In a recent development, the chair of a conservative group of Anglican church leaders has accused the head of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion, Justin Welby, of perpetuating colonialism.
The legislation, introduced by Uganda last month, enforces the death penalty for certain same-sex acts and imposes a 20-year prison sentence for promoting homosexuality. Welby expressed his “grief and dismay” at Ugandan Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba's support for the law and conveyed his concerns in a letter.
The Anglican Communion, with its 85 million members globally, has been divided on issues related to the church's stand against LGBTQ ideology. The conservative coalition known as GAFCON, of which Welby is critical, stands among the most vocal opponents of “progressive” measures within the church.
Responding to Welby's letter, GAFCON chair Laurent Mbanda, who also serves as the head of Rwanda‘s Anglican Church, highlighted the history of colonization and patronizing behaviour by some northern hemisphere provinces towards the Global South and Africa. Mbanda's statement did not explicitly endorse the Ugandan law but suggested that the legacy of colonization persists.
Welby, in his defense, acknowledged the historical context of British rule in Uganda and clarified that his statement aimed not to impose Western values but to emphasize the commitment to treat all individuals with respect as children of God.
The creation of GAFCON in 2008 was a response to what the group perceived as the abandonment of bible-based orthodoxy by certain Western churches. GAFCON claims to represent the majority of Anglicans worldwide.
In February, another splinter group called the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches declared that it no longer recognized Welby's leadership of the Anglican Communion after the Church of England announced its intention to bless same-sex couples.
Archbishop Kaziimba, while acknowledging Welby's right to form opinions, stated that the global head of the Anglican Communion had limited firsthand knowledge of matters worldwide.
The Church of Uganda reports that approximately 36% of Uganda's population, totaling around 45 million people, identify as Anglicans. The situation continues to generate attention within the Anglican Communion and beyond.