5 February 2014

Kenya: Wabukala Questions UK Bishops Over Gay Unions

ARCHBISHOP Eliud Wabukala has questioned whether the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York "hold, personally, as well as in virtue of their office, to the collegial mind of the Anglican Communion."

In a statement released yesterday, Wabukala appeared concerned that the leadership of the Anglican church might be preparing to backtrack on its rejection of gay marriage.

This month Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu criticised repressive anti-gay legislation passed by the Nigerian and Uganda parliaments.

Last week the English College of Bishops accepted a recommendation for two years of "facilitated conversation" about gay marriage.

Wabukala, the leader of the Anglican Church in Kenya, said that the "intervention" of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York "has served to encourage those who want to normalise homosexual lifestyles in Africa and has fuelled prejudice against African Anglicans."

Wabukala's statement referred to the 1998 Lambeth Conference that condemned same sex unions but reaffirmed that "all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ."

Wabukala insisted, "Christians should always show particular care for those who are vulnerable, but this cannot be separated from the whole fabric of biblical moral teaching in which the nature of marriage and family occupy a central place."

The Kenyan archbishop expressed concern that the Archbishop of York asked in a recent House of Lords debate on gay marriage why the Church was willing to bless a tree or a sheep, but not a faithful human relationship.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the Anglican church worldwide. Sentamu is a former Ugandan magistrate who went into exile in the UK during the Amin period.

Wabukala is the chairman of Global Anglican Future Conference which opposes gay marriage. It comprises Anglican bishops from Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Rwanda, Congo, South and and North America.

Gafcon was formed in 2008 after the Archbishop of Canterbury invited the Episcopal Church of the USA, which has openly gay clergy, to attend the Lambeth Conference. Gafcon then boycotted the conference.

In December the Ugandan parliament passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill although it was amended to remove the death penalty and the clause which made it a criminal offence not to report homosexual behaviour.

In January President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law a new anti-gay bill which made visiting gay clubs or associating with gays punishable by 10 years in jail.

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