America Magazine calls Uganda's anti-LGBT law "unjust discrimination"

America Magazine is the prominent Catholic publication headed by the Jesuits. The editors of America Magazine, which include the notable Jesuit author Fr. James Martin, have weighed in on Uganda’s deadly anti-LGBT law in an editorial, titled “When the Law Is a Crime”, denouncing criminalizing the LGBT community.

America Editor at Large (and chaplain to the Colbert Report), the Rev. James Martin,S.J., told The Huffington Post in an email, "As Christians we are concerned with affronts to human dignity, which is at the absolute heart of our Christian beliefs. And as Catholics we look to the Catechism which enjoins Catholics to treat gays and lesbians with 'respect, sensitivity and compassion' and to avoid 'every sign of unjust discrimination.'"

It is especially disturbing that such legislation is immensely popular in predominately Christian countries like Uganda, where 40 percent of the population is Roman Catholic and the Catholic bishops have sent mixed signals about the legislation. When the bill was first considered in 2009, Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga of Kampala, speaking on behalf of the Catholic bishops’ conference, said it was “at odds with the core values” of Christianity. When the bill was reintroduced in 2012, however, the Uganda Joint Christian Council, which includes Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox bishops, expressed support for the bill. Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos, Nigeria, meanwhile, has praised President Goodluck Jonathan for his “courageous and wise decision” to sign the new law in that country.

We add our voice to this swelling chorus. Pope Francis has described gay people as “socially wounded” because “they feel like the church has always condemned them.” Catholics must examine how we contribute, perhaps even inadvertently, to a culture of fear and shame. In a field hospital after battle, a basic responsibility of the caregivers is to “do no harm.” The church must oppose violence against gay persons and should strongly advocate for the decriminalization of homosexuality. No one should be subject to a criminal penalty simply for being gay. If laws like these do not constitute the “unjust discrimination” against gay people that the church rightly denounces, then what possibly could?

The Jesuits have been credited for the term “Social Justice” and that is a significant part of the Jesuit vocation. With the ongoing “Social Injustice” against the LGBT community in Uganda, as well as many other parts of the world, it's important to hear America Mazagine speaking out against discrimination against the LGBT community in Uganda. We now need to hear the same outcry against Uganda’s anti-LGBT law from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, especially from Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Nigeria. 

The Huffington Post has more on the story.