AfricaReligion

African church leaders slams top UK cleric Archbishop Welby for anti-gay law criticism

Rather than advocating for LGBTQ rights, Archbishop Welby should show remorse for sin and failure to adhere to God’s teachings, his Rwandan counterpart has said

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The archbishop of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, Laurent Mbanda, has accused the top bishop of the Church of England, Justin Welby, of perpetuating colonialism with his criticism of Uganda’s anti-LGBTQ law.

In a statement last Friday, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, expressed his concerns about the Ugandan Anglican Church’s support for the country’s widely criticized Anti-Homosexuality Act, which imposes life in prison for gay sex and the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”

Welby asked the sister church to reject the legislation as “there is no justification for any province of the Anglican Communion to support such laws” after he had earlier written to Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba, the primate of Uganda, conveying “grief and dismay.”

But, in response, Mbanda, who is chairperson of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), said it was “unfortunate” that Welby did not express the same “grief or sorrow over the crisis that has torn apart the Anglican Communion under his watch.”

He recalled that the archbishop of Canterbury has previously issued statements criticizing the Anglican provinces of Kenya and Nigeria as well.

It seems the history of colonization and patronizing behavior of some provinces in the Northern Hemisphere towards the South, and Africa in particular, is not yet at an end,” Mbanda said on Wednesday.

Welby stated last week that he was aware of the history of British rule in Uganda and that his call for the church to reject the anti-gay law was not about “imposing Western values.” He described it as a reminder of the commitment to “treat every person with the care and respect they deserve as God’s children.”

In response to Welby’s criticism, Kaziimba said on Friday that the Ugandan church had made “clear” its endorsement of the anti-gay law and will not repeat its position.

He said the Church of England’s primate “has every right to form his opinions about matters around the world that he knows little about firsthand.”

We do pray for him [Welby] and other leaders in the Church of England to repent,” Kaziimba added.

Leaders of 85 percent of the Anglican communion agreed at the fourth GAFCON in April, held in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, to cease to recognize the archbishop of Canterbury as a symbol of their common communion, according to Kaziimba.

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