According to New Vision: "Pastor Blasious Ruguri (pictured), the Seventh-day Adventist church president in East and Central Africa, said the church supports the government in the fight against homosexuality and corruption.
Our stand is "zero tolerance" to this vice and to western influence on this crucial issue because God says no to it. We are together with the President and the Speaker and we fully support the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I call upon all religious ministers, all Ugandans, and all Africans to say no to Homosexuality. Let us stand for our sovereignty as Ugandans and as God fearing people even [though] the heavens fall.
Two years ago the Seventh-day Adventist Church communication director put out a statement distancing the church from similar sentiments by its representative in Uganda.
Church leadership noted with concern some statements reportedly made by the Uganda Union Mission Executive Director in connection with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill under consideration in Uganda. These views do not reflect the values of the Church as expressed in published statements on same sex conduct.
This recent statement is by the president of the East-Central Africa Division based in Nairobi, Kenya—a world church vice-president. Blasious Ruguri, who attended Newbold College, states on his Facebook page that "I am a people loving person who is lovely to associate with. You will be blessed to link with me. I love you already and will love to be praying for you."
Reporting by the BBC and sources from the U.S. State department indicate that 'Uganda's anti-gay bill is likely to become law after the government promised it to Ugandans as a "Christmas gift." Being gay in Uganda is already illegal, but the law would add further punishments, including life in prison. Ugandan lawmakers claim that the infamous "kill the gays" provision has been struck out, but a US State Dept source has information suggesting that the death penalty is still included.'
It appears that the bill won't come to a vote until after the new year, according to Think Africa Press, which includes some helpful research. Reverend Canon Dr Kapya Kaoma, Religion and Sexuality Researcher at Political Research Associates states:
If passed, Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill will impose long prison sentences and, in some cases, execution for sexual minorities. It will require fellow citizens and even parents to report “suspected gays or lesbians” or face prosecution and lengthy prison sentences themselves.
This bill not only violates fundamental human rights for gay people, it will break trust within families and communities. The bill violates the rights of caregivers, pastors, and medical personnel by requiring them to report gays, undermining efforts to fight HIV/AIDS by driving gays underground and forcing healthcare providers to deny care for fear of arrest.
Supporting this bill obviates the official statements and tradition of health care by the Seventh-day Adventist Church expressed in its statement, revised in October of 2012, that mixes opposition to homosexual practice in the church with the following principles:
Jesus affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people, while differentiating His love for sinners from His clear teaching about sinful practices. As His disciples, Seventh-day Adventists endeavor to follow the Lord's instruction and example, living a life of Christ-like compassion and faithfulness.
Thus far the General Conference has not addressed the this disjunction between its official statement and the political views of division president Blasious Ruguri which essentially allow for the uniting of church and state in the persecution of a class of people.
Photo: by Ansel Oliver/ANN.