To: All Who May be Concerned
Re: “The Ugandan Parliament announced Friday that it had approved legislation
imposing harsh penalties on gay people, including life imprisonment…”
(New York Times, December 21, 2013)
From: Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell

Dear Colleagues,

I write these words with a heavy heart, an inability to understand nor comprehend
the actions of the Ugandan Parliament, and a sense of depression, following
my rejoicing in response to the accomplishments of Nelson Mandela.

I share this as an 80 year old African American who was active in the Civil Rights
Movement, as a Christian, and as one who had the honor and joy of being a
participant in the film; “Love versus Homophobia”.

Nelson Mandela became the President of a South Africa that in its re-birth, embraced
in its Constitution and other documents, the rights of lgbt persons and same gender
loving couples. South Africa through the influence of Nelson Mandela, Archbishop
Desmond Tutu and many others, believes that justice and equality for black persons
is superficial if does not also embrace others, particularly those who are sexual
minorities. Why has that not happened in Uganda?

My first trip to the continent of Africa was in 1971, 42 years ago. I visited Tanzania
to participate in a Consultation of African and African American Church and
Government leaders. The sense of harmony we experienced at that meeting,
despite our differences, was overwhelming. I would value another such a meeting
again to discuss the human rights of lgbt persons and same sex couples, as those
rights relate to the long struggles of Africans in Africa, in America and in other
parts of the world.

I, as a Christian minister am continually shocked when black persons in Africa
and in the USA, do not understand that the use of the Bible and Christian teaching
that once justified slavery and racial segregation in Africa and the USA, is being
replicated to demean and abuse same gender loving persons. How strange it
is that a people who because of their race once and still now, knew/know separation
and segregation because of their race, do the same to people because of
their sexual orientation.

We sing in Christian churches; “Love came down at Christmas”, during Advent
and Christmas. How tragic it is that the Ugandan Parliament through its legislation
abuses the meaning of the one called Jesus, whom God sent into human history
many years ago. The world has seen the abuse of black South Africans during apartheid. How does Uganda and its governmental and church leaders want to be portrayed as historians and film makers portray today’s legal enslavement of Ugandans because they are same gender loving? Christians and those who are not are overwhelmed as they read and see pictures of the acts of dehumanization of
black persons in pre-Independent Africa. The same will take place as they read and see pictures of the dehumanization of homosexual persons in Uganda.

Do the church and governmental leaders of Uganda care?

Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell
New Jersey/USA