Activists are calling on Anglican leadership to condemn antigay violence in light of the murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato in January.
In an online petition, the group Speak Out 4 David Kato has urged John Sentamu, archbishop of York, to “condemn threats, harassment and attacks on any individual due to their actual, or perceived, sexual orientation.”
Born in a village near Kampala, Uganda, Sentamu is the second highest-ranking cleric in the Church of England after Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
In January, Williams called Kato’s murder “profoundly shocking” and urged the United Kingdom to secure asylum for LGBT individuals. Sentamu has yet to speak out on Kato's death, however.
“John Sentamu has campaigned for other human rights causes,” petition organizers wrote. “For instance, campaigning against the ill-treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and most famously cutting up his clerical collar live on TV in protest against Robert Mugabe.”
Text of the petition:
To The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.
We are writing to you due to your prominent position within the Anglican community, your connections with Uganda and David Kato's connections with the York community.
In recognition of the murder of Ugandan LGBT activist David Kato, we call on you to condemn threats, harassment and attacks on any individual due to their actual, or perceived, sexual orientation.
We recognise that you have been a strong advocate for human rights causes - we urge you to you reaffirm an individual's right to enjoy safety and security regardless of their sexual orientation.
Sign the petition here.