In recent days we have seen a rather alarming convergence of events related to homosexuality, religion, and globalization. Currently under debate in the Ugandan Parliament is a bill that would extended the country’s already draconian anti-gay laws, calling in some cases for the death penalty for homosexuals.
As horrifying as this is, it gets worse, since the Ugandan authorities responsible for this proposed legislation have received direct and indirect support from a variety of American and Western forces. First, those in the US pouring money into Maine to repeal its marriage equality legislation—which is on the ballot today—have over the years also made alliances with anti-gay forces in Uganda. American megachurch pastor Rick Warren once touted his relationships with those in Uganda now pushing these measure, for example, though he claims to have disassociated himself from them in recent years.
Second, religious leaders of the Anglican Church in Uganda have been vocal supporters of the legislation, and Pope Benedict XVI gave these very same religious forces a major boost last week. The Pope announced that he would create a special arrangement for disaffected Anglican priests, and their congregations, to join the Roman Catholic Church. Brushing aside decades of painstaking talks between the world’s two largest Christian bodies, Benedict chose to welcome even married Anglicans into the Roman fold.
The reason some Anglicans might want to join the Roman Church, though never stated directly, is obvious to anyone following recent developments in the global Anglican communion: conservatives are upset by the ordination of women and, more recently, of open, non-celibate homosexuals. Many of those most upset about the movement toward full inclusion of gay and lesbians Anglicans are leaders of the Anglican Church in Africa, including in Uganda. This recent announcement from Rome is strictly designed to bolster the antigay forces at work in the Anglican Church, including those in Africa.
American and Europeans church bodies have done many good things in Africa in recent years, including advocating for the vast increases in public health aid money implemented by the Bush administration. Nevertheless, the Pope, American evangelical anti-gay advocates, and conservative Anglicans and Episcopalians in the the UK and the US are all implicated in direct and indirect ways in these outrageous developments in Uganda.