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Defrocked Ugandan Bishop Brought to US to Push Episcopal Church's Gay Agenda

Defrocked Ugandan Bishop Brought to US to Push Episcopal Church's Gay Agenda

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
May 25, 2010

Christopher Ssenyonjo, a bishop from the Anglican Province of Uganda who was excommunicated for fraudulently consecrating another bishop, attended the recent consecration of an avowed lesbian to TEC's episcopacy in Los Angeles at the invitation of Integrity, the Episcopal Church's unofficial pansexual organization, promoting homosexuality in Uganda.

Ssenyonjo, 78, was the center of attention at the consecration of non celibate lesbian Mary Glasspool where he told the Episcopal News Service that his message was, "God is not only for heterosexuals ... [if you are gay] accept yourself, love yourself."

That is not the message of the all-evangelical 9.3 million Anglican province of Uganda and its Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi. His message is that God does indeed love us all (including homosexuals), but He also demands that we change and repent in accord with His will not ours.

According to news reports, Ssenyonjo was also in LA to kick off a six-week speaking tour starting at St. Paul's Church, Pomona, in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. He hopes to "raise awareness about repressive anti-gay policies in Uganda, where lawmakers recently considered imposing a death penalty on gays."

He called upon advocacy groups to network to help develop the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and other under-served communities in Uganda and to promote understanding and education.

However, Ssenyonjo is no longer a bishop in the Province of Uganda. He was defrocked in 1996. According to correspondence VOL has received, he is not permitted to function as or call himself an Anglican bishop.

When Ssenyonjo's name appeared as a Lambeth Resource Person in the "Bishops' Self-Select" groups, Orombi wrote a sharp letter to Rowan Williams asking why he had been invited to Lambeth especially as Ssenyonjo had retired some nine years earlier as the Bishop of the Diocese West Buganda. Nine years is hardly "recently" retired, he exclaimed to Williams.

Orombi went on to declaim that he was forced in January 2007 to depose Ssenyonjo as a Bishop in the Church of Uganda for presiding at the consecration of a priest, under discipline for moral failure, as bishop of a Church of Uganda. The priest was also being consecrated in a denomination of his own called [the] Charismatic Church of Uganda. One of the bishops assisting in the consecration was the also-defrocked Church of Uganda Bishop from N. Mbale - defrocked because he took a second wife.

"We do not approve of Christopher Ssenyonjo's support for the organization Integrity, nor do we support his teaching on homosexuality. But, that was not why he was deposed. He was deposed because he set himself up as an Archbishop and recruited a defrocked Ugandan Bishop as a co-consecrator to consecrate a morally compromised man as a bishop of an independent church.

"It is one thing for Christopher Ssenyonjo to be in the Marketplace at Lambeth with the Integrity team and participating in their "fringe" events. It is quite another thing for him to appear as an official resource person for the official Lambeth programme and to be free to move about the secure areas of the conference as if he were a Bishop in attendance.

"It is very hard not to receive this news as further betrayal in an already fragile situation. I do hope you will be able to give us and our people here a reasonable explanation," trumpeted Orombi.

Williams never responded to Orombi's letter.

The Church of Uganda later received confirmation that the American gay lobby group, Integrity, was funding Ssenyonjo for his trip.

The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, Integrity USA's vice president for national and international affairs, said the 35-year-old LGBT advocacy group sponsored Ssenyonjo's current tour to the U.S.

Archbishop Orombi said his church's policies do not persecute gays or anyone else. "We proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and preach abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage. If necessary use a condom, but that is not our main message. We do not push condoms as the answer. It is an issue of moral character and abstinence, not just saying using safety devises."

Orombi said the Church is in the forefront of the fight against AIDS and so is the president of the country. "The president objected to the distribution of condoms in schools and we support him. It is not the answer. Let them understand that the virus can go through condoms; it is not guaranteed protection. We preach that sex outside of marriage is fornication and that is a sin. We teach our people to be faithful."

The archbishop blasted the Integrity organization saying it had no place in Africa. "Integrity has a beach head in Uganda but we have cut off Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo for organizing the group here. He has been banned from preaching and "we will not let him function with us. What he is doing is totally unacceptable. Would you tell a man who has a leg with gangrene that you approve? No you would say it is unacceptable. You would cut it off to spare his life."

Archbishop Orombi and the Ugandan House of Bishops have condemned the inclusion of the death penalty in a bill before their parliament outlawing homosexuality. That inclusion is the work of the Islamic majority in Uganda and the Anglicans have disassociated themselves from it. Orombi is personally on record opposing the death penalty. Government officials tabled the Bahati Bill, named for David Bahati, who introduced it, earlier this month.

Asked why the liberal retired bishop in Uganda was promoting the Integrity organization, Orombi said it was purely for the money. "The good news is that his assistant the Rev. Eric Kasirye has left him and returned to the church. Praise God."

Ssenyonjo is on an "historic tour" meeting with groups in Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Orange County and Los Angeles. Other stops include Minneapolis and New York, Dublin and Belfast.

VOL notes the irony that the deposed and defrocked Ssenyonjo is free to preach unhindered in American Episcopal churches while Archbishop Orombi and Bolivia Bishop Frank Lyons were both prevented from preaching and performing sacramental functions in an orthodox Episcopal parish in the Diocese of Pennsylvania denied them by a revisionist bishop and a liberal Standing Committee.

END

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