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Bishop Senyojo Ministers to Gays in Uganda Defying Anti-Gay Legislation

Bishop Senyojo Ministers to Gays in Uganda Defying Anti-Gay Legislation

In the context of Uganda’s anti-gay legislation, Anglican bishop Christopher Senyojo continues to minister to all people and, at great personal cost to him, to the gay community of Uganda:

Ugandan homosexuals say the new law was encouraged by some United States evangelicals who wanted to spread their anti-gay agenda in Africa and Senyonjo says that it isn’t a baseless allegation. One day in 2009, he said, he attended a workshop at a Kampala hotel where he heard an American evangelical, Scott Lively, speak strongly against homosexuality. Lively, who has previously told The Associated Press he advised therapy for gays but denies urging severe punishment, has since been sued in federal court under the Alien Tort Statute that allows non-citizens to file suit in the U.S. if there is an alleged violation of international law.

The enactment of Uganda’s new anti-gay law has spread fear among homosexuals, forcing many to flee to so-called “safe houses” where their new neighbors don’t know they are gay. Such houses tend to be single rooms that are more likely to be locked up day and night because of safety concerns. One gay couple, playing cards inside their room, said they fled an angry mob in their former neighborhood. Another couple, bored from spending so much time indoors, plotted how to flee Uganda when their travel documents are ready. Many are jobless and without prospects in the Kampala slum where they live.

Ugandan gay leaders say the anti-gay measure has encouraged public anger against homosexuals. One Ugandan cleric who strongly opposes homosexuality has announced plans to hold a mass rally in Kampala on Monday to thank Uganda’s leaders for passing the anti-gay measure despite Western pressure. The day after the measure was enacted, a Ugandan tabloid printed the names and some photos of people it said were Uganda’s “200 Top Homos.” That list included Senyonjo as an alleged gay “sympathizer,” but he says he wasn’t rattled by the publication and is urging gays not to be “intimidated.”

Senyonjo’s opposition to discrimination against gays has earned him the status of “an elder” in the eyes of the country’s beleaguered gay community, said Pepe Julian Onziema, a prominent gay leader in Uganda who has known Senyonjo for many years. “Our relationship is one of giving support to each other. The backlash that we receive is equally the same,” said Onziema, who added that Senyonjo has taken “a very courageous and brave stand.

The rest of the article is available here at the Huffington Post.

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David J. Patterson

Does anyone have advice: how can we support Bishop Senyojo's ministry to gay Ugandans? What can we do to help gay Ugandans? Thank you for any advice you can offer.

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