The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Reverend Justin Welby has expressed “grave concern” over a legislation being considered in Ghana which would lead to anyone who is LGBT+ or advocating for them, to be imprisoned for up to ten years.
Archbishop Welby, who is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, made this known in a statement on Tuesday, October 26, in reaction to the draft anti-LGBTQ+ Bill due to be debated by the Ghanaian parliament.
According to the Archbishop, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, and other people of similar orientation are all members of the Body of Christ. The statement read in parts:
“I am gravely concerned by the draft anti-LGBTQ+ Bill due to be debated by the Ghanaian parliament. I will be speaking with the Archbishop of Ghana in the coming days to discuss the Anglican Church of Ghana’s response to the Bill”.Most Reverend Justin Welby
According to the Archbishop, the majority of Anglicans within the global Anglican Communion are committed to upholding both the traditional teaching on marriage as laid out in the “1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I:10 and the rights of every person, regardless of sexual orientation, before the law”.
“In Resolution I:10, the Anglican Communion also made a commitment ‘to assure [LGBTQ+ people] that they are loved by God and that all baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ’.
“Meanwhile on numerous occasions, the Primates of the Anglican Communion have stated their opposition to the criminalization of same-sex attracted people: most recently, and unanimously, in the communiqué of the 2016 Primates’ Meeting”.Most Reverend Justin Welby
Further touching on the issue, the Archbishop Welby noted that he would like to remind “our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church of Ghana of these commitments”.
“We are a global family of churches, but the mission of the church is the same in every culture and country: to demonstrate, through its actions and words, God’s offer of unconditional love to every human being through Jesus Christ”.Most Reverend Justin Welby
Meanwhile, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in Ghana has endorsed the passage of a proposed law that would subject anyone who self-identifies as LGBTQ to a prison term of up to five years.
A statement advocating for the bill was signed by the Most Rev. Dr. Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith, metropolitan archbishop of the Internal Province of Ghana, which is part of the Anglican Province of West Africa.
“The support of the church for the Anti-LGBTQI Bill is borne out of the belief that the practice is unbiblical and ungodly”.
In the statement, Most Rev. Dr. Cyril Kobina Ben-Smith noted that the church sees LGBTQI “as unrighteousness in the sight of God” and therefore will do anything within their powers and mandate to ensure that the bill comes into fruition.
Quoting Leviticus 20:13, Most Rev.Dr. Cyril emphasized that, “a male lying with a fellow male is an abomination and punishable by death”.
“The church does not condemn persons of homosexuality tendencies but absolutely condemn the sinful acts and activities they perform,” the statement said, adding that LGBTQ supporters should not be harassed or subjected to violence, “but rather, see them as potential souls to be won for Christ”.
“We will gladly open our counseling and support centers for the needed transformation services required by these persons or groups”.