Breaking: Executive Council to discuss Ugandan situation

A special session of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has been called to discuss the church’s position on the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” currently before the Ugandan Parliament. The meeting will be conducted via conference call on the afternoon of December 7, according to numerous sources.

Special sessions of Executive Council can be called by the Presiding Bishop or, as in this instance, by a petition signed by at least nine members of the council.

Council members have been discussing the Ugandan issue informally among themselves for more than a month. Some members of the council were eager for the church to join 17 human rights organizations and the Anglican Church of Canada in condemning the bill, while others argued that such action would do more harm than good.

In a news release issued earlier today, calling on Anglican leaders to oppose the Ugandan legislation, the Chicago Consultation noted that the bill “proposes the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ and life imprisonment for touching another individual with homosexual intent.

“Belonging to a gay organization, advocating gay rights and providing condoms or safe-sex advice to gays and lesbians could result in a seven-year prison sentence,” the release continued. “Failing to report violations of the law within 24 hours would be punishable by a three-year prison term. In contravention of international law, the new legislation would also apply to Ugandans living in other countries.”

The provincial secretary of the Anglican Church of Uganda initially supported the bill, but advocated that the death penalty provision and extradition provisions be removed. More recently, the Church has said it has no position on the bill.

Further details, including perhaps a listening-only call-in number may be forthcoming.

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