Last month an overflow crowd viewed “God Loves Uganda” at the Tacoma Grand Cinema.The film is about American missionaries who support the criminalization of homosexuality in Uganda.
After the viewing I led a discussion. Attendees wanted to know how they could express concern. The issues in the film came home Monday when President Yoweri Musevini of Uganda signed a law imposing harsh sentences, including life imprisonment, for homosexual acts, joining a list of nations where homosexuality is criminalized. In 10 of those nations, homosexuality can be punishable by death.
There is division within the Christian community in Tacoma on the role of GLBTQ folks in church and marriage equality. I hope there is unity within most of the Christian community that sentencing people to life imprisonment or death because they are gay is wrong.
What can be done? Members of congregations can ask if their congregation’s mission money is spent to support organizations that teach and preach in ways that encourage or supports the criminalization of homosexuality. If yes, they can work to change that. Those not involved in a church might ask friends who are church members if their congregation’s mission dollars supports the criminalization of homosexuality.
I pray that the majority of the Christian community in Tacoma-Pierce County agree that punishing someone for being gay with life imprisonment or death is wrong and will act in ways consistent with that belief.
(The Rev. Dave Brown is pastor at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Tacoma.)