By Christopher Mangum
Originally published on Advocate.com December 08 2009 4:55 PM ET
Organized by Faith in Public Life and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Christian leaders from across denominations united on Monday to denounce the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda.
"Our Christian faith recognizes violence, harassment and unjust treatment of any human being as a betrayal of Jesus' commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves," reads the statement, reports USA Today.
Signatories include the Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Bryan N. Massingale, president of the Catholic Theological Society of America; evangelical activist Brian McLaren; Jim Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society; and Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners.
Thomas P. Melady, the former U.S. ambassador to Uganda and the Vatican, also signed the joint statement and offered his criticism of the bill.
"This bill is an affront to human dignity and offensive to Christians around the world who take seriously Christ's command to love our neighbors as ourselves. I'm proud to stand with other people of faith who believe our values compel us to speak out against this profound injustice," added Melady, according to Christian organization Faith in Public Life.
While gay acts are already illegal in Uganda, the bill would create a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” that would be punishable by death. The provision defines “aggravated homosexuality” as having same-sex relations repeatedly, with disabled people or individuals under 18 years of age, or when the accused is HIV-positive.
The law would also make the “promotion of homosexuality,” including publishing information or providing funds for activities, a crime that could result in up to seven years in prison.