An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.
Statement from the Synod of Bishops, 8-11 February 2010
The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Draft Bill
We, the Bishops of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, meeting at Thokoza Conference Centre, Swaziland, from 8 to 12 February 2010, are disturbed by the debate among Ugandan law-makers of a draft bill that seek to criminalize homosexuality and to prosecute gay people. It even proposes imposing the death penalty, which we regard as a breach of God’s commandment, “You shall not murder,” given in Exodus 20:13.
We also deplore the statement, attributed to our fellow Bishop, describing those who are opposed to this legislation as “lovers of evil”. Though there are a breadth of theological views among us on matters of human sexuality, we see this Bill as a gross violation of human rights and we therefore strongly condemn such attitudes and behaviour towards other human beings. We emphasize the teachings of the Scriptures that all human beings are created in the image of God and therefore must be treated with respect and accorded human dignity.
We are therefore also deeply concerned about the violent language used against the gay community across Sub-Saharan Africa. We thus appeal to law-makers to defend the rights of these minorities. As Bishops we believe that it is immoral to permit or support oppression of, or discrimination against, people on the grounds of their sexual orientation, and contrary to the teaching of the gospel; particularly Jesus’ command that we should love one another as he has loved us, without distinction (John 13:34-35).
We commit ourselves to teach, preach and act against any laws that undermine human dignity and oppress any and all minorities, even as we call for Christians and all people to uphold the standards of holiness of life. We call on all Christians to stand up against this Bill so that its provisions do not become law in Uganda or anywhere else in the world.
We also call on our President and law-makers to engage in dialogue with their counterparts on the rights of minorities.
Note for Editors: The Province of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa comprises Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha.
Issued by the Office of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Inquiries: Cynthia Michaels on 021- 763-1320 (office hours)BACK TO TOP