The Bishops of Bristol and Swindon expressed shock and deep concern on hearing news of legislation passed by the Ugandan Parliament in recent days introducing severe sentences, including capital punishment and life imprisonment, for homosexual acts.
The Rt Revd Vivenne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, emphasised the grave risk this legislation poses to already highly vulnerable members of Ugandan society. The Bishop of Bristol is one of the Church of England’s lead bishops on safeguarding.
Bishop Viv said, “We are conscious of the diversity of views held amongst our own clergy and parishioners on same-sex marriage in church; but the Diocese of Bristol will not equivocate on matters of discrimination on account of sexual identity. We condemn the bill passed by the Ugandan Parliament and would celebrate its veto by President Museveni. The gospels tell the story of a saviour who is big-hearted and brave, always pursuing those on the margins of society. The Jesus we worship was not weak or tepid in his convictions, but this never stopped him from extending love and grace to his neighbours, regardless of their vocations, backgrounds or lifestyles. And neither will we.”
The Diocese of Bristol shares a longstanding and active partnership with the dioceses of the Anglican Communion in Uganda and works closely with its bishops and churches. The Rt Revd Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon, said: “If this legislation is not repealed by the president’s intervention, we shall be discussing its impact with our fellow bishops in Uganda to find shared ways to protect, support and speak out on behalf of all who are made additionally vulnerable by these new laws.”