hard to know what to do in cases like this. If it's something I really care about, I usually try to speak directly to the people that I CAN influence. For instance, Catholics in Uganda comprise about 40% of the population, and yet the Ugandan bishops, from what I have read, have not taken a position on this legislation. My letter would go to them, as a fellow Catholic minister.

11:43 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

I haven't looked at the news today, but last night I thought I saw a post that said Ugnada was considering changing the law to leave out the death penalty because the church leaders (Anglican, I think?) were against that. Guess we'll see what happens.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Denny said...

Hi Crystal --

Your comment made me check -- I found this link: It looks like a LOT of advocacy groups from within Uganda -- some 20? -- have protested the proposed bill. That's a stunning development!

11:55 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Denny,

And tonight I saw that the Vatican has just said they are against the death penalty for gayness, though they wouldn't actually name the Uganda law. Interesting as just last year (I think), they objected to a European Union resolution for nations to de-criminalize homosexuality.

2:38 AM  

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