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In Uganda, Adventist Church takes stand against penalties toward homosexuals

Statement says legislation not in line with church values

In a statement released last week, Seventh-day Adventist world church leadership said it had "noted with concern" comments attributed to the head of the Adventist Church in Uganda.

The statement affirmed the church's stand on human dignity in opposition to the penalties, including jail time and the death sentence, called for in pending Ugandan legislation. The statement, released January 8, emphasized that the legislation is not in line with the expressed values of the church.

Media reports indicate that president for the Adventist Church in Uganda John Kakembo had supported some provisions of the anti-homosexuality legislation being considered by Uganda's parliament, but not the bill's call for executing those found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality." The Web site of Uganda's "New Vision" newspaper said that while Kakembo supported the overall bill, he and other clerics took exception to the death penalty provision.

The Adventist Church official statement, issued by Communication Director Rajmund Dabrowski, reads: "Church leadership noted with concern some statements reportedly made by the Uganda Union Mission Executive Director in connection with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill under consideration in Uganda. These views do not reflect the values of the Church as expressed in published statements on same sex conduct. Seventh-day Adventists continue to affirm the equal dignity and rights of every person as articulated in the relevant international human rights declarations and covenants."

There are nearly 200,000 Adventists in over 800 congregations in Uganda.