Former Ambassador to the Vatican Speaks Out Against Ugandan Discrimination

Thomas Patrick Melady, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and also to Uganda, has repeated and strengthened his plea to other religious leaders calling for an end to discrimination and injustice directed towards lesbian and gay people in Uganda.  In a blog posting on the Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good website, Melady calls on Christians to speak out against the draconian practices against lesbian and gay people, especially since these practices are being justified by religious arguments.

(A “hat-tip” to Michael Sean Winters’ blog post on The National Catholic Reporter website for alerting me to Melady’s post.  Winters points out that Melady is a co-chair of Mitt Romney’s Catholic outreach team, making the former ambassador “another example of an orthodox Catholic calling on Catholics not to traffic in anti-gay bigotry. Coming from such an illustrious member of the Republican Party’s Wise Men, let’s hope Melady’s counsel reaches far and wide and deep.”)

Melady argues that

“. . . the new tranquility in Uganda is being threatened by a determined effort in the legislature to criminalize homosexuality. Gay Ugandans are being demonized. A recent bill would have enforced lifetime prison sentences and even the death penalty for gay acts. Neighbors could be punished by prison sentences for not reporting gay and lesbian neighbors to the authorities.

 “It is unfortunate that the campaign for these actions has been inspired by American missionaries and others. As I stated in a previous article on this matter, I urge U.S. faith leaders of all denominations to speak out against the campaign to demonize gays in Uganda. The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ against gays should be avoided. As a layman I would like to observe that the legislation being advocated by a few, which emphasizes severe punishment, runs contrary to the Christian tradition. In view of the high numbers of Christians of all denominations in Uganda, this represents and opportunity for American faith leaders, especially Christians, to urge their co-religionists to respond more correctly to Christian teachings and traditions.”
Silence on this issue, Melady points out, is not an option, and so he makes his call to speak out explicitly to Catholics, noting:
“Our Catholic faith in the inalienable dignity of every human being demands no less.”
Indeed, Catholic leaders have been shamefully silent about this matter, particularly compared to how quickly and loudly they speak out when questions of equal marriage rights for lesbian and gay people are proposed.  In the face of such blatant injustice, silence from Catholic leaders is even more unjust.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
Additional Bondings 2.0  posts on the situation in Uganda:
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