In Midst of New Anti-gay Law, Ugandan Cleric Provides Safe Haven for Gays


An Anglican cleric is making a name for himself in Uganda by doing something few others in his profession will: ministering to gays.

Rev. Christopher Senyonjo’s makeshift church in the Ugandan capital of Kampala has  attracted many gays who are familiar with his sympathetic views in a country where anti-gay religious fervor has encouraged public anger and violence against homosexuals. The AP reports:

"They said I should condemn the homosexuals," he said, referring to Anglican leaders in Uganda. "I can't do that, because I was called to serve all people, including the marginalized. But they say I am inhibited until I recant. I am still a member of the Anglican church."

In a statement earlier this year, the head of the Anglican church in Uganda, Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, said the church was committed to offering "healing and prayer" for individuals "who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness."

Senyonjo disagrees with that stance, arguing that because "in every society there is a small number of people who have homosexual tendencies," gays can't be expected to change their sexual orientation.

The AP adds Senyonjo’s relationship with his country’s Anglican church has been strained as a consequence of his ministry. The country’s gay community, however, has embraced him as “an elder” of sorts.

"Our relationship is one of giving support to each other. The backlash that we receive is equally the same," said Pepe Julian Onziema, a prominent gay leader in Uganda, who added that Senyonjo has taken "a very courageous and brave stand."

[photo via Washington Blade/ Michael Key]


  1. Brian says

    Those Anglicans who are quick to condemn Rev. Senyanjo should heed the Christian message of their superior, Pope Francis: “Who are you to judge anybody?”

  2. Louis says

    I don’t think it constitutes ‘sour grapes’ to say that “healing and prayer for individuals who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness” is ALSO a problem. Gays are not ‘confused’ or ‘broken’. Thank you.

    This seems more like ‘hate the sin love the sinner’ more than anything else.

  3. David says

    The Anglican church split from Rome at the time of Henry Vlll. However, all Christian churches are supposed to follow the teachings of Jesus, who was a proponent of love, not hate.

  4. Icebloo says

    I am an atheist and always have been but when we get great, strong, brave minded people like this speaking out against the religious establishments and the idiots who simply follow along like sheep it gives me great hope that religion is not all about money.

    Another great religious man I admire is the incredible Archbishop Desmond Tutu. These two men are what religious leaders should all be.

  5. Randy says

    I’m sure that the Church of England, the Episcopal Church, or the Anglican Church of Canada would be delighted to establish a zone in Africa where ministers can report to them, instead of to bigots.

    After all, the African church has been poaching from these locations long enough. It’s only fair to return the favor.

  6. Bodhi says

    He is a retired Bishop, a senior cleric. His “makeshift” church is in fact a mission to the LGBT community and other oppressed minorities. He is a friend of Archbishop Desmond Tutu … He wrote a long letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury outlining his support of the LGBT community. This has angered the official head of the Anglican Church in Uganda, and put him at risk of violence …

  7. Bill Perdue says

    Too bad Obama and Kerry lack the courage this man has.

    Demand that the WH and State Department cut all non-humanitarian US aid, especially military and police assistance, and publicly announce that the doors of US embassies and Consulates are wide open to provide asylum for anyone fearing death, violence or imprisonment.

  8. RMc says

    He is a brave and decent man, a civilized human being. As it is the law in the country, he could be arrested for this and face 5-7years for helping and protecting LGBT people – that is if he isn’t killed by a mob of “Christians” emboldened by the Naziesque law.

  9. Rowan says

    Louis, you can’t read. It says he also disagrees with that stance but somehow, something tells me that you’re the type who will find what HE wants to find in anything to align his own personal projections.

  10. Bill says

    @Brian : the current pope is not his superior, and no pope has been a superior ever since Henry VIII thumbed his nose at a Pope and had the Church of England split off. Naturally, the new leader gave Henry whatever divorce/annulment he wanted. a business decision guided by the principle that your head is best kept attached to the rest of you.

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