NEWS ANALYSIS: Bishop Christopher's tour opens new dialogue on global LGBT rights

Published: October 27, 2011

(Editor’s note: This is the first installment in a two-part series about the three-month goodwill tour of retired Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda. The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle of San Diego was the bishop’s guide while he was in the United States. These are his recollections and observations about the Compass to Compassion tour.)

SAN DIEGO — The Compass to Compassion tour with Bishop Christopher and Mary Senyonjo, which concluded this week when the couple returned to their home in Kampala, Uganda, proves that the bishop’s message is relevant and contemporary.
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    NEWS ANALYSIS: Bishop Christopher’s tour opens new dialogue on global LGBT rights

The influence of the 76 million strong Anglican Church remains profoundly powerful. Of the more than 500 African bishops who serve as spiritual leaders who largely support criminalization of LGBT people, why is it that Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, at 80 years old, is the ONLY significant voice of reason right now coming out of Africa?

Yet this week brings great hope.

As the British Commonwealth heads of state gathered this week in Perth, Australia, the Secretary General Kamelesh Sharma raised the issue of LGBT rights to the highest level ever. What big news!

Speaking to an audience of several hundred at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth People’s Forum on Wednesday, Sharma said the Commonwealth was about democracy, development and diversity, pointing to the 2009 affirmation of the Commonwealth values and principles.

“This includes a clear commitment to tolerance, respect and understanding,” he said.

“This means we embrace difference, and that includes sexual identity. Discrimination and criminalization on the grounds of sexual orientation is opposed to our values and I have had occasion to refer to this in the context of our law-related conferences.”

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