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Ugandan law widens Anglican Church rift over LGBTQ rights

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THE chair of a conservative group of Anglican church leaders accused the church’s global head of perpetuating colonialism with his criticism of one of the world’s harshest anti-LGBTQ laws, introduced by Uganda last month.

Justin Welby, the head of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion’s 85 million members, said last week he had written to Ugandan Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba to express “grief and dismay” at Kaziimba’s support for the law.

The legislation imposes the death penalty for certain same-sex acts and a 20-year prison sentence for “promoting” homosexuality.

It has triggered widespread Western criticism including threats by U.S. President Joe Biden and others to cut aid to Uganda and impose other sanctions.

Issues of LGBTQ rights have sharply divided Anglicans, with the church’s GAFCON coalition of conservative adherents among the most critical.

Commenting on Welby’s letter, GAFCON chair Laurent Mbanda said: “It seems the history of colonisation and patronising behaviour of some provinces in the northern hemisphere towards the South, and Africa in particular, is not yet at an end.”

The statement by Mbanda, who is also the head of Rwanda’s Anglican Church, mentioned but did not explicitly offer support for the Ugandan law.

Welby had said last week he was aware of the history of British rule in Uganda and his statement was not about imposing Western values, but a reminder of the commitment “to treat every person with the care and respect they deserve as children of God.”

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Anglicans created GAFCON in 2008 in response to what the group says was certain Western churches’ abandonment of Bible-based orthodoxy. It claims to represent the majority of all Anglicans worldwide.

A second overlapping splinter group, the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches, said in February it no longer recognised Welby’s leadership of the Anglican Communion after the Church of England announced it would allow priests to bless same-sex couples.

Archbishop Kaziimba said last week that Welby “has every right to form his opinions about matters around the world that he knows little about first-hand.”

The Church of Uganda says 36% of Uganda’s population of around 45 million are Anglicans.

By The African Mirror