Friday, February 04, 2011

Human Rights: Uganda - National Prayer Breakfast Organizers Ignore Request to Pray for Slain Gay Rights Activist David Kato

National Prayer Breakfast organizers refused to include a remembrance of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato during today's highly publicized and politicized event, in spite of a request for prayer by top religious leaders.

Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church and Auburn Theological Seminary are now promising to keep an international spotlight on the storm of violence and hateful treatment of gays in Uganda, spurred by a proposed anti-gay bill which calls for life imprisonment, and even the death penalty in some cases, of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Bishop Robinson and Rev. John Vaughn, the executive vice president of Auburn Theological Seminary, released this public statement addressed to the organizers of the National Prayer Breakfast, which is the Fellowship Foundation, also known as The Family:

"We are deeply disturbed that our request to remember the murdered Ugandan gay activist David Kato at the National Prayer Breakfast was ignored by its organizers, while the safety and human rights of gay Ugandans hang in the balance. We are watching, indeed the world is watching, innocent Ugandans living in an environment of violence and hate.

You are religious leaders with political influence in the U.S. and personal ties to Uganda, united by your belief in God's Word. We urge you to stand true to that Word. We ask that you, 'The Family,' make a public statement that definitively calls out the pending anti-gay legislation in Uganda as a manifestation of sin. At this pivotal moment, exert your direct influence over those responsible for its creation and possible passage, such as MP David Bahati, Ethics Minister Nsaba Buturo, and President Yoweri Museveni.

The result we seek is the immediate and permanent withdrawal of this pending legislation. As people of faith, we ask that you join us and actively fight against this specific manifestation of violence and prejudice that is terrorizing about a half million people in Uganda. We believe God calls us to do nothing less."

Auburn Theological Seminary has a 200 year history of being in the forefront of social justice causes – from suffrage to civil rights. Auburn is spearheading its newest cause: heal the divisive religious landscape in the U.S. To do so, Auburn is creating a broad constituency united around shared majority concerns and values to isolate the radical elements that perpetuate intolerance in the name of faith.

Source: Auburn Theological Seminary