Via Dolorosa in Uganda

In this Guest Commentary on the Religion News Service online blog, the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle offers powerful reflection on the treatment of gays and lesbians in Uganda.

Uganda’s modern-day Via Dolorosa

From Religion News Service, by the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle

The Via Dolorosa — the Way of Suffering — is a street in Jerusalem believed to be where Jesus carried his cross on the way to his crucifixion. For the 40 days of Lent, Christians will walk with Jesus on the road to Calvary.

At the beginning of Lent, on Ash Wednesday, we take on the cross of ashes upon our forehead, knowing that Jesus walked this walk for all of us. At the end, on Good Friday, we remember he was killed for his steadfast ministry to people consigned to the margins of society.

Sadly, the religious and political establishments of our world still fall prey to fear and prejudice; a modern-day Via Dolorosa runs through the very heart of Uganda.

Christianity Today recently reported that bishops of the (Anglican) Church of Uganda support most of their country’s proposed anti-gay law — the same one President Obama recently described as “odious.” The Ugandan bishops are prepared to send their gay sons and daughters to jail, even though they are, thankfully, stopping short of recommending the gallows.

The proposed law would threaten imprisonment for those who fail to report known or suspected homosexuals to the authorities. The bishops want to exempt clergy and counselors from that requirement, a protection the bishops curiously are not extending to family members.

. . .

Uganda’s own history, the ashes on the foreheads of our children and the seven last words of Jesus on the cross beg the question: “Why are we persecuting gay people in the name of God?”

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