IRCU Advocates for Centers to Help People Struggling with Homosexuality

The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda has expressed concerns over the growing spread of homosexuality and the LGBTQ agenda in the country, particularly targeting the vulnerability of young people who may be ill-equipped to make informed choices.

However, the Council, which brings together seven top religious institutions, acknowledges that those who engage in such activities are God’s people who are in need of love and compassion. To this end, the Council under the chairmanship of Most Rev. Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, the Archbishop Church of Uganda, has proposed the establishment of centers that will support individuals struggling with spiritual, emotional, physical, and medical needs arising from homosexuality and LGBTQ activities.

The Council stated that the proposed centers will create safe spaces for conversation, provide appropriate information, and empower individuals with the word of God to guide them in their choices. “Our places of worship with their social services will continue to remain open to all persons without discrimination. Furthermore, we will advocate for the establishment of centers from where individuals with spiritual, emotional, physical, and medical needs arising out of homosexual and LGBTQ activities will be supported,” a joint statement signed by the leaders reads in part.

The statement was signed by Archbishop Kaziimba, Sheikh Shaban Ramadan Mubajje, theMufti of Uganda, chairperson of Uganda episcopal conference, Bishop Joseph Antony Zziwa, Pastor Joseph Serwadda, Bishop Joshua Lwere and Pastor Moses Ndimukika, president of the seventh-day church.

The spiritual leaders say that the world is a perpetual struggle not only for daily existential realities but more seriously with “our moral and spiritual choices… The tendency these days is to normalize every life’s struggle into a right. This is wrong!”

Their statement further adds that it is one thing to show love to people struggling and another to accept their struggle as a right and more so as their right. This development follows recent events including Pope Francis’ statement that homosexuality is not a crime, which was interpreted by some as an endorsement of same-sex relationships, and the Church of England’s decision to bless same-sex marriages.

The two events have heightened the debate about homosexuality and the increasing efforts to promote it, which is largely opposed by religious people and some Africans who view it as against their cultural and religious values. 

In the statement, the Ugandan religious leader clearly pointed out that although they support the rehabilitation of those who have already engaged in homosexuality, they urge Ugandans to resist the temptation to engage in such acts and protect African values and the sanctity of the family institution.    

Quoting from the holy books, these religious leaders say that same-sex relationships are human weaknesses that should be addressed at a personal level through repentance. The Bible in Levictus 18:22 says “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” Relatedly, the Quran Chapter 7 verses 80 and 81 reads “And remember when Lot scolded the men of his people, saying, Do you commit a shameful deed (homosexuality) that no man has ever done before? You lust after men instead of women! You are certainly transgressors”. 

The leaders also expressed concern that young people, mostly those in schools, have been lured into homosexuality with the promise of money, property, and a better future hence sounding caution against such temptations. 

“We acknowledge the increasing economic hardships and other pressures that affect our families. As religious leaders, we encourage Ugandans and especially our young people to stand firm against temptations that may ruin their lives,” the statement adds.

These leaders further showed concern that there are reading and audio-visual materials in the market with content encouraging same-sex relationships yet the parents and teachers lack sufficient capacity to curb the vice.

In the same development, during her visit to King’s College Budo, Education Minister Janet Kataha Museveni expressed concern about allegations of homosexuality in schools. Ms. Museveni had visited the school to inaugurate a new girls’ dormitory to replace the one that was destroyed by a fire, which was rumored to have been connected to the purported homosexual activities. 

The same school was in the news earlier this year when a concerned parent lifted the lid on the alleged homosexuality in the school involving teachers and learners. The Education Ministry has since set up a team to investigate the matter. The minister noted that the investigations are nearing completion and soon the truth will be uncovered, and if there are wrongdoers within the school community, they will be identified and punished.   

The Minister also made an appeal to young people, both at Budo and other schools, to refrain from being lured into various forms of sexual deviance.

Same-sex relationships have been a contentious issue in Uganda for a long time, with claims that the Western world promotes it by funding non-governmental organizations and governments through conditional grants.

In 2022, while attending a European Union meeting, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayeebwa opposed the decision of the international community to impose homosexuality on African countries in the guise of respect for human rights.

A January 2023 report by the National Bureau of NGOs, a government agency mandated to register and supervise activities of NGOs showed that four NGOs namely Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), The Robust Initiative for Promoting Human Rights, Tranz Network Uganda and Ubuntu Law and Justice Center received international funding to promote homosexuality through their different activities.  

The government closed the four organizations as investigations into 22 other organizations said to be engaged in the same business continue.  In Uganda, homosexuality is still considered illegal. The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014 was invalidated on procedural grounds by the Constitutional Court in 2016.

However, Homosexuality remains criminalized under the Penal Code Act as a crime against morality. This means that individuals who engage in homosexuality can still be prosecuted under the law                              

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