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Christians condemn Ugandan anti-gay law

With lawmakers in Uganda poised to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death, a group of American Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical leaders is speaking out.

From a release by the groups the Catholics in Alliance and Faith in Public Life:

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"Given U.S. Christian groups' extensive history of involvement in Uganda, these numerous Catholic, Evangelical and Mainline Protestant leaders – including several members of the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships – felt especially compelled to speak out against the 'Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009' as counter to Christian values and call on all American Christian leaders to join them."

"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," said Thomas P. Melady, a former U.S. ambassador to Uganda and the Vatican and one of the signers of the statement. "I'm proud to stand with other people of faith who believe our values compel us to speak out against this profound injustice."

According to the Associated Press, Ugandan lawmakers proposed the measure after a visit by leaders of U.S. conservative Christian ministries that promote therapy for gays to become heterosexual. But at least one of those leaders has denounced the bill, as have some other conservative and liberal Christians in the United States.

"I agree with the general goal but this law is far too harsh," Scott Lively, a California preacher and author of "The Pink Swastika" and other books that advise parents how to "recruit-proof" their children from gays, told the AP.

Lively did not sign the statement, which appears after the jump.U.S. Christian Leaders' Statement on "Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009"

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. As followers of the teachings of Christ, we must express profound dismay at a bill currently before the Parliament in Uganda. The "Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009" would enforce lifetime prison sentences and in some cases the death penalty for homosexual behavior, as well as punish citizens for not reporting their gay and lesbian neighbors to the authorities.

As Americans, some may wonder why we are raising our voices to oppose a measure proposed in a nation so far away from home. We do so to bear witness to our Christian values, and to express our condemnation of an injustice in which groups and leaders within the American Christian community are being implicated. We appeal to all Christian leaders in our own country to speak out against this unjust legislation.

In our efforts to imitate the Good Samaritan, we stand in solidarity with those Ugandans beaten and left abandoned by the side of the road because of hatred, bigotry and fear. Especially during this holy season of Advent, when the global Christian community prepares in hope for the light of Christ to break through the darkness, we pray that they are comforted by God's love.

Regardless of the diverse theological views of our religious traditions regarding the morality of homosexuality, in our churches, communities and families, we seek to embrace our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as God's children worthy of respect and love. Yet we are painfully aware that in our country gays and lesbians still face hostility and violence. We recognize that such treatment degrades the human family, threatens the common good and defies the teachings of our Lord -- wherever it occurs.

Thomas P. Melady

Former U.S. Ambassador to Uganda and the Vatican

Ronald J. Sider

President

Evangelicals for Social Action

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Jim Wallis

President

Sojourners

Rocco Puopolo, SX

Executive Director

Africa Faith and Justice Network

James E. Hug, S.J.

President

Center of Concern

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez

President

National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Institute Leadership Team of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

Rev. Adam Hamilton

United Methodist pastor and author

Arturo Chavez

President & CEO

Mexican American Catholic College

Dr. Sharon E. Watkins

General Minister and President

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada

T. Michael McNulty, SJ

Justice and Peace Director

Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Dr. David P. Gushee

Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics

Mercer University

Marie Lucey, OSF

Associate Director for Social Mission

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Bryan N. Massingale, S.T.D.

President, Catholic Theological Society of America

Associate Professor of Theological Ethics

Marquette University

Melissa Rogers

Director

Wake Forest University Divinity School's Center for Religion and Public Affairs

Maryann Cusimano Love

Department of Politics

The Catholic University of America

The Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin

Incoming President

National Council of Churches of Christ USA

The Hon. Douglas W. Kmiec

Diana Butler Bass

Author and Educator

Jim Martin, SJ

Associate Editor

America magazine

Brian McLaren

author. speaker. Activist

Rev. Christopher P. Promis, C.S.Sp.

Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Promoter

Congregation of the Holy Spirit

Province of the USA

Dr. Derrick Harkins

Senior Pastor, Nineteenth Street Baptist Church

Board Member, World Relief

Marie Dennis

Director

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Co-President, Pax Christi International

Jim Winkler

General Secretary

United Methodist General Board of Church and Society

Thomas J. Reese, S.J.

Senior Fellow

Woodstock Theological Center

Georgetown University

The Reverend Debra W. Haffner

Executive Director

Religious Institute

Stephen F. Schneck, PhD

Director

Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies

The Catholic University of America

Geoffrey Black

General Minister and President

United Church of Christ

David Hollenbach, S.J.

University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice

Theology Department

Boston College

Richard R. Gaillardetz

Murray/Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies

University of Toledo

Alex Mikulich

Research Fellow

Jesuit Social Research Institute

Loyola University

Christine Firer Hinze

Professor, Christian Ethics

Department of Theology

Fordham University

Rev. Dr. Ken Brooker Langston

Director

Disciples Justice Action Network and Coordinator, Disciples Center for Public Witness

Paulette Skiba, BVM

Religious Studies

Clarke College

Paul Lakeland

Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies

Fairfield University

J. Matthew Ashley

Associate Professor of Systematic Theology

Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Theology

University of Notre Dame

Erin Lothes Biviano

Fellow- Theology, Center for the Study of Science and Religion

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Columbia University

Rev. Paul de Vries, PhD

President, New York Divinity School

Board Member, National Association of Evangelicals

John Sniegocki

Associate Professor of Christian Ethics

Xavier University

Nancy Dallavalle

Chair, Department of Religious Studies

Fairfield University

M. Shawn Copeland

Associate Professor of Systematic Theology

Boston College

David DeCosse

Director of Campus Ethics Programs

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Santa Clara University

Bruce T. Morrill

Associate Professor of Theology

Boston College

Kristin Heyer

Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Santa Clara University

Chris Korzen

Executive Director

Catholic United

Jeannine Hill Fletcher

Associate Professor of Theology

Fordham University

William O'Neill, S.J.

Jesuit School of Theology of

Santa Clara University

Michael Duffy, Ed.D.

Director,

Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought

University of San Francisco

Elena Procario-Foley, Ph.D.

Driscoll Professor of Jewish-Catholic Studies

Iona College

Lisa Sowe Cahill,

Monan Professor of Theology

Boston College

Dennis M. Doyle

Religious Studies

University of Dayton

Lew Daly

author of God's Economy: Faith-based Initiatives and the Caring State

Bradford E. Hinze

Professor of Theology

Fordham University

Kirk O. Hanson

University Professor and Executive Director

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Santa Clara University

David J O'Brien

University Professor of Faith and Culture

University of Dayton

William L. Portier

University of Dayton

Terrence W. Tilley

Professor of Theology and Chair of the Department

Fordham University

Margaret A. Farley

Gilbert L. Stark Professor Emerita of Christian Ethics

Yale University Divinity School

Nicholas P. Cafardi

Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law

Duquesne University School of Law

Teresa Delgado, PhD

Director, Peace and Justice Studies Program

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Iona College

Maria Riley, OP

Center of Concern

Washington, DC

Victoria Kovari

Interim Executive Director

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good

Adam Tice

Associate Pastor

Hyattsville Mennonite Church

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