Brian McLaren’s open letter to Uganda

Brian McLaren posted an open letter to Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament. Kadaga has stated that the proposed Ugandan law against gay persons is something Ugandans want “as a Christmas gift.”

Excerpted from his letter:

Every Christmas, we who love Jesus must ask ourselves this question: will our hearts joyfully “prepare him room,” or will we turn him away because there is “no room in the inn?” Every Christmas, we must remember that as we do unto the most vulnerable among us, so we do unto Christ. So, ironically, to hand a stone to the Ugandan people or to its parliament in order to harm gay people would blaspheme Christ and Christmas, not honor them.

The Christmas gift that would honor Christ would be this: to drop your stones. To see Christ in the most vulnerable people of Uganda … rich or poor, powerful or powerless, straight or gay. To banish the darkness of prejudice and scapegoating and let in the light of compassion, respectful listening, and mutual understanding.

So my prayer this Christmas is that you and the people of Uganda set an example to the world – by turning away from what has been planned, by turning toward compassion and understanding, and by making your country not more dangerous and hateful, but even more welcoming and loving.

I am especially touched by the threat of this law because in my own family and among my closest circle of friends, there are many gay people. Like you, I was raised in a cultural and religious tradition that condemned them. But I have come to see that our tradition was wrong – just as it was wrong about slavery, segregation/apartheid, colonialism, and chauvinism.

I would hate to think that in the future, if I again have the pleasure of visiting Uganda, I might be thrown into jail for seeking to follow Jesus by speaking against a misguided tradition and standing with the vulnerable.

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