The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights has released an open letter by American Christian leaders expressing solidarity with LGBT Ugandans as their that nation continues to consider anti-gay legislation. Among the 46 signatories are 28 who are connected with Catholic institutions (see below).
The announcement on the Kennedy Center’s website states:
“Washington — July 24, 2012 Today, a group of 46 American Christian leaders issued an open letter expressing solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans in the face of “increased bigotry and hatred.” The letter, coordinated by Faith in Public Life, Human Rights First and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, comes as a new Political Research Associates report released today accuses, among others, evangelicals such as Pat Robertson, Catholics and Mormons of setting up campaigns and fronts in Africa designed to press for anti-gay laws. . . .
” ‘It’s important for Ugandans to know that not all Evangelical and Catholic leaders think LGBT people should be criminals,’ says Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda and the 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award laureate, ‘This letter from prominent American Christians is a crucial step in our efforts to introduce Ugandans to more positive and loving Christian messages in contrast to the harmful rhetoric from our own pastors that only leads to more violence and hate.’ “
In part, the text of the letter reads:
“Regardless of the diverse theological views of our religious traditions regarding the morality of homosexuality, the criminalization of homosexuality, along with the violence and discrimination against LGBT people that inevitably follows, is incompatible with the teachings of our faith.
“As American Christians we recognize that groups and leaders within our own country have been implicated in efforts to spread prejudice and discrimination in Uganda. We urge our Christian brothers and sisters in Uganda to resist the false arguments, debunked long ago, that LGBT people pose an inherent threat to our children and our societies. LGBT people exist in every country and culture, and we must learn to live in peace together to ensure the freedom of all, especially when we may disagree. We condemn misguided actions that have led to increased bigotry and hatred of LGBT people in Uganda that debases the inherent dignity of all humans created in the image of our Maker. Such treatment degrades the human family, threatens the common good, and defies the teachings of our Lord – wherever it occurs.”
“We condemn misguided actions that have led to increased bigotry and hatred of LGBT people in Uganda that debases the inherent dignity of all humans created in the image of our Maker. Such treatment degrades the human family, threatens the common good, and defies the teachings of our Lord – wherever it occurs.”
To read the full text of this letter and to see the full list of signatories, click here.
The signatories associated with Catholic institutions are:
Ambassador Thomas P. Melady
Former U.S. Ambassador to Uganda and the Vatican
Gerald J. Beyer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Saint Joseph’s University
Nicholas P. Cafardi
Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law, Duquesne University
M. Shawn Copeland
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Boston College
Rev. Paul Crowley, S.J.
Santa Clara Jesuit Community Professor, Religious Studies Department, Santa Clara University
Nancy Dallavalle, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Fairfield University
Francis Schüssler Fiorenza
Stillman Professor for Roman Catholic Theological Studies, Harvard Divinity School
Jeannine Hill Fletcher
Associate Professor of Theology, Fordham University
Sister Mary Ann Hinsdale, IHM, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theology, Boston College
Bradford E. Hinze, Ph.D.
Professor of Theology, Fordham University
Rev. James Hug, S.J.
President, Center of Concern
Chair and Professor, Department of Philosophy, Cross-appointed to Department of Religious Studies, University of Dayton
Reverend Raymond B. Kemp
Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, Center for Social Justice DC Community Fellow, Georgetown University
Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies, Director, Center for Catholic Studies, Fairfield University
Rev. John Langan S.J.
Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Professor of Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University
Rev. Bryan N. Massingale, S.T.D.
Professor of Theological Ethics, Marquette University
Joseph A. McCartin
Associate Professor of History, Director, Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, Georgetown University
Loyola University, New Orleans
David J. O’Brien, Ph.D.
University Professor of Faith and Culture, University of Dayton
Associate Professor of Theology, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH
Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
Senior Fellow, Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University
Stephen F. Schneck, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies, The Catholic University of America
Sister Nancy Sylvester,IHM
President, Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue
Terrence W. Tilley
Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Professor of Catholic Theology Chair, Theology Department, Fordham University
Edward Vacek, S.J.
Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, University of Notre Dame
Tobias Winright, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theological Ethics, Saint Louis University
Sandra Yocum, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Religious Studies Department, University of Dayton
Almost 42% of Uganda’s population is Catholic, the largest denomination in this predominantly Christian nation. As Bondings 2.0 has reported before, Catholic opposition to anti-gay legislation is critical to insure that LGBT people there are protected. You can read about the importance of such support here and here and here and here.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry