Sunday, February 28, 2010

All Souls in Tulsa stands in solidarity with UU church in Uganda for gay rights

Rev. Marlin Lavenhar preached a powerful sermon on Sunday, February 7, 2010, entitled, "Spiritually Active, Sexually Free?"

In part here his what he said:

You see, in Uganda, where we have a partner church, and I have a colleague named Rev. Mark Kiyimba, there is a pernicious evil that has emerged, like the Nazi Gestapo of the 20th century, or the slave traders before them, who come like
a knock in the middle of the night and upend people’s lives with terror.

You may have met Rev. Kiyimba when he was here; he spoke from this pulpit last summer. He started a UU church six years ago in Uganda. He was an ordained minister in the Apostolic Church there, but came to disagree with that church’s teachings on the segregation of women and on education, on scripture interpretation and religious freedom. In 2004 he established the first UU Church in Uganda as a free church that welcomes all people regardless of color, gender, education, theology or sexual orientation. The church also runs a school and an orphanage for AIDS orphans
in a nearby town. By a vote of this congregation last May, we have become their partner church.

The evil that lurks in the shadows of Uganda, waiting to destroy people’s lives, is a bill that is making its way through their legislature that initially sought to make some forms of homosexuality a capitol crime punishable by death. Due to international pressure, the President of Uganda recently announced that he would veto the bill if it included the death penalty. So the maximum sentence
was reduced to life in prison. The Anglican Church and other charismatic and Pentecostal churches in Uganda have said they are okay with the bill as long as it includes life in prison. Acts as harmless as same gender touching would be prosecutable under the new law. And people who know of others engaging in same-gender relationships have 24 hours to report it, or they can serve up to 3 to
7 years in prison for not turning them in. Can you imagine, if you had a brother or son or mother who you knew was in a same-gender relationship, having to choose between turning them in for a life sentence, or possibly going to jail yourself for 3-7 years? It’s horrifying. The bill would also make any organizing or advocacy, or organizations that support gay or lesbian activities, prosecutable as well. As we sit here, the churches and Christian radio stations in Uganda are promoting some kind of a million man march to try to get people to rally at the capitol in
support of this horrendous bill next week.

Rev. Lavenhar was going to Uganda to stand in solidarity with Rev. Mark Kiyimba and his church. Alot of fundamentalist ministers from the U.S. have been fueling these flames against people who are homosexual. It would be good if more American churches stood in solidarity with Rev. Mark Kiyimba's church and with All Souls in Tulsa, OK.

To read the rest of the sermon click here.

To listen to the podcast like I did click here.

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