Fairfield University professors sign letter protesting Uganda's proposed "Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009"


Dr. Nancy DallavalleFairfield University professors Dr. Nancy Dallavalle, chair of the Religious Studies Department, and Dr. Paul Lakeland, director of the Center for Catholic Studies, have joined with 62 prominent U.S. Christian leaders in protesting the "Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009" that is being considered by the Parliament of Uganda. The statement was reported in The Washington Post and the National Catholic Reporter.  

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life noted that "Christian leaders who are themselves divided over homosexuality have joined forces to oppose a proposed Ugandan law that calls for the death penalty for some homosexual behavior."

The signed statement, released this week, says, "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."  

Among the other signers of the document are Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners; Ronald J. Sider, president, Evangelicals for Social Action; Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Lisa Sowe Cahill, Monan Professor of Theology at Boston College; Rev. Canon Peg Chemberlin, incoming president, National Council of Churches of Christ USA; Bryan N. Massingale, S.T.D., president, Catholic Theological Society of America; and former U.S. Ambassador to Uganda and the Vatican Thomas P. Melady, also a former president of Sacred Heart University.

The legislation being considered by the Parliament of Uganda, would outlaw any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex with penalties up to life imprisonment, while criminalizing attempted homosexuality and carrying a possible prison sentence for anyone who does not report such an "offense" within 24 hours.

"In our efforts to imitate the Good Samaritan," the signers say, "we stand in solidarity with those Ugandans beaten and left abandoned by the side of the road because of hatred, bigotry and fear." While those signing the statement acknowledge there may be varying theological views in their religious traditions regarding the morality of homosexuality, they wrote, "we seek to embrace our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters as God's children worthy of respect and love."

Dr. Dallavalle writes about this issue on her blog, http://nancydallavalle.blogspot.com

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on December 8, 2009

Vol. 42, No. 146